You are
Red is what
I call
Red is what
you are
to me
I am
with envy
She is
or Vanessa
or Veronica
She is
You are
Red as
bloody celestial orb
that you
I long
to be
that golden ball
next to which
it hung
I am
I am
You are
Red is what
I call you
Red is what
you will


For your birthday

There are a million
a billion
and they burn
so bright
they are
in a dark
they are
in a pitch
and there you are
among many
my second star to the right


The Sin in Virginity

Your virginity is not your righteousness.

When you are 13 or 18 or 29 or 42.

Your virginity does not save you, it does not make you pure, it does not make you good, it does not make you worthy.

I read this article. I was horrified.

Sex is not god. It is not the most important thing that has ever existed. It will not complete you, it will not make you whole. There are people who have lots of sex that are unhappy and people who never have sex that have a wonderful and full life. Sex is also not gross. It is not the glamorous act romanticized in the movies, it is messy and awkward and a lot of other things but it is not some disgusting chore to get over as quickly and quietly as possible. Sex is good. It was created by God for our good. It was not created simply for procreation but for pleasure and to bind two people together.

When I was young, I desperately wanted to be a virgin when I got married. I thought it was the most important thing that I could offer my husband. That I could hand him this gift and tell him that I saved myself for him. Here's the thing, I got over it. I am a virgin only in the technical sense of the word. So? What does that get me? There isn't some like a medal or t-shirt that they are handing out as far as I know. There is always going to be a part of me that wishes I could go back and choose differently, but I can't and God doesn't love me less. His death on the cross plus my virginity doesn't equal his unmerited favor, grace, mercy and love. His blood. That's it, kids. His blood and nothing else washes me cleans, makes me new, covers my life and if I try to stand on my virginity, it is my pride.

The sin in virginity is pride. I am not saying that it is not a good thing to be a virgin. It is a very good thing. But don't hold on to it because you think that it makes you holy and pure before God and man.  The only reason that the Virgin Mary had her v-card when Jesus came was because God didn't want anyone to make the claim that his Son was anyone else's. The most prominent women in Jesus' family were not the most upstanding of citizens, especially in regards to their sexuality. Tamar was a widow who disguised herself as a prostitute and slept with her father-in-law, Rahab was legitimately a prostitute, (Ruth would go here, but unless you take that whole "uncovering the feet" thing out of context, she seemed good to go) and Bathsheba was an adulteress.

If the author was taught by her church that sex was dirty, that boys didn't have as much responsibility for their sexuality as girls, that virginity is where you can find life and happiness and holiness that really really really sucks, but here's the thing, our faith is our own.  We live in a world that blames everyone else when we make bad choices, when we believe lies, or choose to live out bad theology. The whole point of Christianity is that it is a relationship between us and our Creator and we are responsible for the upkeep of that relationship, we are responsible for understanding who our God is and who he has made us to be and why he tells us things and what he wants from us and why. We have to seek after him and we do that by reading his word, by praying, by worshipping. That intimate time spent with him helps us to grow closer to him, to truly know him. The church is there as a guide, but if the one you attend teaches something that does not fit with the character of God that He is outlined in His Word, you are in the wrong place and you need to leave, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to seek the truth and know who you are following.

The author's virginity was her identity. Her idol. She took pride in it, it made her special and unique. People applauded it. God does not applaud your virginity. I'm sorry. Having or not having your virginity when you get married doesn't make you a better or more worthy Christian. Your virginity is not who you are. You are a daughter or son of the King or you are not. Sex is about binding you with someone, that is why it was created. God wants you to hold onto it because he knows when you have sex, little pieces of you go along with the people you sleep with. And it isn't just sex, it is any intimacy. The bits of my body and heart and soul that I would steal back from lips and hands and beds if I could. But God doesn't sigh and put bits of duct tape on me and close one eye and squint and decide that he can put up with me. God looks at me with eyes wide open and a heart full of love and arms that long to embrace me and calls me righteous.

Don't keep your virginity because it makes you valuable. It doesn't. Sex is a gift, given by God to all people, not just men. Virginity is a gift, given by God to all people, not just women. Having sex doesn't make you who you are. Virginity doesn't make you who are. God didn't say that the only thing that we have to offer in this whole world, the only thing that makes us important to our potential spouse is what is between our legs. Our value is found in Christ. Our identity rests on Him.


My Birthday and The Bad Luck Dress

Even as I write this, I try to think if I can process her. I see now, in this moment, that eye witnesses are unreliable. Everything about her is hazy to me. Short brown hair, glasses, white dress with a dark pattern on it. That is all I can see. It means nothing because it is so generic. Later, My Girlfriend said that there is a supreme satisfaction in seeing your ex looking worse than when you were with them (which you didn't) or having their new partner not be as attractive as you are (which, according to her, is the case). I looked beautiful. It was my birthday and we had been at dinner and I looked beautiful. But I was wearing my bad luck dress. I forget, every time, how it has fails me. The dress is beautiful but when I wear it, a chain of event occurs that very night that leads to some sort of deep heartache for me.

I saw Your Boyfriend first. I don't know why, even on a dimly lit street, I can tell his body apart from other people. There is something distinct about his height and build that draws the eye, I think. Maybe, if I hadn't noticed him, I wouldn't have seen you.  But I did. I did see you, Red. And I froze. And I saw that you were holding her hand. This girl I knew only by name and had never met.

When I saw Your Boyfriend, I commented to the others. Then we all saw you and her. And I froze. I started to back away, wanting to turn and run. The others wouldn't let me. Jersey told me to take her hand and My Girlfriend became the spokesperson for our little band. They hemmed me in, they were a hedge of protection around me. They herded me forward and prodded and pushed me around the corner towards our destination.

I saw your face, filled with confusion. I am not sure that either one of us knew what to do in that moment. If more than a greeting was required.  Because we are supposed to be friends and you have never introduced her to us and this would have been the moment to do so. To see us on the street and to say hello and have a conversation and to introduce us to the girl who took my place. It is all supposed to be okay, and it isn't.

I had pictured meeting her over and over and over and over when I first found out that there was even a her. In my mind, our relationship was different. We still spoke and saw each other and there was still good feelings between us that made me want to see you happy. I would meet her and I would accept that reality and though my heart would ache, it would be dull. But now, you are absent. The reminder of you is not with me every minute of every day and I didn't think about her at all, didn't think about the possibility that she would still be in your life. I didn't think about the fact that she could walk down the street holding a hand attached to a body that had, at one time, been drawn to me, that wanted me, that chose me. So when I saw Your Boyfriend, and you, and her, it took every bit of energy and strength and the energy and strength of the others to move my body past yours.

The others urged me around the corner and I stopped holding my breath. I pressed my body against the building beside us and tried to pull in every bit of oxygen my lungs could hold. I didn't cry, I thought I might, but I didn't. I asked My Girlfriend to take me home because I knew that though we still had plans, I wasn't going to be much fun for the rest of the evening, but I didn't cry. And I am proud of myself. Because really and truly, there was a point when I thought that loving you and losing you would kill me. But I'm still here and did not shed a single tear for all the ache that my body felt when I saw you and her. And today, though I am pensive, I am not angry or even really sad the way I thought I would be. I am sad because I loved you and lost you and love you still, but it is a sadness that does not leave me broken, it is a sadness that reminds me that I once felt something very deeply and for a time, though very hard, it was very good. And that loving you and losing you was not the death of me.

Maybe the luck is changing for my dress.


A Season of Ungratefulness

I haven't posted in a while. It isn't because I have nothing to say. Maybe it is because I have too much to say.

All these demons eating at me.

These voice whispering, screaming.

They don't leave any room for me to think. There isn't enough space to process all these thoughts and feelings.

This Lent has been a hard season for me. I think more than ever, I am acutely aware of  my ungratefulness. I see the cravings, the desires, the wants...how the not having of these things vex me. And I am vexed greatly. There is this very dark feeling that God is withholding, and I know, maybe more now than ever, that if he is not fulfilling those things, that there is a very real possibility that it is because he does not want me to have them. And I am not grateful that. I look at Him and accuse Him of neglect, of forgetfulness, of a lack of love.

In our Lenten guide last week, the primary reading was Luke 12:22-34. (Luke is, for me, a neglected book. I tend to look at the parallel verses in Matthew. Matthew 6:34 could be one of my life verses, I am such a worrier.) It was Luke 12:32 that struck me the most during my reading.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom."

The Kingdom.

Last night, the Skipper and I sat eating Mexican. "The kingdom isn't enough," I said. She looked and me with sad, knowing eyes and nodded.

You can say God set us up to fail, that he knew our natures were weak and that it wouldn't be fair to punish us for not being able to live up to unrealistic expectations. But he wanted us to love him, wanted us to choose him and that meant that that left the option open for us to not choose him. Adam and Eve chose themselves and so the cycle began, and sin came into the world and there would be no relief from that brokenness. However, God also set us up to win, because he knew we were weak and we would never be able to not choose ourselves. He made a way to bring us back to Himself no matter how many times we walked away and left Him to be gods or to make gods of other things and people. It PLEASED Him to strip Himself of divinity and walk as one of us so that we could have back everything we had lost. It was His pleasure to give us the kingdom.

I complain, because the kingdom, his love, his presence...it just doesn't seem like enough. I don't want it. I want other things. Things that seem more delightful and more wonderful and more pleasurable than He does. I am ungrateful. I am forgetful. I am this sinful saint that isn't doing it quite right. And yet, here is this great big God who will stoop low and please Himself by giving Himself for me. Even as I sit, sulking like a spoiled child, he is reminds me that he is gracious and slow to anger and abounding in love. He has not forgotten me or forsaken me. My ungratefulness does not change His character, does not change His affection, does not change what pleases Him.



You know when are about to do it. You see that lion pacing back and forth in its cage and its mane is big and wild and its fur and smooth and golden and shiny.  You think, if I am fast enough, I can stick my hand through those bars and stroke its coat and it will never know I was even there. And you ignore the fact that that lion is licking its lips. You ignore the look in that lion's eyes that tells you that it is a savage creature, not some docile house cat, and you are the perfect prey.

Yes, you know when you are about to do something truly heinous and instead of fleeing from it, you reach your hand into that cage.

And that is what I want to do.

Even though I know that that lion is going to bite me. Going to pull as much of my body as it can through the thin bars of that cage and maul me. 

My counselor says that she believes in me. I guess I believe in me too. But the truth is, I just don't want to care anymore. I want to feel something, anything. I am tired of waiting around for something to change.

That lion is beautiful...and dangerous. If you are logical, you know that to be true. You look in your heart and know that it isn't going to end well, that you will never make it out unscathed.  You recognize that that adrenaline rush, that momentary thrill, that short second of bliss is the instant right before the blood rushes out. That thin line between pleasure and pain is easily crossed and you are left bleeding to death.


Forty One Days

I sat on your couch, crying.

I would love to say that it was the first time, but we both know that isn't true.

And my tears were from the sheer sight of you. And from the acute sense of loss that I felt. And from my desire to fix something that you say isn't broken.

Forty one days. I hadn't seen you in forty one days. And you live five miles away from me.

For a period of that forty one days, you were a whole world away, and I still felt closer to you than I do now. I felt like maybe there was hope for us. Hope that we could be friends. But then you returned and it might have been better for me if you hadn't. I could have blamed the distance. I could have blamed the time zones. But now, I only blame myself.

You said that everything is fine, that we are fine. That you are comfortable with me, even now. But you don't need to see me, don't care one way or the other. And you don't care about my feelings or the feelings of our mutual friends, who you don't really need to see either. You wanted things to be light and easy between us and I always was so serious and you weren't interested in that. It shocked me, those pronouncements. You said you were okay with distance, but I didn't really believe that, or I didn't believe you were okay with that much distance.

So as I sat beside you on that couch, where we have eaten, and taken naps, and watched movies, and talked for hours, it shocked me how indifferent you were to me. Because you were once a man who spoke to me about marriage and children and families. Even after we realized that we could never overcome the differences between us, I loved you desperately, painfully. We kept pretending that reality was never going to catch up with us, that we could outrun it. And I wrestled with my flesh and with my God, at times longing to put Him away so that I could have you. Through the months of that, we lied to ourselves so that we could keep being friends, though we were far more, because as my Other Boy says, "I'd rather have something than nothing." And we had something.

I cannot reconcile the person who you now claim yourself to be, this "fucked-up asshole", with the man that I have seen you be with me. It hurts me to know that the way that we were from the beginning, was a lie. Because for me, it was our foundation, a friendship that was real and true and good and lovely, something I longed to preserve even when everything else was lost, but for you, it was the beginning of a pursuit that I didn't even see coming. And maybe I was naive. I can see that. But I never assumed that it could ever, would ever, be anything more, and I was content to settle for a dear friend and to love you from afar. But you claim you weren't my friend then, you were a boy that saw the possibility of more and now would rather have nothing.

And even though you say that we are fine, my fine is different from yours, and this is not fine for me. Because everywhere I go in the town has been tainted by the we that once was. And we can never get back to that, not even anywhere close, because the foundation of it was the not the stone I thought it to be, but sand. Everything reminds me of you. Reminds me of us. And the fear of seeing you in public and not being able to greet you, or talk to you, or relate to you like I once did, paralyzes me. So I pray for forty one, or eighty one, or a thousand and one days before I see you again. Because you are only five miles away and you are not the person that I knew and I don't know how to be fine with the you that is.