Monday, February 20, 2012

o these emotions

I am not an emotional teenage girl.

Okay, now that I've shamelessly lied to all of you, I shall tell you the real, hard truth. I am, in fact, very emotional, and very much a teenage girl. Or at least, I was last time I checked. So hopefully that is still true, and if it isn't, we have problems. Anyway.

Lately, I've been on what can only be termed an emotional rollercoaster. Not really because of my life--that's been pretty normal and boring and everything else it usually is. So it's not because of normal things (you know, going through life changes, getting married, getting unmarried, that sort of thing), but rather because of...

Well, books.
And television.
And other nerdy things.

Wait, you thought this was going to be insightful and deep and challenging? Oh well.

My first moment of emotional chaos was halfway through The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green. It's a pretty good book (has some swearing sprinkled throughout, as well as some inappropriate material. It's all very fade-to-black though, but it's not, you know, a paragon of virtue and morals or anything), but...oh my word. My emotions. To use Tumblr jargon, it makes me feel all the things, and everything hurts.

And then I reached the most emotionally charged chapters in my book, Royalty. My main character must part from her true love, else bad things will ensue. Bad things will ensue anyway. But you know what I mean.

And then I suffered from a relapse of Reichenbach feelings as there was a spate of beautiful Sherlock graphics on Tumblr.

So, all in all, this past week has been very tumultuous for me. My emotions hate me, and I feel all the things. I wouldn't give up feeling those things, though. Because it's nice, in some twisted way. How has your week gone?

- Kyla Denae

Friday, February 17, 2012

dauntless uncovering

I've never had a friend that I could tell literally everything to.
I've never had a friend that I could talk with about every thing that happens.
I've never had a friend that I could simply sit with, in companionable silence.
I've never had a friend that I could tell about every struggle without fear.

I've never had a best friend, I guess.

I wonder sometimes if I'm missing out on something here; if there's some sort of mystical connection that is formed with a true best friend that I can touch and feel. I don't know if it's because I'm that awkward, nerdy girl that drifts on the outside of activities, never quite coming into the center of things because she doesn't do sports and prefers to sit on the sidelines, hunched over a book, or if it's because I'm not the sort to put myself forward.

Maybe it's because I prefer to be the listening friend--the one that listens to everyone's woes and cares and tries, in some paltry way, to offer advice. I'm the sort of person who tries to appear to be strong, who projects an image of pulled-together strength to the world, or tries. I'm the one who always has a smile on, no matter how much I want to cry inside. I'm the one who, while struggling with an addiction for most of my teenage years, still put an arm around a friend's shoulders and told her that God still loved her despite her mistakes--while, at the end of the day, I find myself incapable of believing it myself.

I'm just your average teenage girl, the one who doesn't want others to see her hurts, so hides them away. I'm the girl that smiles and sings like she has no cares even though her mind is burdened with so many things.

So consider this my unburdening. My uncovering. My thrusting of everything upon an unsuspecting world. My revelation. My showing you that I've never been as strong as I made you think.

- Kyla Denae

Saturday, February 4, 2012

mitch benn's 'imagine'

Seriously. This song is so powerful. Besides, the fellow has a really pretty British accent.

Not everybody has to
Imagine no possessions
Some people that’s exactly what they’ve got
Eking out a living
In a world that’s unforgiving
While the haves are patronising the have-nots

Not everybody has to
Imagine there’s no country
Some people they just have nowhere to go
Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters
Shuffling over borders
Waiting for the day when no-one wants to know

And you may say I have no dreams
And perhaps that’s how it seems
But in a world this tough
Dreams are not enough

Not everybody has to
Imagine there’s no heaven
When hell on earth is where they live each day
Imagining’s a start no doubt
But ‘till we put our finger out
And change the world, that’s how it’s gonna stay

- Kyla Denae

Friday, February 3, 2012

the day i got trolled on an online forum

Not me, specifically, really. More like the entire forum. A little background: about six months ago, we had this really ridiculous fellow come on whose entire purpose seemed to be yelling at us about how we were all going to hell. Without knowing us, without even understanding how the forum worked in any way. Just one day:
Hi, I'm Travis. Let me tell you about my God who wants to send you to hell if you don't repent. Oh, and love or something like that.
Quite literally. Well, now he's back. Either it's him or his little brother. One or the other. Basically, for the past two weeks, he's been posting topics once or twice a week, telling us all we're evil devil worshippers and should repent.

For obvious reasons, I find this quite amusing.

So today, on his newest topic, I went on and told him that I still couldn't decide if he was a troll or sincere, and that he should really find some less heavy-handed way of getting the Gospel out. Because, obviously, beating people upside the head with the most random verses in the Bible isn't helping. Our side-conversation led to him saying I wasn't a real Christian and he'd be praying that I would find Jesus.

I laughed at him.

And then he said he hoped I'd realize the error of my ways and hold onto faith as if it were my life. Which, you know, it sort of is, considering I'm a missionary and depend on God for my life pretty much.

Anyway. Besides the obvious fact that questioning the salvation of someone you've never even talked to is pretty silly, I'd like to just point something out to anyone who'd be inclined to follow in Travis' footsteps. When you go into an established community, whether online or off, and start issuing blanket condemnations of people, it doesn't make people want to listen to you. In fact, it actually hurts the cause of Christ, because you make people think you actually are a Christian, and that hurts the rest of us.

When you just shout at someone and tell them they're evil devil-worshipers and should repent or God will damn them to hell, it doesn't help. Maybe it's true in some cases. But it still doesn't help. It does nothing to endear people to the true message of Christ's coming--that we have a mighty Savior who loves us more than we can imagine.

- Kyla Denae

Thursday, February 2, 2012

one problem at a time

On the last day I was in China, a couple members of our team (plus myself) went out into Guangzhou to buy some breakfast. The rest of our team was sleeping in, so we were by ourselves. We stopped at this little roadside place--it looked like a carport, to be honest, with a dirt floor and a cooker on a rickety table. A few men were sitting inside on overturned buckets and crates, talking back and forth in rapid-fire Chinese while the cooks (two women, one older than the other) made their food. We got this yummy, rather watery porridge with rice, some green stuff, and a few chunks of meat in. We also got youtiao, which is the most amazing bread on the face of the planet, especially when you sprinkle sugar on it.

We walked a few paces down the road and settled down in front of an apartment building; there were some steps there that we could sit on, so we did. About halfway through our meal, this beggar man came up. He stood maybe five feet from us, watching us, occasionally saying something in Chinese that I'm guessing was a plea for money. We carefully avoided looking at him, trying to carry on our own conversations, but it was difficult. He was just standing there, asking for help, and every American tenet and stricture to foreigners told us we couldn't help him--even though I had plenty of yuan in my pocket.

I came across this in Zambia, too. I come across it at home. Maybe not so blatantly--nobody's (hopefully) going to accost me while I'm sitting down and eating my breakfast. But it does happen. How many of us drive right past a homeless man on a street corner nearly every day without a second glance? Wherever we go, needy people will be an ever-present reality.

Our culture tells us that poor people, and especially homeless people, must somehow be at fault for their position. We see a man on a street corner with a ratty jacket, broken-down shoes, and a carboard sign, and the first thought that pops into our mind is "free-loading druggie" or "alcoholic who doesn't want to take care of his kids". We see a woman with a hat jammed down over her hair, her clothes old and worn, and we might think "prostitute". Our entire culture tells us not to give these people money; that they'll just use it for less than honorable purposes and you'll have wasted it. When we go overseas, we're told we'll get thronged with needy people if we help one, that it's too dangerous to help because we might get hurt (at least in our pocketbooks).

Yet there's nothing like this attitude in scripture. We look at Jesus, the man who would walk through a crowded building, a building full of the stench of death and disease--so many people who needed helping that it was quite possible if he touched one he'd be stifled by the rush of people yearning for healing--and yet his only thought was for the one person before him. He dealt with the lame man, then moved on to the woman with leprosy, and then to the child who couldn't see, and then to the grandfather that couldn't hear. There were always a few that he couldn't get to, that couldn't make it to him through the crowd. Some had good friends who would pull up a roof to get their friend to him. Some would crawl through merely to touch the corner of his robe. But Jesus always focused on one thing--the person right in front of him and what they needed.

I wonder if maybe we shouldn't practice this as well. Yes, we can't heal all the hurts in the world. We can't even come close. But that's not what we're supposed to do. The effort (and the worrying about it) would drive us mad. Instead, I think we're supposed to focus on one thing at a time, and that's the person right in front of us and their problem. We're not supposed to give thought to tomorrow, to our bodies, to what might become of us because, ultimately, everything is in God's hands. And it could just be that he's going to use us to speak to someone, even if it's through something as simple as extending five bucks or a happy meal.

We are called to be the light of the world, not the lighthouse keepers that are so afraid of making someone angry or getting hurt that we never turn on the light.

~Liberty (紫涵)