Tag Archive | Jesus Christ

New Year, New Existence

“It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”

– Charlotte Brontë, from Jane Eyre


My dear friends,

It is the new year. It is officially 2018. It has been for eleven days now.

I cannot explain to you in language capable of understanding the change that I have undergone these twelve months past. I know without doubt, inspection, or clarification that I am not the same young lady who stepped into the 2017.

It is a new year. A new year it certainly has been. I seem to be slipping away from my old self more and more. The funny thing is that it does not feel bad. I have never felt so free to shed my old clothes. To wrestle out of my old skin, squirming and wrestling my way into new life. A new year has made a new me.

I will not bore you with a post of many words or an obnoxious sob story about how much I accomplished last year.

Quite on the contrary.

A new year calls for new things. Already, before my very eyes, I have begun to shed old habits and develop new interests, thoughts, and opinions.

A new year calls for new theology.

I have begun to understand the truth about and depths of God’s eternal love for me. As a young Christian growing up in America, I have always known of God’s great power, Divine nature, and unspeakable authority; I have never truly studied His never-ending love. Directly, I see a change in the way I live. I walk with a new faith in a God who loves unconditionally. A God who is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness. A God named Jesus who loves me above all others. He goes before me, and I do not fear, for He will never leave me nor forsake me. He said before leaving this earth, “Lo, I am with you always.”

A new year calls for new heroes.

In this short time, I have found new mentors, confidantes, and friends who are beginning to shape me into someone I did not even know I could become. I have engrossing and delightful conversations with Jane Eyre on rainy days. Dietrich Bonhoeffer sits with me in my bedroom, and we discuss theology and discipleship for hours. Elizabeth Bennet comes to tea, and her courtship with a certain Mr. Darcy is always our favorite topic. I have begun to make the acquaintance of Mr. Sydney Carton, and although he is quite the alcoholic, his troubled yet sweet, pleasing soul is the thing I best love about him. All these friends have gathered around me, and with them I am becoming quite the lover of stories, universal truths, and moral genius.

A new year calls for new adventures.

Before my very eyes life-changing quests and heists are being laid in front of me. I have just been told that this very summer I shall be at Oxford University studying literature and creative writing for two whole weeks in the Oxford Summer Program. How excited I am for this I cannot express to you; only my Father in Heaven can truly understand how ecstatic I am to step onto the cobble-stone streets of a university that is perhaps over nine hundred years old and one that I only thought lived in my dreams. May is the month of my high-school graduation. I have already begun working toward my Associates degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

A new year calls for new interests.

I have begun to fall in love with art, literature, and writing. Riding horses is taking a new turn, as well. As of yesterday, I am riding a horse named Harry who is such a sweetheart: willing to please, amiable, bold, and everything a horse ought to be. He’s practically an angel, and my instructor says I will learn much from him. I cannot wait. Claude Monet is a favorite with me now, and I hope I may get to visit an art museum in the coming year. Austen, Brontë (Charlotte, of course), and Dickens are my new favorite authors, and reading their books is like diving headfirst into another world. I am currently reading A Tale of Two Cities.

A new year calls for new resolutions.

Now, I come to you, my dear readers. Meine lieben Freunden (that is German for, “my dear friends”)! I know I have ceased to blog consistently, yet that is something I wish to change in the coming year. I am seeing in myself someone new. I know that this blog must also become new and change alongside myself. Therefore—I will not promise anything—but my goal is to write a post every two weeks and end the year with twenty-four (give or take) posts. As for my German, that is another matter entirely, yet it is on my resolution. I do intend to learn to speak fluent German. If it is good enough for Dietrich, it is good enough for me.

My friends, I know with every fiber of my being that this year is going to be one of the best I have ever had. No, the best year for all of us. Every year is a good year. I feel like everyone seems to look back when they enter a new year. They always contemplate and spend hours in reverie over the past twelve months. I know because that’s what I did last year, the year before that, the year before that, and—gee, come to think of it—the year before that. Obviously, I’ve always looked back. By no means am I saying that to look back is unscrupulous. Nay, on the contrary. It is looking back that gives us the courage to move forward. However, this year, I have seemed to put more emphasis on going forward. I am becoming a new person, a young lady blossoming into a young woman (heavens, not yet), and an encourage-er looking for kindred spirits to encourage.

Let us not become exhausted and worn over looking at our blunders, flaws, and mistakes from last year, but let us look ahead. It is the dawn of a new day, the rise of a new era. We have begun something new. Let us face it eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder. We will not cower or turn away.

To encourage you all, I have found a lovely little poem written by that good friend of mine Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which he wrote only a little while before he was executed by the Nazis. It was composed in January of 1945 while he was in prison in Berlin:

New Year 1945

With every power for good to stay and guide me, 

Comforted and inspired beyond all fear, 

I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me, 

And pass, with you, into the coming year

 

    The old year still torments our hearts, unhastening;

The long days of sorrow still endure;

Father, grant to the souls thou hast been chastening

That thou hast promised, the healing and the cure.

 

  Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving

Even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,

We will not falter, thankfully receiving

All that is given by thy loving hand.

 

But should it be thy will once more to release us

To life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine,

That which we’ve learned from sorrow shall increase us, 

And all our life be dedicate to thine.

 

  Today, let candles shed their radiant greetings;

Lo, on our darkness are they not thy light

 Leading us, haply, to our longed-for meeting?

Thou canst illumine even our darkest night.

 

When now the silence deepens for our hearkening,

Grant we may hear thy children’s voices raise

From all the unseen world around us darkening

Their universal paean, in thy praise.

 

While all the powers of good aid and attend us,

Boldly, we’ll face the future, come what may.

At even and at morn God will befriend us,

And oh, most surely on each newborn day!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Be encouraged, my dear friends! God is always with us and goes before us. Whatever we are walking into, let us take heart. God is with us and will always hold our hands in His.

One thing I am planning on doing this year is taking you all on my adventures with me. Hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Auf Wiedersehen,

Emily 🙂

P.S. I did create my cosplay for Star Wars, and wore it on opening night. Best. Moments. Ever. I’ll share with you all in the next post; I’m off to bed! 🙂

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Lessons in Writing Hinduism Papers, Reading Harry Potter, and Eating Happy Food

“One book had a dark stain on it that looked horribly like blood. The hairs on the back of Harry’s neck prickled. Maybe he was imagining it, maybe not, but he thought a faint whispering was coming from the books, as though they knew someone was there who shouldn’t be.

He had to start somewhere. Setting the lamp down carefully on the floor, he looked along the bottom shelf for an interesting-looking book. A large black and silver volume caught his eye. He pulled it out with difficulty, because it was very heavy, and balancing it on his knee, let it fall open.

A piercing blood-curdling shriek split the silence – the book was screaming! Harry snapped it shut, but the shriek went on and on, one high, unbroken, earsplitting note. He stumbled and knocked over his lamp, which went out at once.”

– From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, chapter twelve, The Mirror of Erised


My desk while working on school – thanks for the donut mug, Tina!

“…compare and contrast your selected worldview (Secular Humanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam) with the biblical worldview.”

Such was the prompt that drove me up the wall all weekend as I struggled to write a paper about the similarities and differences of Hinduism and Christianity.

I received the email from my professor on Tuesday announcing the dreaded monster that we ourselves had to create and submit by the end of the week (Today @ 11:59 pm EST). A few things that set me apart from the average college class student are as follows:

  • I am only fifteen and am still in High School
  • I love writing papers
  • I have an extremely organized and OCD note taking system

Thus, when reviewing the second bullet point—my loving papers—it can be assumed that I jumped at the chance to write this paper. You would assume rightly, for I was literally dancing with excitement at the news of a research paper—and on a religion (“of all the interesting topics”)!

I have always had a “thing” for Hinduism and eastern archaeology and religions since I was really little. I loved Indiana Jones (when I wanted to) as a little girl. Honestly, I wanted to go live in Egypt, wear a turban, become an archaeologist, and maybe dig up the Ark of the Covenant.

Ahem.

Considering that, it is obviously pretty plain to see why I chose the religion I did: Hinduism. I had always found eastern religion and things like that very interesting. Interesting, but not intriguing.

Anyway, skipping merrily to my computer, I logged on to my library’s website and reserved some books on Critical Thinking and Hinduism. I started thinking about the sources we had used in my class on the mystic subject. There were not very many meaty ones, so I knew that library books and a few books from my world religion unit last year would be helpful.

On Saturday my books were ready. Running errands for the coming week, my parents and my siblings stopped by the library on their way home.

Drrrrrr…the garage roared as it opened lazily, chugging and squeaking against the rusty tracks. I knew they were home, and I was ready to begin taking notes and composing a beautiful piece of writing! I sped down the stairs, thumping and stomping my way down. In the garage, my family met me with an armful of books. A big fat one had to be at least one thousand whole pages. The Norton Anthology of World Religions was, actually, over two thousand pages—and to my amazement, I learned it was only the first volume of three! I grabbed the books hungrily and sped back up to my room as quickly as I had come down. I laid all the books – three total – on my desk and opened them up.


“So…how are you doing?”

I think my head was about to explode when Mom popped in to check on me. I had been in my room for about three hours or so, working out my first paragraph: the origins of the world.

I wanted to say “not good,” but thought it would be pessimistic.

I was finding Hinduism to be a little less fascinating than I thought it would be. From the stories of incestuous creation possibilities, to the myths of Krishna, Durga and the buffalo demon, I was disgusted and mentally disturbed by the doctrines of Hinduism. The seductive goddesses and maidens, the lusty men and their partners, the goddess Kali who eats little children, and Brahma with his four-faced head. As for Kali’s husband, Shiva, let’s just say he lives up to his name as “Shiva the ‘Destroyer.'” I was desperately overwhelmed and in need of a good faint.

Exhibit A:

After finishing one beautifully written paragraph about Hinduism’s world origin beliefs, I took a bike ride alongside the river of my beautiful city. Fresh air felt nice. The leaves have turned yellow, orange, and deep red. The gentle breeze ruffled my hair and autumnal colored leaves skirted, flitted, and danced along the path with me. Fall felt nice.

The next day, I was ready to tackle the grueling task of writing four more paragraphs about Hindu doctrines: morality, death, identity, and purpose. I was practically hyperventilating. “Okay, here we go.”

I cried out to God during my shower, practically begging Him to give me the words to speak so I could finish this paper that was just as monstrous as the Hindu gods.


Click clack…click…tap tap tap.

Ah. The last period was placed. The last words were typed. I fell back on my chair and sighed in relief. I’m done! Every last bit of that paper is done. It’s all over. No more!

Elation. That is truly the only word that can describe my state after finishing the paper. Complete vivacious elation. Totally exuberant.

I glanced at my room.

It was a complete and total mess, so upon my deciding to clean it, I pulled out my radio and listened to my next chapter of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Audio.

I found myself on the twelfth chapter, The Mirror of Erised. In the chapter, Harry receives a cloak of invisibility from an anonymous giver at Christmas, and uses it to sneak around Hogwarts at night to the restricted section in the library. The books about Dark Magic were kept in the restricted section, and Harry was determined to look in them for the sake of curiosity and other reasons I will not discuss (no spoilers here). After opening up one of the books, there was a loud scream that split the silence. It turned out that the book was the one screaming! He shut the book and ran out of the library.

I thought it was rather funny how Harry had the same experience I had with books and libraries. Although I did not sneak around doing what I was not allowed to, I did stumble on some books that screamed at me and made me want to cover my eyes and ears at their heinous content. Between me and Harry, he was at a disadvantage: he had no one to run to.

But I did.

After feeling dirty, tainted, and disgusted at the research I had conducted on Hinduism, I ran to my Father God and my Creator. I was ashamed to do so. I had been researching other gods and immoral literature! How could I approach God that way? I will be honest. I still feel gross and dirty at the doctrines I wrote about. There was so much sin and immorality that the Holy Spirit grieved within me and I felt like running into a hole and hiding forever.

 “Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”

– Psalm 33:22, NLT

Graciously, the love of our God is unfailing. Just like the prodigal son, he came running to meet me when I was scared half to death over Kali’s bloody tongue. The gods of this world are like an ant inside of Jesus Christ’s big shadow. Even though I despaired over what I learned, it showed me just how wonderful and sovereign the one and only true God is. With all the power He has, He could do anything, and it would be alright. Instead, He shows us unfailing love and hope. And He’s always there with His arms open wide; ready to run out and meet us.

Luckily, after realizing all this, Mom had a steaming, satisfying, and comforting bowl of chicken tortilla soup ready with chips and a little cheese ready for me to devour. I slurped rather loudly.

It just proves to show you: sometimes God shows us His truths, love, and mercy when we write Hinduism papers, read Harry Potter, and eat happy food.

Cheers!

Hasta la vista,

Emily 🙂

P.S. Quick cosplay update!

I made my model for my Rey Last Jedi costume! Here ’tis!!!

I am so excited for the Last Jedi!! Did anyone else think it was weird seeing Phasma again? I did. I need to seriously get some second opinion. If you guys have any ideas, seriously shout it out. So weird. I thought they threw her in the trash compactor??

(Photo by 7831/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Also, I did not actually have time to make a costume for October 31st this year, so I bought a costume off CosplaySky. Yes, I did. While we are on the topic of Harry Potter, I decided to go as Hermoine Granger this year. I love Emma Watson 😛 ! I started reading the Harry Potter books over the summer, and Hermoine was like my alias at Hogwarts. I am such a policeman. I am really excited for this year’s costume stories, so stay tuned! Rey is going to be really awesome, too! I am so excited for The Last Jedi!!! Also, there is a horse at the barn named Star I have been riding lately, and he wants to be Harry Potter. Harry and Hermoine FTW at the barn’s costume contest! Wahoo! I will fill y’all in on it soon!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Emily

Why do some weirdos spell Auf Wiedersehen as one word? I shall never know.