It seems like the world is shaking on its foundations. Terrorism, sickness, war, pain, sin. The world is shaking and twisting and sometimes I just stop and wonder “How much longer can we stand on this shaking world before we fall of? Before it falls down? Before it collapses?”
I’ve decided that I don’t really like the colour grey.
It is dull, boring, depressing and so terribly grey. Naturally there are many shades of grey and I’m certain that some people might see the beauty in grey but to me, grey by itself and all alone does not leave a lasting impression.
But take the colour grey out of its greyness and align it with any other colour and all of the sudden the colour makes sense. You realise why grey isn’t black or white and all the other colours start to pop. Turns out, they need grey to be extra colourful. Turns out grey can be either very spacious or vast or extremely narrowing and bothering.
Maybe it is the same with grey in life?
It kind of hit me today.
For years I have been strengthened by a particular verse. I’ve read it, held it in my heart knowing that my walk and my steps were made on grounds of mercy and grace, on grounds of a divine plan. This verse has led me, encouraged me when I couldn’t further then the next corner and over the course of six years it has become the reaffirmation of my very core.
Whether you will turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” (Isaiah 30:21)
And thus I started walking. And I’ve continued ever since. And I will continue until I draw my very last breath.
But you see, today my eyes did not stop after reading the command to walk. The voice in my ears told me to go further and right there, in the next line it hit me. Pretty hard.
Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, ‘Away with you'”. (vs. 22)
Following the One will not take the idols away. Following the One worthy to be followed will not take the stumbling blocks away. You should trust blindly but do not become blind to whom you are. If anything, claim those godly eyes you are following so that you can TRULY see and discern, do not turn a blind eye to your human flesh, to your human weaknesses and feeble heart, but start to see the impurity in your life. Don’t follow blindly and let it be, follow and trust blindly and in obedience and actively throw out, defile every single thing that will slow you down from following. You have to say ‘away with you’. You have to be so shocked by your human nature that following will be the only way to go.
Following won’t change the way you have to go. Following will not take a stumbling block away.
Following will merely give you the courage to admit weakness, the humbleness to receive grace.
But following will change the way you walk.
The whispers have been following me for a while now. Longer than I care to admit.
They bother me.
It bothers me greatly to be pursued by them; it bothers me because they make me restless, uncomfortable and unsettle me at ease. It bothers me mostly because as it is the case with most rumors, these ones have a grain of truth embedded in them as well.
I don’t want to talk about You like You’re not in the room...
(You won’t relent – Jesus Culture, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC0WoJfYA2E)
The lyrics haunt me, the melody chases me.
And still, I can’t switch it off. I can not turn the volume down, I do not have it in me to stop the music. I don’t want to stop the music yet I want to hide from its truth.
I think it is one of the most honest expressions towards God I’ve heard in worship.
Because if you reflect on those words for a minute, what kind of self deception does it take to not admit the ease of slipping into that role? Of talking about God, Jesus, Love, your personal beliefs as if they were not in the room?
Especially those of us who have been pressing towards the goal for quite a while. Those of us who were born and raised on the path of Christ, our very principles and beliefs being so tuned by the Gospel that sometimes we don’t see the Gospel in them anymore. And because we don’t see it, we forget that Jesus is in the same room. We know the language, the holy words which people know and expect from us, we know the rites, what to pray, how to pray, we know what to sing, when to say ‘Amen’ or ‘Hallelujah’ but we say them as if He were not in the same room with us. We know how to please, how to sound holy without being holy, how to act godly without being godly.
And yet, He is still in the same room with us and we don’t see Him.
And after a while something starts to gnaw at our very inner core. It gnaws, it knocks, it pokes, it unsettles us.
And still we won’t acknowledge Him.
And at those times, when the call for prayer comes, we ignore it. How could we admit that something unsettles us? We, the born and raised ones on the path of Christ. How can we admit that we are as weak as others? How can we admit that being weak is being strong in the Lord? That ‘the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength‘ (1 Corinthians 1:25)? How can we admit that we need grace as much as the one who just heard of God for the very first time, maybe even more? Why should we humble ourselves and admit our humanity?
Because He will not relent.
He will nor relent until He has it all for my heart is His.
And although sometimes I might act as if He were not in the room, He will never act as if He were not by my side.
For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy, demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love
If He will not relent why should I?
And eventually, after all the unease and confessions, I think I understand why the whispers stay with me.
For the song goes on and I will look right at Him, sing right at Him and put Him as a seal upon my heart.
I caught myself the other day while giving in to being and responding automatically.
– “Hi X, so nice to see you! How are you?”
– “Hey, Esthera, I’m good, how are you? It has been a while.”
– “I’m great, thanks. Tired but o.k. Living the life.”
– “Good to know, enjoy your meal!”
– “You too, bye.”
It was your random conversation. The one you hear day in day out all around you. A variation of a conversation we all have every day in some form or other. So you could say, there was nothing wrong with it. Except, there was.
While I was putting together the meal the other person so kindly told me to enjoy, that person was NOT putting together any meal or eating or doing anything with any food whatsoever.
So why did I tell the person to enjoy their meal as well?
It bothered me for a while.
I don’t think automatic responses are per se wrong. I don’t think every conversation should (or for that matter, can) be deep and extremely meaningful. Not everybody is capable of insightful life truths at all time, at least I’m not. Living in environments or routines where we often see the same people at the same times, it is only natural that routine conversations develop and take place. It’s normal. It’s not bad. And I even think that we need those conversations. We need the banal and the normal, the safety in seeing and saying the same things. We need the structure and the sense of everyday life.
It is not wrong. As long as we don’t forget to stop when we see that people are actually not fine.
To stop and be more than the random conversation partner and go deeper, listening to what a person actually has to say.Looking in somebody’s eyes while they talk to you.
Take the time to sit down when necessary.
Be there for the ‘shallow’ and deep conversations.
Be there for the short and long talks.
Answer automatically when needed but try to know when to stop, don’t tell people to enjoy a meal when they’re obviously not.
Even while acting and speaking automatically we should start to learn how to be fully conscious.
…. melancholy and nostalgia and homesickness, where ever that may be. I blame the autumn and its beautiful colors for that unsettling rush of emotions.
…. laughter while watching the soundtracks of my favorite childhood series.
…. overwhelming love and a sense of belonging after talking to my parents.
…. memories, fondness, longing and pain.
…. thirst and hunger.
…. of this and…
…. of that.
…. many feelings.
…. looking at yesterday, getting through today and longing for tomorrow.
Just a little bit of all the colors of life.
And just a whole lot comfort and reverence.
“Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.”
It has almost been a year since I moved to Vienna. As usually, I marvel about Time’s speed and desire to vanish and keep moving but rest assured, for once I will not ramble about time and its nostalgic effects on me.
Even worse. I will look back and try to figure out the things Vienna taught me and share them with my imaginary virtual readers. I’m thinking about writing a series of posts related to Vienna and my perception of it. After all, this blog is called ‘Through my eyes…”. I will write this part first and see how it works out…
In my (yet) short life, I’ve been sure of a few things: I’m terrified of snakes, I don’t like writing with black pens, spiders are cute, the Hungarian language is impossible, books are best friends for life, trivia is worth knowing and Austria is not a country I will move too.
The fact that I moved to Austria frightens me. If I changed that, does that mean I will own a pet snake and be terrified of spiders?
Growing up, Austria was the country we would drive through on our way to the Netherlands or on our way back to Romania. In my mind it consisted of mountains, endless highways, many cars, clean and overpriced wayside restaurants, toilets at every gas station cleaned by foreign people who barely spoke German, and oh yes, the Austrian language.
You see, despite being a European who prides herself on a lot of general knowledge and geographic and historic interests, I knew very little about Austria and Vienna. In fact, I moved to Vienna knowing that I knew nothing and I was very excited about it. In our day and age, we travel to the ends of the earth, just because it is possible. We travel to other continents, faraway countries, pride ourselves on the trips we’ve taken, the sights we’ve seen and often compete with friends and foes about the experiences made. It’s not wrong. It’s the way we live. The world is a small place now, we have the means to travel and thus we do. The further, the better.
But this last year made me realize that by travelling the world as far as possible, we lose sight of the places close to us. The places we think we know, but are actually completely ignorant about. Streets in our home town, cities in our home countries, places on our home continent. We are so entranced by the smallness of the world, that we actually overlook the unique small world we are in. I guess, this last year made me see.
The Things I Knew and Thought
– Sissi’s country! I loved all stories about Sissi growing up. Especially the super cheesy, cliché, kitschy movies starring Romy Schneider. The trilogy was broadcasted every year around Christmas and I don’t know a single girl who did not love them. It was a beautiful love story and although at times, I was slightly annoyed by Sissi and her childish character (how could she hesitate when the Prince Charming, I mean, Emperor Charming was soooo in love with her???). It was beautiful until the day I received a book from a friend. It wasn’t the novel adaption of the movies ( I had read those) but a real biography about the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. I don’t remember its title or author, all I remember is that it shattered my romantic fantasy royal world. Sissi was not nice, not even only childish. She was spoiled, depressed, unhappy. Her love story was not a fairytale, she did not live happily ever after. Obviously, as a history freak, I had known the life and fate of the Empress Elisabeth but up to that point I had never actually connected the historical Sissi to the fictional Sissi. Self-protection perhaps? Alas, that day I lost a great part of my romantic spirit and Austria became just another country to me… the dramas of a pre-teenage girl. I never watched those movies again. And I did not want to visit her palace. Somehow I felt that Vienna had betrayed me.
– The Sound of Music. Needless to explain. Of course the hills are alive with music. Duuuuh.
– Center and Origin of Culture
– New Year’s concert (yes, I am that culturally educated to actually appreciate it).
– Most 20th century dictators passed through this place at some point.
– Lederhosen and Dirndls.
– Language: some kind of German.
– Wannabe Germans.
– Home and Inspiration to many great composers and authors
– Birthplace of Psychoanalysis as we know and appreciate it today.
– Christmas Markets.
– General cultural attractions.
– Macabre and black humor (I will come back to that….)
I think you get it. I knew the general things, clichés and truths one knows about a country nearby. I was informed enough to give you general knowledge about the place that I would soon be calling my home but oh, little did I know.