It’s funny how some stories don’t seem meaningful at the time, but in the silence you realize they need to be told.
Right before my 25th birthday, I got a retail job. A few months earlier I sat down at a table across from my principal and heard the dreaded words “We just don’t think you’re a good fit for us.” I also had two part-time teaching jobs, but they barely paid enough to cover my gas to get there. So, for about two weeks, I had a retail job. Continue reading
“What are you afraid of?” he said. “Don’t you trust that God has a plan?” I had this conversation with a pastor in the beginning of my junior year of college. I had spent the summer selling over-priced vegetable plants for minimum wage while my many of my friends had landed great internships, gone on exciting trips, or gotten engaged to the love of their life. The recession was in full swing, and I was terrified of what would happen when I was no longer living my life by a course catalog. God was at work in everyone else’s life, but was he going to take care of me? Continue reading
I remember learning about the elements of a story in my elementary school library, looking up at the overhead projector from my little table by the card catalog. We learned that a story has a setting, characters, a plot, a conflict, and a resolution. Nowadays, story has become a bit of a buzzword, as we often discuss how to tell a better story with our lives and write it in a way that draws other people in. Continue reading
For months, I dreamed about leaving.
I sat in coffee shops talking with friends about how we were going to live more exciting lives some day, I recorded every episode of House Hunters International, and I spent a lot of time taking virtual vacations on Google Street View.
For years before that, I dreamed about staying.
I wanted to put down roots, to form lifelong friendships, to find a job I loved, and to spend less time hauling boxes in and out of dorm rooms and houses and city apartments. I’ve always known there’s something valuable about staying. Communities need the ones who stay—the ones who are dedicated and responsible and stable. In the English language, it’s hard to describe the need to leave without using words like flighty, restless, or discontent, and that’s not who I wanted to be. Continue reading
I want to believe in miracles.
I want to believe that crazy, unexplainable things are possible. I want to believe that sometimes, life is so good that you want to laugh and cry and scream and sing all at once. I want to believe that everything can change in a single moment and one day you will realize this is why. This is why I love this place. This is why my heart was broken. This is why I’ve waited. This, right here. I want to believe what Victor Frankl says about redemption—that while bad experiences cannot be erased, they can be redeemed. Continue reading
“If you ask God for a tree, he will give you a seed.”
I learned this from a man named Bishop John, who was a minister overseeing several churches and schools in a town outside of Nairobi, Kenya. While we were with him, he prayed that his church would grow, and more people would be reached with the Gospel.
A few months ago, I received a phone call from a friend in the middle of the night telling me he had passed away. The next morning, I found a blog post written by a local missionary about his funeral, which was attended by 2,800 people and described as the largest funeral anyone had ever seen. He planted a seed, and the tree that grew touched the lives of 2,800 people—2,801 including myself. Continue reading
Just a few thoughts for today:
“We read to know we’re not alone.” – William Nicholson, Shadowlands
This is one of my favorite quotes, spoken by the fictional C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands, though it is commonly attributed to the real C.S. Lewis, who frankly has more than enough to take credit for without also taking credit for things another author supposed he might have said. Anyway, I would like to propose an amendment to this quote.
“We write to know we’re not alone.” – Becca Nelson
Or at least, I write to know I am not alone. I suppose some other writers may just enjoy reading their own words. Continue reading