Samantha

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I dream that the world
will one day be printed and tattooed on the back of my hands,
like watercolours that swirl and mix.
Remind me of nights spent under the stars
Or nights I spent laughing
with a drink in my hand as I tried to understand tongues
I don’t speak.

I debate furiously.
My cheeks flush and I start flourishing my hands, sometimes
I knock things over, laugh it off and keep talking.
I listen intently and respect your ideas;
that doesn’t mean I won’t fight back
if I think you are wrong.
I just really love to have conversations with passion.

I care deeply about those I know
and those I don’t.
I will fly to the tops of mountains
and dance through valleys and fight off the dragons that
go bump in the nights of injustice.
I let hugs speak louder than words.
I will lend you my heart when yours is too worn out to be sewn together again.

I am the “mom” at 19,
I bake bread and cut it while it’s still warm and yeasty.
I will knit you a pair of mittens to warm your hands
or tuck you into bed when you have had too much to drink.
I love to sit inside while it rains and drink tea with milk and sugar,
eat sandwiches with the crust cut off,
creating things out of yarn or else twisting words into poetry.

I breathe deepest underwater.
Submerged and floating, I open my eyes
and see sunlight warped through the layers, I am alive.
I curl my toes into sand, struggle to climb to the top of a lookout,
run my fingers along the ridges of a tree.
I breathe easier in nature.
I feel the Holy Spirit best under the cover of trees, or out on the water in the morning fog

I whisper prayers for the girl with the tired eyes
who pours my coffee in the library
and for my homesick friend adjusting to university.
I sometimes forget to read my bible
or lack the boldness to pray at church.
I choose Jesus,
on the days when life is warm as summer
and on the days I am overwhelmed to the point where my tears
waterfall over my journal pages.
I am a girl, learning how to navigate the streets of a city
and the backroads of life.
Sometimes I panic because everyone I know
wants to work for the UN
or be a lawyer, a doctor, a CEO. I don’t.
I want to advocate for education,
to help farmers in Nepal
to give woman without a voice my own,
a voice that doesn’t just speak but
a voice that sings,
a voice that prays,
a voice that fights,
a voice that does not tremble or question it’s own validity and knowledge.

I hope that one day,
I will understand myself.
That the backs of my hands will be wrinkled with lines
of wisdom and stories told with great enthusiasm.
That the colours of the world painted there will melt together with
stories of triumph, of courage, of adventure and of humility.
I hope they will be hands that served others,
hands that held other hands
and hands that made a difference.
I just really want to make a difference.

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Illuminating Faith

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I have seen it but because by it I see everything else – C. S. Lewis

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I wrote this quote in my journal on Sunday, intending to ponder it some more when I got some spare time (hahahahah) and today it suddenly started appearing everywhere I looked. I saw it on Twitter, it was used as two Instagram captions on my feed and a friend quoted it out loud to me. I figured I was supposed to take notice. Here are my thoughts today.

This weekend I went on a canoe trip with a bunch of complete strangers. I have to say, no matter who you are with, there is something absolutely magical about sitting around a campfire, dark skies and crackling wood. I, for one, am mesmerized by fire. Aside from the beauty of it, campfires seem to spark vulnerability. 

Strangers. A diverse group. Undergrads and PhD candidates and people who weren’t even students anymore. Canadians and exchange students. 9 people in the woods together by chance. And yet sitting around a campfire answering questions like “what do you care about”, “what is your biggest dream in life”, “tell us about a place that means something to you”. Vulnerability. All weekend, I had this total peace of being exactly where I was supposed to be, knowing firmly that God had placed me on this trip, with these people for reasons I will never fully comprehend.

In the canoe during the day, mentioning my faith and ending up having life chats about how good and faithful my God is. Praying with and being prayed for by a total stranger because my God doesn’t do randomness; He always has a plan.

In the tent at night having long discussions about faith in the darkness, trying desperately to explain how present Jesus can be in my life; struggling to show two new friends (both atheists) how I look around at the fiery changing trees and the lake, misty at dawn, and see the hand of an incredible artist. How it makes me want to shout praises at the top of my lungs. How faith is so much more than naively pushing logic aside to feel comfortable. Not being very convincing and yet having one of them ask me the next morning as I sat by the water if I was thinking about God’s role in my life. I think he was teasing me and yet, my heart smiled at the thought that something I said had stuck with him even a bit.

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Being able to breath in fresh air.

Listening to stories as sparks rise up in the smoke. Getting to know people’s passions and histories and dreams and senses of humour.

Getting lost on the way there and getting locked out of the car on the way home.

Climbing to the top of a cliff to look out over the trees and water, having to sit and catch my breath but knowing in that moment how blessed I am to be able bodied and alive.

Writing a list in my journal titled “Things I am Grateful for Today” and having it spill over and fill more than 4 pages.

Lazily waking up to the sound of rain on the tent walls, smiling at a friend while everyone else still sleeps and not moving, just enjoying the quiet of morning.

The way nature has a way of evoking prayer from my every breath, connecting me to Creator God and making every other thought one of praise and thanks.

Laughter

Singing

Cold mud squishing between my toes as I push a canoe off the shore, almost tipping it over

Kneeling alone in a canoe pivoting and paddling, circling the small island where everyone sits eating lunch. Pride and contentment in the satisfaction of practicing skills I worked so hard for. Getting to share those skills with others, sharing my passions

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Sharing “no-bakes” with people

Racing the other boats, laughing and yelling as the two boys in my boat splash me in our excitement to win.

Cooking food over a fire, slightly burnt and smoky, better than anything I’ve had in weeks

Hugging goodbye at the end of the weekend, promises of sharing pictures, Facebook requests, catching each other for a drink sometime. Hugs from friends, no longer strangers

This weekend was one of complete rejuvenation. It filled my soul and gave me joy. In a place I’d never been, God catered to my heart’s desire for adventure. He gave me people to love even for just a short period of time. He gave me natural beauty and deep questions and conversations that went past the surface. He gave me a time of prayer and vision and hope for the future.

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I don’t believe in Jesus just because of faith. I believe in Jesus because I see Him permeate every aspect of my life. He is active and present. He gives GOOD gifts. He is faithful. He fulfills the desires of our hearts. He rejoices in our success and is the quiet whisper of peace and grace when we struggle. He is a master storyteller, weaving threads I would have missed, never forgetting a single detail, introducing characters at just the right time, crafting a plot of adventure and victory. Like the sun, He illuminates my days, allowing me to see the world as a place that is inherently good and full of light, despite the darkness that seems to swallow the streets and fill the news.

Today, I had a hard day. Mondays are long for me and this was not a very nice one. But God is present. Today, this quote by C.S. Lewis (one of my favourite authors) was all the reminder I needed of His faithfulness today and everyday.

This weekend is my answer to my friends in the tent when they ask how I know God is real.

Faith is the choice to put God’s perfect gifts into perspective.

Joyful until next time, Sam

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