solstice

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1. When people say, “Others will find healing in your suffering,” you can either take it as a cop-out answer to what you are going through or you can believe it. But I promise you that if you choose the latter – bigger, more powerful things will come of it.

Remember, if you ever feel like you’re backtracking, it’s not true, because everyday is a choice and some days are harder to choose what is good than others.

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2. It makes sense that I met you in a time where everything is blooming. It makes sense that I met someone who understands that the past has made me who I am, but doesn’t make me who I am. Someone once looked at us and said to me, “This makes sense.” This makes sense.

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3. We used to throw a backyard BBQ every summer solstice, and we would celebrate the longest day of the year laying in the grass; everything smelling like sunscreen and smokey meat and everything tasting like watermelon. The word solstice has always been one of my favourites, because it means the highest point and also the lowest point. Some solstices are shucking oysters by the sea and swimming pool chlorine, and some solstices are Christmas lights and seeing the stars before dinnertime, but all solstices have a way to be celebrated.

Have you ever had a moment that you knew would never happen again, so you tried to soak it all in, but it was too much?

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The most genuine “Thank you” I have ever received was from a man I’ve never met before (but who I’ve felt like I’ve met a million times) with a face that looks like the moon in a room so small that 15 was a crowd. And all I wanted to do was thank him for the ways that he has torn open his wounds out of habit and chaos and then learned to choose light instead.

“What does your tattoo mean?”

(It says: “This is water.”)

“It’s from a David Foster Wallace speech where he talks about two fish who don’t know what water is, because it’s what their entire world is made up of and they can’t see it. It’s a reminder that we need to look at our world from another perspective to see it as it truly is.”

Tonight, I read your book of poetry front to back (again), because it was the only response that felt right. Tonight, I write this for you.

Home

A skype call with JJ and SK – “Sometimes when you’re away and alone, you forget what community is like – what Jesus looks like in the midst of everything, and how important it is. But when you return, you will be overwhelmed and you will be filled again.”

Currently in the process of learning:

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1. “You are enough. This was enough – no more, no less.”

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2. How to receive when I do not feel ready to receive; when I feel guilty about receiving.

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3. That intimacy and control are incompatible.

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4. What to do when I ask for peace and am asked to trust in return.

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5. How to thank a home that loves me deeply even when I am rarely around long enough to indent the soil around my doorstep.

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6. How to say, “I love you,” without making it sound like an apology.

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7. “You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” – Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

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I guess I have more photos than things I’m learning (haha, yeah right), so scroll on.

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To The Ones Who Come And Go

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1. “I am giving this to you, because it embodies one of the most important things you have taught me. It’s a picture of one of the first times we were reunited again, but the polaroid didn’t turn out and I put it in my discarded pile of film. You have shown me that there is beauty in the darkest of places. That was true then, and it is still true now.”

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2. Remember that no matter how many times you come and go, you take a piece of the True North with you in your heart. Point your compass straight always, and branch out so far that when God shakes your limbs, the entire world gets covered with cherry blossoms.

The Things You Deserve

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When they tell you that you do not deserve to say goodbye,
Be humble.
But also know this:
You deserve to have kisses planted on your skin like postage stamps sending you off;
To have fingers wrapped around yours like envelopes and creased letters smeared with jam and ink smudges so you can remember that you have made contact.
You deserve to come with suitcases full of empty jars, and have your loved ones whisper, “I love you,” into them, so you have a hundred different ways to remember that you are beloved.
You deserve to bottle up the sound of wild geese, the Pacific Ocean, and how your voice echoes off mountain tops.
To be humble means that you do not always get what you deserve, but know deeply in your heart that you have deserved every west coast sunset, every thank you, and every overflowing jar.
I once wrote a poem about your atlas hands;
About how God’s east winds carried you to a city that never stops raining –
I wish I did not have to continue writing it.

Montreal Photo Set Part 3

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1. The rate at which I’m intaking information, sensory details, and experiences makes it easy for my travels to become a kaleidoscopic blur. One moment I am enthralled by the story of someone new, and the next, I am in awe by a mural or building or cute coffee shop, already leaving behind the former and letting bits and pieces fleet away as I move forward more quickly than my soul can handle. I forget why writing is good for me, and try to keep track of everything in my head; glazing over the small things and acting as if the things that fall between the cracks don’t have the power to move hearts. There is a quote that goes: “Being inspired is not a luxury. It’s a responsibility.” And I think part of that responsibility is letting myself soak in and process the things that I see. It’s tempting to always go and go and go and go when I only have short spurts of time in each place, but I’m always getting my ass kicked with that lifestyle. I’m wired to rest once and a while, even if there is an entire city to be explored before me. How am I going to come home a changed human being if I don’t give the things that are going to change me the time to sink in a little more than skin deep?

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2. My mom always told me to never go to Montreal, because once I go, I will never come back to her. When she went to school in Ontario, she would take trips to Montreal on the weekends purely just to shop, and I still keep a few pieces in my closet from her shopping trips. Her favourite part of the city was Old Port. I wonder if I fell in love with Old Montreal the same way she did when she was 21. DSC_0011 DSC_0022

3. Nancy and I checked out a band called • Seoul • on Saturday night. They have chill vibes and there is nothing bad about them, so you have no reason not to click that link. (There are a lot of negatives in that sentence, but I promise that you will feel positively about this band.)

Aside

To The Place That Snuck Into My Heart

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Dear Asia,

You have been more to me than a checklist of cities, but if I had to use checkmarks, they would be in the shape of lightening bolts for the moments that were too quick to catch but still made a thunderous roar. You have thrown hailstorms and terrible timing at me along with everyday hallelujahs and souls that were too good for me to hold. You have been the opposite of restful, but the cure to my restless. You have taught this lover of words that there is a love beyond words. I leave you with sand in my shoes, chaos in my heart, and a little more understanding of why people do what they do. My suitcase is heavy. My heart is full.

Vancouver, I am ready to come home.