Just hours ago I was at a loss for words. Having written and deleted three possible posts, I had resigned myself to writing about the inability to write… My mind truly blocked from eloquence and depth. Posted and deleted, my blog yet again sat empty.
With the gray sky looming, indicating an impending storm, I decided to retreat to my room and finish the book that I have, for weeks, attempted to complete.
The story meanders through a maze of plots and characters, focused around a young religious Jewish woman and her indomitable spirit. Her will to live crushed by an (intellectually, emotionally, and physically) abusive husband, she fakes her death to start her life anew. The style of writing is conversational throughout, almost plain. Until she meets the love of her life. The author’s prose turns poetic as she described their attraction:
A current flowed between [them] that was so strong it seemed to fill the empty space that separated their bodies.
And then later:
Without the child between them, the intimacy became unbearable.
While not a literary masterpiece, those words were chosen specifically, deliberately. They are the culmination of a crescendo of unspoken passion. They mean something.
This weekend was spent with Him. On our bike ride through DC, we stopped at Roosevelt Island, a place I had never even known existed. As we walked through the unassuming woods, I wondered where this memorial could possibly be on such a wooded, out of the way island. And then we came upon it: a statue of Teddy Roosevelt, whose image was clearly captured while he was “busy inspiring a nation.” The statue was surrounded by large stone “slabs”, each with quotes from various speeches he had delivered. We stopped in front of the one that said “Youth”.
I WANT TO SEE YOU GAME, BOYS, I WANT TO SEE YOU BRAVE AND MANLY, AND I ALSO WANT TO SEE YOU GENTLE AND TENDER.
BE PRACTICAL AS WELL AS GENEROUS IN YOUR IDEALS. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE STARS, BUT REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND.
COURAGE, HARD WORK, SELF-MASTERY, AND INTELLIGENT EFFORT ARE ALL ESSENTIAL TO SUCCESSFUL LIFE.
ALIKE FOR THE NATION AND THE INDIVIDUAL, THE ONE INDISPENSABLE REQUISITE IS CHARACTER.
Exhausted from the bike ride, I sat and read intently the words before me.
“Whatever happened to true oration?” I asked Him. “Whatever happened to words actually meaning something? People talk too much these days.”
He said, “But some would say the opposite.”
But what I meant was that while people rarely interact interpersonally… spending time with people, having face to face discussions… words have become cheap. They hold such little meaning when they are used so freely. In contact throughout the day, by e-mail, phone, text messages… we are almost never silent. Alone. Words fill our every moment, but they say nothing. No thought is put into the poetry of the speeches our leaders give us. No longer are they delivered to inspire us as a nation, but rather to deceive us, placate us, or ask us for something.
Moved by the words on these unassuming stone walls, and by their directive sentiment, I felt moved to tell Him something about myself, something I’m quite sure He knew, because much to my chagrin, He knows more about me than I guess I am prepared for…
“See line three in the second paragraph? Yeah. I’m not great at that.” He looked up. I read it out loud, “Keep your eyes on the stars…”
I continued, “but lines four and five? I got those covered.” But remember to keep your feet on the ground.
He laughed, knowing that my feet may never have left the ground a day in my life.
We didn’t stop there, though. We talked about character. We talked about society’s values. But I kept thinking about my stars.
Those words… my stars.
Sometimes I catch myself looking to the stars, literally. My eyes, gazing upward at night. Sometimes I lay on the grass, alone, looking at the sky, thinking about how dreams are for other people. That I was meant for the earth.
But you know, I met Him again on the Fourth of July. We sat and watched the fireworks, our necks craned as we sat together, exploring whatever currents ran between us, filling the space that separated our bodies.
And that night, for the first time in a long while, my eyes were on the stars. Bright stars literally bursting with promise and hope.