Guest Post: “Beautiful”

Today, I had a friend casually tell me that they adored my soul.

And then suddenly I was crying awkwardly by myself in Starbucks. 

We live in a society where what you do and how you look is often seen as more important than who you are. In fact, think about it — what is typically the first thing you ask a new acquaintance?

“So, what do you do?”

You are what you do, what you supposedly contribute. I’ve witnessed this first hand. Since I can remember I’ve been introduced to people as “the dancer.” It was as though, aside from my career, I had no identity. 

But where are you left if that identity is taken away from you? 

A couple months ago, I was forced to contemplate that question. Suddenly, I found myself unable to do the one thing I’d always been known by. I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t even walk comfortably. Now let me tell you, I freaked out

Not only did no one else know who I was outside of being a dancer, but I hadn’t the slightest clue either.

If I couldn’t dance, what was I? Was I useless now?

I sank into depression, trying to push my recovering body too hard. I restricted my diet, often going all day on a single cup of coffee. My anxiety kept me up at night and during the day I was always a second away from tears. Mentally and physically exhausted, I found that I had nothing else to give. 

It was then, finally, that I started to notice things about myself. 

I could make people laugh. I gave excellent hugs and was a good listener, with friends often coming to me just to vent and be heard. I was capable of making people feel comfortable and a little less awkward. I had a proficiency for language and found peace in writing. I read books I’d somehow never found the time to read before. I found that I was brave, I was strong, and I was so, so LOVED. 

You are not what you do. 

Even if you had no elaborate career to offer, no incredible talents to show, you would still be valuable. 

Because you are you. 

Look around you. See the colors in a sunset. Feel the wind kiss your skin. Listen to the trees as they rustle their leaves. In all of this crazy, awe-inspiring beauty, you were somehow included. Deemed worthy and needed. A necessity, something given for the world to be more complete. That in itself is incredible. You, just existing. 

You are beautiful. 

I love you.  

— Ericka Goss

Follow @Erickadances66

“Yellow”

The following piece is by a friend of mine, Ericka Goss. You might say it is a free-verse poem. I think it flows beautifully with the them of God’s nearness that fills so many of my own posts… Enjoy!

You are yellow.

Bright and teasing, you are the early morning sun hitting dew soaked grass.

You are the child’s screech of delight as they run through the sprinkler.

You are the overwhelming brightness of a beach at noon, illuminating everything.

You are blue.

Able to still my heart and calm my fears, you are like a quietly moving stream.

You are the cool breeze that rifles through my hair and kisses my cheek, reminding me that you are there.

You are orange.

You are the sky with the setting sun, blurring everything in your warmth.

You are the gentle glow of the campfire on an evening surrounded by loved ones.

Familiar and comforting.

You are red.

Like the warm blood rushing through my veins, you sustain me.

Your love whispers through the trees and smiles out at me from the flowers of the field.

You are gray.

You are a stronghold in times of trouble, mighty as a mountain.

Your strength thunders from the storm clouds and echoes through the ravine.

I look at all you have made and tremble.

But still, you are yellow.

You are a baby’s first laugh.

You are the bubbles in my chest about to burst after a joke.

You are the warmth of a loved ones hug, the tingle down my spine as I catch someone’s eye.

You are the stars in the sky twinkling gently over my friends as we gaze up at them.

You are…

Joy.

Follow Ericka on Instagram @ErickaGoss

Guest Writer: “Holy Saturday”

In the Church, we spend a lot of time on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday. And with good cause. It’s critical to remember to serve with love even those who will betray and deny us. It’s even more crucial to see the myth of redemptive violence canceled by the Cross. And who doesn’t love the joy of an empty tomb? A Man risen?

But today is Holy Saturday. And today is actually the kind of day that most of us live in all the time.

Holy Saturday is about waiting in the silence of the Divine. It’s about having seen the worst that the world has to offer — pain, greed, violence, death — and not yet being able to see the glory of the restoration of all things. Holy Saturday is about having to get up — on Shabbat (a day of rest) — and from that rest, get on with your day, get on with your worship, dive back into the Word and the promises of God… and WAIT.

God knows I hate waiting.

There are a lot of theological ideas about why it was three days in the tomb, in death. But what if God was simply mirroring the reality that we all face? That when we crucify something, when we sacrifice in order to achieve a better goal, it almost never comes right away. There is always the tension of now and not yet. There is always a waiting.

So on Holy Saturday — my Sabbath, a day of rest — I am trying to pour myself back into the Living Word. I am trying to remember that healing takes time. Tikkun Olam isn’t overnight. Building anything worth having requires waiting.

Bless you in whatever you are waiting for… a job, a husband, a child, a home, a community, health.

And bless you on this Holy Saturday.

— Katie Hunt Sturm

TheWhisperedLife.com