July 14, 2011

The Heart of Things

Have you ever seen a photo of something
And the instant your eyes landed on it,
The second you saw it,
Before your mind could even fully comprehend what it was,
felt your heart flutter like a bird beating its wings against a cage, and thought:
"Ah! That is what I most desire!"?
Have you ever seen an image that your soul responded so strongly to, it was like looking at a reflection of your very heart?
It doesn't happen too often: how many photographers can be so lucky as to both capture and edit a picture that so perfectly describes your every yearning, and then succeed in getting it published and into your hands for your viewing pleasure?
Well let me tell you the truth: I don't think it ever happens. 
I don't think a photographer can be that lucky, can even really do that on purpose.
However, God can.
And he just did. 
The above is a near-perfect pictorial description of what I long for.
Most girls dream of growing up and becoming either rich, famous, comfortable, or at the very least residing in a big city at a maximum of two miles from the nearest Starbucks.
I'd be lying if I were to say that this is even remotely true of me. 
What I most want for my life isn't big, it isn't fancy, it doesn't involve having large amounts of money (although I feel as if it's going to take it to get there), and isn't available in stores.
I want peace, I want simplicity, and I want hard work.
I long to live in the midst of a field somewhere in an old house, tending to something (what exactly, I don't know), spinning my own yarn, growing and eating things straight from the ground, and earning a life through hard work. I've never felt exactly called to marriage, but I'm slowly finding I'm not adverse to the idea (but that's in the Lord's hands). 
I used to be infatuated with the idea of moving to and living in Ireland, and I still am in a way. But I know now what I didn't when I was ten or eleven years old: that such things are fun to dream of, but much harder to do and probably not going to happen.
I miss more than anything else in the world my beach-side home in California. I miss the cold, wet, Northern weather. The smell of the salt air. The enchanting way the fog hangs in curtains every morning. 
However, that is no longer what entertains my dreams.
More and more in the past few months have I felt a pull towards the East Coast and, more specifically, New England. 
It has led me to do a lot of praying on the topic, and the more praying I do, the nearer and dearer to my heart the idea seems to grow.
It makes me wonder if this is how it feels to have God calling you to something.
What something might this be?
I don't know- a mission, a life, a career. 
Due to anorexia, I'm adjusting myself to the reality of the fact that I have two years or so to fight this thing and get my life together, otherwise a career in musical theater isn't going to be possible. It's kind of hard to sing and dance with boundless energy if your heart is threatening to quit on you.
Or if you're alive at all.
There's no way around the fact that anorexia, if not controlled and treated, will kill you. 
But I'm not writing today to dwell on my problems and such gloomy thoughts.
There are so many options, ideas, paths: all I know is that the East Coast has always held a special place in my heart, now even more so than ever.
I have many family members who live in the Maryland/Delaware area (my mother grew up up in Maryland with her two sisters, and my sister Amy even lived on the East Coast for several years), so some of my happiest memories are those of our visits to the East, nights spent chasing fireflies, the hot, humid, Summer days spent exploring the Nation's Capitol. 
There's another reason: our Nation's Capitol. 
No, I don't mean D.C., but I do mean my infatuation with our Nation's history, and how steeped in it the East Coast is. I adore learning about our nation and its start, and am infatuated specifically with the Colonial era. 
I sometimes like the idea of living in a Colonial style home, in or near Williamsburg. I even dreamt once that I worked there, and got to wear the period costume for a living (I was employed at a local tea room in the dream, if you'd care to know). I don't know if I'd actually like the reality of it, though. It would be like working at Disneyland: one giant tourist trap.
It's all very well and good to talk about how much you want to live somewhere when you've only been there on holiday. You truly have no notion of what it's like to live there at all, the dangers of the area (can you say "ghetto"?), and how disenchanting everything comes when you're working to survive there. I am aware of this.
However, I'm also aware of how strong is the pull on my heart  to go there. 
And I know that if God has placed such a desire in my heart, He is more than capable of seeing it through.
I feel like I'm taking a giant leap admitting this publicly (however silly that sounds), but silly though it may be, it is also a bit of a relief to put it out there. To finally admit what I've been pondering for some time now.
It's also strengthening- it gives me something to work for; a goal for my life.
A reason to fight anorexia and stay alive when I've been so recently wondering what the point is, and growing horrified as I realize that I don't really care what happens to me: so that I can one day live my dream.
Simple. Beautiful. God-centered. 
Who knows? Maybe I'll have my life- a life that looks much like this- after all.
I'm certainly willing to hope.
{Hope is the thing with feathers /That perches in the soul, /And sings the tune--without the words, /And never stops at all,/And sweetest in the gale is heard; /And sore must be the storm /That could abash the little bird /That kept so many warm./I've heard it in the chillest land, /And on the strangest sea; /Yet, never, in extremity, /It asked a crumb of me.}- "Hope Is The Thing With Feathers" by Emily Dickinson.


Stac said...

Maybe you have found something, yearn for something, that is stronger than anorexia. A hearts desire is a strong voice to the Lord. Let your heart sing to Him! He will hear you, strengthen you and lift you up.

Emily Rose said...

My prayers are with you Grace, and just reading that poem (one of my favorites) made me feel more hopeful in every way.
Being a native to New England, I can confidently say that it's food for the soul. We take day trips up to more rural areas of New England, especially for the foliage. But even in the more urban environment, you can still feel it's beauty surrounding you.

Rachel said...

WOW! That is the most incredible post you've ever written. You are such an inspiration, beautiful girl! I love you so so so much! The Lord is strong with you...He has SO MUCH for you in the coming years. I just know it. And I cannot wait to have a front-row seat to His glory in your life!

Grace said...

Thank you for the encouragement!
Emily: I adore the New England countryside above all else. Some of my happiest times were spent in the obscure reaches of Middletown Maryland, chasing fireflies among the sweet corn at sundown. I love that I have family there, too, and I can't wait to someday live there myself.

Grace said...

Oh and Rachel! THANK YOU! You are so important a friend to me, and your words are so uplifting beyond compare. :')

~Kimberly~ said...

Oh, Grace, I had no idea. I read back on some of your previous posts and found out you were dealing with anorexia just now. I want you to know I'm praying so hard that the Lord will lift you up and give you courage, determination, and, most of all, peace during this time! I can't imagine how hard it must be, but the Lord never gives us more then we can bear, so He knows you can get through this with Him by your side.
Just know I'm praying.
Your blog post really touched me, and I agree with Rachel completely. The Lord has so much for you, Grace.