Afterglow n. the pleasant remembrance of a past experience, glory.
This blog is about the glory of life. I hope that through this blog an impression of encouragement becomes an afterglow and refreshment.
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Soulful Sparkles through testimonies
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Thorns, Bruises, and Pierces
How have you described your most recent season to the newest person in your life?
I remember about three months ago, I told someone that i have come to unconsciously care about a lot that I just exited probably the most painful season of my life. Therefore a lot of feelings and a lot of things that I am experiencing now are new again.
I'm not going to lie, for me this year post painful season has been either really happy or really sad. In a whirlwind of things many things came back to how I relate to those around me. I can't help but think about how much my emotions control my choices, perspectives, and perception in life.
Sometimes it sucks to be such a deep thinker. Thoughts rush in, I consider..."Seriously, how many things can you think in a second, a minute, a moment?" Then there are those times I have nothing going on, I'm numb, and my eyes are just like a double sided viewing mirror. But then again there are highlighted things that stand out. Today, I realized something about pain, thorns in our side, bruises, and piercings in a split second.
I walked passed a tree, and I saw a very long thin spine sticking out of a fairly thick branch. When I looked up the tree had several branches with even more long spines hovering over me. I approached the first spine thatI initially caught my attention. It was a very long thorn. Probably 6 inches?
My curiosity had my hand extend out to touch, see, and experience if that spine was sharp, hard, stiff, flimsy. "Would that hurt if i was hit or fell on this branch?"
I used my pointer finger to swipe (ironically we live in swipe generation. Right?) the base of the spine to the tip. When my pointer finger departed from the spine I heard a whispering "thung" sort of like a very tightly strung string on a bows arch. I immediately comprehended that this branch would friggin hurt if I was hit with it, and definitely leave spotted bruises on my side if i fell on it.
In that split second I flashed back to when I was a pre-teen and fell into a snow hedge hog plant. My sisters and I were walking together after sledding with our ghetto shower curtain and slick bottom cowboy boots that didn't fit well. Yeah, our family didn't really know how to prepare to be warm and safer on our one day snow trips. We just wanted to play. While walking we were pointing at these spines that were peaking through the new snow. One sister said, "Yeah! There's probably a cactus underneath there."
I didn't believe her and walked closer to a short spine near the base of a really tall fat tree. All of a sudden i lost my balance and fell butt first into the surrounding short spines. The snow immediately collapsed underneath and revealed a large snow hedge hog plant!!! The thorns from the spine pierced me through my pants and my thighs. I was so stuck, i couldn't get up. And, instead of immediately helping me, both my sisters just laughed and pointed. Finally after a good laugh, they helped me up. I had spotted bruises for at least a week or two.
I'm not so certain why I remember that experience. I'm not sure if it was because of the physical pain that showed for 2 weeks or if it was the emotional pain from being pretty embarrassed by my sisters pointing and shaming?!?! Either way, that memory has stuck and engrained into my long-term memory. It is something that I can laugh about today. But, it does also remind me of the pain that a thorn, bruises, and piercings can cause.
What if for 40 Days we looked to the Cross — so we might become Cross Love in a world caught in the cross hairs of war and heartache and pain? What if the next 40 days is asking The People of the Cross to do more than Give Upsomething — but to Take Back something? Now is the time to Take Back what it means to humbly and genuinely live the love of The People of the Cross
- Ann Voskamp
The second thought I had in that split second was the challenge that I saw from Ann Voskamp on my Instagram feed from earlier in the week. Lent came up so fast I didn't even realize it had arrived. But I didn't feel so compelled to have to fast this year. But in a split second of considering Lent, I did think about my compulsive shopping habits every time I feel emotional pain. I did decide to cut back on compulsive shopping habits.
Ann Voskamp challenged her audience to reconsider what 40 Days of Gain from the Cross rather than 40 days of giving up for the cross. I was moved by that because Christ's love is about gaining infinite love and enteral life.
After reading about that perspective from Voskamp, I asked Father God to help me to see greater things through His eyes daily, so that I would gain more understanding about pain, about my emotions, about my life I chose to have with Him, about the tragedies of today, about the injustices, about loss of voice, about being numb....
In that split second of seeing those thorny spines on that branch was the thorny crown that Christ bore on his head, which was followed by the stab that pierced his side. That pain, that bruising, that brutality was the physical cost for spiritual infinity with Father God in heaven. Physical pain, its temporary.
That new person that I recently met that I have come to unconsciously care about so much told me just yesterday that they consider physical pain to be temporary. If they have to go through that temporary pain for something better then they would rather go through that temporary physical pain faster so that they could achieve the results that are desired. If they had to choose between longer lasting or shorter physical pain, then they'd rather choose the shorter route. Their point was shorter more extreme pain has potential and probable quicker healing/recovery process.
In today's moment with the spine on that thick branch, I wondered...is that what Christ thought as he endured that great social injustice and violent brutality. Perhaps Christ fully understood and emotionally connoted that the infinite power of love and heaven was greater than His temporary physical pain that he was bearing.
Considering the gain and thinking about the bigger vision of infinity.
In Thai there is a word: "Thung Jai"
It means to focus, to study. But directly word for word translated to "Thung" means to straighten, prop-up, or to stand straight. And "Jai" means heart. SO.....to have a straight heart.
This phrase is used mostly for students, for beginners, for anyone who is learning.
It is a phrase to encourage discipline, focus, and patience.
Though it has been about 2 years since I've graduated, I feel simply novice at life.
There are things that school didn't teach about life. And I continually pray that I would have a straight heart.
to "Thung Jai" in life.
1) As fluent, mostly vernacular, I'm constantly learning the higher language in Thai. Thai has like levels, there is high society language, there is the highest vocabulary for royalties, there's the language you use at church, and the lowest for the common people. With friends its great, there is no pressure to be perfect, you can talk avuncular…
My Facebook is painted with rainbow hearts, profile pictures, and flags.
My Facebook is also marked with comments and criticism about racism, hate crimes
#BlackLivesMatter As I am in a transformational urban leadership graduate program focused on Micah 6:8 love kindness and mercy, seek out justice, and walk humbly with the Lord....I am having a really hard time digesting current events. I think about what I would say when people ask me about my thoughts and opinions on same sex marriage and the hate crimes against African Americans.
All I keep seeing in my head are the similar patterns of worldly thinking, I can't conform, not because the Bible says so in Romans 12:1-2, but its because I really can't see clearly in how divided I see my Facebook friends and news article and other media voices portray the times. It's not even grey areas anymore. It's rainbow areas...it all has to look like happiness and bright victory. I can't function in the cover up…