"I have said things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
I'm all about that truth. It really will get better. All things will be restored. The pain will end. It really will.
In case someone wants to hook me up with a birthday date.
1. Brunette with a twist with sass ‘n ass (a.k.a. an ethnically ambiguous woman with a strong personality and curves)
Example: Demi Lovato (duh), Shay Mitchel (just in the ‘brunette with a twist category’)
2. Kind of weird, sort of cray hipster blondes with strong brow game
Example: Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson
3. Delicate men with pretty features*
Example: Zayn Malik, 90’s Leonardo DiCaprio, Zac Efron
4. Strong, burly men with soft eyes*
Example: Chris Hemsworth**, Tyler Hoechlin
*will not actually date anyone in these categories, but will enjoy looking at them
**the only person with a Y chromosome that I’d ever consider engaging in sexual activity with
This post has been entirely pointless. Also these are very simplified and shallow categories that don’t give full justice to the scope of what draws me to particular people.
God gave me a perfect life moment tonight. The kind that I had no choice but to silently settle into as I was made so aware of the subtle, yet incredible beauty that comprises our world and seeps into the essence of life itself, making for such a startlingly clear moment of “in these small touches, life proves itself to ultimately be a beautiful, wonderful entity.”
It seemed appropriate that I’d find myself in this moment on the eve of my birthday. My last day of “24.”
Los Angeles usually leaves me unimpressed with its sunsets on a day-to-day basis, mostly because of the general lack of cloud coverage, but when this city does give a good sunset, it goes all out, giving an absolutely spectacular display.
Today was one of those nights. I drove across the 101 when the mountainous background, breathing in and out the beauty that surrounded me, letting it settle into a moment that was more than peaceful, but also somehow assuring. It wasn’t overwhelming - I’ve seen beautiful sunrises and sunsets across the New York City skyline, over the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea, and sprawling spectacularly over a North Carolinian country side. Sunsets, though traditionally my favorite, don’t quite leave me so breathless and reeling anymore - especially not in Los Angeles.
Still, it was quite beautiful nonetheless, and perhaps easily one of the best sunsets I’ve seen here - at least in quite some time. I’ll never tired of how the expanse of colors mix together across God’s limitless canvas - I love how the blues meld into the oranges fading into the purples and reds, tinting the clouds and silhouetting the palm trees. On the freeway, heading for the Santa Monica mountains, there aren’t many barriers in the way, giving me a clear, 180 degree view of majesty all around me.
Calmly, I couldn’t help but appreciate life, be thankful for this moment where I got to be alive. Grateful that I’ve made it through another year, and in the midst of my dreams at that. I time traveled a bit, back to three years ago, when I was about to turn 22 and more notably, about to move out here to Los Angeles - the dream I’d been holding onto since I was 16, and I was so aware in this subtle, but peaceful way of how meaningful it was to be driving through the midst of a sunset in Los Angeles.
The icing on the cake, though - what truly made this moment jump out at me and characterized it as one of those perfect life moments (because I have driven through a few spectacular sunsets while on the 101 over the past three years) was that I became so particularly aware of the amazing colors around me precisely as “Hey Jude” by the Beatles started to play through my car’s stereo.
Some may know that “Hey Jude” is my absolute favorite song of all time. I adore Paul McCartney more than any other musician, and though initially I was drawn to the song for the ending coda of “na na na na na na na”, which though simple and repetitive, I could easily listen to on unending loop, over the years, I have become so aware of the resounding beauty of that song. Though originally written as a sort of encouragement for John Lennon’s song Julian after John left his wife for Yoko Ono, it’s a song that universally speaks to all. The sheer beauty of the opening line ushers a truth that we’d all do well to live by:
"Take a sad song and make it better."
Then later, a line that speaks of the feelings of inadequecy and insecurity that I’m sure we’re all prone to experience from time to time:
"You’re waiting for someone to perform with, and don’t you know that it’s just you. Hey Jude, you’ll do - the movement you need is on your shoulder.”
(Fun Beatles fact [little known fact about me: I’m actually full of them]: Paul was unsure about that line because he thought people would think he was referring to a parrot, but John urges him to keep it, saying it was the best line in the song).
Ultimately, though, I have to return to the coda. I had dreams of being at a Paul McCartney performance of “Hey Jude”, being able to sing “na na na na na na na” with him and a passionate crowd around me (a dream I amazingly got to fulfill this past September), because I would enviously watch performances and be stricken by the sense of inherent community this song created amongst these strangers, all bonded together at the end of this encouraging, uplifting, beloved song.
It’s the inherent communal quality that has me latching onto this song. You can hear it as Paul, John, George and Ringo sing joyously together. If you’ve ever seen the promo video for this song (the 60’s equivalent to a music video), at the coda, the audience rushes the stage and joins in with the band in the singing, and it’s a truly beautiful moment that celebrates human unity. It really accentuates how innately, deep down, humanity is meant to be one and it really emphasizes that oneness.
Fifty years later, that song still has that power to remind strangers that we really aren’t all that strange to each other. We’re all human, we’re all in this together, and I think it’s absolutely beautiful how “Hey Jude” doesn’t just embody this within the song itself, but also creates these moments where humanity unites together as one, even if its to sing a beloved refrain together.
So all the elements were there tonight. The sunset always reminds me of the loving touch of God. How He takes the time to create something so beautiful in front of us in a truly glorious display. The sky always reminds me of possibilities, of hope - its limitless and endless and shows how there’s always something more.
With “Hey Jude” further emphasizing the beauty of life and the intended nature of humanity, I felt so settled for those seven minutes and eight seconds in particular. Right as the song faded out, I turned off the 101 to the 405 S, away from the sunset - the timing was impeccable, and really left that moment confined to the duration of the song.
But during that time, I felt hopeful, I felt assured, I felt loved, I felt grateful, I felt happy. I felt like the 25 years behind me had led up to something meaningful, that I have not been living in vain, no matter how many downs I go through, no matter how often I may feel frustrated or stuck. I’m truly living in the midst of something beautiful; God’s hands are all on it, and I can keep on traveling down this road, encouraged and assured, but I must take care to be aware of the beauty of life that really does constantly surround me, if only I just key into it.
So tonight was a good night.
Gryffindor : Mate, I would die for you
Slytherin : I will kill for you, bro. Just give me the word, the bitch is dead
Ravenclaw: I’ll find a way we both can survive
Hufflepuff: I’ll die with you
And this is why I’m actually becoming okay with the fact that I’m apparently a Hufflepuff. Sacrifice is powerful. But sharing in one’s suffering - so much more powerful.
Yeah, yeah, don’t burst my bubble about how this implies the helplessness of Hufflepuffs.
But, like to get a little theological here.
People always focus on “Jesus dying for our sins”, essentially - Jesus died for us.
But what it really is more so is that Jesus joined in on suffering. He came down to our level, partnered with us in it, and in a sense, suffered along with us. We were wasting away in this hell on earth. He denied his deity to come on down and be apart of that with us. His death on the cross is more than some sort of “penal substitution” - Christ taking our place, but rather, Christ on the cross symbolizes the suffering at the hands of our sins that humanity has continually gone through, and though God, He still was right there with us.
Then defeated us. That’s why there is such a Biblical emphasis on “bearing one another’s burdens”, in emulation of Christ. Another’s problems is our problem - we come together with them, share in that suffering, become one through it. And that’s the unity and harmony that the cross symbolizes and accomplishes, and what God intended for the world from the very get-go.
Just my opinion. Only I would turn a mild Harry Potter text post into full blown Christian theology without even originally planning to.