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Quiet Time

I was in the mountains on a retreat and we had quiet time for an hour, this is what came out of it –

I want to run on greener pastures, I want to dance on higher hills.

I have been going through some things lately and a few weeks ago when that song came on my iPod in the car I couldn’t stop the tears from falling.

Well right now I am literally on higher hills because I am here in the mountains, but I still don’t feel like dancing.

And my soul is getting restless for the place where I belong

I ask that question when I feel lost – is this the place where I belong?

I think that this could be a place where I belong. We’re having quiet time but I’ve never been able to keep quiet for very long. Quieting my thoughts just means turning down the volume. There’s nothing I can do about the speed at which they constantly race around my brain.

It’s quiet here. The hills are rolling against the skyline, freckled by trees and not roaring freeways stuffed with cars.

There’s ants crawling on my toes. I don’t care. They’re having quiet time, too. Their whole life is a quiet time.

The little yellow leaves are falling one by one by one and the breeze is pushing them across the sky, the thinning tree branches stretching to the wisps of clouds left in the sky. Winter will be here soon, they say. Clothe us.

I came up here because I’m running from something and when I go back I will still be running from it. Even in my stillness I am running. I never get away because I think I am running from myself. I wish I could leave myself behind.

I can’t leave myself behind in the quiet spaces because in them I think about the places and people I’ve left pieces of myself behind in, and how that’s why I’m broken now.

But just for a moment, when I look at the fragments of stars in the sky, I lose myself. I leave myself behind in them, with a bunch of broken pieces I could never be whole without. It’s not the kind of sadness that rips right through you. It’s the kind of sadness that can be addicting if you’re not careful, the kind that you can’t escape no matter how much you smile it away. It’s the kind that’s seeped into your veins, pulses to your fingertips. Deep. It’s the kind of profound sadness that I wish I could share, but the beauty of it, the reason that it’s sad, is that I can’t. I can’t articulate it. It can only be felt, in my core, in my bones, in puffs of breath, vapor on the blackness of the sky.

The stars are so much more beautiful here than they are in the city, scattered across the sky in infinite broken shards. It sit in my backyard and look at them and wonder if someone is out there, too, thinking that life is vast and infinite and terrifying and how in this terrifying world will I ever meet them. Hoping it’s in the stars. Hoping we’re in each others’ stars.

But if something that beautiful can get even more beautiful the higher up you are, the closer you are to reaching it, well maybe that should give me hope. In the city you can see them – lights in the sky. But here you can see them too. They are up there all the same but brighter. From the new vantage point, clearer. The city lights fog them up, pretty distractions from what we’re really meant to see.

It seems like there are so many more stars here just because we can see them better. They’re with us down in the city, too, but the pretty little distractions are blocking our sight.

But they’re up there, whether we see them or not. Stardust, fairydust, shimmering. A promise that I’ll got up and down sometimes and won’t be able to see them sometimes even when things get dark. They’ll be there. Whispering to all the little broken parts of me. We’re broken, too, but we’re beautiful.

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If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.

So this is what sand looks like, under a microscope.

Sand

andsand

Ilikesand

moresand

Like…this kind of blows my mind. I know it’s not even that big of a deal, but to me it totally is. Science people might think, hey, yeah, that’s just sand, I know because I look at stuff under microscopes all the time. Or yeah, duh, for some reason looking at the way stuff looks under microscopes is becoming a big internet thing and I saw that on reddit three days ago.

It really gets me though. The beach is my favorite place on the planet. Doesn’t matter what beach. But watching the sun sink beneath the horizon line with the entire ocean before me is one of the most mystical things I can possibly imagine and makes me feel like even though I’m small and insignificant, I’m as vast and powerful as the ocean because I’m standing there, just…being.

Anyway. I digress. The beach is my favorite place, but whenever I tell anyone that, about one out of two times I’ll get the response “Yeah, but I just hate sand.”

I don’t think a whole lot of people really dig sand. (Ok, I’m pretty proud of that one right there.) Sandcrabs and seagulls probably wouldn’t even be a fan on facebook. Sandcastles are pretty fun, sand forts are better, quicksand traps are the best – you know, that thing where you dig a big hole and put a towel over it and then more sand and someone walks over it and falls in? Classic.

But no one really loves sand. I adore the beach and can still see the negatives. It’s the glitter of the ocean, it gets everywhere. Like in places you don’t even want to mention. And all over your car, and your vacuum hates you. And if you just came out of the ocean and try to eat something, it’s literally a sandwich because there is no way to keep the sand from sticking all over your fingers. There is a reason why people have dreams that an axe murderer is chasing them and they get stuck running in sand and can’t move. Because sand is typically horrible.

But it’s not. Look at that picture. It’s actually breathtaking. And I find that fact wonderful.
Something that everyone thinks is annoying or ugly or insignificant, looked at from another perspective, is actually stunningly beautiful. It’s so small we don’t notice it, and we need a little help to get there. Yet if we take the time to look, we’re faced with results that I at least could never have expected.

You could say I’m shell-shocked.

Sorry, had to. Sunsets are beautiful, the ocean is beautiful, and everyone knows it, but it’s the things that go unsung that sometimes can hide the greatest beauty of all. There are no small parts, only small actors. I don’t know. These shells are pretty small parts, but when they’re magnified they make a pretty big statement.

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I want to go to here.

Image

Once again, I am veering away from inspirational quotes (OK, I guess 30 Rock is pretty inspirational) in order to portray the seriousness of this situation. I understand there is a difference between want and need. I need to go here.

I first of all stumbled upon (yes, I did indeed stumble upon it using the website stumble upon. I was going to say I literally stumbled upon it, but that would imply that I physically tripped over the pictures, which did not at all occur) this wonderful place while avoiding my homework, like every good college student does. The post is here:

The Maldives (and a lot of other awesome places).

and I think it’s worth looking at, to appreciate the gorgeous creations that God has placed on our planet. Living in a city, I try to take time to notice the beauty of nature, maybe look up at the stars, but sometimes forget that such radically amazing things can exist when faced day after day looking at the same brick-layered buildings. Sadly I doubt I will be able to visit said twenty-seven surreal places prior to my death, but I without a doubt can say I will make a concentrated effort to set foot on this piece of land. More reasons why:

ImageImageImageImageImageImageStop. Just stop. As Buzzfeed describes, the pinpricks of light in the water are created by phytoplankton. Microscopic organisms working together to create one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever seen. If all the world’s a stage, this gives a whole new meaning to the saying there are no small parts, just small actors.

If anyone has ever visited this place and not left it breathlessly inspired, give me a call. Ready for the cheesiness? I can imagine myself walking barefoot on the sand and looking up into the stars – and also being able to stretch my hand out into the sand, and actually touch them.

So. Middle of November resolution. Get to this place. Someday. Somehow. I’ve never been one of those girls who sits around planning her wedding or honeymoon, but hey, this place wouldn’t be too shabby to visit after tying the knot.