Sense and Sensibilities

I often see myself in fictional characters, especially older, timeless ones. Most prominently, I see myself as Jo March from Little Women (which I know is a common sentiment among young girls, but for me it’s true). However, in the recent months, I’ve also recognized myself in another character: Elinor Dashwood.

It has been almost a year since I listened to Sense and Sensibility, and I don’t remember if I felt any particular similarities to this character at the time. I do know, however, that I am sensible and logical, nearly to a fault.

In the same way that Marianne Dashwood is quite emotionally driven, many of my friends are engaged in relationships and are incredibly emotional. They process with their hearts and feelings, jumping into situations that make me ponder whether they were thinking at all.

On the other hand, I don’t even know what to say to them when they describe their situations to me. I have no ability to comfort them in their distress. My brain simply tells me that this shouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

I think through things logically. I use reason to understand feelings, and am sensible enough to know when I’m not truly being reasonable. In matters of the heart, when my friends are sighing over haircuts and eyes, I’m cataloging memories and evaluating them.

It makes me sound heartless when I am not. I am a very emotional creature. When someone upsets me, it may take me hours…days…weeks…months to speak to them again. However, these grudges usually dissolve when I reason with myself.

It is a strange battle I strike in myself as my heart sometimes aches, and my brain chides its shortcomings. A fight between deep emotions and “You know better.”

I can’t imagine what it would be like to operate fully in my emotions. I don’t know what I would do without my logical reasoning. Is this why so many teenagers are engaged in silly, thoughtless relationships? Is this why they claim to love each other? Is this why hearts are broken when these bonds inevitably break?

It seems that sensibility needs a slap of reality every now and then. Then again, nothing but logical evaluation is no way to live.

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I don’t know if I can fully express the emotions I’ve felt in the past few days. Instead of asking someone else to edit my sixth book, I took on the task myself. I’d like to think it’s because I want to add editing to my skill set; more likely, I simply do not want to depend on outside factors for publishing my book. Perhaps after my initial read-over, I felt it didn’t require outside attention.

Regardless, I have finished editing. There were a surprising amount of typos, especially in scenes where there was baking. The most comical was a lack of possessive, declaring “Bethy eggy fingers” instead of “Bethy’s eggy fingers”.

(Wouldn’t that make a distinguished name? Bethy E. Fingers. What’s your middle name? Oh, it’s Eggy.)

Now that I’ve eliminated the type errors and exterminated a plotline that served no true purpose for the story, I am left feeling accomplished…and empty.

I haven’t even thought ahead to this coming November. I’ve devoted that month to writing a book for six years. But I’ll be in college. Studying and trying to make friends. Will I have time for NaNoWriMo? What would I even write?

This series is done. I best describe this third and final book as “a summer of goodbyes”. That includes the farewells that I must say to my dear characters.

I don’t know if I’m ready to say goodbye. Even as I finished editing yesterday, I noticed a thread I could pick up to write about my “middle school trio”. But should I? Would I? What would the purpose be?

Oh, purpose. I still have an entire other series of books crying out for attention. But those books won’t be written for years, for all I know and feel. What will I do in the meantime? Write short scenes about Becker and his antics? I think that would make me homesick for all my dears.

While I am thrilled to be finished with the editing of this book…I am feeling empty. I don’t know if my Purpose characters can fill this gap. I don’t know if they’re intended to.

Baskets of Figs

As a believer who is living for God, our existential questions are answered. We know where we came from and where we’ll go when we die. We have knowledge from the Bible that we may not understand, but we have faith in and trust. However, this doesn’t keep us from asking questions. The most prominent question we can ask is, “Why, God?”

Things happen that we don’t understand. We deal with unbelievable loss, sorrow, and hurt. Why, God? Why did this happen to me? Where are You in this?

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” It is easier said than put into practice. Committing your heart to someone else is scary. It goes against our sinful nature, filled with pride, to not lean on our own knowledge.

This brings me to the baskets of figs.

The book of Jeremiah is filled with the rebellion of Israel and Judah. God’s people turned away from Him. They turned to their sinful nature, worshiping false gods and behaving despicably. As I have read through Jeremiah, I have recognized myself in the pages. I have recognized our society.

Then, we arrive at Jeremiah 24. It describes, through the analogy of figs, how God preserved His people. There were good figs, and there were bad figs. The good figs represented those who were exiled to Babylon. The Lord said in verses 6 and 7, “I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.”

I don’t know about the rest of you, but being exiled from my home country does not sound like care and protection. I see being ripped from everything I had ever known. Sent to a place that does not understand me. Torn from the land promised to my forefathers. Broken. Shattered.

Why, God? Why has this happened to me? Where are you in this?

Isaiah 55:9. God’s ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We cannot understand His plans, and we are instructed to reach out in faith and to trust Him. Even when we feel as if we are being stripped of everything, God is in control.

Read Jeremiah 24. Be reminded of God’s sovereignty and favor. As we wrestle with why He has allowed something we cannot comprehend, remember he orchestrates all things for our good. Romans 8:28. Just as He called His people into exile to preserve them, He has called you into something too great for your understanding.

Life’s Tough, Get a Helmet

This Robotics competition was rough. The day before we had to leave, I got sick. The ride to Cleveland was five hours and the hotel room was infinitely smaller than the last one. I couldn’t play cards with my friends because I’d spread my germs everywhere. Best of all, anyone who heard I was sick and knew of medicines was giving me advice.

I went in for a little bit on practice day, but ended up overdoing it and missing all of qualification day. I sat in bed, watching matches via live stream and texting our captain strategies to use for our matches.

Oh, our matches. We had such hope going into this competition. We really did have a great robot this year. On practice day, we had two incredibly successful, high scoring matches in a row. It was like a sign that this was finally our time.

It wasn’t. Every match we participated in during qualifying was stacked against us ridiculously. No matter what we did to be successful, one of our alliance partners would cause our loss. We had virtually no ranking points, even though we were in the top ten scorers out of sixty teams at any point during the qualification matches.

The number one ranked alliance picked the other best robot on the field and left the rest of us with no course of action. No matter what alliances we put together, it wouldn’t be able to defeat the top two robots.

When I think of it that way, our losing both of our quarter-final matches doesn’t seem so awful. But again, we did all that we could and our alliance-mates let us down.

So, now the competition season is over, and with it, my time in Robotics.

Cleveland was certainly a ride.

But hey, life’s tough, get a helmet.

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