Friday, September 15, 2017

thoughts on loss

- from my english romanticism professor

"When you lose someone or something the loss isn't coming from things not being what they should be or who they should be, but rather the loss comes from our imaginations making them into something they aren't.

We never live in a moment; we're always defined by memories.

It's hard to feel joy when you have to ask yourself if you're happy."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

not absent, just silent.

End of Sophomore year. End of the rugby season. End of my job at the YMCA. End of life in and around Philly.

Beginning of summer 2017. Beginning of my job at Mt. Gilead. Beginning of two (+) months living in the Poconos. 

Away from my friends. Away from my family. Away from the business of life that I always seem to be getting caught up in. 

I just felt like I needed to take some time and reflect on life as it sits, and hopefully share what little perspective I have right now.
This was the busiest school year of my life. In the fall, I started at Temple. I loved my fall semester. My classes were great, my friends were great. My job proved to be stressful. Very stressful at times. I missed my friends who were away and I was very overwhelmed during my time of transition, but after a month or so into it, I found a rhythm and it was such a rewarding semester. I learned so much about the city and teaching and I just felt like my heart and mind were being opened up to so many things. Toward the end of the semester, I went through a fairly rough break up. It was really sudden and hard in a lot of ways, but I learned a lot about myself and in the end, I'm really thankful for the time I spent in that relationship and the experiences I had outside of it. 
Post-breakup, I went through a season of loneliness. I lost my major friend group at school and was really searching for a place to belong on campus that I could call my home. Over winter break, I spent a lot of time with my friend Gabbi who really helped me refocus and keep me grounded. 
During that time, I started clinging to Jesus in a way that was different than I ever had before. Throughout December and January, I learned that the Christian walk isn't something we can just take up one day and then all of a sudden lives are changed over night, but rather, the Christian walk is something we daily choose to walk. It's the path of righteousness that must be chosen day by day by day. I can't explain some of the things I felt and experienced at the beginning of this year (2017) but I couldn't help but beg God with the question of "Why?"

Well - hindsight is 20/20. Now I can see God had been drawing me closer and closer to himself because he knew that I couldn't sustain myself. I was thirsty for a water only he can supply. So I walked and I searched. 
Spring semester brought it's own form of healing back to the business I always seem to be burying myself in when all else fails. 

I found my home during the spring semester.

I wanted to join a sorority, but I was short about 500 dollars, 40 hours a week and extra blood to sell my soul, so I picked a different club. I've always been fairly athletic, so when I decided to give rugby a go, people were surprised but not shocked. I've never met a more inviting, exciting, and fun group of girls before. Day 1 I had a nickname and even though I had no idea what was going on, I still felt like a total part of the team. We laughed, ran, studied, had friday night get togethers - the whole 9 yards. Or meters as we would say. I found myself feeling more at home at school than in Bucks County and nestling in with my newfound family whenever possible. 
Rugby pushed me to work hard and sweat out my fears, failures, successes, trials, and whatever else I was facing. Tackling a big girl? Get low and dig deep. A big paper? Get low and dig deep. Broken nose? Get up and fight back. Life knocks you down? Get up and fight back. 
My team showed me that there is strength in femininity and beauty in boldness. Joining rugby was the defining point of my semester and I think the turning point in my college life. Definitely one of the best decisions I've made this far. But the semester ended and we all went home and life comes and people go and I miss my team and my little family from Willington and my petty pals. 

So now we've reflected. I've loved, lost, regrouped, loved again - people and things. But I still felt like I was missing something. That's when I decided to take to the woods. You see, I love the city. Love it. Want to live there, want to change it, want to run it. But the woods - that's where you find yourself. You're stripped bare of everything and everyone and the noise and the background and life is still and quiet and lonely and beautiful and full of adventure.

So here I am, for my summer in the woods. Partly my decision was selfish. I had spent all year running. From one thing to the next; always running. I needed to relax and regroup and refresh and sweat out all the toxins my pores have so willingly soaked in. But also, I needed to put other people before myself. I am selfish by nature, but I do love to serve. and I've learned a lot this year - about myself, about people, about God and who he is and why he loves me and how he loves me and what he desires for me and I need to give that to others. So I came here to share him with some girls who need him just as much as I do. 

Because this year, he was pretty silent. Sure, I can see his hand moving and working now, but in the moment, I couldn't. I cried of loneliness and dispair and confusion and needyness and lack of faith because I couldn't hear him. But he was there, and he was faithful. 

He was faithful. 

In my doubting and failure and mistrust of who he is, he was (and still is!) FAITHFUL. I couldn't see it because I had been blinded by my own selfish desires but God is good. and even when he is silent, he isn't absent. God is NOT an absent father. He is loving and kind and provides for us even when we can't see him leave for work in the morning. He was faithful, in his silence, to provide for me people in moments I so desperately needed them, people who were not silent, but lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) spoke truth into my life. My parents, friends, people I didn't know. People who I had let see me in my worst moments and know my ugliest self, were still loving me. THIS is just how faithful God is - to give us what we need, when we need is. God is a god who provides.

He beckons, he calls, and he draws us to himself with loving and open arms - always. 

This is what I learned this year, and I'm sure there's going to be more to learn this summer. 

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."

Thomas Merton

Friday, March 24, 2017

women's lit - 3/24/17

"i imagine the collection of relationships that I've had in my life as a big giant house that I've purchased. each person is a room in my house; they all have their own decorations and senses of humor and tastes and smells and stories and signs and symbols. everything in each room is a little different from the next. but as I walked through my house from one room to another, all of these things became part of me. I had to learn that you can't find yourself in other people. you can't fall ridiculously in love and have there only be two types of people in the world - them and everyone else. you've got to love yourself. you've got to find yourself within yourself."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

woman.

today is international womens' day.

i recently saw a post on facebook about how we shouldn't be celebrating our genders because we should be celebrating how jesus Christ defines us, not our gender.

i love jesus. he has done so much for me and my family. he died on the cross for my sins and redeemed and also set me free from the bondage of this world.
but i do not see how in any way celebrating my gender and celebrating other women and their accomplishments takes away from god's role in my life.

god made me a woman! why would i not want to celebrate the life that he gave to me and other women?
my gender is NOT the only thing that defines me. nor is my sexuality, socioeconomic status, level of education, race, etc. to subject myself to being completely defined by any one of these categories would be lessening myself as a human. YES, they all play a role in who i am and how I've been raised, but they are not the end all be all.

define yourself however you want to define yourself and don't let anyone tell you who you are or aren't.

Monday, March 6, 2017

dear papere,

hey poppo!
saw some pictures of us in the last few days and MAN am i missing you.
there are so many new things going on in life right now that i wish you were here to share with me because i think that you'd be really proud. sometimes stuff happens, and i wish i could call you and ask for help or you could tell me what to do. remember that one time i wanted to quit soccer my senior year? "you've got marsden in you, ab, and marsdens aren't quitters. hard times build character."

okay just some updates i think you need to know:
i LOVE temple!! i am learning so so much about literature and education. all of my professors are pretty smart and i like sitting in class learning from them so much.
my job is going well, i think. i'm not sure what my summer plans are yet. i have an opportunity to go away or stay home and it's all kind of up in the air right now.
josh & kristen & lenna & caleb all live at home with me & mom & dad! i have loved having them so close. caleb is so smart and funny and strong willed, like all the best of us in the family are. lenna is smiling so much and is just a great little friend. if only you could see her cheeks you'd have allll the heart eyes.
selah is getting so big and beautiful. she LOVES sarah more than anyone, but who doesn't??? between her big eyes and smile she's gonna be a KILLER.
mom & dad are good, hanging in. i don't get to hang with them as much as i'd like because i'm so busy.
after last summer, robbie and i actually got pretty close, and uncle dean and aunt terry, too. i talk to them like once a weekish and i go over for dinner when i have free time. i really love our family so much.
BUT the thing i am most excited to tell you is that i started playing rugby for temple!!!!!!!!! catch me a temple athlete just like you!!! poppo, rugby is literally THE most fun sport i have ever played. we had our first tournament on saturday and played 4 games. we won 3 and tied 1. mom and lauren came to support me and it was freezing but they came anyways and it was so nice. the game itself is such a rush of adrenaline. my team put me on the back like cause i'm fast, i think i got that from you. i really wish that you could see me play more than anything but i know you're watching me all the time.
i've made so many friends on my team - we've become like a family so fast. i love being a part of this community.
as the days pass, i get more and more excited to be a teacher. but i also love college and i'm trying to make the most of my time here at temple.
i love you so much and i miss you like crazy. i hope i'm making you proud. doing my best to work hard and be careful.
see you soon, xoxo
abigail