Mark Helbrid

"And yet if you asked me what [the truth] was, I can't tell you. I can tell you only that it overwhelmed me, that all the hard and wonderful things of the world are nothing more than a frame for a spirit, like fire and light, that is the endless roiling of love and grace. I can tell you only that beauty cannot be expressed or explained in a theory or an idea, that it moves by its own law, that it is God's way of comforting His broken children."

Mark Helbrid, Soldier of the Great War



"What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier . . . for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own . . . "

~ Frederick Buechner

These past few days have been secret-sharing days, days of being open and vulnerable, in the most frightening ways possible. Last Thursday, I decided that I just couldn't do it alone, couldn't bear the heaviness of life at the moment, and so I texted a friend. She didn't text back. Instead, she called me, and as soon as I heard her voice, I almost broke down with the gratitude of talking to someone else. I spent the evening talking and listening to her, instead of being a pathetic mess. We were roommates together last year, so she's seen me in the most pathetic states possible, and was just the absolutely perfect friend to talk to. She heard my secrets, and I heard hers.

I'm stubborn and proud too often, and most times, I try to escape my human-ness and weakness. Yet the moment I acknowledge my weakness, grace floods my life in the most beautiful and different ways. That evening on the phone marked the beginning of a grace flood.

The next day, another friend called and invited me over to her house. We climbed to the top of her bunk bed and talked about Miyusaki, Anna Karenina, and Jane Kenyon. Then we sat in her living room, she drank apple cider, I had strawberry white tea. I held her dog, Ginger, and met some new people. For the first time in awhile, I felt rested, whole, and strangely vulnerable with this girl who I have only just met five months ago. It's a good vulnerable, the type that we need with new friendships, the type that sometimes scares me to no end. I had hesitated to accept her invitation at first, it's so much easier to face friends when life doesn't seem like a crashing wreck, but I'm again filled with gratitude that she would trust me and that we're learning to trust and love each other as friends. I was absurdly happy that entire day.

And the flood continued.

Monday, I woke up and found a letter in a black-and-white envelope on my desk. "Fairy Land. We live because we 'dream.' Let's go out in a dreamy mood," it said. It had a picture of Little Red Riding Hood. I loved the letter even before I opened it. More stories and secret-keeping. I used Skype to reconnect with another new friend. It was lovely. That evening, I cooked Thai peanut chicken with another friend, then sat around a small table with five more friends, and we talked about Genesis and Noah and another type of flood, a flood of justice and a man saved by grace, and radical-ness and books.

Then again today, I used Skype with one of my best friends from high-school, and we talked as the light gradually slipped from dusk to evening. After our talk, I ran out to join my family for dinner and spent the evening reading about Rembrandt. The evening went on, and I had another totally unplanned phone call with another very dear friend.

I wonder if friendships are really just this - secret-keeping. Not secrets in a CIA form, but just the secrets of our shared weaknesses, the truths we're not so ready to tell a passing stranger. That's not the whole of friendships, obviously, but it has such a huge part. We're still growing and learning in this new, old world. But if we don't stop and share the quiet, lonely moments or the moments that we want to scream and shout, then those moments become hidden in the corner until we start denying their existence. We're not here alone, but with people, people placed here for a purpose.

Maybe this is just another reminder about how our weaknesses can bring glory and beauty to God. We would be arrogant autonomous beings if we didn't have these weaknesses that bind us together in love and friendships.


Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon, Let Evening Come


Project 365

I decided to post those pictures on a new blog :)





Project 365 :)


Every Day Do Something That Won't Compute

"So friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands.


Ask the questions that have no answers.


Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.


Practice resurrection."

From The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry


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