the great southwest

Last spring break I took a 2000+ mile road trip with some really fun people. In honor of that being almost a year ago, here’s some fantastic photos from along the way:

western colorado

western colorado

moab, utah

moab, utah

arches nat'l park

arches national park

arches

arches national park

utah

nevada

VEGAS

vegas

hoover dam

hoover dam

grand canyon

grand canyon

grand canyon

grand canyon

four corners

four corners

santa fe

santa fe

salt and light: photo by scott shek

salt and light: photo by scott shek

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the ultimate question

We start asking it almost as soon as we can speak, as teeny, under two-feet tall mini people, just starting to be curious about how the world works. We ask it as elementary school students, attempting to endear ourselves to our teachers while being bratty and consumed with tetherball during recess. We ask it as angsty teens, confused college students, adults with responsibilities and as older adults who have announced retirement and finally waylaid some of that responsibility.

It’s the ultimate question: “Why?”

In the aftermath of the most intense roller-coaster of a week, that is what my heart is stuttering out. “Why? Why? Why?”

Not just why this, but why now, why them, why that way?

This week has been full of some diverse news – I bought a car on Monday, got a job on Wednesday, and on Friday my friend’s mom died in Denver and 27 people in Conneticut were murdered. What?! How does that happen? How can such highs coexist with such lows?

But as the pieces fall, the tears leak, the excitement builds, and rollercoasting emotions feel like they might tear me in two, my heart keeps on stuttering out, “Why? Why? Why?”

And the answer I keep coming back to are the promises of Scripture. Hosea 6:1-3 says

“Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
 Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”

No matter the season, no matter the circumstance, I am learning that the only answer to my “Why?” is not palatable. It isn’t easy. I don’t like it. But the only answer is that we turn back to Him. That we press on to know Him and remember that He is coming.

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confessions of a recovering only child

I’m an only child. Well, technically only half of one, considering having divorced parents and 50-50 custody and two stepsisters. My only-child identity, and all that comes with, becomes more and more apparent to me around the holiday season.

There are a lot of different stereotypes and studies on the particular nature of only children. A New York Times article quotes, ‘In fact, according to G. Stanley Hall, who oversaw the studies and was the acknowledged child expert of his day, being an only child was a ‘disease in itself.'” As mentioned in a Time Magazine article by Lauren Sandler, some other dated perceptions describe only children “as permanent misfits” and “overprivileged, asocial, royally autonomous … self-centered, aloof and overly intellectual.”

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as the ruin falls

as push comes to shove, and what feels like my home is covered in wildfires, I returned to one of my favorite poems: “As the Ruin Falls” by good ol’ Clive Staples Lewis. The man is a genius, I tell you. A wordsmith who creates prose that severs the flashy, pretend humility from our souls and paints written pictures of eternal purposes. In-freaking-credible. I hope this blesses you as much as it always blesses me.

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains. 

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