Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"how strange it is to be anything at all"

i am a sucker for mixed CDs.

i love the feeling of an unlabeled disc warm in my hands, filled with the promise that it contains songs i do not know, songs i have yet to hear that are just dying to compart new wisdom to me and speak to me in ways that songs i already know have not been able to up to this point in my life. that may sound dramatic, but that is probably only because you are underestimating how much i love music. (blame my parents, it's hereditary. trust me.)

in the last several years, i have had many a mixed CD given to me, some by potential suitors that have come and gone and some by best friends with whom i am convinced i will grow old. a few years ago, someone out of one of those categories sent me a 2-disc set of songs he just knew i would love. i loved those CDs, really. in turn, they each made me feel free, pensive, loved, understood, and a part of the human race--but there was only one that stood out to me. REALLY stood out to me.

it was neutral milk hotel's "in the aeroplane over the sea".

if you have not heard this song, i HIGHLY encourage you to youtube it, buy it on itunes,  download it online (wait, mission year probs doesn't approve of illegal activity...scratch that)--whatever it takes, just listen to it and try to tell me it doesn't, at least in some small way, speak to your soul.

while i love the whole thing (the whole album, really, is ridiculously awesome), one part of the song has always stood out to me--jeff mangum's warbly voice at one part lilts 

"and one day we will die
and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
but for now we are young
let us lay in the sun
and count every beautiful thing we can see"

this became a sort of anthem for me over the last couple years, especially this past spring in waco. i used it literally, as an excuse to skip class on nice days, go to the park and suntan and dream and think of all of the wonderful things i had in my life. i used it metaphorically, a veces, as well, as a reminder to myself to take the time to look around me and recognize beauty everywhere i can find it. sometimes, it has been in the obvious places, where you would look first--my wonderful family, darling friends, nice sunny days when all i needed was a sundress and a rodeo clown from common grounds (it's a drink, don't worry) to feel alive and a part of the world.

but sometimes, the beauty is not where you would expect to find it. and that is what i have found to be true in the last three weeks i have spent in argentina. it's been a bit of a go so far--living in the church has not been the most comfortable of places, and so far, the water and gas have gone out countless times, sometimes for days (once, for an entire week). sometimes, it has been funny...some days, it has not.

but that's the thing about being here. i realize that i am trading some of the comforts that would be easily accessible back in the states for beauty that i can find in other places. and i am so thankful for it.

i want to be someone who counts all of the beautiful things i can see (and i want to be sitting in the sun doing it as often as i can). i want to appreciate the small things, the people here in the community who have welcomed us with open arms, the street vendor who bothers to remember our names and the vagabonds we share a space with in the trains who teach us a little more about what it means to be a human being. to be alive. to share the love of a God who gives us beautiful things to count, and sunny days on which to do so.

i want this blog to be a catalog of the beautiful things i have counted so far, and if you, my four followers and random people who are also reading this, want to tell me about the beautiful things you have found as well, i think that would be just lovely.

peace, amigos. and kiko, if you're out there...thanks for that song. appreciate it, bud.


  1. "To share the love of a God who gives us beautiful things to count, and sunny days on which to do so."

    LOVE this. it's going on a post-it somewhere.

    And I love you. and miss you.

  2. Don't we all just truly need to count the beautiful things God gives us?! Today, in preparation for my Bible study tomorrow, I am studying Ephesians 3. Paul keeps writing about grace...part of it was the grace to bring the good news of the Liberating King to the Gentiles. I was just thinking how, in conducting that mission, he was beaten, stoned, imprisoned, despised and run out of town. Still, he was overwhelmed by God's grace to allow him to serve the God he met on the road to Damascus. I think he must have been counting the beautiful things!

  3. I prefer "And when we meet on a cloud/We'll be laughing out loud/I'll be laughing with everyone I see/Can't believe/How strange it is to be anything at all."

    Thanks for reminding me.

  4. That song lyric made me think of this...

    " What though the radiance which was once so bright
    Be now for ever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
    Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind... "

    Its about the loss of youth (which thankfully we haven't lost yet). Keep on enjoying.

  5. you're amazing. this blog is perfect. god is good every single day. with love, your friend: me.