Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Sleepless Night

As soon as I've read it,
I wish I hadn't.
My stomach churns
As if to warn me of
Another sleepless night.

I patiently wait
For my insides to settle
So my outsides can
Get some rest, but it's
Another sleepless night.

Finally, I venture to
Close my eyelids,
But images of horrid,
Unspeakable things make this
Another sleepless night.

After the first failure,
I am wary of
Entering darkness again,
But I must try to avoid
Another sleepless night.

As my mind races,
My heartbeat quickens,
My breathing grows heavy.
Uncontrollable shaking assures
Another sleepless night.

Hot, angry tears
Spill out of eyes that
I am too afraid to close.
I am tired, so tired, on
Another sleepless night.

I try to think of
Someone to talk to,
Someone to share my pain,
But no one on earth can understand
Another sleepless night.

The birds start singing at 5:01,
And the sun creeps up at 5:16.
I offer a silent prayer of thanks
To the One who brings the morning on
Another sleepless night.

The morning light scares
Away the darkness,
And the birds seem to whisper,
"Hush, you can sleep now," after
Another sleepless night.

Exhaustion takes over
As I close my weary eyes.
The bad thoughts are chased away.
I've made it through
Another sleepless night.

I try my best to guard my heart,
But as sure as there
Is dark and light,
There will always be
Another sleepless night.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Who Says Serving Doesn't Pay Off?

On Wednesday night, I got a text from one of my youth pastors asking me to volunteer at Show Hope's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. I would be helping to run the merchandise booth, selling t-shirts and what not. I immediately responded with a 'yes' because I knew about Show Hope's mission, and I didn't want to miss an opportunity to serve them. And, let's face it - it's torture for me to have to say 'no' to people who need my help.

As I was preparing to leave the house on Friday night, I decided to look up the production on Show Hope's website, and see what it was going to be like. I was blown away. I was expecting a high school, maybe college-level, performance. Nope, not even close. This Cinderella had a star cast including, Jodi Benson (the voice of The Little Mermaid), Heather Headley (The Lion King on Broadway), Alli Mauzey (Wicked on Broadway), and Jake Speck (Jersey Boys from Broadway).

On our way to David Lipscomb, I enthusiastically asked my mom if we would get to see the show. She said probably not, maybe bits and pieces, but definitely not the whole thing. Though a little disappointed, my enthusiasm stayed intact.

We sold almost $3,000 worth of merchandise before the show had even started. I was prepared to stand alert and the merchandise booth when we heard the show start. However, I was shocked as my youth pastor led us away to a "secret room" where there were extra seats, telling us that he wanted us to be able to see as much of the show as possible.

As a person who loves music in general, especially soundtracks, this was a dream come true! I'd only seen one musical in my life (The Lion King when I was ten), so this was an awe-inspiring, new experience. The singing and acting was all fantastic, just like on Broadway (I imagine)!

In the end, we got to see all but maybe five minutes of the show. So, I got to see a Broadway-quality musical and serve Show Hope! And they say serving doesn't pay off...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Excessive Empathy

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
          your works are wonderful,
          I know that full well.
                    - Psalm 139:14

I know this verse by heart. I repeat this verse to myself when I'm troubled, or when I feel worthless in the world's eyes. But, I can't help but doubt it.

My family and I watched the new BBC version of The Diary of Anne Frank last night. Most of the movie depicted Anne growing up in a secluded room, wondering when the war would be over, and coming to terms with the changes that were occurring physically and emotionally. There were parts when her family of Jews-in-hiding were almost discovered. As always when there's something that frightens me, I would grab my mom's hand and squeeze it with all my might until the scary part was over. In most movies, there is at least a happy ending to make up for all the pain or scariness in the middle. This was not the case in this movie. The end of the movie showed them being discovered by the Nazis. It showed the women crying, and fear written plainly on the men's faces. Anne's hands trembled as she tried to put on her shoes. Everyone was desolated, knowing full well that they would most likely never see each other again. As each was shown walking down the stairs, it showed their name, the concentration camp they were placed in, and the year they died. Most only a year after being discovered.

As much as I hated myself for it, I couldn't help it. I felt my stomach start churning, and my heart literally ached for those poor people. I felt hot tears run down my cheeks, and I tried as as hard as I could to stifle my sobs, ashamed that I was brought this low by something that caused only a shrug and a pang in the chest to most.

My family tries to sympathize. They try to understand, and make it go away. They try to reason with me. "It was a long time ago, Tori. It doesn't happen now." "They didn't even show the concentration camps."
I know that no one can understand. The fact that it was long ago does not change the fact that it happened. It does not change how wrong it was, and how sad it still is. Though, I feel that no one but me sees things this way.

I try to tell myself that God has made me perfectly. That he means for me to be so empathetic it hurts. He means for me to feel empathy towards a fictional character. But, I just don't understand. I care so much about people that I've never known, never met, that died years before my time. I care so much about fictional characters in books and movies that it hurts. While God may have meant me to be more empathetic than most, I can't understand why I had to have it this bad.

I've had many nights where I stay awake into the early hours of the morning, feelings as if I'm going to throw up. I desperately try to think of something, anything, other than this horrible thing I have seen so that I can close my heavy eyelids in peace. But it doesn't work. It never works. It's like telling yourself not to think about a pink elephant. It's all you'll think about.

While it hurts physically, it hurts more emotionally. I can't explain how hard it is to come to the conclusion that I will never to watch the things that some of my friends do. And I dread the day that they'll all go to see a movie and I'll have to say "no." Because it scares me, it disturbs me, it bothers me. I hate it that I have to watch the preteen TV shows because anything else scares me out of my wits.

And, despite the encouraging Psalm 139:14, I hate this aspect of myself. I don't understand why. Why do I have to be the one to bear everyone else's burdens, unnecessarily and uncontrollably? Why do I have to be the one who says "no" to the horror movies and things like that? When I cry about it, people tell me to stop. That there are worse things than not being able to sleep because a movie scared you. True. But they don't have to suffer the inner pain, physical and emotional, of extreme empathy. They don't have to live with the suppressed shame of not being able to handle something that my 11-year-old brother can. It's painful. And, as of now, I can't see the sunny side of it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Damsel In Distress - The Feminist Movement

The "damsel in distress" is an age-old story. Something terrible happens to the beautiful, young lady and she is heroically saved by the gallant and courageous knight in shining armor.
Many women today scoff at this idea. Their first response would be that the beautiful, young lady could've saved herself. She didn't need the assistance of the gallant and courageous knight.
I see where these women come from. They, along with the rest of the women in the world, are tired of being treated as if we are inferior to men. We don't like it that many of today's "men" use their greater physical strength and other aspects of a masculine personality to assert that they are "superior" to women, and use that power negatively.
I also, however, see the flaws of the feminist movement. As women, we have to be careful not to make the same mistake as the men did. We have to remind ourselves that we are not superior to men, but equal. This does NOT mean that women and men have the same jobs, and can do the same things. God designed women to be better suited for the home, to be fantastic, caring mothers and wives. God has assigned the task of providing for the family to the men. This has nothing to do with the women being incapable of doing what men do, or being inferior to them. This has to do with us having equal but different roles.
And, truthfully, I think that most women desire this. I don't know any lady, young or old, who doesn't desire to be protected. When I marry, I want to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my husband will protect me with his life. He won't let anything happen to me. If I'm ever in a dire situation, I don't want him to sit around saying, "I'll let you handle this since women are superior. You should be able to get out of this by yourself. You don't need me." No, I want him to rush in like that gallant and brave young knight and save me, whether I could save myself or not. It's always good to know that the man you spend the rest of your life with will always protect you.
Personally, I hope that someday I will be a damsel in distress. And, I hope that my husband will be the man that God has called him to be, and rescue me. And, I pray that I will become the woman that God has called me to be, and that I will allow him to fulfill his God-given destiny to protect me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Middle Tennessee Flood of 2010

You'll never guess what happened at our adoption sale yesterday. That's right - FLASH FLOOD. The water started rising very rapidly while we got alerts of tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, and severe thunderstorm warnings. IN A BARN!

We all made it home okay, seeing flooded homes, flooded interstates, people not being able to get home. The rain, flooding, and tornado warnings continued throughout the night. In my neighborhood alone, houses have been submerged, one house even caught fire and burned to the ground. People are being evacuated. Thankfully, we are on the highest point in our neighborhood. No flooding for us yet.

This is a video of yesterday at about 3:30. Keep in mind that the rain has not let up ALL NIGHT AND ALL DAY. And it will continue all day today, through the night, and maybe into tomorrow. MORE FLOODING. They're even closing down interstates. This video is our mad dash to get everything packed up so it didn't get ruined.

I also have some pictures (that I DIDN'T TAKE). They show how bad the flooding is here. But, trust me, I'm not stupid enough to go out in this weather.

The President has declared us a disaster zone. There's no telling what will happen next.