My Messy Versailles

I’ve gone for too long living like I’m not alive

So I’m gonna start over tonight, beginning with you and I.

My room looks like an absolute disaster at the moment. The rejected clothes I tried on this morning are sprawled out on my floor and my bed, basking in the new scenery and loving the freedom of not being balled up in a drawer. Little do they know they’ll return tomorrow morning, when I might find the time to pick them up. My desk has contents vital to my school existence shrewn about, grazing the carpet and Ikea swivel chair with such leisure, like they truly belong there. Messy and un-bothered.

The thing is, this circus that I’m living in, this disastrous palace of books and clothes and music, is exactly like the chaos in my heart. Instead of golden leaves, my Versailles is decorated with words and prayers hiding in every corner. Some are shinier than others, but my life is filled with them. My castle isn’t made of stone and chandeliers. It’s made of dried-up pens and tattered journals and quotes and books. It’s made of me. 
Every morning just the same, since the morning that we came, to this poor provincial town.
My life has been a circus. And I’ve been in every single act and show, and I’m constantly on the road. It’s been ingrained into my routine to think of what’s ahead of me in my day instead of truly enjoying the moment I’m in. I feel like I haven’t been truly at home in the longest time. So, I decided to quit. I did actually. I quit my job. I’m slowing down ever so slightly. I’m cleaning my palace bit by bit. Like Belle sings in Beauty and the Beast, every day and anxious feeling becomes the same. The circus is relentless. Somehow we manage as teenagers, but our hearts are tired from the anticipation and we’re sticky from all the cheap cotton candy gunk. We may appear to be good jugglers, but sometimes we drop a ball and it all comes crashing down.
There must be more than this provincial life!
I know there’s more to living than acting in a pretend circus. I have to remind myself of this every minute I worry about things I can’t control, or how I look, or what the future will bring. Every minute that I spend worrying about these things is a minute I could be spending in prayer, a minute talking to someone I love, a minute writing, a minute laughing.

It snowed for the first time a few days ago. The puffy, dry, fleshy snowflakes that don’t really fall down, but dance around in the cold air like they’re lost and can’t decide where to land. Like they love the snowflake next to them too much and want to keep twirling with them until the sun shines again. These are my favorite snowflakes. The wonderful thing about them is that we are forced to enjoy them in the very instant they are there. When one lands on you, you have to stare at it and ponder it’s every intricate detail before the whole masterpiece melts on your coat and disappears forever. Kind of like the moments in our lives. So often we miss the masterpiece because we’re in a hurry. This is exactly how I’ve felt for months on end. But I’m done. I’m quitting the circus. I’m sticking my tongue out at the sky and letting mini treasures land on my tongue and melt into my cracked lips. I wish I could see the future. All I know is that this winter season my heart has been in might be coming to an end. This rose is blooming. 

This past weekend, I went on a retreat with the peer counseling group at my school. We had a blast goofing off and forgetting about the world, especially when we went zip-lining and did a high ropes course in the snow. The flakes fell all day. What I realized on this retreat is that teenagers, and everyone really, endure incredible amounts of pain. Sometimes we just can’t handle it. Our hearts feel like they erode from the acidic pain until we’re completely numb. So numb that we think life isn’t worth it anymore.

But right there is when we need to wake up from the numbness and make ourselves realize how real we are. Our hearts explode every second from combinations of pain and joy. We are so real, and the poverty we suffer is a need to feel worth. But how can we not see that a beating heart is worth it? A mind that thinks incredible thoughts and hearts that feel such intensity that we erupt? We are worth it, because there’s a God who put us where we are for a reason. Through the pain we suffer, we might be someone else’s reason for staying alive. We might be the spark they need. There is a man who really did die an excruciating death for us, so that we can live and be sure of getting to heaven. We are loved so immensely by a God that never leaves us. He flushes the acidic pain from our hearts and is ready to flood our souls with real, refreshing water. We are meant to live. We are meant to be alive. We will change the world and find joy if we can hold Christ’s hand through the pain we’re feeling now. He has felt it all before, and all he offers is his love and grace. And we will be swept away. He’ll dance with us in our own ballroom of our own Versailles, wherever that may be. Until the day that we will see him face-to-face, and our hearts will literally explode with joy. And no more pain will ever exist, ever.

Breathe with me. Let’s watch icy miracles drift from a concrete sky. Let’s go to the edge of the earth together and dance until the pain evaporates. Our cold hands will tremble with joy. We’ll shiver because we are alive.

Lord Jesus, thank you that I’m breathing easier. Thank you for this messy life, and please carry us when we feel that life is too much. Remind us of your grace. In your name, scatter the demons that lie to us. Instead, consume us with your truth. Fill our lungs with overwhelming passion to pursue our dreams, especially the ones that scare us. And dance with us in our cluttered and chaotic palaces, until the glorious day that we finally come home to you.

 Speaking of the French…
Historically accurate Belle

Crazy sisters
I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord
Isaiah 66:9

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