The Victoria Library

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In Victoria, the library isn’t your typical little run down building with dusty shelves and books with the covers ripped off (yeah, I’m talking to you Broward Library, let’s at least pretend we care.)

Sorry, back to the point.

The State Library in Victoria is gorgeous. Built in 1854, it holds over 2 million books and 16,000 serials, as well as the armor of Ned Kelly, one of Australia’s criminal legends. Inside the library, the La Trobe reading room has a giant overhead dome, and was designed to hold over a million books and 500 readers at the old reading desks that extend out from the center of the room.

Books are kind of my thing, so this was one of my favorite spots so far along the trip. There’s something almost magical about books that were written a hundred years ago, and have somehow made their way into your hand at one exact moment. If you’re in Victoria, definitely go see the library.

“Books are threads from which the fabric of our culture and civilization are woven.”
– Richard W Clement (from the ribbon of words around the rotunda of the Victoria State Library)

xo. Brie

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Falling…

Do you ever experience that feeling where you’re in twilight sleep, just a few deep breaths away from really being out, and suddenly… you’re falling…

Down.

Down.

You keep falling until suddenly with no warning, you suddenly start. Your limbs jerk, body tenses, and you’re suddenly wide awake again.

Does this happen to you?

It does to me, and in more than just sleep. This often happens to me in life. I’m going along, going along, perhaps in some sort of twilight apathy, when suddenly something jumps out and makes me start. Something so intense and immediate it stops me in my tracks. And generally, I know I’m going to be different after this experience, that is, I hope I haven’t become so hard as to not let this start affect me.

I know I’m being vague, but I think you can probably relate.

Recently, this happened to me as I was struggling through some difficult life things. I’m realizing more and more that life is messy, fast, and unfair. And even in a situation where answers seem to be clear-cut, that is seldom the case.

So lately I’ve been struggling with not having the wants, drives and desires I know I should be having. It’s a classic case of “I know what I should do…I just don’t want to.” Yes I realize this makes me sound like a 3-year-old throwing a tantrum, but hear me out.

My struggle is, if God wants me to do certain things, and not do others, why don’t I do what I should, and why do I do what I shouldn’t? I simply couldn’t reconcile the two. I wanted to want what God wanted in my life, but the honest truth was, I didn’t. I really didn’t care either way. Hence the twilight sleep and apathy that were overtaking me.

And then it hit.

The start.

The answer to my question.

I should have known it was coming.

I was in the middle of a run, which seems to be where most of my thinking, reflecting, anger management and escapism take place, and suddenly, half-way across the Deerfield Bridge (and approaching the 5 mile mark), God spoke. He answered. And I understood.

“You’re treating the symptoms.”

…come again?

“You’re treating the symptoms, not the heart of the problem.”

And I understood. I wanted to want what God desired for my life, without spending enough time with him to know what that was. Instead, I was fighting to somehow in my own power want what I think he wanted for my life. (Yes, I realize I’ve said “want” and “wanted” like 57 times already, but try to bear with me).

The point is this. I didn’t need to go looking for what I thought God wanted me to do. I didn’t have to worry about why I was acting out and doing whatever I wanted. I needed to spend time with my God. I needed to cool the jets and just be with him. Talk to him. And let the change and directions soak into my soul.

So…this is a very long post. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You and my mom both. Two readers down!

But on a more serious note, I’m learning the hard way to not just treat the symptoms of life. It’s never as simple as it may seem, but go back to the heart of the issue. It all flows from there.

Peace.

Vulnerability: go big or go home?

Vulnerability has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.

People tell me “oh no, it’s liberating to let everything go and feel vulnerable.” Liars. Of course, I may eat those words later if that experience ever does happen, but as of now, I call foul.

I’ve been fixated the past few days on this idea of stripping down a person (insert inappropriate joke) to their truest self. In other words, what’s really under all the walls and layers people throw up and cover up with? What makes them tick?

To me, this is the truest level of intimacy; getting to really, truly know and understand a person. How they work, how they think, what makes them smile, what are their pet peeves, what makes them cry, and why?

I’m not suggesting that the physical stuff isn’t intimate, obviously it is, but in my opinion, something that can be cheaply given away in a one night stand is not the deepest level of intimacy. Because that can’t be given to someone; it has to be studied, it has to be learned over time. It takes commitment.

And that’s another word that bums me out.

I’m deeply committed to about four things: 1) Jesus Christ, 2) my family, 3) my friends, and 4) my inability to commit to anything other than the three aforementioned commitments. Yup. I’m in a strongly committed relationship with my commitment issues. Sad, I know.

But all of this realization has led me to wonder, why do we have to throw up walls in the first place? And why are we expected to be “ok” all of the time? I think in a perfect world this wouldn’t be necessary. We could be open and honest, and not fear getting hurt. And if we did, we would have the support and encouragement to properly heal.

Alas, life isn’t perfect. Things are messy. People are fallible and make mistakes. And when we’re vulnerable, we get hurt. And then you’re generally left with two options: 1) go numb, or 2) hurt like hell.

Those are terrible options if you ask me.

But I guess this is one of those “I don’t make the rules” situations. You just have to play the hand you’re dealt I suppose. And who knows, maybe those open and vulnerable people are onto something. I mean, go big or go home, right?

Worth it?

What are you worth?

It’s not hypothetical or even a trick question, so go on. Answer it. What are you worth?

Confused? Let me elaborate.

I was recently confronted with this question while talking with a few friends I haven’t seen in awhile. It was one of those great conversations where one minute we were discussing how the tall, skinny guy who just walked by obviously didn’t have a girlfriend because no self-respecting girl would let her significant other leave the house in socks that high and shorts that small. Then suddenly the direction changed and we were busily discussing human worth in the global economy. Not a light subject, but discussed over a bowl of non-fat cheesecake frozen yogurt topped with strawberries, kiwis and cheesecake bites, it seemed doable.

The question of worth assumes a few things. First of all, it assumes there is a scale on which we can measure worth that is based in something else. Maybe it’s a monetary scale. How much are you worth in dollar signs? This seems to be the scale our American culture bases a great deal of worth on. I mean let’s be honest; a CEO does not have the same worth as a plumber (that is until you need a plumber, then their worth seems to increase dramatically.)

So maybe that’s it? Maybe we measure worth based on what your value is to me? You can do this for me, therefore I value you. Worth here is assuming that we base importance off of getting something that we need or want. And we all do that, be honest. It’s not a pretty trait, but it is a human one. None of us really want to be seen as that shallow but in reality, our selfish nature is incredibly tough to shake.

The more we sat and talked about it though, the clearer it became that perhaps we were approaching the question from the wrong angle. What if, and this seems crazy, we didn’t require people to earn their worth, but we allowed them to already be enough.

What’s that?

What if, a person was already priceless? What if we abandoned this flawed sliding scale of importance in favor of the idea that the things a person does and the money (or lack thereof) that they possess is in no way tied to their worth? By separating these ideas, we not only go counter-culture, but I think we can more clearly begin to understand the level of love we are supposed to have for people.

Think about it. If I already see you as priceless, then no amount of money is going to shake that. If I see you as a treasure, then even if you never do anything for me, you’re still a treasure. Because your worth was never tied to my happiness or what I can get from you. See this is where that selfishness creeps in again. We base others worth off what they do instead of who they are.

So maybe this is a new thought for you like it was for me, or it’s very possible I’m just late to the party and discovering something most people already think about and discuss. Either way, it rattled me a bit to realize how much consumerism and our culture affects every single area of our lives. And I think it’s important for us to take a minute and recognize the framework that’s been built around us and if need be, break it down in favor of something better.