Sunrise: Day of Departure (Two Years Different, Part 1 of ???)

This is one piece I wrote that I hope to add to a little bit here and there.

It’s about my life after coming home from two years away at college.

It’s about coming home – two years different.


Quietly opening the sliding glass door to the balcony, as to not awaken my roommates, I slip out into the slightly chilly morning. It’s quiet – the only sounds come from the wind and cars here and there from a distance. It’s early. Really early. The sun is rising and I decided at some point last night that packing up two years of life into two suitcases was worthy of one night without sleep. I yawn.

And smile. I look out at the city that I’ve come to know as home. Of course from this balcony I can’t see the part of Sydney that the world sees in movies and in books, but I see the other apartment buildings around me and the corner of the shopping center where I spent plenty of time and money in order to make an unfurnished apartment as much like a home as possible. Not this apartment though.

Sadly, the college couldn’t keep leases open on all the apartments at the end of the school year, and my apartment was closed. As such, I luckily found a bedroom of another college peer who had already left for summer vacation, so I could stay there my final two weeks in Sydney. I was grateful to have a bed – was just hoping for a couch, after all.

Oh it’s beautiful – the sunlight as it gleams over the apartment complex. This complex is made up of, I don’t know, eight to ten buildings, all built at different times. The beautiful thing is that they put different water features and paths between the buildings, so I wasn’t just looking at buildings, I was looking at streams from fountains, and tiles of many different colors.

I’ve been so blessed to be here. How many people get to say in their lives that they’ve visited Sydney – and I got to actually live here for two amazing years.

But even so, I’m ready to leave. Actually, it’s more that I’m ready to come home – back to my family, my church, my friends. Back to the American culture I know and love. I’m ready to go back and see where God takes me. I dream of ministry and adventure and love.

I yawn again, and return to the apartment where one suitcase is still open, taunting me because I can’t get it all in. Two years of life, and some of it will have to be left behind. I guess that’s true of life though. You hang on to as much as you can, but as time marches on, you lose a little bit here and there.

But if we’re lucky, the most important things stick, no matter what we face.


Breathing Under Water

This poem (not my writing) was read at an event I went to this weekend. It’s very powerful. Enjoy.


I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.

And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,
– and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.
Without warning.

Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.

And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew, then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbours
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

Carol Bieleck, R.S.C.J. from an unpublished work


“…I’m sorry…” she says – her words marked by embarrassment and a false sense of humor.

Her apology for tears.

Tears that reveal her pain
Tears that point to her hope – unfulfilled

Streams of regret and doubt flowing down her cheeks
Streams washing away her mask of cover up, eye-liner, and apathy

Tears of vulnerability and weakness
Tears showing the world her humanity – her heart

Never apologize for tears.

Tears release pain
Tears clear the way for new dreams

Streams make new paths for joy and laugh lines
Streams wash away our false selves – making way for true identity

Tears connect one broken person to another
Tears show the world our humanity – our heart