Heroes & The Hard Things

Hello Readers,

My heroes have been many different people over the years. Men and women, fictional and real, famous or unknown, these people have inspired me. They have made me try harder, reach further, dig my feet in when the world tries to pull me off the edge.

I want to surpass my heroes. I want to dig in deeper, fight harder, be smarter. I want to fight like my life is too short to care about what people think of me. I want to sing when I feel a song in my soul, I want to write the words that buzz in my fingers, I want to tell people I love them without reserve or “only when”s.

I want to do all these things, and I try to do them, but the fact remains that I get scared.

This life feels long to me. The songs too awkward, the people too broken, the words too hard.

But the truth is, this life isn’t long. And I can’t do the hard things. But He can, so I don’t need to be strong. I am weak, I know this, but if God is strong, then I can be too.

Somehow, it’s hard to remember this.

It’s hard to sing when you sometimes forget the tune and your voice wavers.

It’s hard to write when the words don’t flow and things don’t make sense, when the plot doesn’t come together and the characters don’t seem genuine.

It’s hard to tell people you love them when you don’t always feel like you do. When they do things that you don’t love and it’s hard to remember to see the person and not the filth they are smearing on themselves.

The things we want to do, need to do, are hard.

But I hope I will do them. Today and tomorrow and the next day. The next week. This year. Next year.

And at the end of my life, I hope I will stand before my Maker, my first and last Hero, and look him in the eyes as my knees shake and tremble because my inspiration, the comforter of my soul, is standing in front of me. I hope that while I stand in front of him, my mouth dry and a grin on my face, that I will force out the words “I did my best with what you gave me.” That I will mean them. That then, the words will tumble and I will tell my Father what I did.

I wrote the words that you put into my soul. I sang the songs that you handed me to sing. I loved the people you put into my life. I followed in your footsteps.

This is what I want to be able to say.

All of my heroes are fighters.

I hope I will be one too.

I want to fight to write the words that He’s given me, to sing the songs that play on repeat in my heart, to love everyone with open arms.

This is my heart, and it is many of yours. So let’s fight for this.

May the grace and strength of God allow us to do so.

~Ruby

Who are your heroes? What do you want to say at the end of your life? 

I’m Not Enough and That’s A Good Thing

Hello Readers,

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is a personal battle of mine. I’m sure that many of you feel this struggle I’m about to describe, but even if you don’t, it still can be applicable.

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Or, you know, deep introspection. Huns works too, though.

I’m good at borrowing guilt, or “borrowing depravity”. I will feel guilty about things I have never done (and things I would never want to do) simply because I feel the need to wallow. Simply because I think if I’m not reminded of my own depravity, I might get an ego. Because I feel the need to wallow in my own sinfulness instead of His righteousness. If you’re nodding your head right now in understanding, let me tell you something.

That’s the Devil talking. Not God.

I like to remind myself that I’m not enough (more on this concept in a bit). Maybe I think that’s humility. Beating yourself up is humility, right?

Wrong.

 

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That’s not humility, it’s not even close.

So what, if I’m not enough? So what, if I fail expectations and fall on my face now and again? Reminding myself of that does not make me humble. It might not even be fully true.

Humility is defined as follows:

a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.

A modest view of my own importance is not focusing on what a horrible person I could potentially be. In fact, that’s the opposite of humility; what I’m doing in focusing on my errors and shortcomings and potential for wickedness is focusing again, upon myself. That’s not a modest view of how important I am, now is it? The world doesn’t revolve around us, it doesn’t revolve around me.

 

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You’d think we’d have figured out this concept by now, right? Wrong.

 

I know this, but it always manages to give me a shock when I’m reminded of it.

Going back to the “I’m not enough” statement now. Which is absurd. I’m not enough for God, most definitely. But when has he ever required me to be enough? This is the God that loved me when I was drowning in my own sin. This is the God who did not just drag me out of that hell, but the God who died the most excruciating death just so I would never have to feel my own sin coating my throat ever again.

So yea, I’m not enough.

Yea, I’m human. Yea, I mess up. I’m not ever going to be enough, I’m not ever going to succeed at everything, I’m not ever going to be right all the time. And I’ll be honest, that thought scares me, when I really let it sink in.

But here’s the flip side of that.

Jesus is/was/will be enough. Jesus already succeeded at everything; even defeating death, which strikes fear into all that meet it. Jesus will always be right.

So yea, I write to you now as a messy teenager, confused by the struggles in her head and knowing without a doubt that I’m not enough. I worry too much, I don’t know all the answers but I act like I know them and I get too heated about little things. I’m not enough.

And that’s more than ok.

Actually, that’s the greatest thing ever. I’m not enough, so He became enough. I wasn’t enough, so instead of leaving me there, in my not enough state, He hugged me close and informed me that the burden was no longer mine to bear.

So if you find yourself being reminded that you’re not enough, look that straight in the face and tell it yes with a smirk. You aren’t enough. But you aren’t meant to stay there, staring into the mirror and crying.

That has no power over you anymore.

Jesus doesn’t want you to stay there, looking at your hands and seeing how small and frail they are; too fragile to hold the weight they should be carrying.

He wants you to look at his hands, scarred and calloused. He wants you to see his wrists, where your burden found its final rest.

My friends, we are not meant to stay staring our depravity in the face. We were meant to defeat it. We were meant, you were meant to move past it, to refuse it any ground.

So if you find yourself trying to borrow guilt or depravity because you feel the need to remind yourself of your depravity, remember that Jesus is enough.

He doesn’t want you walking around with your head down and shoulders hunched, so why are you doing it, my friend?

Walk with your head high. Keep walking. Don’t look back to see if the shadows still look the same.

Keep on walking in the sun.

You are loved, no matter who you are, where you’re at in life, if you’re a church kid or want nothing to do with God, doesn’t matter where you call your home or who you call your family.

What matters is that you’re not enough, but He is.

~Ruby Sky

 

 

 

 

 

A Poem Made Of Hymns and Worship Songs

Hello Readers,

The words fail to come to my fingers, my friends. They swirl in my head but don’t look right on paper. Like a misspelled word or a painting turned sideways. I want to write a poem, but I do not have the words to one. I can not write because what I have been saved from is overwhelming. I have a debt paid for that I can not explain in the simple words I know.

But that’s alright. The words will come. Until then, I can only rehash the words I know to be true. The words that have given me so much comfort.

Take heart, we are not in control.

there is power in the name of Jesus.

though satan should buffet, though trials should come…

make my life a prayer to you.

amazing grace,

how

sweet

the

sound

it is well, it is well

amazing grace

that

saved

wretch like me

there is power in the name of Jesus

i want toi need to

be more like Jesus. 

prone to wander

lord, i feel it.

Amazing grace

it is well

with

my

soul. 

nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand,

in Jesus.

it’s your breath in my lungs

hallelujah

your love broke through

~Ruby

(all lyrics are not mine)

The Sea’s Calling

Hello Readers!

 

I’m sorry for the long hiatus, and I wish I had a good reason for it. I simply couldn’t think of what to write.

I don’t know how to write what I am feeling because I do not understand it completely myself. And if you can’t understand it, how do you explain it to other people? How do you explain things that you don’t know?

I’m scared. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I feel like a walking contradiction.

I’m moving, as some of you know, and I know it’s time to go. But the thing is, knowing it’s time to go doesn’t mean I don’t feel sad.

Lots of people think that kids like me, moving around a lot, don’t really care when it’s time to pack up and move because we can feel the sea calling. But we do.

I miss things, I’ve missed things my whole life, and that’s fine. It’s the way it goes, and for everything I miss there is something different to discover. Something new, something exciting, maybe something better.

It’s always scary walking out into the unknown, leaving what you do understand behind. You don’t know if this new world will accept you, or if you will accept it. But I have learned that there is always beauty to be found, always wonderful people to meet, and that everywhere you go there is God.

It all happens so fast. You talk and talk about moving, and you know it will happen, and then one day you wake up and somebody is moving your couch out, you’re taking down posters, and then you know. And it’s not a bad thing, knowing it’s time. It just shocks you for a bit and then you realize that you get to go out into the world again. You get to meet new people, make a difference in a different way.

I believe moving is a good thing. I know this next move will be good for my family. And I know it’s time to go, because I can feel it.

Missing things is like listening to the sea. It’s there and you know it, and sometimes you can sit there and listen to it, but other times, you have to move beyond the warm beach and dive into the freezing water. There are things that must be done and you can not listen to the water forever. You have to get out there.

I am excited for a new opportunity, I am excited for a new house, a new schedule, a new way of doing things.

But I will not forget the old ones.

~Rubix

The Reality of Failing Expectations

Hello Readers,

I have been struggling a lot lately with thinking that I have failed people. Struggling with the fact that I can not always live up to people’s expectations of me. And it’s hard, it really is, to not be all that someone thinks you are.

To not be able to reach that high bar they ask you to jump and touch.

But it’s okay. I have to tell myself this over and over. It is okay to not be able to be all that you think you are or that someone else thinks you are. There is only one expectation in the world that matters.

God’s.

And God promises that he’s not going to expect more of us than we can give. He isn’t going to ask us to jump higher than we can. He knows our limitations and he is not going to be disappointed if we can’t go past them.

I try so hard to be all that people ask of me, and I need to stop worrying about people, and focus on God’s expectations of me. If I reach God’s expectations, that is all that matters.

I don’t need to feel ashamed or guilty for not doing the impossible.

But at the same time, this doesn’t give me a free pass to not try hard, to not try to reach my parent’s expectations or my friends’, but I do need to stop worrying about it as much as I do.

The time that I spend worrying, I could be using much better elsewhere.

I am going to fail people’s expectations. And that’s okay. It really is. As long as I focus on the kingdom of my Heavenly Father and his goals and his purpose for me, that is all that matters. Not the love of men, but the love of God.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~Mathew 6:33

As much as I would love to always be what people expect, or to be as mature or as spiritual or reaching as much people as they want me to, I know that I can not always match it.

I can’t always jump as high as I’m asked.

And that’s okay. I don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed. You don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed.

My friends and parents have been telling me a lot lately that condemnation is not of God, but of Satan. And as I’m writing this, I feel the love of the Father, not disappointment at not reaching man’s standards. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

I won’t pretend like I understand it all, and that I’m not struggling with this and that I figured it all out, because it still bugs me. It still claws at my heart, trying to jump in and smother me with guilt and shame.

But you know what?

I’m not going to accept it. I refuse the guilt and the shame.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~John 14:27 

I accept the peace of the Father and not the guilt of Satan.

I refuse the feeling of failure, because I have not failed my God, I have not failed my parents, I have not failed the people who love me and know me well. I will not be overcome by failure. I accept the peace of God.

So yes, I may have failed man, but I am loved by God.

When it comes down to it, that’s all that matters.

I just need to remember it. It’s hard to hear the quiet still voice when your mind turns on you like a pack of wild dogs.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~Mathew 11:28

I don’t have to take the yoke of men that is heavy and that I can’t carry, I can accept the light yoke of my Shepherd.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to cast off this guilt and shame and take up the mercy and love of my Father.

~Ruby

The Question That Plagues Us

Hello Readers,

There are some very important questions we ask ourselves in life, and one that penetrates almost every season of our life is only three words.

Who am I?

Am I a hero? Am I brave? Am I strong? Am I courageous? Do I have what it takes?

Who am I?

Am I a good friend? Am I a gossip? Am I annoying? Am I good? 

Am I loving? Am I a leader? Am I a follower? Am I worldy? Am I a musician? A writer? A long lost poet? An artist? Am I smart?

Am I a prodigal? Or am I the elder son?

Who am I?

We shout this question into the abyss and all we get is an echo. We try on so many masks, whispering the question into the mirror. We try on different faces, different clothes, trying to figure out which one is us. Trying to find ourselves in a world of people who don’t know who they are. Trying on different jobs, different personalities, different labels, trying to find ourselves in this huge world.

Who am I?

I don’t know all of who I am, I might never know, but I do know this.

I am loved. I am a child of God. I am gifted. I am protected.

I don’t know what I will be twenty years from now. I might be an author, I might be a teacher, a counselor, I might be a math teacher for all I know.

I don’t know who I will be, but I do know this about myself.

I am God’s.

So when I look in the mirror and that question echoes through my head, I know how to answer.

Who are you, Ruby?

I am God’s.

So in a world full of changes, full of catastrophes, full of identity crisis, full of questions, I can say one thing bravely through all of it.

I am a child of the One True King.

~Rubix

 

 

Weeping For A Foundation

Hello Readers,

Recently in my Bible, I have been reading in 1&2 Kings, and then 1&2 Chronicles. Now, after much reading about kings and their deeds and the lineage, I have reached Ezra. This morning, I got down from my bunk bed, bleary eyed and cold, as I went to go make breakfast and coffee for myself and the rest of the Chitlin Clan (for future reference, that is what I will be referring to my siblings as). After that was taken care of, and I was awake, I went down to my desk and opened up my Bible to Ezra chapter 3.

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I use an ESV Study Bible, and the one pictured above is my personal one.

And then, as I got to the end, when they were rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 3:8-13) a couple verses caught my eye.

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Ezra 3:11b-12 “And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid…”

Can you imagine what those old men must’ve felt? Their nation had been through so much, and the temple had been destroyed (again). They probably didn’t know whether they’d live to see it rebuilt again. And now they look on as the younger generation takes their place and rebuilds the temple.

Can you hear it? The people shouting for joy?

Can you feel the excitement in the air?

God’s people are shouting and lifting up their voices in praise, and then there are these old priests, these old men who have served their God faithfully and tried to teach their children to follow, old men who have watched as their nation suffered and they wrung their hands and cried out to God.

And these old men are seeing the temple being put back up again. They probably had sons working on the temple.

Can you imagine how they felt when the last stone was in place for the foundation of something they had worked so hard to achieve?

They wept.

They wept and shouted and lifted their old wrinkled hands to the sky.

And if you looked around, in that moment, everyone was shouting and crying, everyone was rejoicing.

But none more so than these old priests, who lived to see their greatest hope rebuilt. They were weeping, they were so overcome.

Isn’t that such a beautiful picture?

An old priest, watching his sons, his friends’ sons, rebuild the temple that had been taken from him, the temple that he longed to serve his God in, and he just lifts his hands to the sky as tears stream down his face and he shouts as loud as he can.

Because the temple is being rebuilt.

~Rubix

 

 

Why I Want To Hear More "Boring" Testimonies

Hey Readers,

You’ve all heard the classic redemption stories, the ones that make your heart burn and your soul go “Thank God for saving them. Thank God.” We hear the stories about people who have been saved from drugs, immorality, prison, and all of these awful, awful things. But they’ve come back, and they’re living for our Heavenly Father. And that’s amazing. And that is so, so powerful, don’t get me wrong. I love those exciting testimonies.

But when I was younger, I was so scared that was going to become my testimony. I added apologies for “if I do bad things in college” or “please, God, don’t let me stray. I don’t want to stray. Keep me safe from the world.” to my talks with God. I was so scared and insecure of my own strength, because I knew, that if left to my own vices, I’d pick the world over my God. That broke my little ten year old heart into bits.

I brought up my fears once to my cousin, and she also related to this, and she prayed with me, read me some Bible verses and gave me a hug. Love her to death, she is an amazing person to go to with problems like that. It quieted me for a time, but then I was worried again. So worried about what might happen to my relationship with God. I didn’t want to wander. I wanted to stay with him forever, and only begin to stray, but for Him to catch me and bring me back before it got bad.

My testimony is simple and short. There is no major sin, no major falling and coming out of the dark. I was six, and my parents taught me to love their God, but this was the first time He became my God. I was outside playing and it just… clicked. I knew and loved Him. And I ran inside, grinning and told my parents, “I was a sheep and I was lost. And Jesus came and brought me home.” And He’s been bringing me back home ever since.

I’ve heard the testimonies of the kids who’s parents are leaders in the church who never really got it. I’ve heard the ones about people who grew up in that atmosphere and rebelled, going wild in their college years before coming back. I’ve heard the stories about the people who have sinned and lied and thieved and gone to jail multiple times before loving and accepting my Jesus as theirs. I’ve heard the stories of people who have tried every other religion but mine. I’ve heard so, so many stories of going from the dark to the light.

But where’s the stories of the kids who grew up, loving and respecting their parents, and taking Jesus as their savior and meaning that first sinner’s prayer with all of their soul. Where is the stories of the people who listened to the Gospel on their grandparent’s knees, and still live by it. Where is the stories of the families who all worked in the church together and loved it, and meant it?

Because these stories are there. Because that is my story. That is my mom’s story. That is my aunt and uncle’s story. My grandparent’s story. My cousins’ story.

I want to know that there is hope. Hope that we can stay on the straight path. That we can not wander too far. Because all we hear are the broken stories, so we forgot how to be whole.

We know how to be broken. We know how to fake it. We can be plastic broken people because that is all we know.

But there are real whole people out there. Those who aren’t faking it, that mean every word they pray with their entire being, that have been meaning it since the time they were old enough to understand.

My dad tells this story of when he went on a trip with a bunch of teenagers as a leader, and they took turns sharing their testimonies, and it’s this girl’s turn.

She stands up and says, “I was saved from drugs, from sexual immorality, from going to prison…” and she goes on and lists all these awful things, and she’s only thirteen, and my dad is thinking “Oh no, I’m going to have to tell her to stop lying, because how on earth is she saved from all of this? I know her. She’s a good kid.”

But then she says, “I was saved from all of these things, because I was blessed by God with parents who have taught me to walk in His ways.”

That makes me want to cry every time he tells this story. Because we can be whole. We don’t have to stray, we don’t need to wander. We can remain in God’s care for all of our lives.

Isn’t that amazing?

We don’t have to fall so far into the darkness to see the light. We can live in the light. We can live in the light. We can live in the light of our God. 

        For all of our lives until he calls us home.

Sometimes people will say they have been “re-saved”, they’ll say things such as “I didn’t mean it. I was too young to understand.”

It was seven years ago when I was first saved. And I know so much more about God now, yes, but it all goes back to that first statement of faith. Everything, do you understand, everything, goes back to this one statement.

“I was a sheep, and I was lost, and Jesus found me and brought me home.”

I didn’t understand everything I know now seven years ago, I don’t understand everything now that I will in seven years, and in seven years, I still won’t know it all. And that does not matter. At all. Because all I have to know, is that I was lost, and now I’m found, and I am Jesus’s now. That is all that matters.

And I will be his. For the rest of my life. And I will be whole and I will be real and I will tell everyone without shame the day the six year old me realized who God was.

I am not ashamed of my “boring” testimony. I will never be ashamed of my testimony. I will share it in the same room as the ex-drug addicts and people who have been saved from a life of darkness. My testimony has the same power as theirs.

Do not be ashamed of your testimony. For it is yours, and it is amazing and special and will change someone’s life.

It doesn’t need to be big or impressive, or extremely touching. Because it is the day God changed your life, and it is meaningful. So, so meaningful. Hold your head up high and tell it with joy.

I was a sheep. 
         I was lost.
         I knew I was a sinful human.
        And then I knew. And now I know.
        The Creator of the Galaxies is holding my hand. 
        And he’s brought me home time and time again.
      I’m not leaving his side. 

~Rubix

A Conversation With Myself/Christmas Post

Dear Readers,

Well, I feel like I should write something. I’ve been lazy, lately. Haven’t written a word… No poems, none of my book, not even cruddy fan fictions. I really should be scared. I really should write.

But…

I don’t waaaaannnnnnnnaaaaaa!

I can’t churn out any awe-inducing poems, write any emotionally charged scenes, can’t write a blog post about Christmas, for Durin’s sakes. I am a writer who isn’t writing. And as one of my favorite quotes says…

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.

Therefore, I need to write something.

But what to write?

I could write a long blog post about the deep meanings in the last season of Doctor Who, I could write about how making a ginger bread house with my family is an old, old tradition and it feels good to have a tradition to hold on to, I could write a poem about Christmas, and it might not even be that corny…

But there’s no magic in my fingers. No spark in my mind. No twinkle in my eye or spring in my step. My feet drag on the floor to my computer and I give it a disinterested look. No, this writer does not want to write. Not at all.

This writer says “Bah humbug!” and refuses to write a nice inspiring blog post about Christmas that you all could use.

Honestly, this writer needs to get over herself.

I need to write.

Cause that’s what I am, isn’t it? A writer?

Ah, but I think another reason why I don’t want to write is because I am scared. Scared? Yes, I’m scared.

I’m scared that whatever I write won’t be good enough, because I want to write about Christmas. (Well, we’re getting somewhere, at least I want to write now!)

Christmas? Christmas isn’t scary, is it?

When you want to write about it, it is. Yes, yes it is.

When you want everyone to know how you feel, how this one day changed your life, not just your life, but everyone ever to live has been changed by this date.

No pressure, right?

I’m scared I won’t be able to do Christmas justice.

Actually, I know I won’t be able to do it justice.

Because I can not put into words or thoughts how much Jesus loves me.

I can’t describe this all encompassing feeling of peace and love and joy. And yes, we are celebrating his birth in a little bit, but we also know that this baby who was born on this date died, oh how painfully he died, for a bunch of people who were as disgusting as the filth on the streets he walked upon.

We celebrate life, joy, and peace. But there is, at least for me, a small foreshadowing feeling. When you realize just how small you are. How unworthy of this little crying baby’s life.

Oh, but you get it anyway. You get to be clean and pure because this little baby, Jesus, Emmanuel, He was born to die.

      For a bunch of low life sinners.

And no matter what we say or do, we don’t deserve that.

But He doesn’t care. He loves us. He loves the filthy humans we are and loves to forgive us.

It doesn’t end. This love, this all encompassing love does not end for us. It is new every day, it does not wane, does not fade, and it loves more than you can believe.

There is no condemnation in him. While we don’t deserve this precious gift, he gives it to us, and he does not want us to blame ourselves, or beat ourselves up. We are human. We make mistakes. We hurt and are hurt.

And this baby came to love us, and to die for us.

And that one gift changed my life. Forever.

And this is why I am not going to write a series of posts about Christmas. I only had one of these in me, only one chance to tell you about this Jesus.

Because I could write novels and novels and not even scratch the surface of how much he loves me.

How do you fit that into a blog post? This love and peace and this joy! Oh, this joy. It has made the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the stone hearted love. This joy has carried me through this earth, and it will carry me out again.

Glory to God!

~Rubix

 

A Longing

Hello Readers,

I think, for me, as someone who’s never lived somewhere for more that four years of her life, I understand even more clearly what it’s like to not belong.

To stick out.

I’ve been sticking out all my life. In other cultures, I stick out easily. When I come back, I stick out because I’ve been impacted by these cultures, by what I’ve learned, by the way I’ve grown up. I just generally don’t belong in a place, with people.

I don’t have a “group”. I get along easily with people, I can relate to many things. But I feel like, sometimes, just… a little lonely.

Little out of place.

Little homesick.

For a place I’ve never been.

For people I’ve never met.

For noises I’ve never heard and things I’ve never touched.

Christians as a general rule are supposed to feel this. But when you live in the same house all your life, grow up with the same people, marry someone you know inside and out and have for your whole existence on this planet, you kind of forget just who we are.

We are a peculiar people.

We don’t belong here. We’re just visiting, we’re just here for a small while, and then we’re going to go home. See our Father again.

And it’s really easy for people to forget that. Feel comfortable.

But I’ve been living with it my whole life. This constant ebbing for a place, a home, somewhere I’ve never been. Because no place I go ever satisfies me completely, no place is as like home as I remembered it in my mind. But sometimes the ache is quieter, calmer, not as strong. And that’s when I’m with people who I know are going to be going back Home with me. But sometimes I feel…

A heartache for someone I’ve never seen.

A longing for somewhere I’ve never been.

Wanting to feel things I’ve never felt.

This is who I am.

~Rubix