Remember the days of being in middle school and learning about all the places in the world you could travel to? I couldn't either until I was cleaning my room last week and found my old, 250+ bullet list of things I wanted to do before I die, also known as my bucket list. Let me tell you that this was one of the stupidest things I have ever written. I decided to update it and shrink it. After careful consideration, I have created my new version of my bucket list, comprised of 25 items.
Subscribe to our
Friday night football games, late night parking lot hangouts and the importance of your last name is what primarily makes up living in a small town. Even though I was not originally from my small town in grew up in it. Don't get me wrong I love certain things about it and has its certain perks but it wasn't like the movies.
Football, football and more football is what my small town revolved around. If you didn't play football then what we're you in this town. To me, this was a small minded out look but who am I to judge. I love football but I don't feel I should be degraded for not wanting to play. Not playing doesn't revoke my "man card" or make me any less than what I am.
Second thing that kills me is if you do not have the right name then you are once again, a nobody. My parents not being from here made me a nobody. Eventually, throughout high school I made a name for myself and people grew to respect me. Even though I did make a name for my self not everyone knew me so opportunities others had I did not have the fortune of getting. My name is also not who I am it is just what I identify by and should not change your view of the person I am.
One side of this small town that I loved though was late night parking lot hangouts. It may seem a nuisance to many but we never harmed anyone and just chilled. It was a good feeling tired have a group of people to just chill with and not worry about being in trouble. The police see it as a bad thing but worse things could've been done. I've met many people that I would have never normally talked to if we're not for a metal meeting ground.
Don't think I didn't like my town there are a lot of amazing things about here. I just wanted to touch on the few things that drove me crazy. To my friends and family that may read this, I just want let you know I love you and you are the reasons I loved my community.
Stay cool this summer with some trending reads from our creators!
Welcome to a new week at Odyssey! As we weather the hottest days of summer, here are some fresh articles from our response writers to read by the pool...
The average person spends about 26 years sleeping in their life.
This is a response to Harnessing the Power of Words to Empower Your Mind.
Is your screen time getting too high for your liking? Here are some fun alternatives to spend your free time.
This is a response to Social Media Or Soul Media.
A poem for those going through a tough time.
This is a response to Top Five Poems to Read When You Feel Like Crying.
Congratulations to all the writers! We'll continue to spotlight top response articles every week on our homepage and in our Overheard on Odyssey newsletter. Subscribe here!
Want to spend the rest of your summer being creative, and getting paid? Our summer writing program is still accepting new members! As a response writer, you'll write one article per week. Your work will be shared across Odyssey's website, newsletter, and social media platforms. Plus, you'll be compensated by HQ at $10/response for your first 10 articles.
To get started, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!
This poem explores the depths and power of hope, and how long we'll hold on to it when everything around us points towards failure.
Will you hold hope for a blue sky even when the gray is endless?
All she sees through the window is blue,
Even as the rain pours and the fog clouds the Earth.
An echoing memory of a color she longs to see,
A feeling she longs to feel.
The sky has long turned to gray and soon it will be dark,
But she sits on her windowsill and imagines
What it would be like to walk over the clouds,
Leave the graying world behind,
And see the colorful sky hiding above.
She can see the blue of the sky,
The blue of your eyes,
Even when they aren't there,
Far away, hidden.
She tricks herself into believing a reality
She's construed in her head.
Hope for a blue sky,
Even when the clouds weigh down and the rain pours endlessly,
And yet she sits on her windowsill,
And she hopes that the sky will turn blue eventually,
She hopes that the night will come
and when the sun rises, so will the clouds.
The only color outside the window is gray,
But, she'll still see the blue
Because it's all she has left of the sky,
And it's all she has left of you.
The beauty in leaning on Christ
"It will be okay."
Words I'm sure you force to run through your mind about as often as I do. Some days it's easier to believe than others, but it's something you just continue telling yourself whether you believe it or not. So as a person that understands let me just tell you something… it is okay.
It's okay to be okay, but it's also okay to worry. Now, don't hear me wrong. We are told that God does not give us the spirit of fear, and that is beyond true. Worry and fear and doubt, those are all things that are part of our weakness as human beings. They are all things that God didn't intend for us to have to encounter in His perfect vision for His creation. But now, they are all things that Christ wants us to fight through because when we fight through them, we find ourselves leaning that much more on Him and growing in Him more than we could ever imagine.
People have told me all my life, "you worry too much" or "you know, you really shouldn't worry so much." But, it's part of who I am. It's a weakness that reminds me just how much I need my Lord to be in my life every single day. There is nothing more incredible than coming home from a day that has me choking back tears with my blood pressure through the roof and questioning every decision I've ever made or will make, picking up my Bible, and immediately being put at ease by what God has to say to me.
Now, it's not always that simple. There are some days that nothing, and I mean nothing can bring me the peace that I am longing for. No book of the Bible, no verse, no worship song… nothing can suffocate the worrying beast inside of my mind. It's on those days that I just have to be patient. I have to remind myself of the Lord's infinite and perfect patience with me and try to reflect that the best I can. On those days I pray and I write. I do my best to make sense of whatever is plaguing my brain, but also have to remember that even if I can't make sense of it, I just have to keep faith that God is in control.
Keeping faith. Something that's easier said than done. And if you're like me, you question God way more than you should. Something happens that just does not make sense in any capacity and you just ask "why?" "Why did you have to close the door on that incredible opportunity?" "Why was I so wrong about what I thought you wanted for my life?" "Why did he have to leave me?" "Why do I disappoint the people I love?" "Why am I not good enough?" "Why did you choose me for this task?" "Why am I in this season of life?"
Then a new a wave of worry hits me. One that involves guilt. Why am I not strong enough in my walk and my faith to not question God? I am already so unworthy of His grace and mercy, and now I just feel unworthy of His love on top of it all. He deserves my full faith and trust and yet it is a battle everyday to be at peace and trust in Him. In my heart I know that He is more than enough to fulfill me, yet the everyday rejection of the world still consumes me. Why don't I radiate His joy everyday, knowing that I have the greatest joy in my salvation? Why don't I scream of my awesome God to the whole world? How do I have the right to be sad when I live an amazingly blessed life and above all, have Christ as the Lord of my life? Am I really genuine in my faith and am I putting enough into my walk if these things are still holding me down? Why do I doubt His power?
But then I am reminded that God is patient. He has made me in His image. He loves me. He wants me. I am enough for Him. Even the parts of me that annoy or bother other people will never push Him away. I might not talk a lot, but He talks to me daily. I may worry about the future, but He has my future in His hands. I may feel completely worthless, but I mean the world to Him. He had me in mind from the very beginning and was patient enough to craft me exactly how He deemed good, so He is patient enough for me to find Him continually throughout each and every day.
So though the spirit of fear and worry is not something that God wants us to have in our lives, don't write it off as the worst thing just yet. Should we let it consume us? No. Do we need to recognize that it is something Christ wants us to fight? Yes. Will it be easy? No. Will it make us feel completely worthless and helpless more than we'd like? Most definitely. But, that is where the beauty of the gospel and power of Christ can intervene. Jesus uses the broken and unworthy. As we battle daily in the name of the Lord, we grow in Him. But it has to be a battle. When we let it completely consume us and simply accept it is where the devil will be able to attack at full force. Don't give him the upper hand. Christ is worth fighting for. Therefore, you are worth fighting for.God will never let a moment of pain or anguish go to waste for His children, just like the cross was not and never will be a waste.
I do not cry.
I am not strong, nor do I aspire to be.
I do not cry.
Tears may be shed at every occasion, but my eyes remain dry. Every voice tells me to cry, but I can't.
When I need the tears most, where are they? Lost in a past life so that they abandon me now.
Does my empathy seem void? Doesn't it please you? I feel sadness with no tears to prove it.
I retreat to my rocking chair beside my window as rain comes to my aid.
While my eyes ache with dryness, the rain cries for me. It calms me.
Raindrops drip from the leaves and trees. They cry as well. They cry for me because I cannot.
And it is truly beautiful.
1. Brittany Morgan,National Writer's Society
2. Radhi,SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign