Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Well isn’t that a loaded question? At Rhapsody Camp one of our choreographers asked the group what our personal purpose was, and what we wanted to accomplish with our time here on earth. Honestly my first thought was, “Please don’t call on me!” How can anyone really know their purpose in life… especially in high school? Some brave members sheepishly raised their hands and the answers were as followed, “to help others,” “to live for God,” “to overcome life struggles,” and “to be a good person.” All of those answers are wonderful and empowering to do great things, but is that their real purpose. Don’t get me wrong I am not questioning their integrity or life mission, but is that one main idea always resonating in the back of their mind day to day? After pondering the original question, I finally came to a conclusion. I don’t have “a purpose”, I have many.
I want to achieve and excel in all the different areas of my life, and somehow they all tie together. Academically, I want to pass with flying colors, and go beyond the teacher’s expectations with accomplishments in which I take pride. Success in my mind would mean being accepted into college and later into Medical School; which ties into my desire to be an anesthesiologist. When I tell my peers about my future profession they either look at me like “Did you just speak English?” or they say that I am doing it for the big bucks. I can only laugh and smile at their response. Doing a job simply for the money is ridiculous. I want a career that I am passionate about and arise each morning happy to go to work.
One of my goals after attaining this degree is to be a part of Doctors without Borders and similar local or national projects. All my life, I wanted to play doctor, to mend a wound that someone had. This passion has grown as I have matured, and is one of my life goals: to be the helping hand to anyone and everyone.
Another goal is to see my sister’s dream come true. She wants to start an orphanage in Africa. I don’t know how well I would be at running the program, but I want to help fund it so she doesn’t have to worry about anything, but loving those children. Maybe it could be an orphanage/hospital. We are still in the planning phase, but believe you me, it will happen.
My prayer is that I am called to marriage. I desire my husband’s and my relationship to be such that others could model their lives. I also want to be a foster parent and adopt as many children as possible. I once told a friend that I want a rainbow of ethnicities in my home. Children who have been through rough circumstances in their lives have a special spot in my heart. If I am able to provide a loving and protective environment for them, why wouldn’t I?
By this time you think my passion is people, it is not. I wasn’t born naturally wanting to help those in need. I seek out others, because I was sought out first. What I mean by that is my faith. When I finally quit running and was embraced by my Savior, I was transformed. 
I owe everything to my God, and am willing to go wherever He commands. He calls all His children to do the Great Commission: Be fishers of men by sharing the good news of His Son, disciple new believers, and baptize them. He also calls me to have personal growth to become more like Him and His perfect character. Now am I saying that someday I will achieve that goal…? No way!  I will never be perfect or remotely close to it, but I do strive for that perfection. My desire is at the end of this life I could be called a woman after God’s own heart.
I guess the best way to describe my purpose is to use an analogy of a Jell-O mold salad with a variety of cut up fruit in it. The fruit represents my academics, future schooling, profession, relationships, and personal success. They make life interesting and are big components, but not the main focus. My faith is the gelatin and my reactions and actions are the flavor. My faith although unseen holds all pieces of my life together; without it the individual ingredients would be doing their own thing with no purpose. I guess I have many purposes, but my faith is the motivation behind all of them. The flavor is my choice. But choosing which directions and turns I take determines the taste I bring to life. Will I be consumed with life’s trials and hard times becoming bitter and sour, or will I mask my feelings to put on a fake facade that is sickly sweet?  My goal is to have balance built one layer at a time and while the pieces of fruit may shift before they solidify in the process, the end result is a beautiful treat that is pleasing to the eye, nutritious, and tasty that will serve many. So what am I saying? One is labeled by their words and actions. My wish is people will know me as the person who goes the extra mile to simply make life easier; who cares about the little details about an individual rather than the general facts; and that it is my faith that sustains and motivates me.
Essentially, I want a simple life, that once is done will bring a smile to a person’s face as they reflect back on my days. It is not how many know you when you are alive, but how many will want to remember you when you are gone. So there is my purpose, or purposes held together by “spiritual glue.” I hope that answers the question or else I have completely missed the concept. Maybe the goal is not to have the ability to state the correct answer, rather to ponder about the priorities in your life and see if they are the ones that will make you the person you hope to become. A simple question can lead to a profound train of thoughts; they may become the most impactful wonder this world has yet to see. My closing thought: don’t live for a purpose, but rather live a life with purpose.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Where am I?

        According to Google, “the latitude of Aurora [Nebraska] is 40.867N. The longitude is -98.003W. It is in the Central Standard time zone. Elevation is 1,791 feet. The estimated population, in 2003, was 4,247.” I guess a more general analysis is my house is located in the middle of a corn field. Yes, there is corn on all four sides of my house, and if I look outside my window I can see cattle leisurely grazing in the field. To me this is home.

Aurora Courthouse
My home has been in the family for three generations. Around every corner, lurk memories of my childhood. Living in the country, my older sister and I had the freedom to let our imaginations run wild. When we were younger our sunflower fort was like our headquarters. 
Located in a corner of the garden it was where great  banquets were held, princesses resided, and where make-believe was king. The garden was our little safe haven, unless Dad wanted our help tending it. As a country boy my Dad loved working the land, his daughters… not so much. The tedious job of hoeing and watering the plants seemed to be a punishment. Funny how the exact same place where two girls created mud pies to sell in their bakery, turned into a sweat shop. Eventually I learned to appreciate the principles of the garden. Watching something grow, from the earth, you personally nurtured is an opportunity most people don’t get now days. Sustaining yourself with the food you grow, there comes a certain sense of pride and accomplishment. Harvest is a time to reflect upon your hard work, as the bounty is gathered.
Aurora Movie Theater
A gain leg on our farm
  In the middle of the country there is not a lot to do. For me, the closest town is twenty minutes away in every direction. When faced with the lack of outside entertainment, you learn to be creative. Pivot mud sliding rivals any water park. My sister and I loved this as children. Adorned in weathered, over-sized work clothing and bare feet, we could spend hours running up and down the rows of corn. The only problem was the rocks that randomly jutted out from the ground.
            I love to reminisce about long walks on the country roads. The best time is in late July when the soybeans are still green. If one waits until right after twilight, one would witness the Heartland’s little treasure. Fireflies illuminate the field. Looking down the rows one can simply watch as they float along the cool wind currents. This is the time you can hear silence. That sound is the most soothing to a stressed or tired soul.
            Originally I was born near the big city of Minneapolis, MN, but after the death of my grandparents, my parents decided to move back to my father’s childhood home and run the family farm. My mom, being a complete city slicker, had quite an adjustment to country living. The country was somewhere to visit, and not necessarily somewhere to live on a daily basis. Family members have claimed her initial experiences were amusingly similar to the character of Lisa on the TV show “Green Acres”; nonetheless here we are, and here is where we are going to stay.
An interesting side note, only a few weeks after moving to our country home my mother decided to sunbathe in the backyard. The corn was at its peak height of 8 feet providing the perfect fence. A short time later rustling sounds came from the corn, and a man emerged! Scared out of her mind from the sudden appearance of a complete stranger she darted into the house, locked every door and closed the blinds throughout. The man left, but my mother refused to leave the house until my dad returned. Trying to soothe her he explained that the man’s car probably broke down on the interstate, and since we were on a farm, the man was looking for some gas. Let’s just say we no longer have gas on our farm.
Our gravel road
Aurora Marching Huskies
School is also where I am. At times I seem to live there. My extra-curricular activities schedule is demanding and along with my classes, a little “school family” has been created. It is composed of teachers, administration, staff, and peers. These individuals have made the last few years memorable, and also have helped me survive high school. If you look at school as only a place where the mind is crammed with knowledge, there is no way you will make it through high school. A sense of home and belonging has to be there. Searching out the teachers you bond with and who genuinely care is the first step. Building upon those relationships is one of the most valuable assets of my high school career. They seem to always have the time to give counsel or a quick story to lift your spirit when the rain clouds set into your life.
Go Big Red!
My definition of home is simple, it is where memories are held, and those you treasure reside. Therefore the answer to the question “Where am I?” is I am home.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Who Am I?"

Who am I? Although this question is composed of only three elementary words, if meditated on it really packs a punch.  Looking from a simple perspective the facts of my life are quite basic. My name is Lurena Bish. Attending Aurora High School I am involved in many activities: Flag Corps, Rhapsody, One Act, Fellowship of Christian Girls, National Honor Society, and various others. Having two loving parents and a stand-out older sister, my family life could be considered normal. From the outside I am a simple creature wandering around, looking for my place in this world. But I am so much more than that!  Interestingly I am more than what meets the eye. By digging deeper, one would find weird quirks, laughable moments, terrific strengths, and flaws of all kinds. Each is a thread used to weave the person that I am today. I believe to truly understand someone you have to start at the origin; for me, that starts in my early years. 
 As a child I was shy and introverted, but wanted more than anything to have the “best friend.” Painted beautifully in all the chick flick movies, it seemed simple: find that one person in the whole world you can bear your soul to, become automatic bosom buddies, and live the “happily-ever-after” until you finish school. It may have been a reach for a six year old. Life is not like the movies and the opposite happened.  I ended up friendless and alone. Ever since kindergarten I was labeled an outcast and loner, making me an easy target for bullies. Let’s just say my elementary school years were difficult.

My Deep Map

My life finally made a turn the summer before my seventh grade year.  June eighth of 2007 is when I made a life altering decision by accepting Christ into my life. That may sound stereotypical, but make no mistake it was the real deal. From that time on I was transformed. My perspective was adjusted from the world’s view of how life should be, and focused on the plan God designed.  Through everything I do, I try to give the glory to my Creator, and become a woman after His own heart. Now I am not saying I am the perfect masterpiece of some “holier than thou club.” I am just a perfectly flawed human that has a different pair of eyes and has given her heart to new ownership.
What I believe most about life is there are no duplicates; everyone has their own personal building blocks that have formed who they are now. Although a spoon full of sugar makes life sweet, in my opinion, the trials are what shape one’s life. By going through the flames you see if you melt and crack under the pain, or come out as pure gold. The reaction to hardships is something controllable. In other words, trials hand a person the pen to their life book, metaphorically speaking of course. 

My family tradition of bringing red Jell-O and playing Pinochle at family gatherings.
Another determining factor in who you become are your decisions. Believe it or not a person’s personality is their choice. Example: one can choose to motivate others by being positive. Granted these decisions are not easy. There are always times when we feel the temptation of throwing in the towel, or letting our emotions get the best of us, but the true test of character comes when we push through anyway.  Once accomplished, the seeds of admirable qualities are planted: integrity, perseverance,   patience, and compassion.
 Life also brings little pick-me-ups along the road. The best just happens to be laughter. When watching movies I like going to the blooper scenes. Here is one from the “Wonderful Life of Me”. As a young girl I loved thunderstorms. To me it was the most spectacular event since sliced bread. Splashing in the puddles, dancing in the rain, and sloshing through the mud was like taking me to my own wonderland. Well, one Sunday morning, after the biggest thunderstorm known to man had passed; my family and I were getting ready to leave for church. Three year old me, wearing a white dress, bounded out to visit my little world. All of a sudden I heard the most crushing words to my imagination, “Lurena,” exclaimed my Mother, “Don’t even think about touching that water!” Talk about knocking the wind out of somebody; but I knew better than to cross her, especially when we were running late. As I neared the edge of the paved driveway not daring to take one more step, I happened to glance down and saw a little puddle. Then it hit me. Mom said not to touch the water, but she said nothing about swishing hair. So I swished my long locks back and forth in the little paradise; a fair compromise. My mom on the other hand did not see it that way. In complete shock she called my name. Trying to see what the commotion was about I whipped my head upright throwing my hair back and turned towards the sound as the cold murky water slid down my back onto my once white dress. Needless to say we were really late for church. Little antidotes like that always have a way of making a smile creep upon my face.  
So in conclusion, who am I? I am a person built from her past experiences looking to a brighter future. A person, who chooses who she will be instead of letting others decide; someone who is full of light-hearted stories, but is still willing and open to talk about the deep issues. In basic terms I am just me: one-hundred percent, one of a kind, original me. To be honest and blunt, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

An amazing song from my Life Sound Track.
("In Christ Alone")

Another song from my Life Sound Track. Not a song to take to heart, but definitely the perfect song to dance and jam out too!  
("Call Me Maybe")