Once upon a time, when my hair was shorter and my hands had fewer lines.


I think I have reached a point in my life where the scientific facts of this body just do not explain enough to me anymore.

Like the explanation that we are no more than skin stretched tight over fat which covers muscles that wrap around bones which move and support and somehow make up a mass which pushes on through life.

Because I believe that the intricate manner in which God formed us is amazing and awe-inspiring. His majesty in the things like the way our hearts beat takes my breath away.

And maybe this belief in a God who is so tender with His creation is why I cannot believe that our bodies run just on blood and food and air. I believe we are alive and truly living because of an ancient spark which God held between His fingers for a while before lovingly pushing it into the very center of the flesh and bone of human beings:


I’ll tell you why my answer to the questions which have lately filled my mind is passion.

It’s because once upon a time, when my hair was shorter and my hands had fewer lines, I lost it.

I lost my passion the way that we humans always lose the most important things in life.

I gave it away.

I gave it away in trade for other things which did not fulfill me right. I gave away my passion and what I got back was fear. And anxiety. And salty cheeks. And tired eyes. A depression so deep. And ultimately, empty lies.

And for a long while, I did not even realize it was gone. I learned to stumble through my life. I may have been with you, but my heart was curled up against itself inside. I may have been talking to you, buy my thoughts were gray and dry. I may have been laughing with you, but it did not reach the core of me, and it did not reach my eyes.

But somehow, in a way that only God is capable of, I was brought back to life.

I remember feeling like I was slowly waking up. I was startled to see that things had changed around me. I was startled to see that I had changed. My hair was longer, and the seasons had turned, and the world had moved on without me actively moving with it while I was busy not living my life.

And in the time since God picked me up by the hands and helped me walk into my life and not just through it, He has been teaching me to dance.

In a process so slow and gentle that I cannot pinpoint the moment when it happened, the God of restoration restored my passion to me.

I will tell you that this recognition of the returning of my passion is a little bit of a scary thing.

Because I want so much. I go to sleep aching with the wanting of so much of life. I am filled to the brim with passion for so many things, and I sometimes feel like the force of my passions might break me beautifully into pieces.

But that has never been what passion does to our feeble little human hearts.

Instead, it makes them bold. It makes them glow. It makes us strong. It makes us grow.

And I realize that recently, I’ve been trying to figure out what I am the most passionate about.

If my truest passion is this act of pressing my heart against the paper which leaves my fingers smeared with tears and ink.

Or if it is the feel of a camera in my hands, and the way my heart lifts up inside my chest when I am given the gift of capturing one of the glorious miracles in this life.

Is it music, the hum of guitar strings beneath my fingertips and the way my lungs seem to breathe in the notes like air, the opening of my throat and heart as I sing up and out along with the reverberations of a melody floating through my soul?

Is it words themselves, held in by covers and page numbers, chapter headings and footnotes, and am I meant to craft some chapters for myself?

Is it my love for learning and children, the magic that I find in the laughter and logic of the little ones, the challenge I find in the wariness and guarded enthusiasm of the older ones, and am I meant to teach them lessons about literature and life from the front of a room filled with books and desks and flourescent lights?

Is it my deep appreciation for the little things which litter my days with awe, like the little tiny yellow butterfly that goes flitting by, the small heart-shaped hole in the sidewalk with a leaf curled perfectly inside, the way broken steps hold fallen leaves so perfectly that their brokenness is made beautiful, the way that trees sometimes look as if they are dancing in the wind to a tune only they know? {For those of you, my precious friends, who laugh at my insistence to pause and capture ever flower, every lovely crook and cranny, I realized today that I have never told you why I stop and marvel. It’s because I remember that as I tried to learn again what it meant to be alive – as I tried to want again to be alive – God used little things such as these to open my heart and eyes to all the gut-wrenching beauty of this life.}

But I realize now, trying to decide what I am most passionate about has never been my purpose here.

I realize now that picking and choosing was never the purpose of this passion.

I think that maybe the purpose is just to feel it.

Just to feel the passions placed in my heart. In an “arms spread wide as I press myself against the sunset while God fingerpaints the sky” kind of feeling.

Just to use the passion to know what it means to really be alive.

To let the passion open me up, flesh and bone of a girl who once forgot how to be alive, and spread me out into more of a girl who is fiercely passionate about every   God-created aspect of my purpose in this life.

-Jessi Sanders 2013


4 thoughts on “Once upon a time, when my hair was shorter and my hands had fewer lines.

  1. Good, good, good.
    Another good one.
    You know how to use words to express difficult thoughts.
    Keep up the good work.

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