Thursday, September 27, 2012

X and the Cross

Everything that describes Generation X, or defines Gen X, or is listed as the traits of Gen X is part of the fabric of my being.  And the price of that has been a very long, hard road, full of many stones and empty wells.  The price of being truly Generation X has been many dark nights of the soul. 

And this is X: angst-filled, exhausted, burnt-out, lost, neglected, and displaced.  And this is not some bullet-point list to describe a demographic.  This is a reality, a day and night struggle for a generation of real people.  While there are word lists that can be used to describe us by those writing a sociology thesis, or articles written by those who don't know who we really are, there is something here that needs to be said: these words have been people's lives, and our lives have been full of real and honest struggle. 

Here is a Gen X word list for you: wounded, empty, misunderstood.


A life described by these kinds of words can quickly be led to reality and honesty and a very dark night of the soul.  Enough dark nights of the soul can begin to create a certain friction within your being.  This friction can carve out parts of you so deep that the emptiness echoes to an almost unbearable loudness, so that the loneliness penetrates your soul with an almost unbearable sting.  Enough of this emptiness, enough of this pain and it all begins to get pulled down into a black hole of hopelessness, even to the point of despondency.  And that is is why it is surprising, even stunning when you find that this same friction can sometimes ignite a spark. 

It is this spark that has brought about a flame just bright enough through the darkest of tunnels within my heart and mind to search and when I give up, to try again, to keep searching. 

That searching has always led me back to one place: the Cross.

I cannot get over the Cross.

I cannot get over Someone who was willing to be covered in wounds deep enough to know intimately what my own scars feel like.  And I have plenty.  If you are Generation X, the statistics, and the documented history, and the inarguable reality shows that you prabably do, too.

If I will have a god, it will be a God who not only knows about, but has intrinsically understood what my generation has gone through - why we have been angry, and tired, and alienated, and nihilistic, and alone, and forgotten.

It is the completely broken that knows the pain of the completely broken. 

If I will have a god, it will be a God who has intimately known betrayal, and heartache, and abuse, and fear, and neglect of every kind. 

I cannot get over Christ.

Our generation came along in the driest desert where the wells were shallow or even already dry.  This has meant that we have had to search elsewhere for sustenance, for survival, for a source from which to give others who have relied upon us.  And this is why I believe we will, when it is said and done, be the next great generation.  We have had that friction within us, and that friction - those dark nights of our souls - can lead us, if we chose it, to take us to the most luminous place we could have imagined: a place where we become everything we were meant to be, both individually and collectively.

Because of our circumstances, we will be, if we chose to be, the generation that draws from the deepest water - the water that sustains and fills so greatly that we will be able to take the wasteland we inherited, and build upon it the most stunningly beautiful urban landscape ever seen for the world we leave behind. 

I will use the spark of my dark nights that has created a flame, and I will hold it down into the infinite well to see how endlessly deep the water is, because the water in the shallow well that was given to me, to my generation, evaporated before I could ever take a drink.

When I cannot give any more because my well is empty - because there was hardly any water in it to begin with, that is when I can draw from the deepest well of all: God.  It is those days that I am having the hardest time forgiving, the hardest time loving, that I must draw from that well.  It is the nights when I realize how finite I am, how fragile I am, and how shallow my well is that I need that water to sustain me.  It is the dark nights of the soul that I need that water - nights like tonight.

(c) 2012 Chloe Koffas

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rain and the Places of Resonance

Today I woke up to the sound of raindrops dotting themselves on leaves and ground and stone.  I felt a certain peace, a certain clarity, a true stillness.  

Where is that place of resonance for you?

Sometimes, for me, it is intentionally staying inside my house, away from the rush, and the craziness, and the expectation.  Sometimes it's going onto a blog that always has wisdom and beauty to impart.   Sometimes it is taking some photos of something beautiful, or light-filled.

Sometimes that place of resonance is a moment on an overcast, chilly, fall Sunday morning, when we open the doors to the narthex and we are hit with a cloud of incense and a gust of warmth and the sound of the harmonizing choir.

And sometimes it is refusing to be confined by four walls, being near rushing water and filling my lungs with clean forest air.

Where is that place of resonance for you?  That place where rain covers over the worries of life or sun warms your back to help you keep on going....

Go there this weekend.

"Let the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops." 

                                                                                                                               -Langston Hughes


Langston Hughes was from the last Lost Generation.  Generation X is considered the current Lost Generation....

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Atari Rules.

I recently had the opportunity to do a guest post on the blog, Are You There God? It's Me Generation X.  This is an amazing field guide to Gen X and has been featured in national media.  The writer of the blog, Jennifer James, is an incredible person, writer, and photographer...


Here is the post I wrote...

The Atari Rules.

In the early 80s, when I was in early elementary school, I often went to the babysitter's with a group of kids all roughly my age.  She also had a toddler and two kids of her own.   The Toddler kept busy with tantrums and snacks of cheese and crackers.  The Older Kids were teenagers and I was pretty sure they knew any given fact in the universe.  Mornings before school at their house consisted of watching Scooby Doo. 

Word on the street was that The Older Kids were going to get an Atari.  It was decided immediately that The Toddler, known for breaking things, would go nowhere near it.  I knew I was going to have to do some serious convincing or they might not let me near it, either.  After weeks of intense back-porch negotiations, it was decided that once the Atari showed up, I could go watch The Older Kids play, and that I might be allowed to playfor a minute if I followed the ATARI RULES LIST.

The ATARI RULES LIST went something like this:

1) Do not touch the console.

2) Do not hit the reset button on the console while The Older Kids are playing.

3) Do not stare at the console for too long, because you might become tempted to touch it.

4) Do not complain, make unreasonable demands, or even talk, while in the presence of the Atari.

The anticipated day finally came.  I arrived at the house as the morning sun spilled through the window illuminating harvest gold and avocado green items in the kitchen.  I wanted to sprint down the hallway to the room where the Atari was, but I needed to be nonchalant as I entered the presence of The Older Kids as they played the game.

And behold...of my Gen X childhood memories, this is one of the most monumental: walking across the shag carpet of a hallway to see Atari for the first time as it was being played on a black-and-white TV.  The asteroids floated by and a spunky little spaceship was shooting at them like crazy.  My eyes had been introduced to the pixels.  My ears had been introduced to the digital sounds.

I hovered in the doorway.

They hesitated.

I made it clear that their beloved Atari was safe, because I was abiding by the ATARI RULES LIST.  They let me play although I proved to be an amateur asteroid blaster.  When my time was up they asked me to hand the joystick back.  Weeks of negotiations only led to a few fleeting moments with the game, but Iknew that they saw how much I loved it and that they'd eventually let me play some more.  I also knew that morning I had been introduced to something amazing.  I walked back to the living room to watch Scooby Doo with The Younger Kids and brag about my morning galactic encounter. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The New School Year Begins!

My little one is starting preschool this week and the required supply list for the school includes a lunch box.  I found this vintage style Peanuts lunch box online.  I remember a couple of kids in my 1st grade class having blue Peanuts lunch boxes...



Photos by Chloe, Lunchbox: © 2011 Peanuts Worldwide LLC, original illustrations by Charles Schulz

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Light From a Pixel is now on Facebook!

If you'd like to follow Light From a Pixel on Facebook to get regular updates on new blog entries in your news feed (as well as bonus stuff like pics and vintage Gen X pop culture info that I'll be posting on FB only) then go ahead and like the page!  Here is is: