Friday, December 30, 2011
I know that my circumstances are exactly in line with what God has planned. He is never late; nor is He early. He arrives precisely when He means to, as do all of His blessings (including the ones that seem like trials).
I have no problem trusting that. The bigger picture of my life and the timeline are all taken care of. I'm letting HIM worry about that one. So what is it?
I certainly have no problem with His plan. I mean, He's GOD. He's working all things for my GOOD. Anger? No, I don't get angry at God. Like I said, sometimes the good things seem like bad ones but it's just because of forced perspective. It'll make more sense later, when life has given us a few different angles to view from. HE knows that they're good. So that's not it either. So what is it?
Funny how a scent can not only remind you of a place or person but of the state of mind you were in the last time you smelled it. Apparently I was using Midnight Pomegranate five years ago in conjunction with a certain budding relationship. Even as it failed to bloom and gradually withered, I had hope. I had SO. MUCH. HOPE. This is right. This is good. This will work out eventually. This is REAL. This is why people get married. This is what I've been looking for. It could really happen to me!
I came in contact with that smell yesterday at the mall. It was kind of heartbreaking because I was so aware of how long I've been devoid of that particular brand of hope. I have hope for my future with Christ. I have hope that He knows what He's doing. I have hope for seeing the glorious bigger picture one day and am trying just to faithfully live out the daily pieces until then. But hope for things not promised, never guaranteed, and thus far, always disappointing? No. I've lost that hope. Why waste the mental energy on something God's got under His control, something over which I have even LESS control than other things in my life, something that might be after all only a dream that fades into the mist?
But I pitied myself last night for not having what other people have. How illogical! I think it wasn't even envy of their station, what they have, what they have coming... I think it might just be that sometimes the good news of others stirs too violently the memories and brings back the emotional turmoil of when I cared too much about it. Of when I hadn't found peace for where I am now. And it thrusts at my face the reminder that still time goes on. These years of my life, a season of life and youth commonly spent in union with another, are already gone. Never to be shared.
So? They were years I needed to spend alone. I could not be the person I need to be without that time. Yet on days like yesterday, I still want to mourn the perceived loss.
So I think the problem is not envy of what I don't have but a grieving of what I can never give.
Somehow it was all too much yesterday and Spock took a leave of absence.
Now I'm just... sad.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I'm also infatuated with C.S. Lewis. He reminds me of Rich in all the best ways and I think they could have been friends.
Obviously they're both deceased and no longer available as potential husbands for me. Tragic. There's just something about the way they expressed themselves as they delighted in their Creator that is irresistible and helplessly draws my heart. They loved people. They loved creation. And they loved its Maker. They knew how to just LIVE WELL and delight in the secrets that God had revealed in their beautiful, artistic, vibrant souls.
It occurred to me this morning that I have met someone... still living! and relatively close to my age!... to whom my heart responded similarly. After heartbreak and shut-down and disappointment after tearful disappointment, it's a rare day indeed that I'm immediately drawn to anyone at all, but this guy, I was. He's "just not that into me," sadly, but it's fascinating to see what my heart is still capable of. And what it might yet have and hold, one day. Because if I find that spark in two dead people and even a live one, chances are good that there might be another.
But then you come back to the real world. That every day world. And you remember all the stories you've heard about the marriages that fail and the couples that persevere and how the magic just doesn't ever last, so you shouldn't expect it to. Heck, why bother hoping for it to begin with, so long as you can both commit to enjoy each others' company and laugh and grow old together and support each other till death do you part? Happy. Home. Protected and loved. Just living life together, because that's all anyone ever really does, right?
The promises and longings of the past hold me in a warm embrace, but glimpses of the spark always leave me unsatisfied, if only for a second.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A mere five days later, I returned to the courtroom to receive final sentencing.
I don't consider myself to be afraid of dentists. I mean, I don't ENJOY going, but I've never loathed it either. But after praying for thirty minutes that God would spare me from the root canal (and the hefty fine it would involve), I got to the office and found myself nearly paralyzed and glued to the seat of my car.
Once inside, I waited about 15 minutes before they took me back. Not ideal when you're feeling the way I was.
When they did bring me to the chair of death, they said they'd received my message asking whether I could trade my sentence for a simple removal of the tooth in question, and so they inquired as to whether I'd made a final decision about that. THAT was when the tears started. And wouldn't quit for some time.
Something about permanent damage to my body gives me the heebie jeebies. Y'know, scars, broken bones that don't heal right, amputation, diseases that you will never heal from... and especially on this day, tooth pulls. I also get the heebie jeebies when you talk about or perform a grinding motion on bone. Especially MY bones. This includes everything from the tooth exfoliation everyone is subjected to during a routine check-up to the prescribed crown procedure. So THAT made me cry. So did being alone. So did the helpless feeling I had - am I doing the right thing? It's SO much money! Have I asked the right questions? Have I answered theirs correctly??
Finally I told the nice lady through my tears that I wanted to see if they could fix my tooth.
I was totally self-conscious - there were LITTLE girls in the neighboring chairs and *I* was the one in tears. The bewildered head dentist came in and gave me a very nice pep talk about how it wouldn't hurt any worse than a regular filling and I shouldn't worry about that. They went through all the preparations leading up the part where they clean out the old filling and the decay and see how much damage they're working with. Then they got to work. Remember what I said about grinding on bone? Yeah. *shudders* So I was kind of distracted. But I remember hearing "I hate to say this, but..." and "The walls are good and strong..." over the squealing of the machinery in my mouth.
At last, he had mercy on my face and leaned back. "Well, it looks like we were wrong last week. You just need to get this one refilled. I mean, it's a BIG cavity, but that's all it is. Everything around it is healthy and totally salvageable." I started crying again.
It hit me quickly, as it has before, the shock of a prayer unprayed answered nonetheless. They'd told me I would absolutely HAVE to get a crown. No question. I'd accepted that as fact and didn't bother asking God about it... only the possible root canal.
I was thinking about it this morning and wanted to share something. I hadn't been shocked, for some reason. RELIEVED, to be sure, but not shocked. Like, "Well, yeah. He's Dad. Of course He could fix it." But He only *could* have. God answers prayers with "No" all the time. Eventually Grandpa does die, no matter how hard you pray for him. Sometimes we and those we love suffer for sin, despite tears and prayers for relief. And obviously the hundreds of people praying that their team would win can't always get a "Yes" when there are hundreds of other people praying for their OPPOSING team.
It would not have been any less gracious of God to see that I needed some financial hardship, some pain, some humbling, some empathy... or perhaps that I needed to be at a certain place at a certain time related to my crowning. I'd never have known. But sometimes the grace of God doesn't have to wait five years to be evident. And I'd like to publicly thank Him for the relief of kindness and grace undeserved that shines clear in the now.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I think this had a lot to do with why I was having such a hard time. I know it's cliche and it's not Christian and it's not resting in God... but that's where I was. I was feeling so alone - in my battles at work, in concerns about my car, in my faith that seems to estrange me from the body of Christ rather than bind me to it, in friendships that fizzled....
It wasn't like I was upset at God or felt like He was picking on me. But for some reason, my heart was not in such a place that His love evidenced in an act 2000 years ago and in His mercy evident every day of my life was enough to make me feel connected to anything. And maybe that's what He meant when He said it's not good for us to be alone, though I'm fully aware that it's what we need at times for a time.
Times like this, the hurt is graffitied all over my face and everyone wants to give me a hug. Yet somehow it doesn't help, even though I desperately want one. Sometimes it has to be from someone special... someone who has already earned your trust - not through compassionate-but-ignorant sympathy hugs but by actually walking down your road with you, chasing after you when necessary, listening and holding you when you couldn't even stand.
Married people, when the relationship is good, have this built in. You have someone to go home to who HAS been walking with you for a while. You have someone safe to turn to. Singles don't have that unless they've cultivated something similar in the form of a friendship. Maybe most are able to do that better than I. I don't know. But I do know that sometimes God reaches down to touch a tear-stained face and says, "You need a companion." Sometimes all you need is one, even just for one day, and you can face the world again.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Peace and contentment are byproducts rather than goals. I mean, you can't say, "I'm going to go be peaceful and content now." Well, actually, I'm sure many people do in fact approach it that way, but realistically, these things are not goals in themselves - they can only be achieved by doing something else of which they are results.
So I was frustrated with myself today because I know the truth about God and I don't question Him and I know I have hope... and STILL I've been really struggling to break even, let alone be reveling in joy.
I got distracted. I was assuming (and not entirely without reason) that I should be able to get to a place where the joy and peace flowed naturally. I believe that's possible. But I was more concerned about the byproducts not being there than I was about pursuing the real goals. So specifically, I've been gut-wrenchingly lonely for weeks. And today the loneliness flowed freely from my heart out my eyeballs in shifts all day long. "I'm lonely. This hurts really bad. Why is this throwing me off track? Where did my peace go? Don't I KNOW better than to let this get me down?" should be replaced with a simple focus on the things that matter and keep me too busy loving to be lonely. Not denying my feelings but living in such a way that the more unpleasant ones don't take root.
So, "This was fun. We should do this again soon," could mean anything from, "I really enjoy your company and would love to spend more time with you," to "I may or may not have been glad to have spent this time with you and I MIGHT not run screaming if you make me feel like a bad guy for not calling you," and the only way to know is whether or not HE actually asks for YOUR time. -_-
Paul M. T. Savoy
Spoiler: We men are much simpler creatures than you women seem to intuit. Not that we're all base, mind you- we're just not really as cryptic as you might imagine. "I'd like to see you again" is pretty likely to mean just that.
Like · 2 people
Jessica Naomi Reinicke
Yeah, if you worded it like that, you're probably right. But I get the "We should do this again soon" a good bit... and it rarely means anything happens any time soon. I get it from girls too, lol - even my FRIENDS don't want to see me again soon. :-P
The difficulty is that the same message is left whether the guy is into the girl or not. If he's not interested, he doesn't want to make her feel bad in the moment, but when he leaves her with hopeful words, he doesn't realize he's sacrificing both her long-term happiness and possibly his sanity by not saying up front that he really is just not interested.
I'm not angry at anybody in particular... just at myself - frustrated at how many "hopeful words" I've clung to in the past and now am feeling really dumb about it.
I think this can go both ways depending on the person. And I know how you feel Jessica I've done some clinging in my days and its not healthy for either person involved. I think your awesome so don't feel dumb about some dumb wording
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Today: church, hiking at Jones Gap (about an hour from here) with a group from church, then trying to get back into town as early as possible to get to a BSS Halloween party tonight. (see previous statement about my nails and guess which color they are. ^_^) Helped some dear old loves - a married couple I know from college - move in Columbia yesterday and we went to WalMart afterwards. Therein, I did not resist purchasing an angel costume. It had awesome huge bell bottom sleeves! What else could I do??
I've never bought a Halloween costume. Ever. And most of them are too skanky for my taste anyway (at least I'd never leave the house like that!) so this is a long dress with great sleeves. And I'm going to bad-angel it with black half-finger gloves and Catwoman boots. :-P
I just hope I can make it to the party!!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I had a great morning, too. The kind that makes you think you can take on the world. Who knows where I'd have been if the morning had been lousy!
Riddle me this. The Bible has any number of things to say about not associating with church folk who don't act like God. So I wonder if the whole "iron sharpens iron" bit is more a conscious effort sort of thing (where you have the kind of relationship that involves loving correction and discussion) rather than "Spend time with people who aren't like you and drive you crazy because they'll show you where you need to work on pride." Granted, that's a PERFECTLY legitimate and good way to grow should that be the circumstance in which you find yourself. But seeking those situations out...?
I mean, if folks are going to be discontented and complain and maintain a negative attitude about life, and you're NOT like that unless you've been forced to spend a lot of time with those folks and it's gotten into your bloodstream, isn't the logical solution similar to telling a teenager to turn off the raunchy music and TV because it has a negative effect on their worldview?
Friday, October 21, 2011
My plan was inherently flawed because the idea was to throw up walls and guards and protection against the negative attitude. I say flawed not because we should be without defenses but because once again it relieves me of the real work of engaging the person. A mantra reminds me of truth and defends against the lie that complaining is a good thing... and leaves the person in front of me in the dust.
No, the thing I need to remember is not, in this case, weighed more heavily on the "wisdom" side of things but on the "love." I believe very strongly that they go hand in hand and do not exist without each other, but there is plenty of wisdom that says real love will not allow a fellow Christian to persist in sin. That if you really love them, you'll come alongside them and remind them of truth.
But that's tough love. I don't have "tough love" relationships with any of the girls at work. I think there must be exceptions that say simply, the truth will not be heard in love no matter how it is delivered, and the best thing you can do for the person is simply meet them where they're at... without entering into the same folly.
And when someone passes away suddenly, it hits hard and sudden and you miss them dearly. But if they'd been sick... out three days here, a week there... finally retired but still holding on, it hits differently when you hear they've finally let go. That's not to say, however, it doesn't hit you - death changes too.
Joey, a former co-worker of mine, was diagnosed with cancer that was supposed to kill him in six months. That was something like seven years ago. He was an inspiration to a lot of people to the validity of worldview and positive thinking and not losing the will to live. He did finally let go last night and it's still strange to think that, though he officially retired months ago, he'll never come waltzing in the door for a visit. And I'm really glad that the last time he did stop by, he had lots of energy and was in good spirits.
My prayers go out to his wife and extended family, which includes my co-workers, some of whom have known him since the beginning of his career here over twenty years ago.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Yesterday marked exactly 37 days till the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday. Two years ago, the Monday after Thanksgiving, was when I went in for the interview that almost immediately got me the job I'm currently working. So in a way, it was 37 days until I could officially plaster "two years" on a resume as my tenure at the company. And actually, more specifically, I'd put "2009-2011," which sounds even better.
With this in mind, 37 days (35 now, if you count yesterday and today) is the length of time I've given my company to get their act together. If I don't see a marked improvement before then, they're fired.
Here's the problem. I feel relatively secure (most days) in my job, and I genuinely enjoy the activities I perform. I think I do them quite well, frankly, in addition to actually liking them. But it's an absolutely miserable place to work, and it came to a peak on Monday as I emailed the new temp a frank answer to her question, "Does it get any better? I really want to be part of a team working toward a common goal!" I had to tell her that she'd seen a pretty typical couple of weeks at the company.
God was supremely gracious and brought to mind that the bitterness and complaining spirit had crept into my soul from the abundant supply available seeping from the walls of that discontent-infested office. And that I'd had a lot going on the last few days... perhaps I needed to take a breath and pray.
I asked God for wisdom as I read my Scripture passages for the day and LOL'd that my reading included a passage from Ecclesiastes, but I figured that might not be the sign I was looking for. At least not to answer the question of fighting TODAY'S battles. That would be a little too easy....
What did sound a little more like a word from God was that I'm in this position for a reason. The rampant injustice boils my soul... and the fact that my heart responds thus is quite possibly the biggest reason I'm here. I'm NOT gracious. My pride is what's ticked off more than anything. And there will always be people who will treat me like bull dung, so what better place to learn how to respond in a Godly manner than in an office where you get practice every day? I mean, I can SAY they're fired, but God knows I'm not going anywhere before I have somewhere to go to, and He can drag that process out as long as He needs to.
My natural tendency is to respond in one of two ways - get angry, or run away. And the problem is that it seems the negativity has been pursuing me lately, so I've been unable to run away and been getting angry. But see... you can control the people you allow to be in your social life and influence your thoughts in that sense ("equally yoked" should be applied to more relationships than marriage), but there are any number of situations, especially at work, where you have no control over whether people will bring hate into your day. And we NEED to have a response ready.
I kept trying to come up with a mantra of sorts - something to say to myself when the complaining starts so that I can start off on the right track rather than getting derailed and having to do damage control for the next hour. Never did come up with anything. Nothing at all. But considering the situation in this light made all the difference in the world to my day - just acknowledging my part in the problem. First really good day I've had at work in some time.
Now. Do I want to continue to work long term for a boss who overlooks problems because he's too busy with the bottom line and bad with confrontation, under a supervisor with poor people skills who plays favorites and is also bad with confrontation, with a co-worker who makes huge errors and (successfully!) distracts from them by screaming about petty mistakes others have made (which, by the way, would not have happened if she'd actually taught us how to do the task properly to begin with) and loves confrontation while being condescending, among people who are miserably content to be discontent? Not really. Not when it's so blatantly obvious that the problem would virtually solve itself with the replacement of one employee and the hiring of a supervisor who actually has skills in the field. But regardless of any other yet unknown factors, if I can't learn to respond humbly and graciously in such difficult circumstances, I feel certain I'll be here a while. Let's get crackin'.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
And maybe I'm weird... but actually I really like it for that reason.
I don't want a guy I don't know to walk up to me and start hitting on me for no reason other than that I'm pretty. That's shallow and extremely unattractive. I mean, yeah, attraction is important, and I want a guy to think I'm pretty, and it's probably what actually initialized interest, but I still also want to feel like he's interested in finding out what's BEHIND my eyes rather than staring at their surface... or at anything else.
You're driving by a girl you think is pretty. You'll never see her again. You have nothing to gain or lose by hurling universally understood messages of "I think you're hott!" It might just be the purest form of compliment.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I was just checking out some of my old posts - 2008. Funny - the first one I went to was about not judging people when you don't know all the circumstances, LOL.
It's interesting how much a person can change in three and a half years, and how obvious those changes are by the way they write. I'd just moved to Greenville, still working at The Spa. And I wrote. A LOT.
I felt things. A great many MORE things, as well as in different ways. I was innocent to a lot of things, and ignorant as well. There are things I understood then that I've lost sight of... and there are things that I've wrapped my head around now that I just couldn't, back then.
For a long time, I could see it just beyond my reach that there were expectations that a person could mature to the point that the truths we repeat to ourselves do finally change the way we think rather than leaving us to forever make the mistakes before we remember what we know. Now I sit in the church sanctuary amidst all the people I previously saw as having already "arrived" at that stage of "enlightenment" if you will only to see continued struggles with the basic principles of "God knows what He's doing." I very much appreciated this past week's sermon - not because I needed to hear it, but because it seems that I never hear it from anyone else and it was encouraging to know I wasn't the only one who thinks of God that way.
I've been sitting here trying to figure out how to close this post, but I can't think of anything brilliant. Here. Have a picture.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The light at the exit that I take to get home is really brief, so while the right hand left turn lane is the one I SHOULD have been in, I have in the past had no trouble getting where I needed to go by taking the left hand left turn lane and merging afterwards. So I got off the interstate and made my turn. There was a gap in the lane where I needed to be, with a red light ahead - everyone would be slowing down anyway. I turned on my blinker and merged.
The aforementioned red van sped up to tailgating me in about half a second's time, swerved around, and its passenger screamed profanities at me while they sat at the red light and I made the right-on-red turn onto my street.
It's interesting. Neither of the guys (to my knowledge) have ever watched me drive in the past. I made a split second decision that seemed appropriate at the time, and such decisions are not always best, but everyone makes them whether their standard style of driving is poor or excellent. But because of that two second observation, this stranger was filled with rage and presumptions that I had no understanding of how to operate my vehicle.
It sounds stupid, doesn't it? But then again, we all do it, don't we?
It probably happens most often in traffic, but it happens in the grocery store, at school, the rage wells up when we see that the roommate or spouse or child didn't clean up after their breakfast.... But think about them for a second. You never know what kind of day the "thoughtless" person was having. What painful situations might have them distracted. Whether you were simply in the blind spot of that guy who cut you off. Whether the roommate has been kicking herself all day for forgetting to put the dishes away. This is what I was talking about the other day - most people aren't intentionally rude, and when they are, why get upset over it? But we do! Why ruin your OWN day with such a negative attitude?
I'm actually really struggling through today. It would have been nice if I hadn't gotten yelled at on my way home. But I hope that guy's day gets better - his must have been a doozy.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
I like to search for truth among those who don't believe in Truth because the best of them tend to be brutally honest about the way things are. They'll tell you there ARE answers to the hard questions. Take their answers for what they are, and discard them if they're lacking truth, but don't let misguided ideas keep you from searching.
Believers, on the other hand, are often too afraid of being exposed... of finding themselves grounded on shallow tradition rather than on something solid. By shying away from the darker side of life, they sell God shamefully short.
These thoughts are brought to you today by the all around great experience of a killer hike up a beautiful Paris Mountain on an early fall Saturday morning. Who thinks I'll manage to get out there more often if I go ahead and get the year-long membership? *raises hand*
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Okay, so maybe I lied. I probably would not ask C.S. Lewis for coffee if he were still alive and I passed him on the street. I mean, maybe. In a fit of insanity. That's not to say I wouldn't love to be a fly on the wall while he shared drinks and smokes with anyone of sound mind, but I'd fear I'd have nothing to add to a one on one conversation....
I've done my workout video. Stinky and sticky, I probably shouldn't do laundry, but I did anyway. Angels and Airwaves is still playing in the other room - I've done the workout so many times that I put on something else to listen to while I follow a silent television. I think I was going to post a lyric from this album, but I forget which one now.
Oh. That was the last song. The apartment is quiet now except for the clicking of the washer and the neighbor's dog outside my window. And the hum of some-crazy-body's air conditioning running. COMPLETELY unnecessary on a night like this.
Don't get me wrong! I really like coming home to a quiet home, deserted but for my beloved Marie, who sits in my open window grooming herself, as we speak. But it can make for a lonesome heart.
There was a time when I answered my complaint of "I just want someone special! To cook for, to clean for, to love on." with "Well, that's a sure sign, isn't it? You need to make a friend, serve a family in the church, get involved, LOVE ON some people there." But I don't think it's that simple because it's not that kind of desire. It's not simply that I want to give myself to random people who I may or may not ever see again, though there is a time for that too. It's a desire for one soul to invest in... one soul that receives it (and we all know *I* am very poor at this....) and reciprocates and will join me in the quiet peace of a home (the experience can't be captured in a common social meeting) where love is spoken with or without words. I KNOW it can be. And to go completely off blaring my own horn, I think I could share that kind of love with someone. Sometimes I get to thinking I have a lot to give... this deep chasm filled with homeless love... which is no good because then I get discouraged over having no one to give it all to.
But then someone will say, "Well, shoot! Give ME a shot!" And... well, that's not that simple either. There are a scarce few I can trust easily, and without trust, there can be no love. Or so they say. Or they say it like "There is no fear in love," and an inability to trust is kind of like fear. I've seen trust built, against my will, over time... but it's extremely difficult. I invariably sabotage my own game.
Still. We will always have the poor with us. Those needing love. If for no better reason, I should practice on them.
But hope. Where is hope? I don't want to leave you without any. Um... tomorrow's Friday! Also, I bought a new coffee maker because the hand-me-down one I have didn't seem to be able to get hot enough, so I get a brand new pot of coffee in the morning. Unfortunately that doesn't offer YOU any hope, but it makes ME happy! But mostly I would leave you with this: an old friend used to say, "If it were good for me, I would have it." You don't get to know why so many things YOU deem good are beyond your reach, but you can rest assured that you DO have what you need for this season, even if it's strenuous and painful training. Remembering that a loving God won't give you the things you want if they're not what you need (read: to have them would be NOT to have the lack that you DO need) won't fix loneliness, but it just might fix your gaze on something more important.
"Spread love like violence." That was the lyric. A good motto, I think. Much better than "Ohhhh poor me."
Monday, October 3, 2011
I really like this. Like, a lot, a lot. Like, I won't usually touch Christian music with a ten foot pole and yet this "bridge" if you will almost makes me cry. I found this when I was trying to find the words online, and thought it'd be good to reference it for an opposing viewpoint. Personally though, I think it's kind of fantastic.
The world is very confused by Christians, I think. By the hypocrisy and the back stabbing and the senseless adherence to tradition. Why is it so hard to put the truths we've heard since our youth into real life? Why is it so hard for so many to trust God or live without being paralyzed by guilt over sin? If we could collectively fix that one thing ALONE and just live in the joy of the freedom that Christ's sacrifice bought us, what a difference it would make. Maybe then we'd actually look different. Certainly we wouldn't be so concerned about the trivialities that make us look like a bunch of three year olds who can't get along with our own siblings....
When will we learn to love? It's not rocket science... it's just good wisdom. Not even the kind that is hidden from the hearts of the unsaved... this is "common grace" kind of wisdom. And when we have so much more reason to love... why don't we? Why are the ones who should be the most grateful acting the most self important?
"It feels like the church isn't anything more than the second coming of the pharisees...." Andrew Peterson
Friday, September 30, 2011
The farm is gone. The deed changed hands a few weeks ago. I went up the weekend before to hang out and attempt to help mom and dad clean it up a little and decide which memorabilia I wanted to take away with me: a couple of pictures from the bathroom, Pop Pop's Exacto knife set, Mamoo's dishes that I associate with the holidays we shared at her house, an antique heating pad, some cutlery.... I found out that weekend, too, that another season's also ending - mom and dad are converting Josh's and my old bedrooms into a suite where Amy, my future sister-in-law, will stay for a few months before the wedding. Meaning that, in a way, I won't ever be able to go home again. Not to the room I grew up in.
We need that sometimes, y'know? To be forcibly brought to the end of a season we'd never have ended of our own accord. Like the growing up that occurs when you realize your parents aren't as perfect as you thought and which makes you into a better adult in the process. Like losing a job because you'd never have left your comfort zone if you didn't have to. Like a lover who pushes you away because you couldn't cut ties on a "good" relationship that always left you both unsatisfied.
I get this feeling sometimes. Like I'm on the edge of something big. Personal breakthrough, huge life adjustment... something. I've certainly been thinking better this past week, at any rate. That's been nice. I'd forgotten how good it can feel to have an active, living brain! Let's see if I can remember this time. Let's see if I'll let it carry me through to the next season....
Thursday, September 29, 2011
You might think I'm talking about Christians versus non-Christians... but you'd be wrong.
I wandered around the grounds of the wedding site half expecting a fairy to flitter out of the brush. It was so beautiful, so magical. There was a peace, a love, a joy in the air that overwhelmed you when you stepped on the property and lingered after you left. It was just GOOD. The whole thing was just so GOOD.
And due to the convictions of those married, none of the proceedings had anything to do with a love for God, or even a belief that He exists. Because they don't.
There are those who have secrets. Who understand freedom. Who have love and joy and peace in abundance. Who revel in their ability to think. People with depth. Who are not shackled by tradition and expectations and hypocrisy and duties and habit. Who have learned how to live. Really LIVE. And I HAVE to believe that some of them might be fellow Christians. There MUST be some out there who can fan my flame rather than watch it grow cold by heaping bonds upon it.
But even if you know secrets, you cannot share them. No one can come to know them who hasn't first found his own way. And to describe them, you sound like a mysticist or else just plain stupid - your listeners would reject, commit, or excommunicate you.
My thoughts are scattered tonight. I just spent less than three hours with one such fellow Christian who can fan the flame - an old friend who can usually only spare a couple hours every couple of months - and I would liken it to the first fresh breath after months of living in dank, undersized confinement, only to be placed back under lock and key when you part ways. My captor? The rain that falls on my embers? "Fellowship." I feel suffocated, starved for fellowship of the other kind. The kind that sets me on fire. The kind that looks for truth in inconvenient places and passionately loves the world and all who live in it. The kind that looks in awe at the expanse of a mountain range and the complexity of a blade of grass, who loves those who worship a God greater than they but call Him by a different name, who pursues wisdom like the very air we breathe.
God, don't make me fight alone forever....
Monday, September 5, 2011
You won't ever hear me say that, by the way. At least not unless it's in jest. I'll tell you why.
People are rude, in my opinion, for one of three reasons.
1. They're malicious.
2. They're distracted.
3. They're ignorant.
So here's a scenario - you're having a party and invite Joe, Mark, and Steve.
Joe is rude type number one - you asked him for an RSVP and he didn't give you one just so he could crash the party and try to throw your plans off. He was just being malicious. It can't be helped. He's going to be that way, so just don't let it get YOU down.
Mark is rude type number two - he didn't take his shoes off at the door. And you're Japanese and keep a Japanese home, where it is VERY rude not to remove one's shoes. Didn't he notice all the shoes by the door?? Well, no. He didn't notice. He was distracted because he'd had a really rough day and forgot you'd mentioned it to everyone in the invitation. It can't be helped. It wasn't intentional - it was an accident.
Steve is rude type number three - he didn't bring you a present. It's your birthday party for crying out loud. Why didn't he bring a present?? Oh. Someone gave him a verbal invite and didn't mention that it was a birthday party. He didn't know he was supposed to have a gift. It can't be helped. He simply couldn't have known he was being rude until it was too late and when he realized the blunder, he was too embarrassed to say anything and just hoped you wouldn't notice.
So here's what I'm getting at. We human beings get SO worked up over people we label as "rude." We take it so personally when we get cut off in traffic (he's either mean, in a hurry, or didn't see you) or when our neighbor doesn't offer to bring a dish to dinner (she didn't want to be there, she didn't have time to prepare anything, or she thought if you'd needed help with the meal, you'd have asked) or... choose a scenario. And then we go and complain about these people, using grand gesticulations and scoffing and saying "I was SO offended. I couldn't believe she'd DO that to me!" But for what? It can't be helped. It's either intentional and the person WILL be that way whether you approve or not... or it was not intentional and was not meant to be taken personally and you need to grant a little grace. Sometimes it's as simple as the fact that what some people think is rude is nothing at all to others - it's a cultural thing.
And so I am approached with such complaints and I don't know what to say. The person obviously thinks they're in the right, to judge this person for their poor manners. But they're only making themselves miserable... and me too, for having to listen. But they probably don't want to hear that THEY are also being unreasonable and it's likely they don't even want any suggestions or problem solving tactics - they just want to vent. So here's my question: what's a non-rude way of saying the following:
"I really do like you, but I couldn't possibly care less about what you're saying and it's really getting me down. Can't you please just stop talking for two minutes together??"