Friday, September 30, 2011

Seasons come, seasons go.

It's an amazing night, isn't it? It was starting to get muggy inside but then I threw open the windows and back porch door and now it's almost chilly. New seasons. New seasons are good.

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


I was at the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to this past weekend... and I was only invited to the reception, lol. The best man quoted the poet Rilke - "I would be with those who know secrets... or else alone." That struck so far home with me I was nearly winded. I posted on Facebook, "I would be with those who set my heart and soul on fire... or else alone. For I can tend my own fire if I must, but who can revive a flame once doused?"

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

"Well, I NEVER! The NERVE of some people!"

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??"