Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Current Events



Makes me laugh.
This is kind of what White House news announcements sound like.

Darkness

I notice that people who grew up in the light, so to speak, like to play around with darkness a whole lot more than people who've lived in it. I'm guessing that they think it's not a big deal. It's just a style.

"Dumbest idea ever."

I guess it's true what the bible says, that the light came into the world but men loved darkness rather than the light. It's just a style thing, you know.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hello Past

I can't believe that I actually fell in love here. Under a cashmere canopy that blocks out all traces of heaven. Behind Olive Garden on 196th. This place is as ugly as it gets. One lighted sign after another. Painted aluminum siding in hideous colors, separated by gangly tree branches soaked with rain and littered by cigarrette wrappers. All I smell is exhaust and the Chinese buffet across the street.

I fell in love right over there. I can see it from where I'm standing.

I wish I could have seen where I'm standing right now back then.

What was I thinking?!

I'm going walkabout today. Taking Lynnwood in by foot. I grew up here in he strictest sense of the phrase. This place is where I turned 16 and 18 and 21. I worked here, went to school right down the street from where I'm walking right now. My first kiss happened about two miles from here, in a damp house, on a velvet lounge chair.

I suppose there is something interesting about walking these roads.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Eagles

We watched eagles flying across the lake today. They're here on a stopover on their migration to New Mexico. All along the road were photographers with fancy cameras on stands, aiming their lenses up the mountainside to the frost covered branches where most of the eagles perched.

At first when we were driving and I saw the photographers, I thought they were looking at the mountains covered with snow. It was a beautiful scene, but didn't seem worthy of that level of photography.

I guess that's how a lot of us learn to judge others. From our point of view, they're wasting their time. From our point of view, they make a big deal out of something not very important. But when we finally see what they see, their decisions make a lot more sense.

Oh, that each of us would work tirelessly to see what other people see.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Don't Give Dirty Looks

My brother took me for a morning drive in his BMW around the lake road in Coeur d'Alene. He has a funny commentary dripping like this wet rain from his mouth almost all the time. The grey air is like one of those IKEA lanterns, where the light is hiding behind a wax paper, illuminating everything without seeming to have one source or another.

There are little piles of snow on the sidewalks from last week, little snow poops.

As we pulled into the alley behind my mom and brother's house, a woman and her two daughters were standing in front of his closed garage door. They didn't recognize him, so as he turned into where they were standing, rolled his window down and said, "How's it going," the woman apparently thought he was a stranger stopping to talk to her and her girls. She got a very defensive look that was probably meant to show him that she was not interested in chatting, and partly to show him that she was irritated with him pulling over to talk to her.

It would have been right around that time that she might have noticed the garage door behind his car slowly lifting up. He put the car in reverse and began to back into his parking spot in the garage. If I were her, I would have felt pretty dumb.

Oh, you live here.
Oh, you weren't stopping to talk to me, you were preparing to back into your driveway, and I was standing with my raincoated girls in front of your garage, looking for our cat that's missing because even our cat has picked up on our attitude and wanted to find a better home this Christmas.

Apparently a woman down the street lost her cat and came to knock on the door, wondering if my brother's Rottweiller might have ate him. My brother says that cougars are on the loose in the neighborhood and laughs. I'm not sure if he's being serious or not.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I arrived in the Las Vegas airport before 6pm and made my way slowly along the corridor's blue pattern carpets to the bathrooms, where I meticulously hung up my purse, laptop and heavy coat on the small metal door hook. The bathroom visit was a triumph of creativity over frustration; having to wash my hands without all of my belongings swinging full force into the soaking wet, hair-covered counter-top. Afterwards I wandered slowly along the busy terminal in search for a sandwich shop, which I found in the shape of a Subway very near to my departure gate. I paid for the sandwich and walked a few gates down to mine, where most of the gate seats were empty.

It didn't take more than a moment to spot him. Black wool jacket, newsboy wool cap, cool retro sneakers, carved Italian face with a five o'clock shadow. Probably 28-33, at least 6'2". I sat four seats down from him and imagined all the beautiful and interesting conversations you could have with a man like that.

By the time I began to eat my sandwich, however, any fantasy of two travelers thrown together by winter and fate disappeared as he gathered his book and laptop, got up, and moved down to the end of the row away from me.

I was startled by it, but didn't outwardly acknowledge any of it. After finishing my sandwich, I picked my stuff up and headed away from the gate to the bookseller to see if there were any cheap reads available. It took me easily 30 minutes to choose a book and walk back to the gate, at which time I rounded the corner to my gate and found the seating area stuffed with waiting passengers. There were no seats open.

No seats, that is, except two next to "him."

I stood there stupidly for almost a minute, scanning hopefully across the room for any break in human heads. No such luck. But part of me wanted him to see me having no other option and wanting one desperately.

So I sat down, not next to him, but in the only other seat, leaving a space between us. Even as I sat there adjusting my belongings and preparing to read under imagined scrutiny, noticing my fingernails were dark blue and dirty looking from rubbing against the indigo in my jeans, I had to admit that he was gorgeous. Even without looking I could sense it by the way his dark jeans looked out of the corner of my eye. I also noticed that I was holding my breath and beginning to sweat.

Within two minutes of settling in, he again gathered his belongings and rose out of his seat to find seating elsewhere. There being no available seats, he chose to stand over by the windows, looking out into a darkness as black as his unfriendly soul, I imagine. I searched for answers within myself: Do I know him from somewhere? In the minute possibility that we had met before, was there also some strange possibility that we had bad blood between us?

I would have remembered him. I would definitely remember knowing him.

Time passed and I looked over to see where he was and he was talking on his cell phone, pacing and talking. He caught my glance and stopped in place, and I felt caught like a petty criminal.

But inspite of myself, even caught like that, I looked away and smiled sheepishly. I don't know where he went or what he saw after that, because I decided to content myself with my book and let him be himself all by himself wherever and however he wanted.

But curiosity and women being what they are, I lifted my head and looked for him. My gaze immediately met his, as he was standing less than ten feet away from me to my right, facing me and only me, staring deliberately at me. So shocked was I that I laughed out loud, pulled my head directly back to my book and let my lips mouth the word "wow," as my eyes opened wide in amazement.

I didn't dare turn back around, for he looked serious rather than playful.

Before ten minutes had passed, the seat to my right became the only seat available and I saw his tall frame amble over and sit down next to me. I couldn't help myself at the awkwardness of it. I smiled so big that my my lips felt chapped. He didn't look at me, didn't turn even slightly, and as good as I am at feigning indifference, you can imagine how easily I showed no response one way or another.

The crew began loading for the flight from that gate to Milwaukee, at which point the seating area began to empty out completely while everyone lined up by letter and number by metal poles along the window. Finally he stood up. I didn't look up. He turned around and faced me. I didn't look up. He buttoned his beautiful wool coat. I turned the page. And because I am what women generally are, I lifted my head and looked straight up at him. And he was staring at me. Motionless. Somehow imploring me. For what? I don't know.

He must have expected that I was on his flight because I had been there for an hour and a half. But when I looked up at him in all of his ferocity, knowing full well that I neither knew him nor would ever know him, I smiled politely and dropped my head back down to my book and started back at the top of the page.

Sometimes one gets the impression that they are an integral part of a story that doesn't really involve them.

Delayed Brew

"A sack was never so full but that it would hold another grain."
Another Italian proverb.

Speaking of sacks being full, I just finished packing for Idaho. I have to be up at 7am in order to eat, drink coffee, shower, drink coffee, get ready for church, drink coffee and still have time to put my suitcase in the car to get out of the door by 8am.

One of the better inventions of the last 100 years is:

Not the automobile, although it is useful.
Not spacecraft, for that matter, because I'm talking about on a small, things that make you smile level.


Brew delay on cheap-o coffee pots.
I'm borrowing Marissa's "about-as-fancy-as-Hanes-underwear" coffee pot from the BGKY house for the winter break, and it's got this button you can hold to set a time for the coffee to start brewing {am I testing your patience? Do you all know how delayed brewing works? Yes, probably, on both counts}

So I've got delay brew on like King Kong.
7am.
Plus I set the actual coffee pot to be ahead about three minutes, so that means my coffee will start brewing at about 6:57!! Wow, that's amazing. My suitcase is stuffed with Christmas presents and clothes. But when I say clothes, I should really just say my bag is stuffed with black, v-neck tees and jeans. I must have stopped buying other colors awhile back, so that's something interesting. I realized it as I set out the clothes I intended to bring on the carpet. Why is it that the first thing I thought of was, "Wow, I guess all the pictures from the entire trip are going to look like they happened on the same day with me wearing the same clothes. Bummer." What a strange first thought to have.

Also of note: It seems to be snowing here in Nashville. I wish I was in the mood to take full stock of it or to fully appreciate, but I have a feeling that where I'm going there will be plenty of snow, maybe even too much.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wolves

Wolves do not eat each other.



That's an old French proverb.
apparently

I guess since I don't take French anymore, I'm not really qualified to offer thoughts on anything French. My dreams of being an affluent expat in a perfect little Paris apartment are getting farther and farther away with every purchase of Hanes athletic socks and Florida orange juice. Let's face it: I'm an American, through and through.

Anyway, back to the proverb.
Where exactly are they going with that?

There's a couple doing a Bible study at Starbucks right now, reading Song of Solomon out loud. That has nothing to do with wolves. Or maybe it does. I don't think it does.

I don't know what it means.

Where It Grows

Sometimes you wait so long to get what you want that when you get it, you realize that it's been a long time since you stopped wanting it.

We don't stay the same from year to year.

I realize now how easy it is to live along the lines of cliches, with all the trappings of status quo.

Frankly, it's hard to carve out your own path. No matter what people say about that being the thing to do. People say that, but the actually carving and the real walking on the path is much different than the advertisements.

All along my way, all the signs point to the road more travelled. It's not that it takes incredible effort to change or to make progress. It's just that there aren't hoardes of people along the side of the road, clapping for you and telling you it's worth it. You just have to think it's worth it in your heart. It doesn't really matter to anyone else if you've made life better for yourself. And most of us aren't big enough to make life better for thousands upon thousands of people. So it's really just about doing it because you think it's the way things should be done.

It's not that incentives don't work.
But sometimes there just aren't a lot of incentives to live really meaningful lives.

What kind of fallen, broken place is this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Long and Winding Road ... Still Ahead

"Anyone who is not totally dead to himself will soon find that he is tempted and overcome by piddling and frivolous things. Whoever is weak in spirit, given to the flesh, and inclined to sensual things can, but only with great difficulty, drag himself away from his earthly desires. Therefore he often gloomy and sad when he is trying to pull himself from them and easily gives in to anger should someone attempt to oppose him."
-Imitation of Christ

God takes anyone who wishes to journey with him up hills, down hills, into caves, out into sunlight and always there is a bit of the path that winds around a cliff and along which you could misstep and fall into a dangerous ravine below. We always want to "journey" with God. But unlike our church services, our movies, or even our video games, which have beginnings and ends--the journey with God, once it begins, is not a ride you can exit when your stomach gets queazy. It's not a TV series that you can just stop watching until "it gets good again."

I mean, if only. Because there was this long part of the O.C., in which Marissa was dating a girl and Summer and Seth were neither here nor there, and I often got up and made myself lunch or went to the bathroom without even pausing the DVD. It mattered that little what was happening during that part of the season.

So journeying with God--you might use language that paints the picture that "now" you want to take a journey with God, lasting for some designated season, at the end of which you will arrive at some awesome place of maturity both relationally and financially {since that's the only thing young Christian singles ever seem to want to "take a journey with God" for}.

It doesn't work that way. He waits our whole life for us to finally push the giant, green "YES" button for spirituality and then he takes us on a journey alright. A journey that lasts FOR EVER. You never get off the ride. You never stop the movie. Everything you do, every bathroom break you take...it doesn't stop the journey. It doesn't end one journey and begin another. It's all the same journey!!!

You may think I'm getting a little worked up about this. Really, I'm just amazed at how I've been able to compartmentalize different seasons of my faith to make it all a little easier to understand. "This" was that season where I was desperate for God because my life was in complete and utter chaos. "This" was that season where I journeyed with God to break the cycles of whatever. "This" was the season where I journeyed with God to determine if I was really going to be a pastor's wife one day.

"This" is the season where I stopped believing that he was going to do something beautiful in an area of my life. When I started thinking that I maybe had embellished his will for my life and naively expected good things that had nothing to do with what he really wanted for me.

Now "this" is the season where I realize that I let a few disappointments get the best of me. A few rejections. A few misunderstandings. A few slips of logic. When I finally see how much "that" one thing really hurt me.

This is the journey back home.

That's what I was feeling this week. That I'm now taking a new journey with God. Except--it's not new. It's the same journey I've been on since the beginning. He's been doing the same work in me since those very first days of faith when I walked along with my eyes closed and my hands out, palms upward, expecting something good from Him.

My posture and my attitude have changed the most in the journey. Sometimes running forward and outpacing him, frightened beyond my wits. Sometimes walking with my head looking back over my shoulder, like Lot's wife so stupidly did all those years ago, wondering if taking a journey sabotaged other possibilities in my life. Sometimes moving at a snail's pace while he mimes all these warning and danger signs to me, which I don't heed.

And all of this made me realize something else about my worst self. The one I used to be so freakingly in a hurry to stop being...

What I was then and still am on my worst days -- is not worth saving. That's not who He saved. The woman He is turning me into -- the woman I am becoming at the end of this journey -- that woman has eternity like a fragrance hanging around her. That person I will be is worth saving. What's so ironic, is that he was willing to fight for her. If He was willing to fight for her, why don't I?

That's my journey. Finding out why it's important to fight for the work He is doing...even in the "seasons" when the script-writers have absolutely no sense of humor.

This Isn't A Very Good Pep Talk, But Then Again...

My four biggest worries:
-That I won't do well on my history and math finals and will lose the grade I've earned all semester in a few short, silent hours next week.
-That I will run out of money in the next two weeks.
-That I won't be able to stop binging on Jew cakes (Leibniz bisuits) now that I've been eating sugar all week for my birthday.
-That I'm wasting the precious time God has given me on too much fun and too little research.

My four happiest memories from this year:
-A Whole Foods run with Shelby late one night when she was sick and I got free pizza. We laughed so hard.
-My first week of school in January; how new & scary & exhilarating
-Noshville at lunch with Becca weeks in a row
-Dinner with Cameron at Cha Cha's on Belmont

It's funny how the happiest moments of my year had something to do with sharing food with someone else. It's funny that my biggest worries all revolve around self-discipline.

I've been sitting around for hours this afternoon, putting off my gym time and my study time just because. Because I'm tired of hard work and tired of fearing that I'll blow it all if I'm not careful.

Sometimes I just need to stop and remind myself that it's no big deal. My life. My death. My hard work. My weakness. My eating. My running. My studying. My grade point. My getting a good job. My relationships with men. My family dynamics. My worn out skin and the lotion that I have to constantly buy to keep my skin from becoming a cakey, Mohave desert shell around me.

It's no big deal, girl.
Even if it all crumbles away, which it never does--but even if it does, nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. Nothing is so devastating that He's not there when you wake up in the morning, giving you a moment of respite from the worry or the guilt or the despair.

It's no big deal.






Now go do what you need to do and stop wasting time, you lazy bum. You think this life is going to live itself? You're just going to sit around and somehow you'll magically know everything and have a better running time and the house will be clean?

Get over feeling bored and tired and stressed. Jump in with both...hearts. The one you use to love sitting around and doing nothing, and the one that loves all the things in life that are yet to be. You'll need both of them to finish the job.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brrrr, It's Cold in Here

I was making conversation with a friend by email a moment ago and was so pleased with the discovery of a little Machiavellian heart in my chest that I must post here my response for your amusement.

We were talking about getting over those you've loved.

I think if you have a beautiful and pure heart, then you are faced with the Jane Austen unbending love problem. That love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. It's a terrible predicament when we must choose to lose our ideals concerning how we love or face annihilation of our souls for nurturing an undying, unrequited sympathy.

Be Machiavellian, I say--gratefully fling love aside as soon as possible. Heck, don't let yourself ever get there

---------

I would add that I wouldn't be willing to love someone unless they made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Put your money where your mouth is, I say. I've got plenty of men around if I'm just looking for someone to talk to.

It Really Is Too Bad

Everything = Bad

The whiny Alanis Morrisette song that just played, the "Your love is like bad medicine" that played before that, and the terrible Christmas shopping advertisements that are now playing too loud on the coffee shop radio while I figure out my study schedule = Bad.

The food I ate for lunch being gone = Bad.

The teeth sensitivity mixed with cold weather = Bad.

The three finals in a row scheduled for next Tuesday, starting at 8 AM = Bad.

Basically:
Everything = Bad

Even good things somehow = Bad right now, which means that there is another variable being surrepticiously added to my life equations and outweighing all the good.

If Bad = Bad,
And Good = Good,
Then Good + (something) = Bad

First, that (something) has to take away all the Good. Then, it has to add a whole Bad. Wow. So:

(something)=-Good + Bad

A (- Good) = Bad.
So (something) = Bad+Bad

Man, that's 2 Bad. Something is 2 Bad in my life, that's for sure...
Get it?

Aaaaanyways...
That means that 2Bad is surrepticiously being added to my life equation, in effect, wiping out the Good feelings and leaving me with a Bad feeling.

And during Christmas, to boot. Geeze.

I'm no fool. This comes right at a time when I'm learning how to step away from the comforts and conveniences of a pleasurable existence (minus last night's birthday pizza and cupcakes). Of course I feel like everything = bad. Of course the world itself, like a mule, has turned and gone the other way. Spiteful turn of events.

I'm just complaining here, take no notice. But please, someone turn off this crappy radio station before I plunge my used and dirty spoon into my own heart.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Imitation of Christ, Another Quote

“I would rather experience repentance in my soul than know how to define it.”
Thomas a Kempis

Turning Over

It's not me.
Bent down low and washed up.
A torn, discarded coffee cup.
Used shoes and broken laces.
Fallen friends with false faces.

It's not me.

Time for climbing different trees.
Sinking into darkened soil.
Nesting down deep.
Shuffling through colored leaves.

And this is me.
The mellow waltzing of silky birds.
A breeze across the winter air.
A lifted, lilting, tingled feeling.
Dancing through the shaded woods.

This is me.
The sound of laundry turning.
The cement firm under each step.
A fiery, crackling, ember burning.
The warmth of spring's distant welcome.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

To Know God

The old man stopped by last night.

He told me to relax.
He told me to sleep.

"Everything will be easier in the morning," he told me.

But I slept through my alarm.

I can still hear his voice, telling me that what I desire isn't different than anyone else I know. "You only want what all others have. What could be so bad about that?"

But the voice sounds like a dark murmur today--the old man wants to be the new me, but I know better.

What is wanting?
What is having?
What is living?

To know God.
To know God.
To know God.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shoulda Been Writing

I'm in the holiday spirit.
Trying to make the season bright.

I've got an essay due in about 17 hours and I'm going to go for a run before I get involved in it.

If I were smart, I would skip working out today and focus on my school work. But I get so lazy and sloppy and tired if I don't work out, and I have no idea where or how that would hit me...or when. So I'm going for a simple three or four mile run. What I hate about my work ethic this semester is that I can't find it. It's like that thing I packed up in a box last January and moved all the way to Bowling Green and never unpacked. Those things. {I actually have a stack of about ten boxes full of miscellaneous items that were only of use to me in my past life as an office robot}

I've got my birthday party tomorrow night & I couldn't be happier. Happy friends and maybe happy music and definitely happy sweets like cookies and cupcakes. All those things add up into one sweet happy me, hopefully.

There's a lot to be said for rounding the corner on another birthday. A lot of things I haven't figured out yet. But, like mildew on a toilet, there's a lot that's been growing undercover over time that I totally forget about. I ran into a girl at school who practically rained down the joy of Christ on me today while I ate my lunch. She says that she doesn't necessarily always make a perfect "disciple," but her enthusiasm was totally contagious and gave me a good reminder that I need to keep my heart focused on loving God.

I could sit here and kill time until my 17 hours turns into 2 or 3 {which is how I handled the last essay}. I'm going to play this one smart and go away from this den of sin {read: house of sleep & TV temptation}, and I already made sure that I had finished season one of my latest TV show fetish before the paper would be due so that I wouldn't be tempted to throw in the essay towel and sit on my recliner watching TV. Yeah, that's what I was doing all last week instead of my homework...I was preparing myself to be emotionally and TValistically free to do my paper tonight. Some might call it procrastination or distraction, but we both know it was preparation. One man's procrastination today is another man's preparation for hard work tomorrow.

There's a verse in the New Testament that says "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." Sometimes you've got to tie your own hands behind your back if you're too weak to do what you need to do. If I stay at home to do my essay, I'll do everything except my essay. {I thought I was past this type of negligent, weak-willed, undisciplined crap, too, don't worry}. So if I plan to stay at home anyway, knowing that this place distracts me, I'm basically planning on not doing my essay. And as much as I'd like to mess up my grades in the last two weeks of school....yeah. Nope.

If I could do anything tonight, and not have to do what I have to do, I would get dressed up in a black dress that I don't even own with a good pair of heels and a lot of hairspray and perfume and I would be out at dinner at some cute little restaurant. Then I would go back to some house that looks a bit like the interior of Restoration Hardware and crash in my UGG boots and lots of layers on a giant, deep couch to watch romantic comedies.

Do you see what's happening to me lately? I'm locked in a glass case of fantasy.
Don't get me out, though.
At least not until the semester is over.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wish List

One last thing.
Christmas shopping has been funny this year. I keep seeing all these things that I want and am not buying. Maybe I used to buy more things for myself more often. Yes, I know I did. But I also wanted different things.

I used to want really fancy, useless things. Now I have all these needs.

Like...

I need these because walking to and from school in the icy weather is ridiculous in Tom's cloth shoes, as I learned today:


I need this for the same reason as the boots; too too cold:


I want this, Britt understands:


I want something like this:


I'd like to wake up on my birthday to find a drawer full of new socks and underwear and a new scarf. I'd like to have a new bottle of perfume and a fresh selection of pajamas to wear. I'd love to have a new, warm blanket.

New eyeliner I need. New lipgloss. New blush. More cotton balls. More nail files. More Starbucks. More cupcakes. More chocolate soy milk. More eggs.

There's really no end once you start listing it, right...

Ahhhh, that was fun, though.

Old Birthday Reminiscing

My birthday is almost here again. How weird.

Reading through my old blog from years past, I really liked one of the birthday posts I cam across, from two years ago. If you were reading then you may remember {I remember those days as my brilliant, witty days, before the onslaught of my boring blogger personality this spring}. I hope that some of these things are more true and that some are less:

"So today is my 29th birthday.
And I'm looking over my old journals, to see who I was last year, and the year before. I'm pretty much nothing like who I was a year ago. How scary is that?

Sometimes I want to lay on the brakes and shout, "NOOOOOO, STOP!!!!" Just because the speed of change is rocking my boat and tearing at the fabric of my very life.


But I don't. I just go to sleep, wake up, make a few commentaries and deal with it.
Am I doing the best job?
Gosh, I don't know.
I wish I wouldn't be self-destructive, that's something new that I'm coping with. I let things fall apart, just to watch the glass break. I play the role of outside observer in my own life sometimes, and it could possibly ruin me if I let it. I hate that.

But I see beauty.
And goodness.
I recognize an ambling butterfly for what it is, and I am delighted by warm breezes.

I have virtue.

My heart is not abolished within me.

It lives and is growing.
Fast and quietly.

My new favorite quote is from Rainer Maria Rilke, from the book that Andrea gave me, "Letters to a Young Poet." He says in one of his letters:
Be patient and without resentment.

How great is that. Simple, refined and monumental. It is the best advice to start a new year with.

Be patient.
And without resentment."

Oh Past & Love

I just got a love blast from the past.
Someone I adored. How I adored him so pointlessly. Sigh.
I'm sure he really cared for me, in one of those ways that didn't mean anything but he thought was still supposed to mean something to me.

In a way, it's hard to remember hoping for something to happen with him. I was naive about him and so fruitlessly optimistic. There was what I believed was going to happen between us, and there was what I believed had already happened to us and when nothing came of it all, I severed my connection to fruitless optimism once and for all.

I suppose a lot of things have changed since then. In those days I was like low-hanging fruit, easy to grab and take. There were so many things I wanted and so many dreams that I thought I had no way of achieving on my own. I was waiting for someone to come along and change all that, and just about any person could have convinced me that their dreams needed my partnership to make them come true. When you don't have any plans of your own, it doesn't take much for someone to convince you to go with them wherever they are going.

These days, everything I want is in the palm of my hand and I don't need anyone else to ride in and save me from living the dream, so the stakes are a lot higher. Also, I used to work hard for men; I'd be where they wanted me to be and I'd wear what they wanted me to wear and I'd be who they wanted me to be. But I'm not a 25 year old girl and I don't work hard for men anymore.

I suppose I wish I knew about all this at 18 or 21 (or even 27). That a good man doesn't run you around the tree and make you do all the work, just so he can say he has you on his leash. That the best men, and they are out there, are the ones confident enough in themselves that when you're around them, you forget about what's wrong with relationships and you feel more like a woman than you've ever felt before.

I remember being young. And I remember wanting to be someone's ideal; wanting to do all the things that an ideal woman would do and wanting to be all the things that an ideal woman would be. I've found over the years that the only women that men think should be ideal are the ones in the Victoria Secret magazines, and almost any other woman can win the heart of a man by humor and a little empathy. Men are simple creatures, really, which I like. They don't like being criticized or mocked. They like to be flirted with. They don't know how to act properly around women and they're absolute fools about the women they like. I wish I would have known these things when I was young enough to want to win the heart of men.

Now, I'm not sure what I want from love. Not enough, probably. I'm not interested in winning the hearts as much as the minds of men. The rest is up to them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Good Start to December

As I was reading the Psalms for the day a minute ago, Psalm 61 grabbed me, so I'll put part of it here for you:

"1 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
5 For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. "

This is exactly how I feel about my relationship with God--about my journey so far.

He has been the rock that is higher than I am, when I feel overwhelmed.

He has been my tower of defense that I run to.

He has been my shelter during storms.

Changes and Chances

There is so much life left to live.

There is something hopeful in that. Something optimistic.

Sometimes I feel like I've lived and died and lived and died a thousand lives. I feel like I'm an old wineskin, and yet I'm still here, still being recreated into something newer and incomprehensible to all I've been. It's difficult enough to accept the changes and chances of this life. Without having to keep adjusting your dreams and re-analyzing your situation again and again. And no matter how prepared I feel, sometimes the plainness of life and the complete and utter lack of influence I wield over it can be shocking. I hate to feel powerless.

When the going gets tough, it seems easier to take whatever comes at me and turn it this way and that until it fits into everything that I've already seen and felt and understood. It's much harder to take a new thing and say to myself, "This, this thing...it's a new thing. It's something I've never felt, never known. I can't respond in the typical ways. It's something I don't understand."

It's hard to look at my world with fresh eyes and see it for it's problems and it's beauty. It's hard to ask that of myself every single day.

I guess that's the difference between reacting to life and responding to it. Or to living it.

My roommate has a poster in her room that says something like:

The goal of life is not to find yourself.
The goal is to create yourself.

I know there are better, more spiritual ways to say something like that that don't ruffle our theological feathers. Yet I like what it's getting at. We can't wait for things to come at us and then look back and define our lives according to what we let happen to us. We have to dream and have a vision for our lives, and we have to pursue it with God as the master architect beside us. We cannot let ourselves become just anything, considering our lives were bought with real blood for something very specific and very personal. We're not just statistics.

I've been really touched by some of the gospel stories out of Luke this past week. We can choose who we will be--the throng of people that stood around Jesus listening to his weird parables and watching miraculous things happening--or the leper who came to Jesus from the crowd and said, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." I don't know why those words mean so much to me. But what a thing, to want something different for yourself that bad. And to go get it.

There really is more to life than changes and chances.