C'est La Vie
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be. Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy. And I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words..
Things I love
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
For now, to work. By the end of today, or else before noon tomorrow, I'll be completely and entirely done with the semester. With no end-of-the-semester stress as is normal for students.
Today, I got a phone call from the tutoring center at my school telling me that my English teacher recommended me as a writing tutor, and asking if I'd come in and apply. I'll have to find out more about that.
Tomorrow I'll be able to go into my ceramics class and pick up the last couple of pieces (the ones I glazed last week and last night) and load my extra clay and tools and all into my car. There won't be a ceramics class offered next year unless they get a new teacher, and I've got my sights set on photography instead, anyway. I may take chemistry, or I may try to CLEP out of that along with math and history. I'll have some sort of social science elective, possibly a business or management course, and whatever electives I choose to fill the rest of my credit hour time. I plan on taking my CLEP tests over the course of this summer. Perhaps a brief refresher would help, but either way, it'll be much better than sitting through the classes to relearn more than I ever needed to know about these particular subjects. Not that they're not important. They're essential to those going into such fields. To me, though, they're just unnecessary.
So, that's the end of my school story for this year. And now I'd better go and finish that computer project so I can start enjoying my summer vacation. :)
It was me, at 11 years old, talking to some counselors at the camp I was going to that summer.
I had overheard some counselors earlier -- that is, I'd been standing nearby and they half-involved me in the conversation on the condition that I wouldn't tell anyone -- saying something about riding their bikes up and down the mountain our camp was located on and being careful at night and whatnot. At the camp I'd been at earlier that summer, similar conversations had taken place among the counselors that were making late-night runs to the Hard Rock Cafe not far from camp. Sure, they needed a break, but there was a reason they were being paid to sleep in the same bunks as the campers, or at least stay up late in nearby rooms. Camps spawn odd problems at night -- sometimes emergencies and sometimes panicking campers that need someone older to be there for them. I knew, as a camper, that these counselors were not doing the right thing. So when at this other camp the same summer (with many of the same dynamics as were at the first camp) I overheard the counselors talking this way, I figured they were the same types as at the first camp, and they were making their "escape" plans.
When they asked me to promise I wouldn't tell anyone about it, my eleven-year-old mind took that to mean that they trusted me with their secret. And I was going to do everything in my power to keep their trust. So I didn't tell anyone about their plans. However, that night I did walk around, in my annoying-brat way, telling everyone that I knew a secret I wasn't going to let them in on.
The next morning at the morning devotional/lesson time, I realized that I'd been completely mistaken in my assumptions. Having only heard half of the conversation, I found that they weren't planning anything off camp properties or that involved escaping from campers. Indeed, they had been planning the skit that was about, I think, making wise decisions or something along that line. The skit involved a few of the counselors acting as though they were running off on some wild mountain biking adventure and then crashed and broke just about every limb in their bodies. However these plans translated in my mind into them sneaking off the campground for a breath of fresh air doesn't matter these many years later. What does matter, though, is that I learned a very important lesson in that situation. Along with finally grasping the concept of assumptions and how foolish they usually are, I also realized how foolish I was to go around saying "I know something you don't know" .. how annoying that was to others, and how especially silley it was in a situation when I really actually didn't know anything at all.
The memory of that day has come up in my memory a few times every year since. I continue to learn from it to this very moment. I have analyzed, over and over again (I'm a big fan of "discovering" the same thing multiple times, apparently), what motivated my actions.
For one thing, I really did feel trusted. I felt like these people I thought so highly of (they were in *gasp* college! So much older than me!) saw me as something close to an equal, at least on a mental level. That was one of the earlier examples in my life of that happening, and I wasn't really prepared to handle that feeling properly.
Also, I felt special. *I* knew something, or so I thought, that others didn't know. I was an individual. Out of all the other campers and uninvolved counselors there that weekend, I was the only one that was let in on this huge secret.
I was also seeking attention. Whether or not I'd actually tell anyone the secret, I wanted other people to know just how special and trusted I was. "Look at me!" I proclaimed. "I have a secret!"
I felt mature in not telling the secret.
I felt powerful because (a) trust is power, and (b) not betraying trust is power.
For all these reasons and so many more, I harbored my secret behind neon signs. No one would break it out of me, but no one would know it wasn't there. *I* had a secret.
It's been many years since that time, and I still find all these same motives behind many of my actions today. On Saturday night, I brought up a past situation (in fully light-hearted conversation) that would have been better off buried where it had been. In so doing, I also ended up causing some other unintended mischief and hurting at least one person's feelings.
For that, I am sorry. And I have since analyzed my feelings all over. It's the same old game.
Inside jokes, background stories, and veiled references to would-be-rumors have always been a special treat for me. In the particularly close friendships that I had before moving here, there was at least one inside joke created a week, and often more. Inside jokes, in and of themselves, are fine. I honestly neither create them nor bring them up to exclude others (as is implied by the term "inside" jokes), but rather because there are those special moments and memories that are only special to those that were originally there, and that can be recalled vividly with the simple mention of a few words or reenactment of one particular facial expression.
I also loved knowing stories behind .. well, anything. Moments. Events. Marraiges. Songs. Whatever can possibly have a story, I loved knowing it. And each story that I heard, moreso each story I actually witnessed, was locked away in my memory. When I could pull them out -- and proove that I was there or that I knew that story or that I could remember something minute and unimportant to anyone not attached to the moment -- I so enjoyed being able to recall the vivid memories and re-tell the stories.
And then there are the veiled references. Things that are not public knowledge, and especially things that should not be for whatever reason (such as too much history for most people to understand with the brief story given), have always been my favorite things to know. And when I could combine the concepts of inside jokes and background stories into a veiled reference to a would-be rumor, just toeing the edge of spilling the rumor into the realm of gossip, I always felt a peculiar satisfaction from nearing that line and then relieving the witness or victim by not crossing it.
This weekend, I reckon I got a little too close. Who needs veiled references when you can just tease listeners with the scandelous part of the story to get their attention and then explain why it's not what they think, eh?
Again, it was all the same motives. I loved knowing something others hadn't known. I loved having been inadvertantly (and, it seems, unwisely) trusted with knowledge that never had anything to do with me. Well, not enough to do with me to matter. I enjoyed toeing the line. And I must admit, I'm sure the attention played some significant role in my motives as well.
It was certainly not worth the hurt it caused. Few things ever are. And it was certainly not a display of the maturity and trust I have worked for these several years.
It is done now, and I hope that I have finally learned this lesson enough times and in enough ways to never have to learn it again.
I feel like the classmates I have that enroll and pay for a class, come to about half the sessions, bomb the tests, and eventually just take their F and resign to repeating the class again next semester. They say that experience is the best, yet most expensive, teacher. Why do I waste these opportunities to learn? Why do I keep re-enrolling, paying again and again. More than that, why do I always make other people pay for my own immaturities and struggles? That is certainly the greater sin.
It is times like those that seem to justify the lack of close friends I have in town. And yet, looking back on how very far I've come since I was an eleven-year-old camper-brat, I also have so much hope that someday in the future, I will not have to analyze this same set of motives. I know that I have changed. I know that Christ is continually transforming me more and more to His likeness. I know that this is a very long process, and is certainly a very hard process. I know, most of all, that I long to be standing face-to-face with my Jesus, who loves me and in whom no veiled reference or secrets can be found. Here on earth, I will continue to ask our Messiah to break all my neon signs, and all my assumption-harbors. I, of course, ought to keep the secrets I'm entrusted with. But keeping a secret effectively really means that no one else even knows there's a secret being kept.
"If I can't [stand], let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you... If I weep, let it be as a man longing for his Home." -- Rich Mullins
Monday, April 29, 2002
I had a great weekend, though.
Now I've got some projects to glaze in ceramics. But I'll be on campus tomorrow working on the last bits for computer class, and will blog more then.
I'm two days away from being completely and entirely done with school for this year.
I'm a month away from visiting California.
I'm two months away from jr. high camp.
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
For English, I have to drop a paper off on Friday, and I'll be completely done. No presenting, no class-time, nothing.
And in Computers, our "final" time will be on Monday, which means no actual final.
And I'll have glazed some things tonight and then do a little more glazing on Monday, and that'll be it for ceramics.
For communications, I do need to come in on Friday to watch some of the other speeches, but I don't need to actually DO anything.
Ah, I'm enjoying this.
Since this time in '97, I've lived in 9 houses/apts, four cities, and three states. Since I was born, add one more house, city, and state and you'll have that. In a couple of weeks, I'll be moving again, either within the same city or around it.
Just since moving here to VA, I've been in one state and one city so far, but in four houses already, with another one on the way.
That's a lot of moving.
Monday, April 22, 2002
On Thursday night, I saw Brooks Williams in concert, and I got to go with Sarah and her mother, and met a few neat new people there. On Friday, I bid Sarah farewell for a couple of weeks (I'll be seeing her again soon enough) and then headed off to the songwriting workshop Brooks was leading. We ended up talking a fair bit about guitars and playing and theory, but I did still take in a lot of it (I don't play guitar, so I really was lost during several of the conversations) and will be able to share some of that with others. After hanging out with some of the conference attendees that afternoon, I headed back home in plenty of time to go back to my house for dinner and a short nap. I went over to one of the local colleges for a concert that night, but got there about two hours early because I didn't know what time the concert would start. So, I saw that right near the student hangout building, there was a track meet going on. I went over to half-watch the meet, but mostly work on some journal entries for English class (responding to poetry and such.)
Watching the runners, I had two thoughts:
(1) I was a distance runner for many, many years. I was decent, too, especially at the 5K. Had I not gotten my ulcer and quit, I might have even become very good on a more-than-only-local competative level. I probably would have earned an extra college scholarship to any school with a running team, and I likely would have been able to continue running throughout my life. It was never this burning passion -- I didn't think to myself "I could be in the Olympics someday!" .. but it was something I enjoyed, was good at, and considered part of who I was. I miss running every so often, and I've attempted to restart (just for the health and sport of it, rather than the competition) a few times to no avail. Watching these runners, though, I decided I really did want to restart and really did want to see if I could get good again. Step by step, though, so getting good won't be a goal for some time yet. Being able to run more than half a block without getting winded would be my first goal.
(2) I thought to myself, "Self -- How in the world did your team and family and other supporters sit around and watch you run all day at meets?!? I know when I was running, it felt speedy and quicknessey, but this just looks SO slow!"
However, when a bunch of the guys started the steeple chase, I realized that there was still the competition aspect to draw interest.. watching two of the guys compete for first was pretty exciting even though it felt like it was in slow motion.
So, then I went in and enjoyed (muchly) the concert.
On Saturday, I woke up just a little later than I normally do for school and church, and I took some time to gather things together. When I was ready, I went out to one of the local stores that was supposed to be having a one-year anniversary celebration. I got there before many of the festivities began, though, and decided not to stick around since the person I knew that worked there wasn't there yet.
Instead, I went out to the Hall's, who had called, while I was getting ready for the morning, to invite me skiing. The Halls are Bob, Terry, Rachael, and Ruth. Bob and Rachael had just gotten home for soccer, and Terry and Ruth were just leaving for horseback riding. I had declined the offer earlier on the basis of needing to prepare for my speech, but decided that I'd done a whole lot of preperation already (and I do better at improv speeches, anyway) and needed to have fun (and get a workout!) instead. So I borrowed their computer (and DSL connection) to gather a few more quotes for my speech, and then Bob and I went up to the stable where Ruth was riding to pick her up and take her boating as well. So Bob drove the boat, Ruth spotted, and I skied for about 10 or 15 minutes straight. (That is, one single run. No falling, no stopping, nothing. Just skiing and pushing my muscles past their limits.)
When I finally got their attention that I needed to stop (Bob was teaching Ruth, who is his 14 and a half year old daughter, how to drive the boat), I climbed in the boat to rest while Ruth and some girls staying at the house we launched from went tubing. When I'd rested enough, and one of the girls had wiped out enough she was ready to rest, I got on the tube with Ruth (she'd been one of my jr. highers since she was in 6th grade, and we get along great) and the other girl took the individual tube. We went out for a few runs in a row, which were all great. I wiped out once on this one, so fantasically that the other tube filled with water and sunk!
Needless to say, I was sore as all get out on Sunday morning, when the jr. highers WERE going to be taking a hike (so I came to church in shorts, a grubby t-shirt, and hiking boots.. we were gonna do our own service at the top of the mountain and then come down, have lunch, and go home) but it was all rainy so we didn't go. I had lunch with the family I used to live down the street from and hung out with all the time and some mutual friends, and spent several hours there. In the later evening, I came home, took a nap, watched a teensy bit of TV, and worked on my speech for today.
This morning, I gave my speech -- which means I'm officially totally done with everything in my communications class. I turned in some more work for Computer class, which means I've just got the take-home final and the powerpoint presentation we're doing during the alloted hours for the final left to do. I turned in my journal for my English class, which just leaves me with the book review to turn in on Friday. And I'm about to go to Ceramics and glaze a few pieces, which will mean just a bit more glazing to do on Wednesday and next Monday.
Not a bad deal. While most of my friends are scrambling for all the many end-of-term papers and extremely hard finals, I'm really smoothly transitioning into relaxation and the summer.
I am a blessed person.
Now I just need to finally register for the fall. That's on the agenda for tonight.
She is teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in Multicultural Education and coordinating grant programs for public school teachers taking multicultural education courses at FAU.
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
The topics ranged from legalization of marijuana or most encouraging word (which is the one I pulled) to education or prayer in schools.
After we went through the entire class that way, our teacher gathered the remaining cards and held them like a magician doing a "pick-a-card" trick. She said, "Now you'll pull one of these cards without looking at the topic, and I'll read you the question. You'll then answer immediately. This will help you to prepare for situations like job interviews or conversations with friends or professionals, where you won't have so much time to prepare a response."
For both exercised, I went first. And for both, I did ok, I suppose. The second time around, I got the topic "Is there too much violence in video games?" I'm certainly not equipped to answer that question very well, since the only video games or such I've played within the past several years have been children's games with the kids I babysat, or sports games that aren't violent. And the James Bond games and spin-offs, but those are pretty borderline as far as all that goes, since the violence is pretty unrealistic and all.
At any rate, it was a good exercise, especially for some of my classmates that had had little or no experience with impromptu speeches. I've had a fair amount of experience, and I can talk about almost anything anyway.
Today, we had to give a two-to-three minute sales pitch about a product or idea. There were a few guidelines about it, as well. Honestly, I had a very busy weekend and past couple of days, and I didn't do anything to prepare this speech. So when I got to school this morning, I decided I'd better pick a topic and start thinking of some things to say about it.
I thought to myself, "Self, what interesting things do I know enough about right off the top of my head to do a sales pitch on without props or time for research?"
And I responded, "Gee, self, you could do something relating to how less than two years ago you were bald and now you've got nearly 12 inches of hair already!"
So I discreetly made a few notes and a very ghetto prop (a white paper with some writing on it taped around my water bottle) during a few of the other sales pitches.
And when it was my turn, I took my hair out of its poneytail, went to the front, and did my best Sally Struthers imitation to sell "Sally Smothers Hair Growth Product". I explained to the class that it was a special drink with vitamins and minerals in it, and if you had just two sips a day, you'd have long, luxurious hair in no time. I explained to them how two years ago, I had been searching for the perfect hair care product already out there, and unfortunately got taken in by a scam product that caused baldness. Then I developed my Hair Growth Product and already, in under two years, had long, beautiful hair. I told them about how a percentage of the profits goes to the Save the Children fund, and that we'd also give the children their own Hair Growth Product so that they could have the beautiful hair taken for granted in America. I went on in this way for about two or three minutes, at which point I told them to call 1-800-Sally-Smothers today to get their own bottle of Sally Smothers Hair Growth Formula, for only 20 dollars a month.
When it was all done, I stood at the podium (as each class member had to do after his or her speech this time around) for comments and suggestions, and those that spoke up simply said it was a great job.
Who needs preparation, anyway??
I've been wondering this for a while. Of course, it's only so common for people to actually hold doors open in our society, especially a female holding it open for any males that might be walking behind her. But even so, it just strikes me as rather odd when people walk through the door you're holding open, yet put their hands up as if to say, "I appriciate that you're holding it open, but there's a chance that you might not really desire to do so and might let go halfway through my journey over the threshhold, and so I'd like to make sure that this door stays open the entire time I'm in the doorway."
I suppose it's reasonable to feel that way. I don't reckon I feel that way too often myself, on a concious or subconcious level. At least not with doors being held open. I'll gladly do whatever I need to to NOT have to put my hands up or open the door myself .. well, not whatever I need to, but pretty close. If I have to hurry or something, that is.
I just don't know.
Monday, April 15, 2002
After my time in the studio today, I'll be driving out to the home of the other babysitter for some kids I babysit, to pick up the kids and take them to their mother's friends' home so that I can babysit all 6 kids in one place for a few hours tonight. I'll pick up pizza on my way, assuming that Meg (the mother of the first set of kids) didn't decide otherwise, and the kids and I will go outside to play by the creek and brush the horse (yay! a horse!) and whatever other activities a gorgeous day like this inspires. Meg and Dawn will get home around 9:30, and I'll go home from there, where I'll hopefully get started on cleaning some areas of my room. Then tomorrow I'll be cleaning and baking all day, with the exception of my discipleship/mentoring meeting at 1 and my house church meeting at 7. Wednesday will bring classes, and cleaning out my car if I don't get to that tomorrow, and then Thursday is the possible ceramics time and/or sleeping in, the concert, and the much anticipated hang-out time. Who needs a weekend?!?
I'm sitting so that the sunbeams fall down on the right side of my back, hitting my face and right arm as well. I didn't really do this intentionally, but it may help to even out the driver's tan I've started to get from recent warm drives with the windows down. My hair, up in a poneytail except for the two small braids in front, is dancing around my neck with the breeze. I can see the shadow of the top strands of hair nearly standing straight up, reaching towards the sky.
It is so very easy to praise God on days like this, when the gentle breeze floats flowery aromas my way and the warm sun reminds me that outside is a good place to be.
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Not that I'm some super-attractive vixen that everyone falls in love with, or that anyone really gets particularly attracted to, even. Just that I want to be able to develop friendships and not have to worry at all about whether other people are scheming for a romantic match (especially since, as someone that has committed to staying single forever, it gets very awkward to have friends that don't support that and that still try to "hook me up" with people) or about reading between the lines to see whether I need to pull away because he's about to overstep bounds because he thinks I'm encouraging that, or whatever else it may be.
Monday, April 08, 2002
I'm excited to see what my projects turn out like when they come out of the glaze/glost firing. I've got a few in there now, and they should be nice. I've got a few others I need to glaze that should be pretty ok. My skills on the wheel are getting better, though I still have trouble making anything starting with a lump larger than two lbs of clay. Much better than last semester, though, when half a pound was doing good. :)
So I'm off to home now, to work on this ceramics project and to have a nice dinner.
One friend that lives in Atlanta was up for the week. I had just seen her when I was visiting Atlanta, but that was the first time I'd seen her in over a year and a half, and she'd been my roommate for the first year I lived here.
Another friend that I haven't seen in almost a year was also in town, and the timing was mostly because of the first friends' visit. So the bunch of us (the two of them, some in-town friends, and myself) were all gonna get together Saturday night to hang out together and maybe watch a movie and eat dinner and whatnot. Just have a good time, like we did back in the day when the whole bunch of us lived in town.
I was babysitting all day Saturday, so I told them that I'd just come over when I got off, around 7:30 or 8. And that's what I did.
I arrived to find the apartment dark and locked. So I thought "gee, maybe they all went over to Thor and Angela's".
When I went there, the apartment was dark and locked, too. Thor was out with some of his other friends (having never been officially informed of the get-together) and Angela was at work, as she usually is on Saturday nights.
So I went home, thinking maybe they'd left a message on my machine during the day that I hadn't gotten since I didn't go home after babysitting.
By this point, every insecurity I've ever felt about my status with this particular group of people (And each individual in the group) had come to the surface and plopped itself down with a very confident thud.
"We are right," they told me. "You aren't part of this group, and this is their way of making sure that you know it this time."
What could I answer? Not one of these people has contacted me of his or her own initiative since we moved out of the house back in July, and those that weren't still living there at that point hadn't contacted me by choice since well before that. None of these people remembered me on my birthday, or remembered that I'd had one when I talked to them afterwards. Not one of them gives me any indication that she or he thinks about me outside of the times that I'm calling or something.
None has come to any of the concerts that I've put on, come with me to other concerts and events I've been to, stopped by my house randomly to say hello, or anything else to let me know that he or she cares about the fact that I'm alive.
So what could I say to my very confident insecurities?
I cried that night. I cried a great deal. And I curled up in the lap of God and sat there, rejoicing in the fact that He still loves me, that He still initiates contact, that He still cares about how I'm doing .. and yet wondering what I had done (or failed to do) within this group to make them all dislike me so much. The mutual friend of ours that got married last May (I blogged about her and her wedding and being a bridesmaid for her and all last year, and you can read those in the archives) still keeps in touch with me and doesn't make even my deepest-set insecurities feel that it's just out of pity or duty or anything else. She is a friend, and a good one, and has always been a good friend for/to me. So if even one person out of the whole group still loves and cares about me, how bad could I have been?
And I try to tell myself that I know this group of people well enough to know that they've got a great deal of other things going on in their lives and they're like this with most people. But then, they're not like this with everyone.
So, it hurt.
But I could feel God's presence so strongly in those hours. So very strongly.
Part of me wanted to just go out for a drive in the mountains or to go out to somewhere where I could be out in public, even if alone. Just to feel human life around me. And part of me wanted to call up the friend that I'd had tentative plans to spend time with Saturday night before I knew that there would be a group gathering. (Since this friend was also a friend of others in the group, I just invited her to the gathering, too. But the plan was I'd call on Saturday night to give her and her husband (and their baby) directions.) But I knew that if I went out with anyone, I'd just be thinking about being hurt once again so badly by this very same group of people, and I'd be thinking about how I felt like such a fool for letting them hurt me so much again (you know the saying, something about once is their fault, twice is my fault), and I'd be thinking about everything except having a good time out with a friend. And I didn't want to do that to any friends of mine, nor did I want to do that to myself.
So I stayed at home (my roommate was out with some other friends of hers, so I had the house all to myself -- which was actually a very good thing, 'cause if she'd've been there, I wouldn't have "grieved" properly and vented my frustration and whatnot) and I cried. And I wrote a little. And I read some. And I watched a movie, which actually had a few of these issues involved in it so that it was unexpectedly appropriate.
And I called on Sunday to find out what had happened (there always is that off and unfortunate chance that there was a terrible accident and *that* is why no one called me, and it's always good to know that the people you care about were not involved in an accident -- or to find out that they were so that you can pray and be there, or perhaps mourn, as needed).
Basically, it boiled down to forgetting and not really missing me.
Hopefully, I won't be so much of a fool in the future.
More than that, though, I hope that my heart does not get yet harder, does not have yet another layer of the wall built up around it. I don't want to lose out on other friendships in the future because some people do not think I'm worthy of friendship.
My loss and theirs, but not something that should hurt me so much again.
(0) comments Randall Goodgame has a new CD out, called The Hymnal.
I got a ghetto version of this album when I promoted a concert of his here in town back in October. I had already been sent a version of it back when it was tentatively titled Fruit, but the new (albeit ghetto) version was SO much better. Plus, it included the song "This is My Father's World", which is not only a beautiful hymn, but this version includes the hammered dulcimer workings of Gabe Scott (formerly touring and recording with Andrew Peterson), as well as vocal harmonies by Peterson and his wife, Jamie, and Gabe.
This CD has now been finished (the production wasn't finished just yet when I got it, and the artwork and liner notes and such had only just begun) and is available for purchase on Grassrootsmusic.com.
This is the CD I most recommend you get right now. And if you choose to take Grassroots up on their "buy three, ship free" deal, I recommend you add Katy Bowser and either Sandra McCracken or Eric Peters to your purchase order. In fact, get all four. You won't regret it!
Friday, April 05, 2002
Don't forget to Spring Forward an hour whenever you so desire between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The concept behind this over-use of non-prescription medications (and the also common abuse of prescription medications), though, is treating the problem instead of the symptom. This is a practice excessivly common in the medical industry today, where doctors would rather write out prescriptions than find out what's wrong, and where women in labor are given extremely powerful anesthetics instead of being taught the proper birthing position. (On that note, why is midwifery not entirely legal? Please call your state representatives in support of midwifery bills!)
We, in the human race, treat the symptom instead of the problem very often in other areas as well.
I, myself, turn to easy answers and fake solutions at least a few times a day. It's much easier, for example, to eat sugar when I get dizzy than to find out why I'm getting dizzy so often. Likewise, it is much easier for me to drive distances to see friends or meet people, or to complain to my roommate about my lack of social life here in town, than it is to actually get to the root of the problem and figure out why I haven't yet found complete satisfaction in the Love of God, and why I'm so upset about loneliness.
(Tangent: my social life is, perhaps, getting somewhat better as far as that goes. I've had some recent times of actually hanging out with people, and -- more importantly -- I've become more content with the state of my social life. I've been growing a lot in my relationship with God and am a lot less lonely at home. I don't so much dread the weekends I've nothing to do anymore, nor do I so much wonder why even now that I have a car and a bit of spending money, I still don't often get to hang out with people that once told me the biggest difficulty in inviting me to hang out was always having to pick me up and pay for my part of the evening's expenses... That was something I struggled with for a long while, but it doesn't matter so much anymore. My priorities have changed, my contentment level has changed, my ability to receive God's love and be satisfied has changed. This is good. We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog entry.)
This pursuit of treating the symptom instead of the problem is why girls feel like they have to leep with guys in order to feel loved, and it is why parents think that punishing their children without talking to them about what they've done and why will actually keep children out of trouble. It is why addictions are so common and why getting rid of addictions is so hard. It is why "the American Dream", as most often defined, is seen as something to pursue instead of just a bonus if things happen to go that way in our pursuit of God's glory. It is why money is the god in America.
People tell their children that money can't buy happiness, and then work so much they never spend time with their children.
What's the deal?
I issue this challenge to each of you, friends: Seek out the problems in your own lives -- feelings of insificance, inferiority, hurt, victimization, etc .. These are the roots of all negativity, addictions, and particularly strong temptations, among other symptoms. Recognizing symptoms will help you find the problems, but it is the problems that need treatment. So find the problems, and work on them.
My blog entry a while back (referenced above) about friendship loneliness was an early attempt for me at doing this. I will continue to seek and destroy problems with my own character for the rest of my life. Both of the devotional books I'm using right now, in fact, are focused on becoming more like Christ through His power to treat our problems and His grace to forgive us of our symptoms. (One book is a weekly study for my house church/small group/cell group meetings, and one is a 5-days-a-week study for my discipleship/mentor meetings.)
Please let Christ treat your problems and forgive your symptoms, friends. I'll keep you updated about my own journey.
I had a class this morning from 10am to 10:50am, and that's all that I actually HAVE to do today. My English class, which is my other monday-wednesday-friday-50-minutes-each-of-those-days class isn't meeting today, as I mentioned on Wednesdays blog entry.
When I got out of class this morning, I was planning on sitting outside and eating my yogurt brunch, but it was a bit too chilly even for my long-sleeved shirt and rarely-cold self. So I headed towards the student center. When I got near the door, loud Indian music greeted me (and all other nearby students) and I remembered: Today is the day of the international displays in the student center.
One of the things that I love most about my school is the emphasis on free food at almost all Student Government Association sponsored events.
Today, most of the booths (manned by students from the countries that the booth was about, as well as other students just in it for the extra-credit) had some sort of ethnic food to go along with it. Outside was the "America" area, with free hot dogs, bratwurst, purple cabbage, and saurkraut. (No, not the German area.. the American area. Well, I suppose our German heritage is the most American???)
At any rate, there was Spanish Rice, Vietnamese fried rice, egg rolls, jello-like-stuff, Teremasu, some sort of Greece brussel-sprout cakes, Australian Pavlova cake and ANZAC biscuits, Mexican tacos, and several other delicious dishes. There was a great deal of information about various countries as well.
So I can save my yogurt for another day, or perhaps for my between-lunch-and-dinner meal tonight. And I've got one very full belly and much-more educated mind. (Mostly, though, I looked at the beautiful photographs of all these places I've never been to.)
As much as I've studied other countries before (what with growing up in the very mixed-ethnicity South Florida and having a mother that taught English for Speakers of Other Languages, and being involved in International Day projects for Girl Scouts, and being generally fascinated with other cultures, and studying Japanese for four years as well as the mandatory Spanish and French classes I had throughout elementary school .. ) I've never been outside the United States. Not even to Canada or Mexico, nor even to Cuba or the other Carrabian Islands, which are only between 200 and 500 miles off the coast of Southern FL. Closer than many drives I've made.
One day, my friends. One day.
Wednesday, April 03, 2002
(That means I only have one one-hour class on Friday, instead of the two one-hour classes I usually have on Fridays or the two one-hour classes and two two-hour classes I have on mondays and wednesdays.)
As I got closer to the counter, though, the noise did stop. And then the phone rang. "I'll let the machine get it," I nearly said out loud, as if the mouse wanted to know I'd rather focus on him than the phone call. "It's probably just a telemarketer, anyway. Grr."
The phone kept ringing and the mouse was still not moving. When the machine did pick up, I found out that it was a call I needed to get, so I made a run for it, hoping that the mouse was someplace he couldn't get out of so that he'd still be removable when I got back. Using the portable phone, I made my way back to the kitchen to keep looking for the mouse.
Judging by the sounds that had been made earlier, and the lack of scurrying-noises, I figured the mouse was probably inside something on the counter. There was a vase. Nope, not in there. A cheese-grater? Nope, that's empty, too. The George Foreman grill was clean and empty, no signs of a tresspassing rodent to be found.
I looked in the large mixing-bowl that held a few dirty dishes, but saw nothing other than the dishes. I looked in the coffeepot and the filter area, in the paper-towel tube, in everything on that counter and didn't see a thing. So, still talking casually on the phone, I finally looked again at the stack of dishes.
"I thought I threw my tea-bag out the other night." Underneath a small glass bowl, like the one I'd used to hold my tea bag in between the two cups I usually use any given teabag for, I could see something that looked like a red-berry-zinger teabag squashed, but still not dry. "Maybe Erin had a cup?"
I went to pick up the dish so I could throw the teabag out, and then realized that it was no teabag. It was the mouse.
So I took the other dishes out of the large bowl, held the glass bowl against the mixing bowl with the mouse inside, and proudly told the friend I was talking to on the phone that I had caught the mouse. (As if I had a whole lot to do with it.)
Putting a kink in my neck by holding the phone against my shoulder with my head, I held the bowls in one hand and used the other to open the back door. And then the other back door. And I took my little mouse trespasser outside, where he belongs. When I took the glass dish off to free him, he looked all raggedy. His fur was matted in some places and sticking up in others, and there were droppings all over the bottom of the mixing bowl. My guess is he'd been in there for quite a while and would have died there within the next couple of hours.
He looked at me, with his HUGE, bulging eyes, blinded by the sunlight.
And then he bolted into the bushes at the far end of our yard.
Hopefully, he'll stay outside -- where he belongs -- this time.
Monday, April 01, 2002
I brought the Bangles and Genesis records to the weekly meeting of the jr. high youth group with which I work a week and a half ago, so that I could offer to borrow them to one of my fellow leaders that has a record player, since I don't.
Going out to play floor hockey before we got started, I left the records (in their sleeves and in the jackets) on the table in the jr. high room. When it was time to get started, I came back into the room to find some of my students playing with the records and asking "What are these things??"
They had never seen records before in their lives.
Boy am I getting old!
Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
"So how do i do normal
"It's been known for a train to jump its track. It's ok, so you'll know, most times they come back. It's ok to lose your life, when you finally see your birth. It's ok to say, "I love you," and figure sometimes it's gonna hurt.
"As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can't be like pancakes, all exciting at first, but then by the end you're sick of 'em!"
"Hey, this is weird! I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?" "I love it!" "You're kidding! What a crazy random happenstance!"
"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
"It was Flannery O'Connor who said that 'grace must wound before it heals.' Her words help me to separate what is most true about life from the things we want to be true. We want life to be painless. True grace is a hard sell because in order for the human heart to understand forgiveness and love, it must first experience darkness and isolation. A life lived under the rule of grace is a life of need which allows us to receive an appreciate the gift of the giver of grace. This is why we will always have the poor with us; this is why God will not allow us to ignore injustice; this is why we are called to a life we cannot handle alone, which can and will break us in the effort to live it -- because grace must wound before it heals."
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
I thought Christmas Day would never come. But it's here at last, so Mom and Dad, the waiting's finally done. And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, it's Christmas morning.
O little town of Bethlehem,
Walk humbly, son
Strings of lights above the bed
"In a little while I'll feel better
"Please tell me once again that You love me. That You love me. Please tell me once again that I matter to You and You really care. Please tell me once again that You're with me, forever. It's not that I could ever doubt you, I just love the way it sounds. I just love the way it sounds."
"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
have you seen my love
Traveling is significant because it takes so much effort. Either you're going to some place you love, or you're leaving some place you love. Usually it's both.
I think I have Bond's ability to get into trouble but not his ability to get out of it. Someday I'll be in some foreign country with 5 thugs with automatic rifles pointed at me, and I'll just.... fart
"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
The summer ends and we wonder where we are And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car And you both look so young And last night was hard, you said You packed up every room And then you cried and went to bed But today you closed the door and said "We have to get a move on. It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead, We push ourselves ahead."
Looking out the bedroom at this snowy TV.. ever since commencement, no one's asking 'bout me. But I bet before the night falls, I could catch the late bus.. take small provisions and this Beethoven bust. I could find work in the outskirts of the city, eat some fish on the way.. befriend an old dog for a roadside pal, find a nice couch to stay -- a pull-out sofa, if you please!"
Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
"The trouble with folks like Brownie is they hold their life in like a bakebean fart at a Baptist cookout and only let it slip out sideways a little at a time when they think there's nobody noticing. Now that's the last thing on earth the Almighty intended. He intended all the life a man's got inside him, he should live it out just as free and strong and natural as a bird."
"Life is a phantasmagoria .. It is a pell-mell of confused and tumultuous scenes. We try in vain to find a purpose - to bring an order, a unity to life. I suppose that is the appeal of art. Art is the blending of the real and the unreal, the conquering of nature. It is real enough for it to reflect life, but has the unity that life lacks."
"in time memories fade.
I've always had this feeling about Patty that she's complex and intriguing...I like Patty alot. She's got a good heart and tells terrible squirrel jokes.
"Try to remember that world-weariness isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the book of Mark, I think its Mark, Jesus looks at a blind man and sighs. Jesus sighed before even telling the man he would be healed. He sighed, and I'm not sure that there's a much more human expression of frustration than this. Faced with the horrid picture of a cursed earth and looking into the white eyes of a man blind from the day he was born, He sighed. The Creator of the universe in human form was sad "of the evils of this world," the world He created. Your Creator sighed for you in the same way before He healed you and made you His."
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard
There is love
-- Andrew Peterson, After the Last Tear Falls
"when you most need people, you don't need perfection - just to know someone gives a damn"
"My brother's always [telling me], 'You should be more mysterious--boys like that.' But I'm not good at that. It would just make me more uncomfortable."
"Loners want to kill you, but not for any particular reason, and they'd probably like you if they weren't being guided by the violent voices in their head."
"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
Her mom: "We're all safe."
-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002
i'd throw out all my shoes
i'd set up cans for friends
to dump their shoes senseless shoes
a pioneer of callouses
lordy-be and bless my soul
i'd be a barefoot spaceman
the first you'd ever know"
"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
"Generations circle and each one atones. The sins of the father are seperate from my own. In Pilgrim's Progress, it's forgiveness that makes whole, and as time levels and consoles, I place the daisies in your bowl."
"For a moment he just stared at her. Then, with an urf-urf-urf of laughter, he turned back to the controls."
"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
Blessed be the rock stars!"
Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
I believe that people laugh at coincidence as a way of relegating it to the realm of the absurd and of therefore not having to take seriously the possibility that there is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know... I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: "You've turned up in the right place at the right time. You're doing fine. Don't ever think that you've been forgotten.
When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand."
CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
"Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccuptaions, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul."
""Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily wit a faint smile... "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhood thrust upon you."
"I wish Aunt Elizabeth would let me go to Shrewsbury, but I fear she never will. She feels she can't trust me out of her sight because my mother eloped. But she need not be afraid I will ever elope. I have made up my mind that I will never marry. I shall be wedded to my art"
"Tomorrow seems like a long ways away. But it will come, just like any other day... Deep inside, where the wounded creatures hide, I am afraid. Maybe I got lost somewhere along the way somehow. Please rescue me... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the dark shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me... Though I fear, though I am afraid, You are with me. Though I'm angry, tired, broken down and confused, You are with me. Though I sin like I've never sinned before, lose myself right out an open door, You are with me."
"The invisible people agreed about everything. Indeed most of their remarks were the sort it would not be easy to disagree with: "What I always say is, when a chap's hungry, he likes some victuals," or "Getting dark now; always does at night," or even "Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?"" -- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"When People object... that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, "Oh but you had an unfair advantage." It is because of His advantage that He can help."
"But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it."
"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
"I have packed all my belongings. I don't belong here anymore. This pair of sandles, one pack to carry, this old guitar and this tattered old Bible. And I know I won't be afraid. 'cause I know, I know Home is where You are."
"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but
"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve
to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not
"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my
feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed
"They say God blessed us with plenty. I say
you?re blessed with poverty. ?Cause you never
stop to wonder whether earth is just a little
better than the Land of the Free"
"Computers will know everything in the 21st
century. They'll be like me in the 20th