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, July 30, 2002
How am I doing?
which is to say:
Rejection is better than disconfirmation..
Closure is a good thing..
I'd rather know that I stand in the wrong with someone (and have a chance to fix it, or at least KNOW) or that we just aren't really "friend material" than to not have a clue what's going through his or her head and wonder.. endlessly wonder..
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Or perhaps I was just keeping myself too distracted to notice.
I started meeting new friends here in town a few weeks ago, and it wasn't untill tonight that I realized a number of very important things about that.
(1) As has often been the case throughout my life, only a teeny percentage of the friendly faces I now see regularly are actually Christians. The high majority are non-Christians, and most of those are indeed not religiously-inclined in the slightest.
I've written countless "open letters" (that never made it outside my journal for lack of means) and other such to the church at large, the entire body of Christ, about how wrong the focus is.
Why is it, might I ask, that throughout my life, the provision of both my physical needs -- such as food and shelter -- and my emotional needs -- such as love and acceptance -- have come from those outside the Kingdom of God? Since God is love, and He really is, then it doesn't make any sense for the church to be so lacking in love.
(b) The new friends that I've been making are wonderful people. They're great company, they've got fascinating life-stories, and they're much better conversationalists than most people I've ever met. I love spending time with these folks.
I realized throughout the day today that I have not been keeping a very clear head in my new friendships, though. I am more apt to compromise on various standards that I've had, because I am so deeply in need of friendship. I was so relieved to finally have regular hang-out time that I neglected to remember, constantly remember, what decisions I have made and why.
Fortunately, God remains ever-faithful, and I haven't caused myself any new regrets due to this aptness for compromisation. However, grace is not there to be taken for granted nor taken advantage of. Grace is there to allow us freedom from regrets, healing, and reconnection with God.
There are so many times when I'm tempted to just throw away my phone number list, delete my entire buddy list, and remove all the contact information I have for anyone from my brain. At that point, the people that actively wanted to be in my life and therefore contacted me themselves would then be re-added to my lists, and I would, theoretically, have a much more accurate database (in various forms) of who my real friends are.
But I realize how silley that would be for me to do. And unfair to my true friends.
I cannot let my walls get in the way of the friends that have been there for me, with me, for a great long while. I cannot build walls so tight around me that the people already in my life are forced out.
However, I also can't start allowing the walls to be broken so far down that I don't guard my heart.
Everyone that I've met recently, everyone from the coffeehouse crew, knows that I've committed to remain single for the rest of my life, and that I'm a Christian, and that I'm not one to be physically intimate with anyone for both of those reasons combined. I do not want regrets.
These guys (and the girls, but it's a little less relevent for them on this particular issue) are so respecting of me and my standards that I can legitimately feel safe around them. Even so, some of them (the ones that don't know me as well and that I don't feel quite as safe around) don't necessarily understand where exactly my boundaries are, what standards I have. They don't entirely realize that some things that are normal for them are not options for me, are not acceptable behavior for me to be participating in.
This is not a problem so long as I guard myself and make sure that I'm not making unwise decisions as far as who I'm alone with and when I make my boundaries absolutely clear. In my search for companionship, for friendship, though .. compromise is a very subtle temptation.
These are the things I have realized. And it is once again making me long for the church to be what it should as a provider, so that my interactions with those outside the Kingdom would be less full of temptations and potential compromises, and more full of sincerity and truth.
In all of my disillusionment in current friendships in which I'm not entirely secure, I'm also constantly questioning the motives of new friends.
There are reasons that I don't do a lot to make myself look particularly attractive, and one of the reasons is the question of whether people like you for how you look or for who you really are. I've had many friends that were absolutely gorgeous, but all of the mutual friends I met through them tended to be interested in contact with me only in as much as it increased their closeness with my friend. And these friends, the gorgeous ones, would talk about the struggles of having so many people they knew that wanted to be around them due to their appearance. The guys because of romantic (or other such physical) potential, and the girls because of living vicariously or because of the increased social circle. I've never wanted to have so many extra reasons to question friendships .. I'm paranoid enough as it is.
But even so, I still find myself making sure that people really do know that I'm going to be single forever, and that even if I didn't have my commitment, I wouldn't date a non-Christian (too much foundationally wrong with that idea), and that regardless, I'm not about to do any casual physical intimacy stuff that would leave me brokenhearted and with regrets.
As much as I want to feel really free in all my friendships, I do still find myself wanting to make that so explicit that it is beyond question in anyone's mind. I find myself wanting to have some guarantee that there is no other motive, other than a true friendship with me for who I am.
And yet, I do still crave the platonic romance of a few blog entries ago, the guy friends that assure me, with absolutely no ulterior-motives, that I'm attractive and lovable. The guys like Thor, that I know are just saying exactly what's on their mind, and not hoping for anything else, nor lying because that's what we're taught in this society makes for good communication.
It's a hard balance. The optimist in me has to believe it exists, and the fact that I have a friend like Thor only serves as proof of that. All the same, I need more friends like Thor and less that I have so many questions about.
Friday, July 26, 2002
My former roommate, Rachel, had this phrase that I fell in love with during the time we lived together. She would say things that people didn't understand, that didn't make any sense to the rest of us, and she'd see our blank looks and say, "Sorry, that was an inside joke with myself."
I say that often to this day, and it's amused plenty more people that have never met Rachel. My jr. highers especially love that phrase, as do the folks I've been hanging out with the most the past week and a half.
The thing about inside jokes with yourself is that they're really not with yourself. Instead, they're with someone else that just doesn't happen to be there at the moment.
On my blogs, nearly every entry has at least one inside joke with myself, and many entries have several. My last entry, I threw in "if you will" just for Sarah, even though she doesn't read my blog. Because she is such a part of my life, she is a part even when she is not around. You may be surprised at how many people in my life are in it when they're not there, actually.
I had this comic-strip/book-type-character that I started drawing while I was living in CA, my junior year of high school. His name was SuperSilleyous, he fought evil by shaving the eyebrows of villains, and his arch-nemesis was Psycho-Tick. Actually, the comic book pages I drew about their adventures were called "The Adventures of Psycho-Tick, and his arch-nemisis, SuperSilleyous".. but it's all the same.
This comic book was full of jokes that I had with various people, as well as references to other things that had amused me, such as dyslexia during a new story that made for a funney statement, or a cynical comment-of-sorts from some random source. Indeed, those last two might even be closer to a literal translation of an inside joke with myself, but regardless, the Psycho-Tick comics were full of them. Very amusing to me because of the jokes, and yet amusing enough to others that didn't get the jokes simply because it all seemed so random.
And such was the nature of Psycho-Tick. And such is the nature of my blog.
Such is life. :)
At least three times the past week and a half, I went to this place downtown with some friends, getting there around 9 or 10 and staying 'till 2 or 4. This isn't an all-night place, a 24 hour diner or such. This is a regular place that closes between midnight and 3, depending on the night and the activities, but my friends work there and so they've got cleaning and post-work socializing to do, and so the bunch of us can sit around talking for a few hours after all the other customers have gone home.
Tonight, I went to a friend's house to watch a movie after jr. high. We chatted a while, watched a movie, and chatted a bit more. When I left around 1:30, I thought, "well, I'm already on this side of town, so I may as well head over to the coffeeshop to pick up my money from checking IDs at the door last night." And I figured they might already be closed and gone home, but it was less than a 5 mile total detour, so it was worth it.
Lo and behold, there was the guy that runs the place, his brother that lives above it, and one of the waitresses, all still sitting around for conversation. So I went in to get my money, and I ended up staying just over an hour longer, joining in the 'fellowship', or what have you. Apparently, there was a fight there earlier tonight (which is extremely rare at this particular place, although it's much more common at some other venues across town) and these three needed some extra unwinding and processing time. Well, hey, if it'll make me feel like I've got a social life, I'm all about joining in the unwinding and processing even if it is for an event at which I was not present.
Still and all, it is, perhaps, dangerous for me to know of a friendly place to go in the wee hours of the morning.
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Living before the Audience of One meaning seeking only God's opinion and approval on anything, rather than being concerned about what humans think or how they judge you. Which isn't to say accountability is out the window, but simply that -- assuming conviction is properly functioning, which means that the person in question really is in touch with the Holy Spirit as his or her guide -- the real question is whether that person can stand before God and be confident in the choices made. Since we are fallen and imperfect people, there is the grace factor as well.. but can I stand before my God and say "I did not rely too much on grace"? That is living before the Audience of One.. at the bottom line, being held truly accountable by God alone. Human accountability is too fallible even when it is present at all.
So, I think Mary is one of the best examples of this.
Here we have a virgin that gets pregnant, in a time period in which all kinds of punishments existed for a young, Jewish girl that gets pregnant outside of marraige, and has no legitimate way of proving that she had not committed any kinds of immoral or unlawful acts, and yet she was faithful to God and rejoicing at the blessing of this child. Her mind, as far as we're told in the Scriptures and church history, was on her Lord, and not on what people would think or what fame she could hae, or any other human-focused ideas. We do not see any instances of her attempting to defend herself or to convince Joseph that she hadn't been unfaithful. For all that we know of Mary, she trusted greatly in our God to reveal to those that needed it who this baby really was. Her reputation was not overly a priority for her, even among those she most loved.
Recently, I've had someone that I am sometimes very close to judge me. I've known this person since I was 15, and this is one of the few people from my pre-VA life that I still have semi-regular contact with. However, it's gotten to the point where our phone conversations can be very intimidating for me, as it feels like this person has expectations that I either can't or have no desire to meet. I am trying to get to the point where I can tell this person how I feel, or where I can feel differently. However, my temptations when I felt judged were to either send a letter explaining the entire situation in detail and plead for understanding, or to go into the "I don't need you anyway" stage. I realized tonight that my concern here was for a human audience, for the acceptance and approval of a fellow, fallen human being. And I realized that I need to re-focus on the Audience of One and trust Him to change hearts and minds as needed.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
If you offer to help somebody, should you not be willing to follow through with that?
Monday, July 22, 2002
Under his training, I became a much better runner, though I surely never lived up to my potential. I never motivated myself to really stick to the training schedule Coach Snipes suggested. I did love running, though. Coach Snipes brought his team into the world of road-racing, especially the 5k (3.1 mile) event. Many of us excelled for our age groups, including myself. I then joined the cross-country racing team, at which I excelled even more, what with the presence of hills -- one of my stronger points. I achieved what could be considered greatness at the time, running in 5ks nearly every weekend and earning first prize in most. I later found out that this was mostly for lack of strong competition in my age group, but my times were still decent considering everything.
My freshman year, the pettiness of the girls' team dynamics, the stress of adjusting to home life without my father or older brother, and the sudden realization that I was almost completely independentall brought about health problems for me.I had to quit the team a week before the district meet. My stomach started hurting so badly I couldn't breathe (literally), and it took an emergency trip to the hospital to convince my mother it needed to be checked on. After being diagnosed with the beginning stages of an ulcer, and just over a year later on a routine progress check, finding out I had a hiatal hernia as well, I realized I would have to be careful about stress, and that it might be difficult to get back into athletics.
Indeed, I never did restart my running career, despite a couple of half-hearted attempts.
Tonight, a few movies and TV show clips I caught had to do with running, as well as all the conversations I had throughout the day. Thus, I decided I couldn't wait any longer. Putting on my running shows and some grubby clothing, I stretched on my front porch before starting to run. It was about 11:30 when I started, which felt wonderful. I always loved running after dark, but there's nothing like getting the circulation flowing around midnight. It reminded me of late-night swims and New Years' races. I had the street nearly to myslef, with the moon shining on me and only the sound of my breathing and my shoes hitting the pavement to accompany me. Ah, it felt wonderful.
I will keep running this time around, with no expectations of greatness or competition. Simple fitness and enjoyment. All the more wonderful.
* I wrote that entry the same night (the 16th) that I wrote the pool entry below, but decided to leave some space between typing them up, plus that it was while my roommate -- and thus her laptop -- were out of town. That was a Monday night, and I also went running Wednesday at midnight and Friday at 12:30. Saturday was the jr. high pool party, at which I got enough of a work-out to satisfy myself into not running, and Sunday I got home quite too late to run. Tonight, I just didn't motivate myself. I was having what was basically my first conversation with my roommate in over a week, and decided to get online when she went to bed, instead of running, even though it was right around midnight.
I plan to run tomorrow, though, even with the probable horseback riding time earlier in the day. And to keep up the fitness untill I don't have to think about it or motivate myself so much.
I'm at another point of alternately being worried about my finances and then reminding myself to trust God, because He will provide in His own way as He has done countless times before. Once the school year really kicks off and my job is set and my financial aid refund check comes in, I'll be doing quit well financially. It's gonna be quite a stretch, though, to get my car insurance, first months' rent (fortunately, I don't have a deposit.. boy does that make me happy!), and other incidentals between now and then. I should be ok as far as utilities and things, since (if I'm recalling correctly) the bills won't be due 'till the normal time, and there won't be anything to pay before the first bill .. any connection, transfer, and deposit charges will be on that first bill.
Meanwhile, though, I am living off the five dollars in groceries that I allowed myself this month, and I've got plenty left to get me through the next couple of weeks, especially if I continue being blessed by my friends and non-biological-family here by way of getting to eat at their places some.
Ramen goes a long way.
So, there is some stress, but it's all about trusting.
And frantically making a number of phone calls to people that had said they wanted me to babysit for them but never followed through on the actual times and dates.
I've got a week and two days now to earn enough to pay off the rest of this month's car insurance and rent money.. so I've got an idea.. ya'll can start a betting pool on whether or not I can do it, and if I don't, I get the winnings. ;)
On that note, I've officially realized that I can't afford to make my trip to MA this summer. Perhaps during winter break. I'll need to call my Auntie Jo tonight, then, to let her know.
MA is beautiful around Christmas, though, and is usually actually white. So, other than the factor of driving on more ice than I ever have, it will be even better in some ways to head up that way at that time.
Thursday, July 18, 2002
When I was a kid in South Eastern Florida, my family had a swimming pool in our backyard. My brothers and I often went for late-night swims in that pool. Few things in this world feel better than diving 12 feet deep into cool water on a hot Florida evening. Then surfacing, floating, and staring up at the stars and the moon as they shone down, glimmering off the water.
Swimming along the bottom, watching the light dance along the walls, I was more free than at almost any other moment. I did love those midnight swims in the days of my youth, and I'm sure I'd be similarly fond of them now.
We had this light in the wall underneath our diving board. During the daytime, it was my portal, my tunnel entrance, to or from other worlds. Sometimes I was a dolphin in captivity, others a mermaid going from castle to deep-sea shelter, or from ship-yard to diplomatic meetings. Once, I was a human princess whose in-room pool contained her only means of escape from the mundanity of royal life.
At night, though, the light was so much more. The glowing circle was the moon, the sun, the mystical globe, the lighted tunnel, and the lantern-bearing companion all at once.
Worlds upon worlds existed for me in that pool, worlds that my adult-self may never again be gree enough to visit.
In remembering, though, there is a certain motivation to let go the weight of this world and the societal expectations of adulthood, if only during a midnight swim.
(0) comments blog-a-thon thing that's happened at least once last year, and will be taking place this year in just over a week.
A couple of people have pointed it out to me, in case I hadn't seen the blurb on the blogger.com main page. Yes, this kinda thing is right up my alley, and I'd love to participate. Unfortunately, I don't have a computer at home right now, nor any other computer that I can access for 24 hours in a row without a significant amount of burdening other people, and going from one house to another on little sleep might not be the best idea.
So, I'm gonna have to pass this year. However, I'd love for ya'll to donate to your charities of choice all the same. May I suggest Compassion? I've been a supporter of Compassion's work for many years, including a child sponsor for two and a half years so far, and I strongly support their work. I looked through the blog-a-thon participants and didn't see anyone blogging for them, but you can always use this blog-a-thon thing to sponsor another blogger or to motivate yourself to donate to charities at a time when you normally wouldn't.
Meanwhile, I've gotten an apartment! I went and looked at one yesterday that's owned by one of the couples I babysit for. They've got the cutest little baby girl, and are incredibly nice people themselves, at that. (Gracie is their baby.. she's so adorable!) So anyway, this one-bedroom on the bottom floor of a quad-plex (or whatever the word would be) is really spacious and in great shape, and I'm moving in at the end of the month. I am SO excited about this! Erin is a great roommate now, but she was planning on having her own space after her last roommate moved out, and I only moved in on a temporary basis to begin with, and it's been nearly a year already. So, while she's the most stable roommate I've had and one of the best roommate experiences I could've asked for, it'll be nice for me to be in my own place and thus also give her her own place back. (Roommate being a loose term, btw, since I've not actually shared a room after the first couple months of my life here.)
The couple is making it affordable for me, and I am just more excited than I can even express about this. Not far away, either.. about a ten minute drive from campus, if that.
Oh, AND I'll have my own washer and dryer! :)
Saturday, July 13, 2002
Having used a number of macs in California, I'm pretty used to this one already and the difference in keying functions (ie, using the open apple key and pressing c instead of ctrl-c for copying text) and in how to get about the computer. I still do prefer PC's, but I'm very much enjoying having a when-really-needed computer and internet connection at home. I'll still be using the school computer lab for message boards and the bulk of my e-mails, since this one ties up the phone line and we don't have voice-mail, but I can blog from time to time instead of typing and saving it to disk to be posted the following day/week .. which is convenient, seeing as how with a mac I wouldn't be able to save it to disk to open on the PCs in the computer lab anyway.
The guy replies, “Well, would you like me to let you out?”
Rich: “It’s still cold, and I’m still tired.”
Guy: “I thought gays and Christians didn’t get along.”
Rich: “That’s funny, because I thought Christians were supposed to love.”
Guy: “Well, do you think that I’m going to hell for being gay?”
Rich tells us at this point that his first impulse was to tell this guy that of course he was going to hell because he was gay, but that he can change. He thanks God, though, that that isn’t what he said.. instead, what came out was: “You aren’t going to hell because you’re gay .. anymore than I’m going to hell because I lie. We deserve hell when we deny the grace of Christ.”
The story goes something pretty close to that, anyway. The point being that there’s this theory going through the church at large today that says that certain sins put us in hell.
I picked up a bumper sticker at Cornerstone this year, as I often do, because it made me laugh in a very cynical fashion when I saw it.
It says, I kid you not, “Any Sex that puts YOU in Hell -- ISN’T SAFE”.
(Tangent: I’ve always been fascinated by the words that get abnormally capitalized -- ie, against normal grammatical rules -- or put all in caps. Many things can be read into that, but I’ll leave that to individuals.)
Obviously, my point here is that people don’t go to hell because they have sex outside the boundaries of monogomous, heterosexual, marital relationships. People don’t go to hell for taking drugs, for commiting felonies, nor for any other sin known to humankind. Granted, we have all fallen short of the glory of God, and we do all sin, and without sin there would not be a hell for us to go to. However, sins do not “put us in hell”. They seperate us from God on earth, and it is our choice from there to accept His grace and mercy and love and be reunited, or to continue seeking ourselves (our kingdoms) first and therefore remaining seperated throughout eternity.
This sticker (and the other two I got for their cynically humerous messages -- despite being intended as serious evangelistic tools) will never go on my car, nor in any public display area where people could think I actually take such a thing seriously. I show it without explanation to people that I know will realize why I’m laughing and why I’d pick up such a hideously off-base phrase, and I’m posting it here with explanation because I really find this worth addressing.
One of the other stickers I got (the third being more of a special joke) is, in some ways, even more humorous than the first.
“On Judgement Day, you’ll wish your car had JESUS STICKERS”.
Just think: somebody in this world actually wrote that down as a serious statement.
Well, maybe don’t think that, because if you’re not as cynical as I am, you ought to hang on to your innocence, and if you are, you don’t need my help staying there. But even so, let’s play a little game of figuring out just how many thing are wrong with that statement.
(a) Judgement day is not about what stickers are on your car.
(b) “Jesus Stickers”, such as they are, have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation, nor with our good works on which the sheep and the goats will be seperated. It is entirely possible for a satanist to have such stickers on his car, just as it’s entirely possible for an egotheist to speak the name of God on television and therefore fool large amounts of people into sending him large amounts of money, just as it’s possible for a Christian to have outlines of doves and fish on everything she owns and yet neglect to take care of the orphans and the widows.
(c) For the majority of my adult life up to this point, I haven’t had a car, and when I have, I have never had “Jesus stickers” on them, yet I can confidently say that when I stand before the Judgement seat of Christ, I will not regret either lack.
Justin McRoberts made a t-shirt that says “And they will know we are Christians by our tee-shirts.”
This is, quite possibly, one of my favorite tees (even though I don’t own one myself, and don’t wear tees anyway), and one that I’m really glad someone made. I would put, on my car, a sticker that says “And they will know we are Christians by our bumper stickers.” I think that we, as the general church body, miss the point entirely when we come out with messages such as the two bumper stickers I’m addressing in this post. Likewise, when we have tee-shirts that take common advertising slogans or other tee-shirts and we twist a few things around to make it into a so-called Christian message. If anyone would like to explain to me the point of such attempts, please email me. I did own a few tee-shirts in high school (back when I wore whem) that had some tie to my faith, but I can assure you that they were never the imitations. They were also never the mean-spirited ones, such as “Darwin is dead.” Not that that makes me better than the Christians that do own such tees, or the ones that take these bumper stickers seriously .. we are all misguided humans on a very long and hard journey, and I’ve been fortunate in having certain experiences that made me rethink or realize the empty pursuit of pointless messages.
But if you are someone that has an imitation-logo tee-shirt, or that has a goofey bumper sticker on your car, please meet some non-Christians and find out how these things come across to them, and please think about the grace and creativity of our Saviour.
If, like me, you are someone that is finally able to laugh (laughter being the best medicine and all) at the silley things we do to express our faith, laugh with me. The laughter won’t put you into hell, and on judgement day we may all find ourselves wishing we’d laughed a little more.
Friday, July 12, 2002
I just tried to jump into the one chat room I actually frequent, just to see if it would work, which it didn't .. the refresh rate on the chat room is too fast for webtv, so everytime I got to the text box, it refreshed and my curser ended up back on the names list. (by the way, it's a fair bit harder to type while lying down, and there's a glare on the tv, so this entry will surely be full of more typos than usual.)
Meanwhile, I didn't check any email in Nashville except Nashville related emails, and I'm not checking any emails here since it's more complicated and also beause itties up the phone line. So hopefully on Monday I'll have a nice, long day in the computer lab and will get all caught up on my email and message boards. May not hapen on Monday, but at least early next week. 'Till then, sorry for not responding.
Today, though, Emily is being finicky. She must have just not slept well last night or something. She wasn't eating her breakfast, but nothing else was making her happy. Her parents had told me this was what she's like when she's tired, but I had yet to see it in action despite babysitting her for two full days so far. She just stuck to her schedule (naps at 10 and 2) pretty well, and when she was getting tired yesterday, she was still fine 'till her parents got home. Today, though, I'm seeing for myself that there is a time when Emily isn't so easy to please. The sneezing, the hacking-hairballs, walking with her, giving her Cheerios.. nothing was bringing a smile to this child's face.
Oh, but I love to see her smile. It changes her appearance entirely, and there's pure, unadulterated joy radiating from her when she smiles. I've only ever met a handful of babies with a smile like Emily's. Even my niece, who overjoys me nomatter what face she's making, doesn't quite smile like Emily.
Right now, she is asleep.. but it was significantly harder to put her down today, and she kept crying a little every few minutes for at least the first half hour, maybe closer to an hour.
So now it's quiet in the house, except for the CDs I have playing constantly, and I can look out the window at my favorite mountain and at the very silley looking Emu, and I can drink my tea and type up blog entries, and I'll be holding Emily again in a little while when she wakes up.
I am so glad to be babysitting this summer. There's just nothing quite like it, except parenting of course.
It seems one doesn't find four-leafed clovers by actually looking for them. The combined hours, I'd estimate, that I've spent searching clover patches for the lucky sprid have returned nothing, while those people I know of that find shamrocks do so frequently and with nothing more than a glance.
Cornerstone Festival has upwards of 30,000 ticket holders each year, plus the artists, vendors, volunteers, and staff. Yet somehow, people that know eachother but are not attending the same shows and seminars still end up walking along the same paths at the same time. The occurance of running into people I know or had met there was so common that I felt like the Luck O' the Irish was visiting me in its own way.
In Nashville, I was at this litte restaurant called Bosco's on Tuesday night, when some friends (that I knew were living in the area but that I hadn't had any contact with in months) walked in and were seated two booths away from me. I had been getting ready to leave about twenty minutes earlier, before deciding to stay and read a while, and it was already quite late by the time I'd gotten there. So the chances that this couple and I would be there at the same moment were so low that seeing them was quite a pleasant surprise. However, after all such similar incidences at Cornerstone, and believing the same thing Beuchner does about coincidences, the surprise was minimal compared to the comfort and gladness.
It's really amazing to me how these sorts of things happen. The magnetic attraction we humans seem to have to with others we know. Our own little patches of four-leafed clovers.
*I wrote that entry last night while waiting for folks to arrive at the jr. high Bible study, and then put my journal back in my car while I kept scanning the ground. In something akin to despair of ever finding a four-leafed clover, I smirkingly said to myself, "self, I will prolly never find one 'till the moment before I'm gonna die. I'll look down, see this tiny treasure, and know that means I'm gonna pass away in the next day or so."
After exiling that morbid thought from my mind (have I ever told you I think I'm one of the most morbid people I know? But not in the especially warped and despairing way.. just that I think about death-related things more often than most) .. so after exiling that thought, I looked down and there were two four-leafed clovers right there.
There are a lot of things I could say at this point that wouldn't really help relieve those more prone to heart-attacks or acid reflux because of what I just shared, but I'd like to encourage you to laugh with me at how silley I am, and join with me in gladness as I make this statement:
I have now found a four-leafed clover. I really am Irish after all. :)
Thursday, July 11, 2002
And hello to everyone else I met at Cornerstone. Look forward to seeing you again next year!
After a week of camping, getting up early from the heat, and going to bed late from the concerts -- and then after a decent drive down to Nashville, and a few days there keeping fairly similar hours to those I'd kept at Cornerstone -- the drive felt that much longer.
Getting to the VA border was exciting, but it was when I got about an hour and a half from home that I nearly lept for joy, or as close as I could in my seat.
There, within sight and bringing many feelings of home, was my favorite mountain.
I can see this mountain from almost anywhere in my town, and most of my favorite regular activities (including discipleship, house church, and some of the cultural activities I enjoy) feature clear sightings of this mountain on the drive there.
Seeing it, even though there was still an hour and a half to go, made me feel like I was at home.
Today, I got up very early so I could get to this house at 8am to babysit little Emily, a 9-month-old from my church. I babysat her all day the Friday before leaving on this trip, and will be babysitting her several times throughout the summer.
At this moment, she's pulling the pillow from the couch over her little body so she can play peek-a-boo. What a beautiful little cutey.
She and her parents live in a basement apartment on an Emu farm, and out the windows (which, with exception of one window and the window in the door, are all on one side of the house) I can see all the little Emus running around in their pen. I went out to see them up close today (something I neglected to do last time I was here) and got a couple of pictures.
More exciting than seeing these emu running around, though, is that I can see my favorite mountain out the windows. Indeed, I'm closer to it here, and being quite far enough from the city, there are less obstacles in the way of its view. Along with that specific mountain, there's the range it's a part of, stretching far and majestic along the ridge some distance from this tiny Emu farm in the middle of Virginia.
What's not to love?
Monday, July 08, 2002
It was Christmas in July day for me, as I played all my Christmas tapes (including Emmilou Harris', the Happy Christmas series, and others) during the drive and then, incidentally, was given coffee (flavored with Cinnamin-Hazelnut creamer because "it reminds me of Christmas", as Megan said) in a Christmas-print mug. I hadn't mentioned listening to all the Christmas tapes before getting the coffee, so it was quite the amusing little moment.
I've got plenty of plans and things to do while here, but for now, I'm gonna go take a nap.
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
On friday, I started a new semi-regular/frequent babysitting job. Emily is nearly a year old, and is learning to walk, having never crawled. She is an extremely mild-mannered baby, only crying when put down for naps, and then not for long. She has these hilarious facial expressions that I absolutely love, and she's never difficult to watch. I've had the pleasure of watching her as part of groups before, such as for the women's Bible study and other church meetings, but this was the first time with her solo. I was there from 8am (yikes!) through 4pm, and then stayed to chat with her parents for a while after that.
As per normal during such a long stay, she did at one point release waste products into her daiper, which meant that I changed her daiper. For the first time in all my babysitting history, years of babysitting babies and toddlers (along with older kids, but they don't wear daipers, so it's not relevent to this thought), I changed a daiper. How I made it this long without is an interesting question to which I certainly do not know the answer, but Friday was my first. And not a bad one, at that.
So then Saturday I went up to the house on the river that I love so much and to which I often go to water-ski and such.
And we did. Along with the water-skiing and canoeing as per usual, though, I also drove the jet-boat for the first time, and then drove the ski-boat (a regular boat, much different to drive than the jet-boat) for the first time. It was so great. Plus, me learning to drive that boat meant that Bob could finally go water-skiing, which was his first time in a while. And it means that in the future, he's gonna be able to go more often on our house church's excursions up that way. This makes me happy, because I always felt horrible at how he extended himself and his gifts to allow others to water-ski and tube and such, without getting to go himself.
After all the water-skiing, we went inside and had dinner. There were four of us still there at this time: Bob, Rachel, Ena, and myself.
After dinner, we went back down to the river (there is no van there for me to live in, though) and got back on the boat to do some tubing.
To make a long story much shorter because it's 3:50 am and I'm starting an 8-hour drive in 6 hours ---
Bob was driving, Rachel and I were on one tube, and Ena was on a little stunt tube. The regular tube is big and round and very full, while the stunt tube is little and more triangular and short/flat and not quite so full. So we collided and her tube basically just went *under* ours, instead of bouncing off as a round tube would have done. I was on her side of our tube, so I fell onto her tube when ours flipped over, and then fell in-between the two, getting caught up with the ropes in the process. To the point where the rope holding the stunt-tube broke.
So at this point, I'm under water, tangled up in a rope so completely that I can't move, and there are two people and two tubes (not in that order) between me and the surface. The rope was around my arms, around my head, tangled in my hair, around my legs, around my waist.. and worst of all, around my neck. If it hadn't snapped, it would have been significantly more damaging, even though Bob cut the engine as soon as he saw the collision.
I could feel it choking me, but there was nothing I could do. It's truly amazing how many thoughts can go through your head in a matter of seconds.
Fortuntely, I had my life-vest on, as everyone always does when skiing or tubing or otherwise being towed by Bob's boat. And as I always will whenever doing those activities, even if the boat driver doesn't require it .. just like wearing my seat belt in any car. So anyway, it was the life-vest that brought me to the surface, at which point I could breathe (ah, what a wonderful feeling!) and could eventually move enough to get the rope away from me. I've never wanted something away from me so badly, and that includes stinging insects and such. The feeling of it in my hair (detangling that mess was quite difficult) and the sensation of it that remained around my neck even after the rope was gone were so horrible that I felt sick just thinking about it. Finally, the rope was gone and I made my way to the ladder on the boat. Bob, Rachel, and Ena had been watching with much concern, and we'd all been talking during this time about what had happened. Bob had also taken the stunt tube out of the water and deflated it, because we'd obviously not be using it anymore that evening. So I opted to ride on the boat while Ena and Rachel rode the tube together, and as I climbed up the ladder, Rachel said I had some rope-burn on my neck. Sure enough, there's still a decent-sized spot of it left now, which I can feel when I move. And there's another along my left shoulder/arm-joint, and along the back of my right shoulder is a welt. There are bruises all over my arms and legs, and my left ear (the left side being the side that got the most impact) felt like it had been torn clean off, but instead is just sensitive, sore, and a little wounded. No blood spilled, but plenty of pain.
Despite all that, though, as soon as Ena and Rachel realized that an 80 lb. rider and a 120+ lb. rider riding at the same time doesn't really make for good balance and thus good tubing (that is, they had quite the wipe-out while I was in the boat) I went ahead and got right back on for a solo ride, which lasted some time and I caught a fair amount of air and they were very entertained watching from the boat. I had two more close encounters with the water, in which I did hurt my neck a little and bruise my legs worse and (between the crashes and the tubing itself) use muscles I've prolly never used before .. but I had a wonderful time.
"You gotta get right back on the horse, you know."
After I decided I was done, Rachel and Ena each rode solo before it got too dark, and then we headed back in and home.
The following morning, I went to church early (as all our church members were doing) so that we could see of the Kazahkstan church-planting team. Some will be gone for 6 weeks, Chris will be gone for a year, Trish for two years, and at the end of the summer another family will be leaving for four years or longer. I didn't cry, but I almost did. These are some of my closest friends, going for the rest of the summer, and two of my closer friends for even longer than that.
Directly after church, I filled up my gas tank, bought the obligatory Jones Soda (Cream Soda this time, though the Sheetz I went to also was carrying Fufu Berry, Green Apple, and one other flavor that day), and started my 8 hour drive to here in Cincinatti. I'm staying at my friend Care's house, and had dinner with her as well as Sharon and Kristin tonight at O'Charley's. We then regrouped at her house for some more hangout time, and I baked shortbread, and we listened to CD's. And Sharon and Kristin have long since gone home, and Care's long-since gone to bed, and I'm still up because I wanted to catch up on my online life before heading away again.
This time, I'm going to Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, IL. I'll be working at the True Tunes booth some, especially in the mornings/noonhour, so stop by and say hi if you happen to be there.
On my way home from that, I'll be swinging through Nashville.
Hopefully, this will be another ghetto-budget trip. Did I mention that I spent all of $5 in CA? Of course, ghetto-budget trips rely on the financial graciousness of other people, without whom I would not have been able to spend so little.. and this trip is no exception. But it needs to be significantly limited, 'cause I've still gotta make it home and then pay the remainder of my rent once I get back.
So anyway, I'm off for the next week and a half, most likely. Might be able to get on a little in Nashville, at least long enough to let ya'll know I made it safe. Even so, I won't be on much, and that won't be 'till at least Sunday or Monday.
May God bless you and keep you in the meantime.
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