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
Monday, May 16, 2005
I was thinking about the guy thing, the relationship thing, because I have not had any real relationships since I got here. And because the quasi-could-have-been-but-really-not-relationships that I found almost happening were all significantly inferior even in concept to any of the quasi-relationships OR real relationships I had in Virginia.
I have this friend in South Florida that I had a certain amount of interest in in high school, and probably would have found interest in since had he ever indicated any of his own. And the last couple of times I went down to visit everyone, he was pretty flattering at times and almost seemed like he might almost appreciate me as a real human being and maybe even a girl these days, more than he may have in the past. And then the very last time I went down he seemed to be strongly implying interest or at least that my visit was something he was looking forward to and not just to be nice, and really not just as the old friend from high school who you catch up with for a few minutes and then go on about your lives for a while.
But when I got there, there was this really awkward time of his girlfriend (who he hadn't ever mentioned to me) being there and maybe being a little threatened by me -- though I'm a pro at putting girlfriends at ease and that didn't last long. But I think that seeing people in their couplehood tends to give me a new perspective and usually tends to bring out the true them to any observant third parties. In other words, I can see some married or dating couples and think more highly of each member because of how they interact with eachother, or I can see some and (unless I have some reason to believe I just caught them on a bad day) notice, through their interaction with eachother, flaws that would not have otherwise been so apparent. And with this friend of mine, the way that he was with his girlfriend was not really the him that I had known before. It was eye-opening. And the way that he had pretty well convinced me that he might be thinking about being interested and meanwhile he has this girlfriend who is quite attached to him also made me very frustrated. Though she surely would never have known it.
I think that he and I have grown apart as friends in a whole new way, and maybe our future visits should just be those "catch up for a little while and then go on about your lives" type. He's a great guy and a good friend when he wants to be, so I don't want to lose that. I've lost it more than enough times before. But straining it won't help anything either, of course.
When people reach about 20 years old, give or take a few years depending on the region and culture in which they're living, they tend to find themselves at That Age where (even more than high school) it seems like everyone they know is dating or engaged or getting married, maybe even having children. And then several years later, it tends to even out where only so many people still aren't married and there are less significant changes of that type happning in the lives of people they know.
And I found that happening to me as I reached the end of my teen years, and still to this day.
What I'm finding to be the definition of That Age for me, though, is a little different.
When I was a younger child, I didn't fit in with kids my age at all and didn't really fit in with adults, although that realization wasn't about to stop me from trying to hang with the grown people. And as I grew up, that continued -- I was usually friends with people much older than myself, or with people at least somewhat younger, but rarely very many people my own age. As I neared my twenties and on into the earlier part, I found myself feeling that it was starting to even out. My Old-Soul-Self wasn't quite as much older as many of the people my age anymore, and I was able to relate to more of them, while maintaining a singificant number of friendships with people either much older or a good amount younger as well. I was really quite glad that it seemed to be evening out, that I seemed to be a little more normal just by getting older.
But I think that it has crested and is starting to go back along the bell curve now. I am again finding it harder to relate to people my own age, finding myself much older than many and much younger than some. That is, the part of me that is an Old Soul doesn't fit in well among the less mature characters my age, and the part of me that never quite matured properly doesn't fit in well with the more mature characters my age, and for whatever reason they won't just switch themselves around so that I can seem younger around the less mature and older around the more mature. Thus, the gap has returned. Maybe a little stronger for its difference this time.
Meanwhile, all of that aside, I am finding plenty of time to think about my nearly-a-year in the Navy, and all of the events that have taken place, and all of who I have become in the process. I am doing a LOT of introspetion and self-analysis these days. There are two significant things I'll try to share as briefly and yet completely as I can.
The first is that I really don't do so well under the kind of pressure or expectations I am currently finding over me. It's like when a child gets an A in school and then is expected to always get A's and maybe even looked down upon for not getting them previously. Or when a child plays a piano composition very well and shows great promise and then his or her entire identity IS piano compositions. It'll wreck a child. It'll wreck a person of any age. And my Naval career is something like that now. Where I am doing so well that I am not allowed to not do well, I am not allowed to be anything short of the up-and-coming Superstar that I have been labeled. I have a hard time with it. Because really, I got here by being myself. And now I suddenly have to be something that I am not -- the perfect, ideal, wonderful little creature that never does anything wrong, even the same things she always did wrong (like coming in late) because now all of a sudden that's out of her character.
It's like when I was hanging out at the bar in Lynchburg for a year and people there STILL thought I didn't drink just because I never got drunk. They'd see me with beer or wine all the time whenever I was down there, but because I drank in moderation, they never realized I actually drank at all. It never became part of my identity in their heads. And then one day they'd see me with a drink and suddenly realize they thought I didn't drink and it would completely change how they saw me -- when I had been that way the whole time! So here I am just being myself and my self is good at customer service and my self speaks mostly proper English, and my self has a healthy enough self-esteem to not be ruined by making a mistake but to mostly do things with confidence. And my self does make mistakes (but people didn't notice because I wasn't wrecked by them, or what?) and my self does have moments of lower confidence, and my self is a normal human being that is just as messy and sloppy inside as anyone else. But because I am expected to be so perfect, my internal sloppiness seems to be fighting to make itself known. So I'll do these things that I know I shouldn't do and then because I could get in trouble for them maybe, I can't tell anyone about them, and so everyone goes on thinking I don't do anything wrong and it ends up in this downward spiral that really stinks. Thus, my realization number one is that I really need to learn to balance the expectations people have for me with both my own ambitions and desires for myself, and my own knowledge of my flaws and my strengths .. the reality of who I am.
On a related note, the second realization I have made is about another aspect of the same theme.
One of the phenomena that happens in the Navy because of how much trouble one can get in for something that would barely be flinched at in the civilian world is that a junior Sailor may get in trouble for something that he or she did not actually intend to do. Let's say for example that Bee A. Sailor has just gotten drunk at a party and thrown a couple punches and maybe in the process injured another Sailor. Bee may find herself getting yelled at for this at work. Well, Bee straightens out her spine and says she isn't going to let this ruin her career without trying real hard to fix it, and says she is going to be steller from now on. And Bee tries really hard and irons up her uniform real nice and gets ready for work exceptionally early. And then let's say that Bee gets a flat tire on the way in to work. Then she's in a little extra trouble for that. And then Bee eats something bad at the galley and has an upset stomach the rest of the afternoon. Perhaps when Bee gets home that night, she gets some bad news about her Aunt and is overall feeling like her life is pretty screwed up and not doing so great, and maybe it's not gonna get any better.
The Navy recognizes that a Sailor like Bee might end up feeling trapped in a downward spiral during a "when it rains, it pours" time of life, and thus has many resources in place to help Sailors who may be having a difficult time coping with such situations. One of the resources being that when a Chief or even a First class (especially an LPO -- Leading Petty Officer -- which is basically the Navy equivilant of an Assistant Manager or such) suspects that one of their Shipmates (Junior or not) may be having one of those times, no matter how much other trouble they may be in, the Chief or First Class has been trained in how to interact with them to help them realize that this downward spiral will end and they'll be back up at some point. And that that doesn't mean there won't be any consequences, but that the focus shouldn't be on the consequences or the other negative circumstances that may be out of the Sailor's control that feel overwhelming at the time. The focus should be on getting from point B (for bottom of the spiral) to point A (for ambitions) and going on to continue a productive and pleasing life. The focus should be on not letting one bad decision or several unfortunate circumstances ruin a career, a relationship, or even the actual ability to live of that Sailor. And it should be on the fact that that Sailor still has value and can still be an assett as long as he or she accepts the consequences/circumstances, seeks any necessary help, and straightens out.
Whether or not the Navy knows this, I fully believe that it is from God they get this wise method of handling such situations. And I know that God IS the ideal of that good Chief. What I mean by that is that God interacts with us in our own times of downward spiral even better than the most ideal Chief possibly could.
See, I mentioned above that I've done a couple of things that could get me in trouble maybe, and plenty of the things that I've done that couldn't necessarily get me in trouble were still things against my character or my own best judgement. And I've been going back and forth in my relationship with God of feeling like I may not have messed up too Badly, per say, on whatever scale we silly humans place our mistakes. But I had messed up enough times, I had actually sat there and thought "I should not be doing this" and contniued to do this (aka ignored conviction) enough that I was starting to think I was getting far away from God and must not have a very good relationship with Him afterall.
On Saturday night, I went to a party and I had a little much to drink and I didn't do anything while there, but I was still kicking myself the next morning about it, especially because I had to work. And since I had had too much to drive, I crashed at a friends' house and was getting a ride back to my car in the morning and it took a little longer for my friend to get me back to my car than I needed it to take, so I was late to work in the morning. And I was starting to enter that spiral phase all over again (I went through it pretty hard core in January when I got in trouble and then had my stomach virus and all), 'till I was leaving youth group Sunday night (which I went to help lead after church) and got a message on my phone from my friend Aleks. She's one of my other high school friends, Yugoslavian and quirky and fabulous. Our contact has been a lot less than I'd have liked over the past few years, and I wasn't always sure she really wanted to continue it. But seeing her during my last trip down was really high quality, and then the message on Sunday prooved that regardless of what plans God may have for our friendship, He was still going to speak through her in very powerful ways. Her message was mostly about how "I just wanted to say hi, and to let you know that I love you and God loves you very much. And I was thinking about you and wondering how you were doing and God said "you know, you should give that girl a call! You should tell her that I love her and I love her nomatter what and I will always love her." Aleks went on about that type of thing for a little while. Nomatter how much I KNOW these things, and nomatter how much I usually feel them, there are times when I just need to hear them, from someone I care about. God speaks to me directly in His own ways, of course, but sometimes it helps hearing it from someone like Aleks.
So, friends, remember that God loves you and loves you nomatter what and will always love you.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
So tonight I just checked my email in that "at least once a month so it doesn't get deleted or frozen" kinda way. The only one I even opened was one from Jana, who I've been close to since third grade. We were best friends through high school, and contact (because of both of our transient lives) has been sporadic and incredible since.. that she was able to track me down after a couple of years and we've been able to keep in touch since. It's been easier since I joined the Navy, though, somehow.
I've been spending a lot of time recently thinking about the good and bad things from relationships (platonic or otherwise) I've had with guys in the past. For example, Jim (with whom I was spending a lot of time before I left for bootcamp, and who was incredible to me while I was at bootcamp and A School and all) enriched my life.. always introducing me to new food and new music and I was able to return the favor, and thus we grew together and grew as individuals while we knew eachother. And that was really important. That's just one of many of the things I've been thinking about, but I don't have that in my life right now.. because of internet access as limited as it's ever been (and only a handful of times ever has it been this limited) and having only known anyone in this town for a few months, I don't really get to be around people that I KNOW. (This is not a post about loneliness like I was spouting out so many of back in November. Hang with me for a moment.. it's an entirely different thing.) And even many of the people that I get to know quickly, I don't get to know as well as it seems.
I realized recently that I've been getting very irritable around certain people, and I think it is because we have broken intimacy boundaries (and I don't mean sexual.. I mean spending lots of time together all of a sudden and what have you) without developing the healthy levels of connections that are normal when people have longer times to build relationships. So in other words, when I feel like someone should know me really well because we hang out a lot and we do a lot together, and then we have a conversation in which I realize the person really doesn't know me much at all, that makes me irritable. Because it is not healthy or normal. Not that I'm conciously thinking "This is Not Healthy or Normal" while I'm being irritable.. but that is something I have realized recently, and I think it was a huge realization.
My apartment is so home to me that it's amazing. And I've found myself often enough considering staying in this area for as long as I can just so I don't have to move away from my apartment. I love it. I can't stay here for it, but I love it. It is perfect for me. It is gorgeous. I am decorating it nicely. And I'm putting a lot of work into it. But I'll be here for about another year minimum, and possibly longer. So it's worth the work.
I've found some great things at thrift and antique stores recently, too. Really, really great. Things that make me very happy.
I've been, you'll be glad to hear, pretty happy overall actually. I have a good attitude at work almost all of the time, even when things are not going so well. I guess once I made it through that really bad spot in January and February, it's all downhill from there. In the good way, the easy way, not the down the drain kinda way. I've been happy outside of work, mostly. Even at home. Weird, weird dreams (and somewhat disturbing), but other than that..
So this is a quick update. I've got a massive headache and I'm gonna go home now.
I've been working hard on my commissioning packet and should be able to report its completion soon. Then I'll have it submitted by the end of June, and the board meets in August, and then they release their decisions in September and I'll know whether or not I've been selected. But everyone (and I mean everyone) says I have a really good chance and they've all been very supportive. So I'll keep you updated.
Ok, I'm off now.
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