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
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The preacher/leader was talking about being great instead of just good, being an instrument of great things for God instead of just doing good things ourselves. In this particular case, he compared Bill Gates (doing good things) with Mother Theresa (how God did great things through her and that was specifically her desire).
The music included a few songs I didn't know at all, and I just curled up on my chair and listened to them and prayed.
And after the service, as I've mentioned before, they had a time when anyone could go up and pray in the front and receive prayer if desired -- but before that, one of the administrative staff of the church had come up and talked to me during the break and she knew that I was struggling at work and she said she would like to pray over that after the service. So I went up and prayed for a bit and then she came over and prayed, and it was really just an incredible experience.
Here's two things about the thing:
1) Really, I'm not usually comfortable with a particularly Charismatic environment. I am not very comfortable normally with people who claim to be prophets or who start saying something sounding like they are sharing a prophetic vision. And the reason for this is not an uncomfortableness with prophecy in and of itself, but rather the misuse of that concept by people who are not really speaking prophetically, some of whom are not even aware that they aren't. Like that guy I mentioned my first week there, who said he had a prophetic knowledge that we would get into a relationship. Those of you who've known me for a very long time, especially you Lynchburgers who knew me in the Big House on Memorial, you know some of the background of why that makes me shudder inside --- for those who don't, it's basically because of some Charismatic roommates that I had and their friends and the insanity that prevailed surrounding that issue, and how wrong I think it is to use God's name for anything other than truth.
Anyway, tonight was different. I had this woman praying over me, and she really was speaking from knowledge that she herself could not have gained from me or anyone else. And there was this woman standing behind me that I think was there wanting to reinforce the praying that was happening up in front in general, like praying that the prayers would be fruitful. And I could hear her in the background whispering things like "Thank you, Jesus, for what you are doing". And I could hear this first woman praying over me specifically with the same things that I had been praying in my head before she came over, and when she first started and all these thoughts came to cloud it all out, I heard her praying and at first it was in tongues, and then all the thoughts went to "ok, now she's praying in tongues" (not in a skeptical way or anything, a sorta perked-up interested way and a sorta just plain factual way) and then it wasn't anymore and I could hear just the faintest thing that I just knew she was saying "Lord, please quiet her" and how did she know that my mind was so clouded and how did I hear that she was praying that and everything? Anyway, the rest of the prayer when she was talking like normal was just all this stuff that she couldn't've known about and it was a really great experience and very comforting and makes me look forward to seeing what will come of it.
And then I went back to where everyone else was that wasn't up front praying, around the food table, and they had this bean dip that I've only ever had there my first week (it's store-bought, but that's the only place I've ever had it that I remember) and it's maybe my favorite store-bought bean dip ever, and then I was standing there eating it, and one of the guys that had been in the small-group when I first started going came over and asked how I was doing and we were talking a tiny bit and he asked if I was struggling at work, and I said "some days are better than others" and then he said "well, I know that you're struggling there, and just hang in there, because.." and went on about some things that he also wouldn't've known about and it was very accurate, and just piggy-backed on everything I had experienced up front.
So that was really good stuff.
2) Ok, I AM analytical and I AM a skeptic about certain things and I AM uncomfortable about certain things and so in the analytical, can't-quiet-it-down-and-maybe-wouldn't-want-to part of my brain, there was always the thought that perhaps the family that invited me to this church and the husband/father of that family, with whom I used to work, may have had something to do with all of this. Maybe he had told some of them a little bit about what things are like at work. EVEN if that's the case, there were still other things in what they said and in some things that were said at work today that were specifically mentioned in the prayer, that would not have been known by this fellow or his family. God has always used "coincidences" to comfort me, guide me, assure me. Usually in the form of things that are a little too coincidental to be coincidences. So Let's say for the sake of argument that he did mention something to them ... I still would not have had the same experience if our little department powwow at work today had not been all about teamwork and such, and then Janie prayed specifically for that. And that's just one example. And then there's what I was praying for in my head, and how everything she prayed right away was exactly the same stuff and in the same order. You know? You can't skeptic stuff like that out. Analyzing always leads to the same conclusion: God is real, God is active in my life and in the lives His children, God loves us, we are here to serve and love God and in so doing to love His children. All of that was completely confirmed by my experience tonight, as it so often is.
Meanwhile, let's say that things had been different and that everything that had been said was stuff that easily could have come from that gentleman's insight and nothing else coincidental had happened. Would it not be enough that I ended up going to this church and having these people pray for me when I needed it and this gentleman and his family were not there at all, but these other folks were and they did pray?
That would be enough for me. It would be like if I broke my leg and was in a cast an anyone could see it and someone here mentioned it to someone back in Lynchburg who can't see it themselves, but called me to pray with me to get better -- it's not any less of a prayer just because this is something visibly obvious to people here and because the Lynchburger was told specifically what to pray for. You know? It's still just as much of a prayer, and it's still just as timely, and it's still an incredible experience in and of itself.
But it didn't have to be, because there was so much more.
Anyway, This is WAY longer now than I was intending it to be (at least four or five times) and I need to get some good sleep before the PRT.
Does tonight's experience mean that I this has become my church which I will keep attending? Not necessarily. I still feel a big "there is something else for you" on that one. I think that this part of the body of Christ had certain important experiences in store for me, maybe others in the future. But I don't think I'm likely supposed to be settling in there.. I think that there is somewhere else for me and God will reveal that in due time. But if God reveals that this place IS my new home afterall, hey, that'd be fine with me. Not that my agreement is even anything at all in the grand scheme of things, but it's there.
Ok, really, I'm going to bed now. Goodnight all. Thank you for your prayers, those of you who have been praying for me. Know that I am praying for you (as God leads me) and that I love you.
Thank you, Father, for this experience tonight.
And I've got church tonight and the PRT tomorrow (which I think will go just fine) and then a picnic and maybe an evening at the beach. And then a weekend off.
Hey Atlanta crew, how does early June sound? Over the Rhine is playing in Atlanta on June 3-- that's a work weekend for me, and it's highly, highly, highly unlikely that I'll be able to get it off somehow and come visit that weekend.. but maybe the weekend of the tenth just for the fun of it? Anyway, ya'll should certainly go see Over the Rhine for me..
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
In other news, I joined the Navy to increase my responsibility and my leadership and my experience of adulthood.. and yet.. and yet.
Several years ago, when I was without a job again and behind on rent and had no health insurance but needed medical care... I had this feeling a few times that I wanted to be a little girl curled up on my daddy's lap, like in this one picture I have of me in my PJs when I was maybe 5 years old and I'm sleeping on my dad's lap on the couch in the Massachusettes house and he's asleep, too, and it's so peaceful looking. And I just wanted that feeling again, like everything would be taken care of for me and I could just rest. And of course, it's part of growing up when you get over that feeling and maybe eventually even provide it for your own children..
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I've been told I'd be better off switching to RegNav (regular Navy, those who don't work with the Reserve Component) but because of the sources, I'm not sure I'll pursue that one -- it seems to me that going RegNav may just take my political frustration and move it into a more dangerous area. Not that I joined the Navy to sit on my duff in the States and never be in danger ... that's what civilian administrative jobs are for. But if I were to go somewhere more dangerous and not increase my beliefs in and support of the current mission .. well, I can't say that. I do believe that there is a basis for this war, despite the media reports. I do believe that we have to be there, putting ourselves in danger -- and the very extreme measures that our attackers go through to destroy those attempts just confirms it. I am saddened by the deaths and injuries, yes. The same way that I am saddened by drug addiction or poverty or all of the other unfortunate circumstances of this world. It's a Weltchmertz sadness, though, not a feeling of non-necessity.
So I don't think that if I were in more danger I would feel like it was for no reason.. However, if I were in more danger and STILL not allowed to think for myself..
I will most likely not ever really be able to talk about what's REALLY on my mind about work here, being a public sight and all. I'm certain that everyone of that concern has better things to do with their time than do an internet search for my name and all, and at the same time I've seen enough of the Politics and such that I cannot stick my neck out that far. But the web has been woven with even more tangles, I will say that much.
Friday, April 14, 2006CONGRATS, BETH AND JOSH!!!
I didn't make the Cherry Blossom Festival and I didn't make church.. I did enjoy some of the other old haunts and new visits that I'd been hoping to see, and made some new friends or got better acquanted with folks I already knew. It was a great trip, and I'm very glad I went.
I've been home since Tuesday, but still on leave until this morning. So I cleaned a little, I cooked some, I went to a really great church service last night and then stopped in at the Starlite afterwards since I hadn't been there in a week and a half. It was good timing; some of the folks I've been needing to reconnect with were there.
Since I worked out a couple of times while in DC, my post-leave PT wasn't as bad this morning as it could've been, and I'm confident that the PRT in two weeks will go just fine for me. I probably need to be doing something about my sit-ups, though...
I beat the burn-out, for now. I'm still looking at some other options to make the Navy and myself nicer for eachother. A few of us in the office may be taking a college class together (since it's one we each need) this summer, which I think would be fun.
It wouldn't be as unlikely at this moment for me to reenlist as it was before my trip -- that's why I wanted to go to DC, to put things back in perspective and shake some of the negative connotations about myself and the military going together.I'm going to visit Gramps and Jan tomorrow, and mom and Mary and John and Peter and Sloane will all be coming up from the South as well. I'm just going for the day and then back here for Easter Sunday service and hopefully some good hanging out afterwards. And cleaning on Monday.
And trying to get artistic again.. just the couple of things I did while I was DC and before heading up there helped me remember how much I need those creative outlets even if they don't look especially charming on my college transcript. So if I can't take artistic classes in college, at least I can do some stuff at home and maybe it would even be worth a financial investment to take some fun classes in my own time.
Right now, though, I'm enjoying my newest issue of Paste Magazine and the DVD this one came with. I always look forward to those issues the most and all of them come with CDs, and the CDs and the DVDs and the articles and the website and the music distribution company that is the foundation of their business all help me to find out about great new music which I would otherwise most likely never hear.
Friday, April 07, 2006
I came to Barbara and Bernard's house where we all happily reunited and where I gladly found that their crotchety old dog, Barley, still remembers me well (it's been about two years since I've been here) and their younger puppy does not remember me at all.
Mike (from Lynchburg) eventually made his way here on his Yural Patrol, on/in which we went to see Josh Rouse perform at the Birchmere. Great concert, very enjoyable album. I can't think right off the top of my head who opened, but they were really good, too, and I picked up their EP (only thing they had) and will post again when I've got that in hand.
Barbara and Bernard have about a billion guest rooms in their magnificant home in the woods, so Mike crashed on the main floor and then got to play with their 300-year-old Dutch Clock the next day, which was exciting for him since he likes working with clocks.
Barbara and Bernard also keep hours much more similar to what I kept when I could as a civilian -- that is, when whatever employment or scholarly pursuits I had at the time did not interfere with my preferred schedule. Although I yawn a lot and nap a lot, I have otherwise mostly fallen into that schedule (pretty immediately) because this house will do that to ya. Being here, I think, is the first time in a very, very long time that I haven't woken up before 8 (at least to realize I'm not working and roll back over). I slept in until 9:20 this morning (when I woke up to work out) and I think it was more like 9:45 yesterday. I will sleep in until someone wakes me tomorrow, which I'm very much looking forward to. Of course, I usually don't stay up quite this late (even on bar-closing nights) and I usually don't eat quite so heartily (we've had steak and potatoes twice since I got here)...
I went to lunch at the Pentagon City Mall today with a Naval associate I met through some fun-interesting circumstances, and then got a little driving tour of the Navy Annex, Pentagon outside, Tidal Basin, Arlington National Cemetery, and some other items-of-interest which can be seen from local roads and highways. Just a short drive-through, but it was a good start on hopefully seeing the sights for reals later on this visit.
When I got back from that, I took Bran for a walk and had the most peaceful and wonderful day in the woods and on *gasp* HILLS. We don't really have those in FL, though Jacksonville is far more textured than south Florida. It's been nice being up in the hills again, though -- I keep accidentally calling them mountains. I'm not sure if that's because compared to the flatlands of Jax (where elevation is found mostly on bridges), these seem like mountains -- or because to me, Virginia is mountainous country and I am in Virginia and so these must be mountains.. probably a bit of both. Bran and I played and ran on the hill through all the leaves and trees out in the woods, and suddenly I realized that I'd lost the path entirely and wasn't quite certain of where I was. It was maybe 3pm and still very plenty bright outside, and I had my cell phone, and I was still very near to civilization.. so I wasn't concerned at all. It was a great day to meander through those woods with an adorable cocker-poo puppy and enjoy nature and solitude all at once.
Eventually, though, Bran abandoned me and made his way back home somehow -- at which point they became concerned about why he had returned home without me, and called me, and knew exactly where I was when I described it, and came out and found me within a few minutes. I wasn't far, just lost.
Anyway, then I took a nap and we had steak and potatoes and watched my bootcamp graduation DVD (Thanks Beth and Josh, again!) and the Over the Rhine DVD (and again!) and sorted out some of the CDs that Barbara and Bernard, as people-of-influence-and-even-some-designated/professional-responsibility within the local music scene here, have been given. They gave me one stack to listen to to see if they should give them a listen and another to sort into keep and trash piles for myself.
Tomorrow should be mostly more relaxing and then Beth Patterson and Ron arrive in the evening. It will probably be either tomorrow or Saturday that I go and view the Cherry Blossom Festival (if I make it out there) and the other sights from the drive-by ... then on Sunday I've got a church invite in the morning and Beth's concert at the Olde Brogue, I guess all day.
Jeff might come up and see me from Lynchburg, and I'm hoping that Lindsay and Andy and perhaps also Ash can .. I'm waiting to hear from Caren about if she'll be able to catch me at all, and I'm also wondering about some other folks ... I didn't make much effort to call any of my Burg friends and loved ones except for Mike, Lindsay, and Ash about this trip --- anyone else, I'd love to see you if you're going to be in the area, and I may make it to the Burg in August timeframe?
There are local DC folks I'd like to see as well and a couple of other events or places that are tentatively on my wish-list. Mostly, though, this is about relaxing -- and beating the burnout. Already I think that both of those are significantly accomplished, though there's always room for more.
This all from one who would not get a degree in sociology.. but I love the armchair style.
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