What I’m listening to: Soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou
I still remember sitting in my AP English classroom in high school, filling out my applications to college, repeating my S.S. # over and over again, wondering where I’d end up next. I was so sure I’d be in New York City or somewhere exciting – just because I thought I deserved it.
I have a cousin who believes, more or less, in socialism. That the poor and less fortunate deserve help from the government simply because they are poor and less fortunate. Then there are all those crazy people who believe the bible says, “God helps those who help themselves.” Believe me – that’s no where in the bible. But my unskewed vision of the world I had back at the age of 17 trusted in that ideal – that if I worked hard, I would get ahead in life. I would deserve the success that comes with an honest day’s work.
The reality of paying bills, shopping for cars, houses, and health insurance has turned me into an adult. And I resent it.
I just spent the last 4 days with my family. When we used to get together, our conversations consisted of, “Man, my algebra teacher sucks.” and “I passed my driver’s test on the first try! Woo-hoo!” now consists of talk on the private mortgage insurance required if you don’t have a down payment for a first-time homeowner’s loan, or how our commute to work sucks.
I miss the days of being irresponsible – that days of poofy bangs, green legwarmers, pink mini-skirts, blue mascara and when my biggest concern was the latest rumors floating around school about my best friend.
Whatever happened to my hopes and dreams about the exciting, lovely life I was planning to lead?
Not that I’m unhappy with how things are now. I’m really not. It’s not always easy, but I know God has called me to this specific place in this specific time. I don’t know how long he’ll keep me here (which is another things about growing up I don’t always care for, but my obedience to him is more important than my life simply being “easy”) but I’ll stay as long as God wants me here. When I was a kid in a situation I didn’t like, I just cried my way out of it. I can’t do that now. Oh, the crying still comes in droves, but I still am required to trudge through it. I trudge through the mud, and I must accept that no matter how fast I spin my wheels, I might be stuck until it’s time for me to move on.
So maybe that’s what being an adult is about. Showing patience and grace while trudging through the mud.
What I’m listening to: Plumb’s Beautiful Lumps of Coal
So I’m innocently shopping at my hometown Hobby Lobby – a little against protest, not because I hate the store, but because the last 7 days of my life were overtaken by a scrapbook my mother I insisted I make for my grandmother. (Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy to do it for my grandmother, it’s the “in 10 days” part I have trouble with, as her surprise 90th b-day party is this Sunday.) Anyway, I’m innocently looking for the paper I need, I turn with my cart around the corner and I see her. This annoying girl I used to be friends with awhile back. She studiously ignores me, as I equally studiously ignore her. But what happens? Tons and tons of stupid thoughts run through my head – thoughts that remind me of how good women are at obsessing about the relationships in their lives.
This girl was truly annoying. Looking back, I have no idea why I was friends with her. She had the most negative attitude I’d ever seen. Never once did I eat a meal with her where she didn’t feel compelled to rattle on endlessly about someone, something in her life irritated her. I’m not an overly positive person – ask anyone who knows me – I’m moody as Simon Cowell during PMS week, I really am. I’m outgoing, yes, but completely introverted in every other way and most of the time, just want to sit home and hang out with my best friend of something. So truly, I have no regrets about the way our friendship ended. She used to call me once a week, usually a Tuesday (she liked a set schedule – another rapidly annoying habit), wanting to hang out. Then all of a sudden, she quit calling. So after a month of no word, I called, left a message. A couple of days later she called me back, we caught up, she said she’d call later in the week and we’d have dinner. She never did. At that point, I was feeling relieved not having to “be the bad guy”. But her birthday arrived a few weeks later, and I felt obliged to drop off a present. (After all, I’d known her for 3 years, and began to hang out regularly for the last 2) We talked for about 2 minutes – both of us were on lunch breaks and didn’t have time.
Not a word since. Not even a thank you for the gift. But again, I was relieved there was no weekly phone call and a feeling of obligation to hang out or be friends with this girl. A few months later, I shoot her an email. No response. So, I figured I made contact enough. Ball’s in her court – if she wants to continue the friendship, fine, but as long I didn’t really care for her company, I saw no need to attempt any more. That was about a year and a half ago and I have not seen or heard from her. I know I did nothing to hurt her, but if she felt I had hurt her in some way, I’d like to be told so I could make it right. Reconciliation is biblical and I have no fears of it. I would truly hate it if she felt I wronged her and I couldn’t in some way make it right. But I can’t do that if I don’t know what hurt her. If anything even did. For all I know, she went through the same thought process as me and just decided she’d had enough.
If so, why the blatant ignoring? We were milling around the same area, so we crossed each other’s paths 3 times. I just found it weird. Women are obsessive about their relationships, be it family, friends, guys, whatever. God made women relational creatures, it’s part of our genetic make up. We can’t get around it. But in this case? Why am I wasting my time? It’s over, done with, I’m glad it’s over and done with. Yet still I think “I wonder what I did to make her act this way?” I don’t miss her, and when it became clear the friendship was ending, I did have to find new friends. Which was awesome, because now I have the most amazing group of people I hang out with and I couldn’t ask for more.
I guess if I could choose, I’d rather be obsessive about scrapbooking instead of relationships. Minus the therapy bill, I would save thousands.
What I’m listening to: Jennifer Knapp’s Wishing Well
Our physical bodies need things to survive – the air we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink. Without these things, our bodies deteriorate.
And what does our soul need to survive? Some say fellowship with other people, some say love. The soul can deteriorate like the body, but may take longer or may not be evident to the outside world as much.
I believe the God-shaped hole we are born is why our soul deteriorates – when it’s not filled the his nourishment, our soul can wither away.
O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
Our bodies and souls long for our Creator, partially because he is our Creator, but also because this world is not our home. We are aliens is this world and are called to glorify him.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. -1 Peter 2: 1-12
Only Jesus has the ability to give us the water that lasts. But do I honestly hunger for him when I have everything I need? I have a place to live, food to eat, a family that loves me, a job to go to and money to pay bills. I have love in my life – so by America’s standards I have it all. So why is it that I long for more?
Because of that God-shaped hole. A hole that knows there is something better out there for me. A hole that knows I’m complete and incomplete all at once. He made me who I am and he loves me completely.
I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
I think to hunger and thirst for him, I must pursue. Not just feel. I must actively seek out a relationship with Christ. Not just in prayer, but in every day living and acting. In all the mundane activities of life where it doesn’t seem important for let his love shine through you, but you must because you never know the when the moment will come when he can use you.
May I always seek what I hunger and thirst for – to make more of him and less of me.
May I understand that I’m made for more, but must be here.
May I know in my heart that God made me beautiful.
May I experience life the way it is meant to be experienced.
May my heart always be near his.
Yes, they cost me $2, and yes they are weird off-shade color of lavender, and no, they aren’t very warm, but what is it about these slippers that has me so enamored? I mean, they probably won’t last 6 months, they have no way of providing warmth for my chilly toes on this breezy fall evening, and yet, I’m oddly in love with these babies.
I made my way up to the storage area of my building about an hour ago, simply to see if I could find an empty box, and all the while thinking… I love these slippers.
Not that it’s at all abnormal for me to form unnatural attachments to the inatimate objects in my life. It’s really not. For example, I have this box in my kitchen cabinet (for lack of a better place to put it) with tons of bizarre things…but each one of them has a memory attached to it. And in this box is a mini-sized LifeSaver Candy pack. My friend Russ gave it to me on a truly horrendous day…he ran out of his way to catch up with me, and he told me I looked like I needed it. The LifeSaver pack of 4 tiny little candies will stay with me forever, because it reminds me of how one small gesture of kindness can make someone feel better – even if it’s just for a moment, and that makes it totally worth going out of your way for. May I learn to live my life like that.
I have this sticker on my guitar case. I love this sticker. It’s about an inch and 1/2 wide and 1/2 inch high, you can barely even see what’s written on it. But this sticker comes with a serious sentimental attachment. It sums up everything I was experiencing when I was entering into a strange stage in my life – in many ways I was starting over, struggling through an obedience I was sure I would fail at, loosing my best friend, searching for something…. anything that could get me though the rough days. So it made sense to put this sticker on my guitar case, because I play when I need to connect with myself and God and I was playing so much at that time. (And I detest seeing a guitar case covered with stupid, cheesy stickers – I don’t know, for some reason that bothers me to no end). But I did it for me. I averted thoughts of “what a cliche, to put a sticker on your case…” *roll eyes* and I adding it because every time I look at it, it reminds of that time, awful as it was, what I went through and how I came through it.
So even though it’s a sticker on my guitar case, the Shakespeare part makes it a little less cheesy. I know I probably won’t form the same sentimental attachments to the lavender skippers as the LifeSavers or the sticker, but still. I love these things. They’re so soft.