Tuesday, May 27, 2008

get yourself in this race

decision time is upon me and i have made mine. the other day i was running, perhaps the best day running-wise of the year: cool and sunny, just lovely. and i decided that yes, i will be running another marathon this fall.

allow me to say, excercise is a wonderful form of medicine. it is therapeutic, it keeps you feeling good and in shape... just read this guy's recent article.

i was thinking about how good running has been for me: my mom has even offered to help pay for races because she's seen such positive shifts in my confidence levels and things like that. i was thinking (that's what i do when i run) about how so many people would probably benefit so much from something like it....
so, i highly recommend some kind of activity, if only to maintain some balance in life. i'm not saying go run marathons (my doctor always gives me a bit of trouble), but i am saying, as a person who never thought of herself as athletic or definitely not endurance-y :), that i have seen many, many positive reasons to continue running. just don't discredit yourself. think positively, ask questions, keep trying, do some research, buy some good equipment and do it!

Friday, May 23, 2008

i don't know what i'm doing that for

"No one may claim the name of Christian and be comfortable in the face of hunger, homelessness, insecurity, and injustice found in this country and the world."
-from the Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy Issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 13, 1986

i stole this from a friend's facebook profile.
i've been thinking about it all week.

i had a dream last night that i went with some friends to brazil. i remember feeling elated and saying, "this is my favorite place in the whole world."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

consider, even, the lilies

i've been thinking lately a lot about God's goodness and provision.

i had some hard weeks. i didn't like a lot of things and i lacked hope. it seemed that God kept piling things one on top of another. and each thing was heavier: loneliness, frustration, death, hopelessness....

i had a conversation with a friend somewhere in the middle of all of that, and she had had a similar time of loneliness about a year ago. she said that in it, she claimed and gave it to God, saying to Him that she would trust Him, for as long as it would last, and that she would hope in Him to get her through it. and now, the same time this year, she is probably experiencing one of the happiest times in her life.

at the same time the onset of all of this hurt set in was when i was rereading donald miller's searching for God knows what. it was a good reminder and time of reflection on why i felt the way i did and how i was interpreting things. i was feeling sorry for myself because i didn't seem to have the attention and value of others. but miller's book reminded me that the only approval i needed to be seeking was the Lord's, and that yes community was important but that it wasn't going to solve my problems or dictate my worth.

i was thankful for that reminder, and it lifted me somewhat out of the gloom, only to enter into again in a different way with the loss of my friend.

but let me just say, our God is faithful.
even one month after losing meredith and probably four months of fairly consistent sadness, i am already seeing the lessons God is teaching me come to fruition. i feel renewed in my love for others, in my energy to meet needs, in my ability to laugh and think about hard things and speak with honesty and love about them.

God has renewed me. i feel lighthearted, and am begging Him to allow it for a time. I am asking for guidance on finding a balance between giving my time to others and spending time alone with Him. i see with new clarity and certainty my need for God alone, and my desire to grow in that.

i am praying for something upcoming, i hope. God has put on my heart a call so deep that nothing else shakes it- a call to bring justice and hope to his children around the world. he has given me a love for simplicity and beauty in life over one of abundance and complexity, and i long to be able to better practice those desires.

it's interesting, i just read someone's blog and she had posted my most favorite passage from the Chroncles of Narnia, in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. i've been thinking about it a lot lately, and hope you'll enjoy it, too:

"And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

Then the Lion said- 'you will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know- if you've ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like a billy-oh but it is fun to see it coming away....

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off- just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt- and there it was, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there I was as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me- I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on- and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again. You'd think me simply phoney if I told you how I felt about my own arms. I know they've no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with Caspian's, but I was so glad to see them."

Monday, May 19, 2008

i wanna yearn

where to begin?  sometimes i get overwhelmed by everything and so i slack off in blogging only because i can't put it all to words.  but i want to try.

1. i came home last week one day to mail.  a card, at that.  i love snail mail... maybe partly because all i ever get is bills and stuff from world vision reminding me that the world is falling apart.  and of course because it communicates that someone took time to think about you and do that!  but yeah, a very beautiful card and glorious mix cd greeted me when i arrived home one day.  yay for soulmates.
2. work continues to be good.  i know no one really cares, but i do!  i come home each day so thankful.  i took a girl to an appointment today and it was so fun that we were trying to figure out what other things she "needs" to go to, so we can hang out more. :)
3. prince caspian.  i saw the new narnia film on saturday with my seesters and it was really fun.  i think they did a better job than the first one (but i haven't read them in a while....)  the depiction of lucy's needing aslan and looking for him although he seemed to have abandoned narnia was wonderful.  clive staples is a genius.
4. i went to a symposium on violence in the community last wednesday night.  it was really cool, hearing about people in important positions care about people that no one seems to be concerned for- the dope boys, the gang members, the kids of the inner city.  it got me so pumped up.  my only lament with things like that is i want to strategize following the discussion, like everyone say what they're gonna do besides talk about the problem, and let's go do it!  oh i am such a dreamer.  but it was refreshing nonetheless.
5. church was great yesterday, very practical.  the head pastor is reading a book about what non-Christians think of Christians.  it's so sad, but i understand it.  the church seems to be a sleeping giant.  i have been energized lately because a guy from the church works at the homeless shelter around the corner from me; it's like having a partner in what we're trying to do.  but yeah, the service talked about this video

and about matthew 28 where the disciples are doubting and Jesus commissions them anyway.  he just talked about how we can be different, more like Jesus and less like what the world thinks of as Christians.  he was much more eloquent.  i've been working all day. :)

so many other things, but i feel boring.
i'll write when i feel more poetic.
i wish it would stop raining.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

know that i'm still learning

the swell season was last night. it was... wonderful. i am having trouble putting words to it. seeing the two of them was surreal and very real at the same time. it's like they're just so much them, that seeing them so closely was no different than seeing them on a movie screen; but at the same time it was thrilling. and their music... i guess you could say it connects to your soul. glen is so precious and honest with his stories, sharing from clear, real-life feelings and experiences, and marketa, in her youth, exudes a confidence as well as earthiness that is refreshing. the show was altogether delightful. i didn't get any photos; it's like john mayer said, "didn't have a camera by my side this time, hoping i would see the world through both my eyes." :) plus we were pretty far away, no photo would have done it justice.

i took today off of work since i knew we'd be getting home late; the show was almost 2 hours away. so i am relaxing and having coffee and debating how to spend these precious hours of freedom. i've already caught up on the latest episode of the office and done some journaling.... i'm sure a run will ensue and who knows what else.

random trivia:
i don't know if you've heard the news about hard plastice watter bottles, but apparently they're phasing out current ones due to associated health risks. now, i know people say there are health risks with everything, but i've been hearing things since college. so i gave up my orange plastic bottle for a new aluminum one, which i think is pretty cute, and hopefully does not have the same health concerns associated... plus, some environmental friendliness?

it's been well with my soul lately. i feel a sense of clarity and perhaps even direction i haven't felt in a long while. the things i care about have been reconfirmed and illuminated, and i feel as though God is really trying to show me what is deep within, what matters most. this i am thankful for.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

pick me up love

this was a fun weekend.
i've had several good days lately, and i've been thankful for them. work has been enjoyable, and not felt much like work. i've felt joyful, peaceful, and even... gasp! a bit happy. it's bad when you feel guilt over happiness. i'm always learning that balance.

i saw lots of good music friday night with good people.
saturday i had sisterly fun running errands and watching penelope.
and today has been sabbathy and mothery :) good thoughts and fellowship with church this morning, and then i had lunch with my family and did some "practicing" of the guitar, as i am trying to learn.

here's a little inspiration for the week ahead...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

tomorrow is a long time

today i noticed shortly after arriving at work that everything was pissing me off.  so i texted my roommate to see how she was doing today.  and she informed me that she too was not having the greatest day.  and she reminded me that two weeks ago today our dear friend meredith went on from this messy world.  

losing my friend has been a weird, hard, lonely, and all kinds of other things time.  
the morning i found out i had about 15 minutes of numbness, where i knew, even before reading the update, what had happened and was relieved for her, that she was no longer suffering.  
and then the reality of the situation set in.  i said what had happened to a coworker.  and a beautiful thing happened: my coworker cried with me.  and i was able to say things like i know mere is better off and that i'm not sad for her, i'm sad for the rest of us.

and in the past two weeks we have remembered mere, both through a service and through interactions with friends and family- no one was a stranger to her.  i have been blessed to see glimpses of the kingdom of heaven come here; through phone calls and visits and letters and offers of dinner and the support of friends.  

i got angry for a bit, or not angry, but really frustrated.  i longed so much for meredith to be healed, for redemption to come here on earth and not in heaven.  and then when it didn't happen that way i started to question how much redemption can come on earth.
last wednesday i watched a young yuppie married man pick up a prostitute in his new shiny red pickup truck in the middle of the day.  i felt the strangeness of walking through a drug infested neighborhood, and felt the absence of the church.  i spoke with individuals that i helped to get apartments last spring, only to be back in the shelter, run out by dope boys.  
and my question in all of that was, how much hope is there, really, here on earth.
and those questions lead into other questions about my own life, my prayers, my hopes and dreams.  i do not compartmentalize; when one thing comes loose everything else shifts.  

and then sunday someone spoke about the redemptive timeline.  he said we are in a time of already, but not yet.  the kingdom of heaven is come, but we are not yet finished with all of the messiness of the world.  
i've found myself envying meredith, and wanting so much to not have to hurt anymore, and not having to see the hurt all around me.  

but on sunday he also shared this verse, that has been coming up a lot lately.  
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13

i find myself with some renewed hope.  it comes and goes.  our suffering is to be expected.  but so is the glory that will be revealed.  i am still having a hard time finding words for my prayers. i think i don't know what to say, still.  and i know i am thinking differently, or more fervently, about a lot of other things.  

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him
to the soul who seeks him
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
it is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust-
there may yet be hope;"
Lamentations 3:25-29

Sunday, May 04, 2008

come sustain us

Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

166. O Me! O Life!

O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; 5
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

Friday, May 02, 2008

joy and pain, sunshine and rain

"...it is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is."
-Surprised by Joy, CS Lewis

i'm hoping to be surprised....