Archive for September, 2009

Sometimes, as much as I want what I want, when I want it, I’ll get a moment of clarity. It usually happens much after the fact. Like, I’ll look back on a situation and think, “Yes, that was right; I didn’t need that. This was much better after all.” But, very rarely, maybe once or twice, it happens amidst something. Before the clear evidence that something is indeed better really takes root.

But, I’m thankful for those moments, present and retrospective. They’re why when I’m babysitting and I say, “You can’t a bag of marshmellows because it isn’t good for you,” that I smile to myself and think, ah, this is why those gross injustices we feel as a child take place. Because often my parents were acting out of knowledge I didn’t have. And I’m thankful for that.

Reconciliation is the same way, I think. I think it looks like God saying, “Ah, but that isn’t good for you.” Unfortunately, God also gives us the option of saying, “I just am going to take the bag of marshmellows anyway, but thanks for the concern.”

I say that because, marshmellows taste better than vegtables.

If for no other reason that we were told to put them away.

Still, God creates this thing for us, this possibility, and he breathes it everywhere. In trees, in sunsets, in old friends’ smiles. He is constantly urging us, pursuing us with it. “Be reconciled,” I imagine he wispers many nights. “Come back.”

And when we do. When we are. He says, “Now reconcile with each other. With the trees. With the sunsets. And most of all with your old friends.”

Oh, were it so easy.

Because, we don’t always come back. To God. Or to each other.

I am reminded of my friend’s words, that not all things are reconciled on this side of heaven. I ache for that hope tonight. I believe in reconciliation. It gives me hope. I am rooted in it. I work at it. Sometimes, I am foolish, stubborn, prideful, but it is apart of me.

Reconciliation is beautiful when we take apart of it.

And life is just so damn hard without it.


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I remember a few years ago talking to a then new, now old friend. We were talking about our lives and what we wanted to do with them. A conversation filled with purpose, that in the coming year, when the world hit me hard, I would forget in more ways than one. But, as we pulled out of the Wal-Mart parking lot, the conversation was alive.

I told said friend that I didn’t know practically what my future would look like, but I knew one thing it would involve. Reconciliation/redemption. I said, “I know you aren’t supposed to have favorite things about God, but if I were to, that would be it. The fact that God doesn’t just save, but restores, redeems, and reconciles.”

And, years of life have past, but I still feel the same way. Just awed that God would go further than saving us.

Still, when it comes to reconciling with other people, I run into a hiccup. I find myself confused as to act in friendships with grace and love and forgiveness, always hoping for reconciliation when I am being hurt. I have struggled with this through many friendships. Sometimes, the result was sticking it out in a place I shouldn’t have. Sometimes it was cutting and run when I shouldn’t have. But, each time, by the grace of God, I learn a little more. Get a little closer to the promise of reconciliation.

Yet, I stand at these crossroads again. I wish I felt confident and wise in action. But, my stomach feels sour and I’m at a bit of a loss. I groan in prayer. Or sometimes I just take to anger.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you will never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But, this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t scale back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

Somehow, those words of Ms. Lamott, make strong sense to my heart in this time.

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Grace (Eventually)

I love Anne Lamott. I love her because even though sometimes, theologically, I kinda raise my eyebrow, she always, always is honest and true. She struggles and whines and is delightfully human. And she has dreads, so really, how could you not love her?

And in her book Grace Eventually she says some really great and beautiful things. And it makes me remember that things like grace and healing, they’re a part of that slow, hard work of life. The kind that easily gets traded into routine, or cast aside because it’s not as exciting as the life we think we are supposed to be leading.

Truthfully, I’d have to say this is a sin of mine. This fantasizing about my life. Making it more glamorous than it really is. And all the while forgetting who and whose I am.

It’s just, why does no one tell you life isn’t as romantic as it sounds? That there is this whole huge middle part of your life that’s filled with pretty much the same thing everyday. And that doesn’t have to be bad. There’s a lot to be learned from it. Like contentment. Commitment. Faithfulness. But, none of those words drudge up images of Fabio with Kristen Stewart hair, a Rico Swauvey open shirt, kissing your next as your bosom spills out a too small corset.

But, then again, no one writes the sequels to those Fabio stories. Ones that would read like Fabio goes to the doctor and finds out he has crabs. Or Fabio fathers another illegitimate child whom he has no more to do with than a check once a month. Or even, the illustrious, Fabio settles down, gets a job where he wears suits with the buttons, buttoned to the top, and marries the girl he got pregnant.

Now, there is a best seller waiting to happen.

But, those books, those stories, those fantasies, they all bank on magic to change us. And I, for one, watched Cinderella enough times to know that nothing is wrong with me, I am just not accessorizing correctly. Were it as simple as buying glass slippers, I’d be all over that.

Instead, it’s the patience and the screaming and the scooting closer and closer and sometimes drastically in the other direction towards God. It’s shrugging shoulders, raising hands. And when you think about it, it still is magic, but it’s just a little more than the change of shoe. It’s the transformation of heart.

And even though most days, I stomp might feet and want grace now.

I’m learning about the beauty in grace eventually.

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Hopelessly Flawed

I have been a very bad blogger lately. And for that, I apologize.

The truth is, I’ve been in a bit of a shell. I’ve been hopelessly cranky and unmotivated. All I seem to want to do is lie around and watch movies. And once you start doing that, it’s really easy to get caught up in other stories, one’s that have nice endings or at least endings at all, and kind of stop living your own for a while.

But, this weekend has been good. Because, I woke up a little bit. I decided to take deep breaths again because nothing was getting done watching Weeds. Except for me laughing.

Still, all this means, I don’t have much to say as of right now. I was just feeling like a bad blogger. And a little bit like Jo who once had a conversation like this.

Jo – It’s just with all this transcendence comes much emphasis on perfecting oneself.
Friedrich – And this troubles you?
Jo – I am hopelessly flawed.

Little Women, I’ll always love you.

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Silly Heart.

My heart feels off. Odd. A little bit silly. But, I found this video of a video that some friends and I did for our Shakespear class. It is based on our small Christian college where people get married fast and there’s some sort of division between ministry majors and athletes. It’s kind of brilliant. But, I’m certainly no great actress. And Romeo and I yelled at each other a lot during the filming of this. [Don’t worry, we’re still friends]

Still, it makes me laugh. And I need it on a day like today when my heart feels all tangled.

Since, I’m not smart enough to embed it. Go here.

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A few months ago I was about to graduate college. I was about to have a degree that I loved, but no earthly idea what to do with it. So, I waited. I prayed. I trusted.

I didn’t do this things unfailing. Often, I’d get antsy and take control. I’d forget to pray and worry instead. And I’d anxiously agonize and doubt. But, the idea, the constant replay in my life was the same. Wait, pray, trust.

But a month or so from graduating, my roommate made a hard, brave decision to move back home, which derailed my plans. I needed a job, roommate, or place to live. So, I waited. I prayed. I trusted.

I didn’t do these things well. I oftened whined. Too often I took to unfaithfulness. I tried to micromanage. All of these things fell away, though, I continued to wait, pray, and trust, and my prayers were answered. Though, not at all like I expected.

So, then I moved home. I needed a job. I waited. I prayed. And I trusted.

I’m getting better at this. I still falter.

And now? Life is shifting. I feel it. I’m terrified of the things before me, and yet, three words continue in my head.


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Hope on a Sleepless Night

Often, when I’m laying in bed on a sleepless night, I can recall with perfect memory what those first few nights after my grandma died felt like. I rememeber lying in bed with my eyes opened wided and trying to squeeze them shut hard and feeling nothing at all. But, not the kind of nothing that a blank page might feel, no that holds too much creative, birthing possibility. It’s the kind of nothing that an empty room feels after a fight. It’s the kind of nothing hands feel after something has been snatched from them. It’s the kind of nothing that is anything but. It’s heavy like Texas summer air and it’s nothingness is what makes it so full. My eyes would lose focus while staring at my wall, ceiling, window, door. There was a certain dread, expectancy. My heart would skip a beat everytime I’d pass her name scrolling through my phone book. It was like life went on, but I had ear muffs and walked half as fast as everyone else. Everything was muffled. Slowed.

The last days at the hospital, the wake, the funeral, those weren’t the bad days. Something like sheer nerve that only comes out when you have nothing else in you got me through those days. Hell, I even laughed, a crude Jones woman trademark…to laugh when all else fails. It was the days that followed, as I came back to college, walked the same path I had walked for a year and a half from my dorm to class, to the student center, to the library, those were the moments that felt impossible. The hugs, the words of comfort, the somber smiles that greeted me on those treks seemed to fall beside me, and then, in my sleepless nights weigh against me. I seemed to always feel either pressing at the edge of my skin or suffocating, and usually both.

Of course all of that was just a silent prelude to when I would learn to speak again. That was terrifying, but when I said it out loud…that was something else entirely. I remember sitting in one of my best friends car. Driving down 119th street until it ended as I would continue to do many, many times. I looked straight ahead and came out with my confession, the words I had been thinking of for days.

“I don’t think I’m a Christian anymore.”

My friend just waited, knowing there was more to it than just that. I continued on, explaining that I hadn’t stopped believing in God, but being a Christian was more than that. I had been a Christian since I was five, and just now in these weeks of losing my grandma did I suddenly find something missing. I just simply figured there must be more, I, however, didn’t have it. And I didn’t feel strong enough to find it.

No earth shattering revelation was made to me in that moment. I simply said something out loud and was met with a sort of deep understanding that there was something very wrong, but neither of us could really place it. In face, from there, I had no way of knowing how much longer that journey would last. How many more times I would find myself in the throes of confessions that were really just saying, something is very wrong and I feel too weak to stand up? How many times would I find myself crying and curled up in my bed with only the bunny my grandma gave me and the blanket my grammie made me for comfort? How many more times would I walk into church smiling and leave red hot angry and want to give up again? Countless. In fact, I still do sometimes. But, I’ve found that thing that was missing, the thing that comes out after sheer nerve is gone and keeps you still going.

So many brilliant minds have put it so many ways. Shane Koyczan said, “I’ve been through enought wretchedness to know some flowers still grow through the garabage.”

My friend, Eric, says, “In a world that promises rocks and dust, live like diamonds exsist.”

Mary Oliver paints it as a red bird who comes even in the winter, firing up the landscape.

The rest of us, just call it hope.

And as I find myself in this strange new place, where I sometimes have a good attitude, but often don’t, I cling to it. I choose not to just see myself as a 22 year old jobless college graduate living at home, but an obedient daughter of God who is gripping on to God’s goodness tightly as I sit waiting.

And when I can’t sleep at night and my mind wanders back to that time and I think, Oh God, I can’t live through that heartache again. Or as I curl up in a ball thinking of how my blanket and bunny are packed in storage still and so many relationships I’m in feel so broken, I hope. Because if anything, I’ve been through wretchedness. I’ve been in darkness. My heart’s been shattered. My soul has been shaken. I have fallen completely apart. But, great, beautiful flowers now grow in the cracks of myself that once seemed lost forever to me.

And that, dear ones, is the simple, deep, beautiful truth of hope.


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