Excitement

This morning, I woke slightly earlier than normal, but I didn’t mind. Not too badly.

Because I was going to get free pancakes.

 

So I pop out of bed, start getting ready and I’m not sure what drew my attention, but suddenly, I realize: there is a three inch roach on my ceiling. A ceiling that is shared by my three sleeping roommates.

Containing the spontaneous profanity that tried to spew forth at my surprise, I gathered my wits and a tennis shoe. Then I climbed atop my desk chair, prayed for sure aim, and swung.

I hit, but he fell, like he ought to have, but THEN he started running and he most certainly should not have done that. And he ran straight to my closet. There is small pile of shoes (a pair of flats and my boots) in front of my closet and that is where he disappeared. Tentatively, and with much trepidation, I plucked and tossed each shoe until I uncovered my quarry. Apparently, I had dealt him a death blow, because he was no longer moving. I hit him twice more anyway, for good measure.

I disposed of him quietly, simply and with much disgust by scooping him up on a sheet of paper and burying him in our trashcan.

 

And then I sliced my finger open on a lint roller. I have no idea how I get to lead such an exciting life.

Plays Ramble On

I am dehydrated and distressed.

Every time I go to a play I tell myself that I need to take water and then I’m like, but you can’t drink it during the play so why bother? And then we get to intermission and I’m thinking, THIS is why you should bring water because now you’re thirsty. And instead of concentrating on the play, now you’ll be thinking about how thirsty you are.

 

And sometimes it’s a welcome distraction, not thinking about the play. Plays force you to think with your emotions. They wrench you into an experience you’ve never had to instill empathy you didn’t think you were asking for. Plays make you uncomfortable. They make you confront realities you can’t bear. They make you laugh at things you didn’t think were funny before, because now you understand. But they make you cry for the same reason. Plays also rub raw your jagged edges, your exposed serrated wounds.

“I have experienced emotional trauma at a work of fiction”

But maybe it’s traumatic because it isn’t fictional. It brings you to terms with your own life and mind. And it only hurts when it’s personal.

 

The play I saw tonight was beautiful. Childishly whimsical. Hurtful. Unexpected. Off kilter so as to restore balance.

It reminded me how desperately I want to write. How I want to make words that hurt people to heal them. How to make people feel and understand and connect but also be by themselves. And I can’t do that yet.

But I shouldn’t quit trying.

No matter how many false starts and wrong themes and bad brushstrokes happen. There are words that I haven’t killed inside me yet. I haven’t stifled them all yet. They can’t all be gone. I just have to gently breathe them back. Coax them to come. I can’t keep pushing away and quenching them to make my insides stop. To make them stop hurting and being so loud and forcing me out of society and functionality. Because the words are what make me actually work. They give me a means of being a part of society.

They make the hurt less.

And no I didn’t misspeak. I said what I meant about the hurt being made less. When you look something square in the face, it becomes so much less scary. Anticipation is always worse than the actual event. And reality is never as bad as our nightmares.

Maybe that’s what God’s grace being sufficient for the day means. We don’t get a free pass on our fears because our fears and terrors are too big. We get grace for reality.

I just need to find it.

I need to not die and wither in this never-ending, day-to-day, blase existence.

Because every day is wondrous. There is a sky. Every. Day. I don’t want that sky and the wind and feel of my own hands to get overridden by homework and textbooks and the smell of musty carpet.

 

It’s saying goodbye to some dreams. And saying that I will lead this ordinary, provincial life so that I can eventually reach my other dreams. The real ones. The deeper ones. The ones that are right outside.

James Weldon Johnson

On Saturday night, I heard pieces of African American history told in speeches and poems and interviews. One Voice was a beautiful, stirring performance by Jeremiah Dew. One of the very first pieces he recited was a poem by James Weldon Johnson. I realize this is the second day in a row that I’ve used another person’s words for this blog, but I think this is something we should all read. At least once. If not more than once. So here it is.

Go Down Death

Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heart-broken husband–weep no more;
Grief-stricken son–weep no more;
Left-lonesome daughter –weep no more;
She only just gone home.
Day before yesterday morning,
God was looking down from his great, high heaven,
Looking down on all his children,
And his eye fell on Sister Caroline,
Tossing on her bed of pain.
And God’s big heart was touched with pity,
With the everlasting pity.
And God sat back on his throne,
And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand:
Call me Death!
And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice
That broke like a clap of thunder:
Call Death!–Call Death!
And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven
Till it reached away back to that shadowy place,
Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.
And Death heard the summons,
And he leaped on his fastest horse,
Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.
Up the golden street Death galloped,
And the hooves of his horses struck fire from the gold,
But they didn’t make no sound.
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne,
And waited for God’s command.
And God said: Go down, Death, go down,
Go down to Savannah, Georgia,
Down in Yamacraw,
And find Sister Caroline.
She’s borne the burden and heat of the day,
She’s labored long in my vineyard,
And she’s tired–
She’s weary–
Go down, Death, and bring her to me.
And Death didn’t say a word,
But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse,
And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides,
And out and down he rode,
Through heaven’s pearly gates,
Past suns and moons and stars;
on Death rode,
Leaving the lightning’s flash behind;
Straight down he came.
While we were watching round her bed,
She turned her eyes and looked away,
She saw what we couldn’t see;
She saw Old Death.   She saw Old Death
Coming like a falling star.
But Death didn’t frighten Sister Caroline;
He looked to her like a welcome friend.
And she whispered to us: I’m going home,
And she smiled and closed her eyes.
And Death took her up like a baby,
And she lay in his icy arms,
But she didn’t feel no chill.
And death began to ride again–
Up beyond the evening star,
Into the glittering light of glory,
On to the Great White Throne.
And there he laid Sister Caroline
On the loving breast of Jesus.

Lyrics I Love: Fountain of Grace

In light of Acts 15, where divisions in the church where finally resolved and condemned for what they really are (preferences and pride), Dr. Coleman wrote a song. The song was about grace. Grace that is not and can never be based on merit. Grace that we all need, circumcised or not, well-dressed or not, vegetarian or meat eater or liberal or conservative. God died for our sins and if we accept that, we are His.

Fountain of grace at Calvary,

The Son of God has died for me.

Grace undeserved, so full and free,

This fount of grace has rescued me

And to this fount each day I go,

Confessing sin He already knows;

And in His grace He pardons me –

This fount of grace keeps cleansing me.

 

A fount of grace God now provides

To all who turn to Jesus Christ.

Hearts cleansed by faith, then Spirit-filled,

Equal they stand at Calv’ry’s hill.

 

Fountain of grace for others, too,

But in my pride I them refuse.

I lift myself about their state,

And scorn to share this fount of grace.

O Lord, to You in shame I bow,

Hypocrisy confessing now;

I revel in grace shown to me,

Yet hold it back from those in need.

 

This fount of grace from Calvary is free to all,

Not just to me;

So how can I this grace deny

To someone else’s desperate cry?

 

A fount of grace God now provides

To all who turn to Jesus Christ.

Hearts cleansed by faith, then Spirit-filled,

Equal they stand at Calv’ry’s hill.

Beyond the Brink

To all of you who think that I am some sort of technilogical genius…

You’re wrong.

 

I may work for IT, but that means nothing. I am capable of turning on a computer. I can make Word documents. I can even Google.

But today, I once again came face to face with my mortality. And by that I mean my limited sphere of tech knowledge.

I had to use a Mac.

 

Now, Apple has produced some lovely, functional machines. But I have PC-ed too long to have all this “exit in the left hand corner” nonsense. But today, I did successfully set up a remote desktop connection from the Mac to a PC.

And that was basically the sum of my work today.

Lyrics I Love: Late Maranatha

We long to see the day

When Chrsit shall wipe our tears away,

And the weight of sin is no more.

 

We long to hear the sound

Of praises rising all around

As we worship Him, Lion and the Lamb,

Jesus Christ the Lord our God.

 

Maranatha, Jesus, come!

We are waiting here as one.

We lift our voice to you!

Lord, your bride awaits you;

Lord, your bride awaits you.

 

We long to touch the hands

Where scars of grace retell your plan

To redeem us from the curse.

 

We long to sing your love

With all the saints forever above,

As we join the throng, shouting with one song,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”

 

Maranatha, Jesus, come!

We are waiting here as one.

We lift our voice to you!

Lord, your bride awaits you;

Lord, your bride awaits you.

 

What are your scars of grace? What makes you long for His return?

To Eat or Not to Eat?

On this wild, wandering journey I’m on, with many pit stops and pitfalls, I am also stumbling along about food. In addition to sleeping enough, believing right things about God, and not letting my thoughts or emotions run freely about the glen, I am also coming to practical terms with food.

Food, in my family, reaches almost religious proportions. I believe this is equal parts my Southern heritage and being raised in the Baptist denomination. Because it is rather pivotal in any social function or as a response to any emotional happening (joyful, grief, boredom…), food is one of those things at the forefront of our minds at basically any moment of the day.

I’ve been an emotional eater for as long as I can remember. I eat to feel better. I eat to calm down. I eat because it’s the one thing that can always make me feel good and life so very often does not make me feel good. I use food as an antidote.

But for years, I’ve known that food can’t be God. And food does not actually heal all wounds. And that gluttony is a sin. Just as much as lying and murder. I don’t want my lord to be my belly. On and off I’ve had success with cutting down on binging, but the problem was that I had, in all honesty, a voracious appetite. Then, as I stopped growing, I couldn’t adjust to the fact that my stomach no longer contained fourth and fifth helpings of food. When I mastered that concept and was able to consistently eat less (aka, the appropriate amount for my hunger and needs), I thought I had beaten my problem.

College has proved me very, very wrong. And last semester, for the first time ever, I really put on weight. Not so much that other people noticed, but enough that I didn’t fit comfortably in my clothes. It was partly because I was only eating crap. My schedule was so hectic, I didn’t have the time or inclination to wait 2o minutes for a salad, so I went right for the pizza because there was no line. And because of the same time problems, I never felt like working out and rarely had the time.  And I ate. So. Much. In the room. To cope with loneliness, to deal with the stress, to not be homesick. I put on about 15 pounds. To some of you, that means nothing. But to me, it was a wake up call.

I was beginning to be disgusted by food and yet I still couldn’t stop. Every time I ate, I was nauseated and I felt guilty because what if my body was lying, and wasn’t hungry, it just wanted me to eat? During Christmas break, things got a little better, but not enough, and I was still very unhappy with my eating habits. I was strongly convicted, yet again, and I finally started praying about it. I don’t even remember asking for God’s help, just constantly trying to repent and asking for Him to make Himself more important in my life.

 

SO. Since I’ve been back to school, I’ve been eating a lot of “rabbit food”. I’ve been careful about salt and lipids and mainly just not eating only junk food. I’ve been keeping pizza and french fries to only once a week. I eat soup for lunch, and I keep salads and wraps with lots of protein for dinner. And earlier this week when I tried to eat some chocolate when I felt crappy, I couldn’t actually finish it. Because it made me want to throw up. And I nearly cried I was so happy. God is allowing me to realize and feel that food is not the answer. And I am so thankful.

Esti Dal

I spent the night near a forest.

I put my shepherd’s cloak under my head,

I put my hands together in prayer,

Thus I asked my Good Lord,

My Lord, give me lodging.

I’ve already become so tired of constantly wandering,

Wandering and hiding,

Staying in a foreign land.

May God grant me a good night.

May He encourage the longing of our heart.

May God grant me a good night.

– Zoltan Kodaly, Traditional Hungarian Song