on the ride to boulder

Daniel and I listened to this:

It’s empty in the valley of your heart
The sun it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And faults you’ve left behind

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

 

I’ll blog this next week. I have news. And reflections. But soon, I’m heading to bed. Daniel is visiting and we’ve done a lot this week, and I’m pretty tired. There are good pictures, I”ll share some. And then I’ll leave you to imagine the rest of our unexpected little week.

love.
and peace.
and grace to you.

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sunnier days

I’m waiting on a phone call today. All day. I was supposed to hear about a job today. I was given the hope that I might actually hear about it last night. But the call didn’t come so I’m trying to be at peace today, but I’m anxious.

I want this job.

As much as I want the other one I applied for this morning.

They are both at churches. I want to work in a church, with students. Isn’t that bizarre? I didn’t want to work in a church for awhile because I’ve seen so many people be hurt by the church. And then I realized, somewhere along the way, that me walking away won’t do any good.

I figure, I can’t do much. But I want to love on students and girls in particular. I want to tell them they’re worth so much more than the world will give them credit for. I want to tell them to wait please wait. I want to tell them that Jesus loves them, that he has big plans even if they aren’t what we thought we wanted. I want to tell them it’s going to be okay. I’ve been where they are. And it’s going to be better. He makes all things work together for good.

even this.

right now.

all things.

{I can finally see. That you’re right there beside me.

I am not my own.

For I have been made new.

Please don’t let me go.

I desperately need you.

I am not my own. For I have been made new. Please don’t let me go.

I desperately need you.}

where the lights are at

I was downtown on Friday night. I rode the light rail down to Union and got off to walk to the Rio to meet up with friends. Margaritas in that place are not cheap and they cut you off after three because they’re so strong. I’ve heard horror stories from tequila and it wasn’t a Sunday so I clutched my little green wallet and sipped some tap water while the boys started drinking. Dan (or david? I’m bad with D names!) had a beer which felt very bizarre considering all the tables I observed were littered with those thin legged and whispy little margarita glasses dotted with umbrellas, limes and lemon wedges. I’d never been to the Rio. But I decided I liked it. The hub-bub, the attractive black men dressed up in collared shirts and the ridiculous white girls getting tipsy. It provided for plenty of amusing people watching, and it was colourful. I love colour. I felt like the room was alive and dancing as the boys drank their strawberry margaritas (the only time they can get away with girly drinks and not be made fun of).

And then we went to the show we had originally come down town for. It was a bit of a walk. We had to get to Curtis Street from 16th. It’s not a bad walk, wandering through the sky scrapers. It was almost balmy on Friday night too, which was good since I hadn’t brought a coat–just my vest over the three quarter length black shirt. I should’ve brought my scarf, I moaned at one point when a bus whipped past us and the wind in his wake made me shiver. Dan started laughing as he looked down at me from his height of 6’5″. Brett laughed too. “she asked me if I thought she needed it. I was like, what the heck do you think a scarf’s going to do?”

“My Venetian scarf could double as a blanket or a small dress it’s so big,” I snipped and then laughed as we danced across the streets, dodging the light poles, chess tables and carefully evading men with their rickshaws. I didn’t need the scarf. But I felt like saying something as I wandered through town with the boys.

It was an unexpected night. There was supposed to be a rather large group of us going down, and then everyone bailed at the last minute. So Brett and I broke our rule of no one-on-one time and rode the lightrail together which I would be thankful for later that night when a drunk college kid sat down beside me and wouldn’t leave me alone. Brett would rescue me when he stood up and leaned protectively: “this is our stop,” he’d say and the boy would finally back off with that slack grin so common among drunk college boys in downtown venues late at night. But I digress.

I don’t know how we got to Curtis. It’s not a part of downtown I’m familiar with. I know the route to get to my old internship, and I know how to make it to the 16th street mall. Other than that, I pretty much avoid downtown. I find it overwhelming, though it it sometimes startlingly beautiful. Friday was such a night.

We walked from 16th to Curtis and passed underneath sky brides and below rooflines that you could drop a penny off of and give an innocent passerby concussion. I walked behind the boys and it was almost like something out of a movie. Dan at 6’5″ in his gapping white hocky jersey, Kevin at 6′ in a black coat beneath which peaked the burgundy av’s jersey and finally Brett closed the trio from the right at 6’2″ and wearing a grey hoodie beneath his black leather jacket that is sorely outdated. They walked nonchalantly, happy to be downtown on a fine night, and I ambled along behind. I looked up at the skyscrapers, the great monoliths to modern industry and our prowess as Americans. They twinkled in the night, this one black with green and blue embers glowing in the darkness; that one silver grey against the black sky with bright white edges. The cement was smooth and wide, the streets suprisingly empty but for a few Audis, black and prowling the streets with their thin white dottled line that makes a pair of headlights.

I sort of skipped along merrily with my clutch in hand and laughing at the boys who were being goofy. Someone shouted about the Avs, I think Kevin shook his fist at the heavens as though that might help our ailing hockey team. And then they discussed women. By then I had joined the line of three, my little height a contrast between the three of them. Brett had finally looked around and realized that I stood behind them. He made space between himself and Kevin, who by this point was complaining about women. “Buddy, you’ll find someone,” Brett said, sounding more sure of it for Kevin than he has for himself. Dan nodded, trying to encourage his older brother who has only just lately come out of his shell to embrace life more fully. We turned down a street where the buildings were lower. They were brick here, not the cement, metal and glowing glass that we had previously wandered through. This was an older section, the cars did not shine in the night, and the people we passed by the Greyhound Station would have made me look behind as I went on my way if not for the presence of the boys.

Finally, we spotted the venue and the friends we had come to see. Kyle and Doug waved at us, and we crossed the street as a taxi rumbled by, followed by a backfiring chevrolet. I glanced back once at the way we had come. The skyscrapers stood still, clawing at the velvet black sky speckled with stars. What a great monument to business and money! I thought. What a great monument to everything that fails to satisfy.

It was a very urban kind of night and for a moment I enjoyed the beauty of being downtown. But it was also a good reminder that in those cubicles where thousands work, there is no more life that can be gained. It’s not in a building. It’s not in a job. It’s in moments like laughing with Doug and Kyle about how I’ve given up everything for Lent and what “terrible” idea that was. It’s in moments like praying that my friends don’t go down the roads that have been opened to them. It’s in moments like realizing that I love these kids. But I am also unable to save them. Because I am unable to save anyone, least of all myself.

But the glowing heights! The sparkling stars and the twinkling lights! It was a night to be remembered.

age

Twice in two days I’ve had my age thrown at me. This sort of bothers me, though I know it probably shouldn’t. After all, it’s probably a sign of my blatant immaturity to complain about it.

But it does bother me. The first time it happened I was told that I didn’t understand something because of a generational difference. I sat back in my chair, sucked down some more plain tap water, and reconsidered the individual across the table from me. I was told I didn’t understand a movie because of a generational issue. The thing is, I do understand the movie. I just dislike it because it stirs up painful feelings for me, and those are things I like to avoid. I tried to explain that to the individual, but my explanation was sort of shrugged off. It’s easier to assume it’s simply an age difference rather than something messy like a person’s past and struggles.

I was also told the same thing again, that someone else’s life was young and carefree when they were my age. Does that mean I’m supposed to be young and carefree? I remember those days and they ended by sophomore year of college.

I don’t understand why people feel the need to exert their age difference over me. Jason once said I looked like a high schooler and that’s why I always get carded when we hang out in places that serve alcohol as opposed to everyone else that never gets checked to  be above 21. I wanted to tell him that made him a creepy old man considering he was 32 and had dated someone who looked like they were in high school. But I was trying to be a nice ex-girlfriend so I just laughed uncomfortably and changed the subject.

It’s frustrating because I have always been friends with people older than myself. I have friends in their forties and they’re some of my favourites. People I miss most in Seattle include Dr. Davis and Maggie. Dr. Henry and Abby. I’m always going to coffee with Holly, free pie with Tammi and Mark, tea with Melissa. The youngest of those is 31 (I think). My girls in college (especially from my floor) called me mom or madre. My band kids tease me about being a mother hen.

I don’t see why the number of years a person lives determines something about them. Clearly, time marks a person by the things they see and experience. But I also think that people can be old souls; we used to call my friend David a 40 year old trapped in the body of an 18 year old. While I would hardly count myself as an “old soul”, I still find it frustrating when people throw their age (or my age) around as though it somehow defines us.

Though, I do suppose, I am young. I’m irresponsible sometimes, and I make rash decisions. But then again, so do my older friends. I at least have an excuse because of my age… do you?*

___

*said with a snarky grin

Scholarships, Trying and Lent

I’m writing an essay for a scholarship that I don’t qualify for. I’m not sure why I do things like this to myself. I mean, there’s no way I’m going to get it. But in someways…it’s this bizarre challenge and I’m ready to take it on. I said to myself as I walked off the seminary campus that I was going to write a damn good essay and make them reconsider their qualifications for the full ride scholarship. And then I sort of stopped short, paused in the falling snow. “Wow, you just swore on a seminary campus, chica,” I muttered to myself and then started laughing, shaking my head. I’m a walking contradiction. And I have got to work on this language issue, I sound so uncouth (and in general, I just don’t like it about myself).

I drove my father to the airport last night. He fell asleep to the sound of Derek Webb singing about a wedding dress and being the prodigal son. I tapped my hands on the steering wheel and really tried to sing the melody this time. But it was hard.

He made me stop at Walmart to  buy me a new windshield wiper. “How do you live with it like this?” he asked, laughing. I sort of shrugged. I don’t drive from the passenger side, what does it matter what their view is like? I can see well enough, can’t I? In Walmart I told him about the interview at the church yesterday. The one where they asked how I manage stress and I shrugged. Why do people ask that question in interviews? You just put your head down and deal with it. Go for a run when you get home. Isn’t that what everyone does? And then they asked me to describe a time when I was faced with something I didn’t know how to do and how I overcame that obstacle to get the task done? I had to think for a long time. My popí started laughing when I said I had to think. I don’t try at things, after all. I just do them. And if I don’t know how to do them I either figure it out (website/html/guitar amps/setting up drumsets) or I don’t do them (quitting piano in 6th grade. you have to practice? who wants to do that?!).

But back to the stress issue. They asked about when I was stressed in college, was there ever a time when I had to do something timely and that cut into doing it well? I could only think of that stupid paper in Former Prophets during a hellish week with people’s lives falling apart. I repeated myself for ten pages. I said nothing original. I admitted in my interview to this one instance of turning something in because it had to be finished even though I had not done it well. I shrugged in that interview with those three people and said I had to put “my girls” first because they were more important than getting an A on the paper. Heads bobbed and things were scratched down on papers and iPads.

the best part, I whispered to my father in the car, is that I still got an A.

My father laughed.

What’s it like to have to try at something? I said this is my only fear with seminary. I’ll probably have to try with learning Hebrew and Greek. I’ll probably have to actually apply myself and not write papers two or three days before they are due. I’m not entirely excited about that part. Trying is a foreign concept.

I’m having to try very hard at something over the next forty days. Lent. I’m giving up all beverages other than tap water. No coffee, tea, hot chocolate, espresso, cider, juice, coffee, chai, soda, coffee, seltzer water, did I say coffee? Look out world, I’m sure to  be an unkind person the next few days while I come off withdrawal. I’m doing it with my friend Molly for an organization called BloodWater.

I’ve done Lent before. I like liturgy. I’m going to Ash Wednesday service tonight and have even convinced a few friends to come along. I like spiritual disciplines. I appreciate the physical reminders to  help me remember that the walk with Jesus is not so abstract and that it is important, it is real, it is here and now and it affects me. The headache coming on this morning is a good reminder of that.

I have friends coming with me to church on Sunday. Two. Maybe three. It’s weird. I asked them to come and they said yes. What? They said yes. It’s going to be a terrible long 40 days in a decaffeinated desert. But the awesome part of entering into the sufferings of Christ is that we are also given the chance to endure for the joy held before us. Every time I want coffee (like now, and five seconds ago, and now, and in fifteen or twenty seconds, and now! and tonight), I get to thank Jesus for all he did (all he does!) and then I get to pray for my friends that they would come to a saving and transforming knowledge of the one who:

for the joy set before him.

endured the cross.

seminarweeeeeeeee!

Well, despite the fact that I”m a recommendation down for seminary, I went in today to meet with the financial aid guy. My jeans were wet and my sweater was wet and I was a few minutes late. I aplogized to Joel. Mostly, I apologized for the possibility of leaving a wet spot on his chair because my jeans weren’t dry from being washed. He laughed. “I appreciate the honesty…. but better that than you leaving me to wonder what the heck happened that left a wet spot on my chair!”

and then afterwards I sent this text to Kyle:

“my day so far: ah! scholarships! ah! fafsa! ah! grad school! ahhhhhhhhhh!”

so this week’s projects include applying for the full ride (generally intended for students pursuing a pastoral position with pulpit responsbilities. Well, whatever, I’m applying anyway.), applying for about five other scholarships and filling out that fafsa.

swimming in debt, here I come! {And I’ve never been so terrified.}

from the prayers

A Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

late nights and mid morning renewals

I got a text last night at 1.08am. And I texted with the individual until 145 when she said she was going to try and get some sleep. I was in and out during those thirty-seven minutes. I was praying, but sometimes those prayers seemed to turn into nonsensical mumblings because I was so darn sleepy. I re-read the texts this morning. I was surprisingly coherrent for the fact that in between my responses I was usually struggling to be conscious.

It was the second time someone has texted me from a situation like that. The first time was over the summer when a boy drunk texted me throughout the night. I remember that I alternated between being incredibly frustrated with his stupidity and being worried that he’d get in a car and kill himself and anyone else on the road because he was so far gone. I remember texting in all caps (something I generally avoid) and demanding to know where he was so that I could come and pick him up. I never actually left my bed. I finally got a text around 545 that said he was safe at a mutual friend’s.

Last night my friend wasn’t drunk. But it was a bad situation. All I could think was that I was going to have to drive at least half an hour, maybe more, and pick her up. I was comfy in bed. I didn’t want to leave. How selfish is that? But I knew that she mattered much more than my desperate hours of sleep. So I told her multiple times that I would come and get her. Just tell me where you are. I didn’t end up going out there. She turned out to be fine. It wasn’t dangerous, in a sense. No one was fighting, no belligerant drunks. It was just bad and uncomfortable and at 130 in the morning those sensations combine to create an aura of fear. I mean, those are the darkest times of night–the wee hours of the morning. She was putting on a brave face, she said, being strong for a friend in a bad spot but she was exhausted.

She finally said she’d try sleeping. I myself turned into my pillow and sighed a breath of relief. I texted this morning and she said they are okay, headed home now after a long and restless night that had started out well. I took a deep breath and settled in to the Daily Office. I wrote Sarah yesterday (my Token Episcopalian) about where to find it online and how it goes with the Lectionary, the church calendar and a million other little questions. She is wonderful and wrote me back within a matter of hours.

I read Revelation 21.22-26 and 22.1-4 today at the end before all the prayers. It’s a Canticle of the New City.

Last night I told my friend that it’s okay to admit when things are hard. I know what that’s like. My father recently lectured me that I don’t need to always put on a brave face and be the strong one. It’s what leads to burnout, he said. He’s right. It has led to burnout. Like the summer I went to counseling because I came home from college so emotionally exhausted that I had no feelings. So, yes, I cannot always be the perfect brave individual who holds everyone else together. I get that. But then I read Revelation this morning and Isaiah 35 and I was so enthralled by the hope of a new city, a new world…it made it easier in a sense to be the strong kid here. I have people with whom I let down. I have Liz now, and she is a grand listener though I think the stories of my non-believing friends sometimes startle her. I have my Adullam community which is comforting even when I am silent and listening to others.

The leaves on the tree in the new city are for the healing of nations. Ghena’s kiddos are sick. But they won’t be sick there, they’ll be healthy, forever. My many friends with alcoholic parents will get to meet THE Father and he’ll hold them like their messed up dads always should have. My friends with divorced parents will see the wholeness of love that is a commitment deeper than momentary feelings. My friends with addictions will feel the release in the light of the Lord. There are so many things that will be healed. The City will be so good.

It was refreshing to read the Daily Office. I think I’m going to like this.

And in the meantime, I can put on a brave face where it’s needed. After all, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

midnight cooking

here is a conversational approach to my evening:

Ingrid: we have thirty five dollars for this, can we feed nine people on that?
Sara: please. I used to feed ten people on like 12 dollars. Thirty five is a Caman-Islands account for this task.

Ingrid: Can we do two meals?
Sara: Easily.

Ingrid: Why are you using the scoop to get the noodles out?
Sara: Because you’re using the freaking strainer for your green beans.
Ingrid: Oh. (pause) I could move them.
Sara: No no. Too late. These hand ladled noodles are happy. I appreciate the process

Sara: Frick!
Ingrid: What?!
Sara: I cut myself.

few minutes later

Ingrid: O. My. Gosh!
Sara: What? (examines blood running down back of hand) Oh. It’s no big deal.

fifteen minutes later

Sara: aaaand we’ve stopped bleeding.
Ingrid: sheesh…. you should watch this video I’m posting on Christy’s wall. [for her birthday]
Sara: I can hear it. It sounds bizarre.
Ingrid: It’s sort of disturbing.
Sara: I don’t think I could handle watching it right now. Considering the amount of blood loss from my pinky, there might be permanent damage to my mental health.

 

looking back: Maybe we shouldn’t start cooking at midnight.
best part: setting off the smoke alarm at 1245.

[Annie: always have a place to meet in case of fire. Ingrid: it’s just something on the stove…Right?]