change. or. perhaps the lack there of.

self recognition numero 17? maybe?

I haven’t done a self reflection recently. Trust me, I went back through my more recent history to figure out the number of self discovery that I am on now. I was lazy though, and didn’t go back  past March. March? I haven’t done one since March? So I estimated. 17. It’s a good number. There’s a funny movie about being 17 again. It highlights the horrors of going back to high school. It’s really quite amusing.

So, today I thought about change. I was driving to work, I thought I ws late, but as usual, I arrived first. I sit outside in my car, munch on some Jeremiah 31 and then slept to the sound of Eichelpop playing. I whirled through Southlands past the Red Lobster and thought about hte beauty of the sun rising and the crisp clean air and the way it snowed yesterday but people arrived in shorts to do their banking. I thought, it reminded me of Seattle again. And I thought about the ‘Couv and English Premier League. I worked in my parent’s yard on Saturday before going to a deeply disturbing and beautiful play with Molly. It reminded me of Jason and pulling weeds in his backyard before going hiking with Jeff. It made me think about how I had prayed over his house when he first moved in, when we cleaned it down from vaulted cielings to dusty floorboards. I prayed over that house, prayed for his wife–all the while thinking it would be me. I didn’ think about Nick so much today. I’ll think of him in summer months when I wander through the Canyon and hear people whistling for runaway dogs.

I drove to work and I thought about how, in so many ways, I’m decently content to be single now. Isn’t that odd? I have friends getting married, friends having kids, and I’m actually fairly pleased to be single. I can do whatever I want, and hang out with whoever I want, come and go whenever I want and in general I experience an incredible amount of freedom that is likely to never be repeated if I go the route of most Americans (90% of whom will be married at some point).

But, in terms of hanging out with whomever I want I have come across a few stumbling blocks. I have always been friends with guys more so than girls. Tonight, I stood in a parking lot with a friend after he was off of work and chatted about random (and some serious) things for about 45 minutes. It was really quite great. But I was also painfully aware of my gender in the conversation and the problems that sometimes arise between friendships like ours.*

So at work I, of course, snagged a sheet of paper and began writing in that zig-zag way that used to so amuse Kellie in college. I wrote a little about change. About growing up and growing into myself as a woman. In the midst of this whole growing into feminity thing however, I’m still sometimes frustrated by the gender issue. Here’s what I wrote. It doesn’t start out about gender and change. But it gets there. Promise.

Lately I long for hills run down with green blankets of vegetation and thick wet earth. I almost long for humidity as my hair clings to my face, desperately dried out to the point of spontaneously sparking in static electricity. I blame the email from Jared–that he and Teresa are moving to Papua. I blame the card that came yesterday with their faces on it, against a dark background that I assume to be trees in Vancouver. I somehow desperately desire the smell of the ground ripe with rotting undergrowth that makes way for new life. I want to feel the moisture between my fingers and stand in the midst of a cloud once more, the way we did when hiking that time on the peninsula with only a single water bottle between three stupid college kids.

So I texted Daniel. I told him I’ll go “home” with him at Christmas if we can make a hop to Papua. I told him that he has to come with me. Jared, Teresa and Uncle Wally won’t be nearly as fun without him. I want to talk Robb and Jamie into it as well. Funny how things change–we grow up, we get married, we move away. But I still want my friends all in the same place at the same time doing the same things we used to do.

And speaking of things that change, I went shopping with my girls on Sunday. It made me happy to be a girl. Abba knows that doesn’t happen very often. Abby freaked on me a couple times, but it was sort of amusing and sort of precious. “This you would wear with leggings and a black belt or maybe skinny jeans.”
“I–uh–don’t have leggings or a black–”
“What?! Oh my god. Sara B— what do you wear? Oh my god. Oh my god.” she would exclaim and then tell me to hurry up and try on the next outfit she had chosen for me.

She and Danielle have decided to fix me up with this friend of theirs. He rides a bike. And he’s perfectly willing to wait till marriage for sex. Apparently these are things I’ve communicated as being requirements. Apparently sex is on the same level of importance as the motor bike. I’m not sure if the elevates the motorbike? lowers the significance of sex and marriage? Thinking…thinking….

I smiled, laughed and agreed to meet him. Ghena said I may have one ride on the bike and that’s all. I’m rather surprised I’m being allowed that much given the history with Nick. But I won’t belabour that point. It’s been months since I was on a motorbike. I’ll take that ride!

But despite this recent foray into feminity (and dayum I look fine!) some things never change. For example:

I still sometimes wish I was a boy.

This may come as a shock to some. But others will laugh and nod their heads at the statement I have verbalized in myriad ways without coming straight out to say it. Maybe it was growing up with Joshua–playing air force in the backyard in California or army crawling behind enemy lines in the snow past the dead end despite my raging bronchitis in Illinios. But today I lamented my gender for reasons other than my obscene laziness over hair and tinted moisturizer. Today I was sitting at work when Ethan texted me about the mens group which meets on Tuesdays and I thoght to myself how much I’d like to be a part of that.

I thought about how often women seem incapable of staying on topic long enogh to have a robust theological conversation. I thought about how most of my favourite-life-altering-conversations have been with men adn that this was perhaps the reasons Kelsie and I connected so easily with each other and the male theology professors we idolized. I’m not trying to remark on or disparage the vast intelligence of women. My coworker recently accused me of being a raging feminist. Clearly I value and appreciate women. But I had this moment where I wished that I had been born as Matthew instead of Sara (though to be honest, Cephas or Peter would have been preferred). I recalled reading a book about a Puritan family and a scene where the daughter laments that though she is the intelligent one, her brother is sent to school, purely for reasons of gender.

I did not understand her quarrel with society at that point in my life. I think I would have been enthralled to not be in school and I couldn’t comprehend her argument. I understand it now. I wanted to be at the men’s group this morning: listening to Alanson and discussing Mercy or the implications of Micah 6.8. I would have known what to say. I would have been challenged and convicted. I wish I could have listened. I wish I had been challenged to love and grace and forgiveness, something I struggle with more and more as my sleeping (and energy) become less and less. I would have loved to have sat there and listened. I stood in a parking lot tonight, cold and jumping from one foot to the other just to talk with Ethan about what it means to love someone and to be satisfied even when they don’t fulfill your needs (because they’re human and they can’t!). I stay up late to talk with Keeleh about theological determinism. I wish I could have been at that Bible study to hear and listen and pray over the waitress and leave a big tip and most of all, I just want to sit there. Most of my friends are guys. I wish I was a boy and I could be included rather than getting it second hand afterwards. I wish I could hear Alanson, since the boys won’t share him. I wish I could hear what was on their hearts in a more raw way than I already do. I wish I was a part of that inner circle, something I can never have because I’m a girl, and that is a space which I cannot enter.

Instead, I skimmed Jeremiah 31, in the car, outside work, alone, while waiting for everyone else to arrive, and why? Because of the simple fact that I was born a girl. Thanks God. thanks for that one.

[but heck… I look dang good in that skirt.]

_____________________________

*these types of friendships constitute the bulk of my community. I am mostly friends with guys. This singles group thing can be a bit odd at times. It sometimes feels like it’s “the boys plus Sara” (and maybe Liz when I drag her along).

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