Tuesday, June 30, 2009



I was at work the other day (who am I kidding? I'm at work a lot of days) and we have this coworker who is hilarious. Just off the wall, you would never expect her at all. She isn't trying to be funny, she's not the class clown type, none of that. She's just hilarious. And I totally want to be like her when I grow up.

So I said that to my other coworkers. That if I was ever working in an office I wanted to be the coworker like her. And the first thing they said to me was that they could not picture me working in an office. I mean, I work in one now, but as far as once I graduate, all of that. And I was kind of surprised. Not because I disagree, because I suppose I don't really think about it. It makes sense--the more and more I think about it, the more I think, well of course I'm not! I want to be out everywhere in the world and climbing things and being in the thick of a language and a culture. I know this, but I'll tell you what, there's something about hearing it (without any significant prompt, mind you) from someone else that makes it feel a little different.


Speaking of plans, for a year and a half or so (probably up until last summer), I was going to apply to grad school. And then I decided that I didn't really want to anymore. Honestly, the biggest deterrent was just that, as much as I enjoy a good workshop, the not-so-good ones started to drive me crazy. Now that's only speaking to undergrad workshops, and one of the best workshops I've ever been in (as far as discussion) was mixed with grad students and undergrad.

But anyway, what I mean is that I haven't entirely thrown out the idea of trying to go. It's definitely something that would be an option if I were to stay here. Now of course ideally I'll be some other country doing something to do with God and language, but right now everything's kind of floating around and I'm not feeling too particularly inclined toward any option. I'm sure I'll feel differently after I get back from Romania (whether toward going or staying), but for now. Which leads me to--


I know that I mention going to Romania just about every single post. And I know that I've been keeping a mental countdown for the last few weeks, but that's really all I've been doing. It was a month, and then it was three weeks, and now it's two weeks. Two weeks from this very moment, 11:21 in the morning on a Tuesday--I will be either in an airport or on a plane. And I have not thought about it at all. It really sneaked up on me (I really want to write snuck).

I haven't learned any Romanian other than good morning, thank you, that sort of thing. And I just haven't thought about what it's actually going to be like over there. I have pictures in my head of us hiking up a mountain and sitting around a table teaching English. I've got about a hundred things I need to do before I leave but mostly I just feel like I've been running at this thing with my eyes closed and I have no idea about what's going to happen once I get there. I mean, I don't know. I don't think any of this is really out of the ordinary. It's just that, bam! I'm leaving town in less than two weeks. When did that happen?

And fourth:

I just have to ask this. What is it about toddlers and my legs/feet? No, seriously. When I lived with Thomas and Tracey, Kris (their son, he was three or four) would always mess with my feet. I think he was freaked out by them at first because when I took off my socks my feet were white instead of brown. But then he started messing with them. I would be reading a book or fall asleep and wake up to Kris pulling at my skin or my toes. And then this past Sunday I was at Pneuma (kind of like church, more like a campus ministry) and we were all praying and the little boy of some of the people who are involved there crawled under the chairs and started pinching my calves. This little boy has not warmed up to me this summer at all, and suddenly he can't leave my legs alone. So yes. If anyone has any ideas?

Saturday, June 27, 2009


From The Secret Life of Bees:

"I watched him, filled with tenderness and ache, wondering what it was that connected us. Was it the wounded places down inside people that sought each other out, that bred a kind of love between them?"

"And when you get down to it, Lily, that's the only purpose grand enoguh for a human life. Not just to love--but to persist in love."

"The four of them lined up beside us, clutching their pocketbooks up against their bodies like they might have to use them to beat the living hell out of somebody."

"I guess I have forgiven us both, although sometimes in the night my dreams will take me back to the sadness, and I have to wake up and forgive us again."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

where in the world is sarawr the dinosaur?

Well. I don't even know where to begin with this. I've been writing blogs in my head for the last three weeks and now that I sit down to actually do it, this is all I've got: well. You see, it was like this. That kind of thing.

This summer has been perfect. Mostly I just want to write about that. About the people I've been spending this perfect summer with, all the crazy things that have happened, the books, the shenanigans, the bike riding I've been doing, and mostly the way God's been growing me like a weed here in this heat. That's what all these blogs I've been writing in my head have been about, only I never got around to writing them. Sometimes--you know, I don't know. It's like I don't know how to write it.

Last summer (has it really been that long?) in Colombia I really didn't write much. I have a notebook I probably wrote in three or four times while I was there. I'd gone planning to write every day, to write everything down, but then I got there and it was so much at once, it was so wonderful. I remember telling Yamil that I wasn't taking many pictures because I wanted to remember seeing it, feeling it as it was, not remember what the pictures look like.

With writing, that line has always been really split for me. There are some things I would never have remembered if I hadn't written them down, particularly the feelings that accompanied everything. But then once I write something out, I remember it that way. I wrote a story once about when my brother and I had a gun pulled out on us (not exactly, but for the sake of brevity ask if you want the long version), and now I remember what happened as I wrote it. I remember it through the lines that I wrote, how I pictured it as I described it. If I made any mistakes bringing it from memory to the page, then I've managed to change how I remember. I'm fairly confident that I did remember it as it happened--the best that can be done, anyhow--but some things, at the risk of forgetting them, I'd like to remember as memories, instead of stories.

I'm not sure how much sense that makes, and in any case part of me does wish I'd written much more while I was in Colombia, and I know that there will be parts of this summer, the detail-y, nuance-y kinds, lost to me forever because I've picked the other way of remembering, the non-writing one. The funny thing about it is that writing is indeed cathartic for me, just like they say, but with some experiences (this is more applicable when I write about something that happened a long time ago as opposed to doing it while it's in process, but then there just went my whole justification. Well there you go.) it goes further--Dave Eggers was right. Something like shedding skin.

But now that I've accidently outed the other part of my reasoning, we'll just say it. Laziness and avoidance. Be real, right? So:

Dear Blog,

I've thought about you every day we've been apart. I've wanted to come back to you, but it's just so complicated. This time we'll make it work, we will.



I really want to end it here. I'd feel brilliant. I'm not very funny, I think--I've got no sense of timing and my wit is better served when I can sit and brew over it, which sort of defeats the purpose. You're yelling end it! end it! end it! I'm yelling, but you have to know that was a joke! I'm making fun of my own sappiness and endless sentimentality! Speaking of jokes, the title. Get it? Haha. Because in a few weeks I'll be in Romania (three, to be exact). And I want to go to all those places in the world? I almost was in Colombia most of the time I've been gone from here? That's true, but more on that later. Explaining the joke that I think is hilarious--that I'm shaking and crying from laughing over often while no one else is--is my favorite part of the joke. The big exaggerated wink after the pun. Oh yeah.

All right, transitioning here. (That one was a nod to how constantly self-conscious I am and how I act in social situations and to using awkwardness to the advantage. If you use it, it's good! Pointing out the transition is totally unnecessary but usually I haven't got one or it doesn't work so well so I'm like, hey! Transitioning! I can't stop it but at least I know I'm doing it which has been working so far.)

I want to say more about this summer. About how I've spent the last six weeks spending time with a group of people who've been calling me to something huge in God. It's been incredible. All this talk about not writing, and this is what I really want to write about. But how? I've been sitting here for twenty minutes now typing and backspacing. I don't know how to put it. I wrote: I'll tell you this. And then I didn't know how to tell you besides saying how God is good, man is he good. But it's more even than that. I started to talk about how it's been nothing but blessings, but that doesn't exactly get at it either. Ultimately, I suppose, that's true, the way things come around to being blessings anyway. But I don't want to boil it down, either, simplify it too much, because there's so much more to it than that.

So I'll end with this:

The dart game + the pushup/mine game + all the silliness you can imagine + old friends + new friends + God times about a million + heat getting everywhere + more than fifty miles on my new bike in a week + spanish spanish spanish + those conversations where people surprise you, when you see there's a depth to them you wouldn't have realized, when you see that as fully a God thing + seeing little parts of the places people keep below the surface, the parts they're reluctant to show + hope for someone you know is going to become a Christian and they probably don't know yet and how exciting that is + all the things I wish I could fit in here = a summer something like perfect.

And now I have to go because my coworker says I'm rambling, that I always do. And it's true. She says to say: peace out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The unique way God has designed you – with talent, intellect, gifts, personality, and passions – informs you about how [your calling to serve] will be expressed. But don’t wait for God to fill in all the blanks. Don’t wait for Him to remove all the uncertainty. Realize He may actually increase the uncertainty and leverage all the odds against you, just so that you will know in the end that it wasn’t your gifts but His power through your gifts that fulfilled His purpose in your life.
--Erwin McManus

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the answer is always you, oh God

from psalm 71:

12 Be not far from me, oh God. Come quickly, oh God, to help me. 14 But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure.

I'm writing this out, copying these verses down, and all I can think to say is yes. Yes, God. I will hope in you continually, God, I will praise you more and more and I will tell of how amazing you are, how you are a God who saves--and then that part at the end, though I know not its measure. And it's just so true.

God, a lot of times when I read the Psalms I feel like I can't fully relate. Yes, I have known about hurting, crying out to God, but what do I know about religious persecution? About armies attacking my city? I've never prayed for you to deliver me from bloodthirsty men. But God, I'm reading this psalm and I know that you have delivered me. Someone told me once that in the story of my family is where my real testimony is, my real story, which really is this: brokenness and everything just so messed up and needing you so badly. And really that's everyone, I think.

This is all coming out jumbled and it isn't making any sense at all, but there are a few questions. The first is the one I ask less often now, but was the only question I knew to ask growing up. Why? Why to so many things. Why didn't I have that family that really loved one another and why didn't I have a dad and why was my mother so messed up and why did every day I ask you where you were in all of it and why didn't I see you and why did it never stop hurting? I look back and I wonder about abusive families, but I don't think too much about why. I know that we are broken, and I know you never intended for this.

The other question is one I always get asked and I never know what to say. How did I turn out okay? Well the obvious answer is you, God. But I don't think you're like a get-better-quick pill. Real hope doesn't work like that. All I know is that my God rescues and saves, that my God has had his hand on me all along. My God is more incredible than I could ever know.

16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.

For what other purpose was I made? None, God! What kind of question is why?--the answer is always you, is always how you were reaching toward me and in all those places left empty in me, God, they were there so that I could see that they were filled by you, so that I could recognize my Father, and then once I did, I realized he was in more places than just the gaps.

19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, oh God, you who have done great things. Who, oh God, is like you? 20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.

I look back at myself five and six years ago, and God, I don't know. There is no question now. I mean, there sort of is. But I read this and there you are and "didn't you know I was there all along?" What other purpose was there ever but this:

18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, oh God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

I'm making less and less sense as I go along, but I'm understanding better. God, I thank you that you're growing me and teaching me and answering prayers, even the ones I only prayed a few days ago. I thank you for everything that's happened in my life, God, because more than anything, overwhelmingly, I can look back and see how you were working all along, how it's true that you never forsake us. How good you are and how much joy and hope and life there is in you. Even if all of it only happened so that I'd pray this back to you in this moment, so that I'd write it out and tell the people I know that you are a God of promise and restored life and just love--isn't that enough? But it doesn't stop there. Your plans are so much bigger than even that.

James said to consider it pure joy when we face trials because testing of our faith develops perseverance. But what about the joy in how we get to see the crazy amazing things you use them for, and use us for? God, I thank you for every detail of my life, for everywhere that's ever been hard because that was the first place I looked for you. And for how you have blessed me tremendously. How could I ever thank you? And God, I pray that you would help me to be thankful for the things that are still so hard with my family because there you are in it making something good, growing us together and toward wholeness.

And it's funny, because now I see how much all of it doesn't even really matter. If I never understood why my family was so bad at loving each other, it was only so that you could show me what perfect love is. In the end it just boils down to more of you. For everything that happens, ultimately the purpose becomes more of God, more of your goodness and love and hope. On the right side of the equals sign is simply God. His redemption of everything.
And when you go back to where things were adding up you see that God was in the equation all along and that our pain or fear or brokenness were nothing next to the greatness that is God and his purpose for it all.

Now I understand why there aren't any tears in heaven--it's almost like it's working backwards. He wipes them away in heaven and then you look back and realize that all along they were being redeemed for this, this being with God. You see? Through this thing that brought me despair, the very hand of God is visible--and in the end it's so much bigger than anything else so you look back and instead of seeing tears, you see God, because he was, he's all that ever was. Even though we're not with him in heaven yet, the journey toward home has all along been a journey with God. It reaches backward and covers everything. In the end I realize that none of what happened is really all that important except this joy that is in Christ and oh how I will praise him, my God, my hope, and I will praise him.

23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you--I, whom you have redeemed.
14 But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.