Monday, May 3, 2010

hippies, beach camping, and cool stuff God's doing

I think somewhere along the way my roommates turned me into something like a hippie. I've had some tendencies since I was a kid: I never wear shoes at all if I can help it and, as I like to make known frequently, I don't like wearing pants, and let's be honest, I don't always shower every single day. But over the last few years I've started recycling. And sometime this summer I picked up the habit of turning the water off while I wash my hands and now if I hear water running for more than a few seconds it drives me crazy. And after my friend Sara Cafe told me not to get a plastic bag at the grocery store when I have few enough things to put in my bag, I just hate using them. Craziest thing. Who knew? I better be careful, is what I've been telling myself, before I turn into a trendy hipster who actually cares about the planet or something.

And as far as the planet goes, I felt like I was on another one the other night. The roommates and some friends and I went camping on the beach, and let me tell you, it was a dang adventure. We had the unfortunate combination of not owning a vehicle with four wheel drive, not realizing how far down the beach we'd have to hike before getting to the camping grounds and underestimating how much all of our stuff plus a giant metal bucket for the fire plus several bundles of firewood would weigh. Yep. My arms are still sore. It was such an amazing workout, though, and despite the fact that my arms were basically useless for the rest of the night, it gave me so much energy.

When we started to put our tent up, we looked over the ocean and we saw the moon rise really red. Being outside with all those stars and the ocean and the moon so red it made an orange-ish triangle on the ocean from the horizon to the shore--felt like another world altogether. Sleeping outside the tent was the best, though. It got so cold with the wind that I had to wear a couple of layers plus my beanie but waking up throughout the night and just getting to look at the whole sky makes me want to live somewhere with an optional roof. Or just go live in the woods. What was that about becoming a hippie again?

There's something to the feeling of that though. I can't figure out how to describe it. Exposed is one word that almost gets it, but without the associated fear, without the negative connotations. Open is another. I'm not sure how to say it, but the feeling of laying in the sand with nothing around me but more sand and ocean and sky makes the world seem so huge. I think there must be something in this, something about how we make our worlds seem smaller with all the things we have built around us. I don't mean this in a bad way. Only that being there at night, when normally I would be safe in my bed (or on my couch) in a way that, safe as I was, is more vulnerable, made me realize that the world I live in is a very different world than the one I live on. I hope that makes sense.

What else? God's been doing some interesting things lately. I've missed church the last two Sundays for various reasons and it was really good to be back. And as always, he has the habit of getting to the heart of things. Sometimes it's so hard to make good decisions all the time, especially relationally for me, and I don't even mean the particularly destructive or unhealthy things. I mean the little things--it's easy to get in a kind of rut that way. But then there's that nudge and there's God and then people do things that blow my mind and I am reminded of how, yes, we are all so very broken, but how he is working such good things in the people who are running after him. This whole sharing life thing, redeeming all of us, forgiveness and grace and love--it is really real, and he is at the very center of it.

And on top of all this, someone pledged my second donation (and first monthly one) for Romania so far and it was pretty dang generous and I'm so excited. I haven't been freaking out this time around like I was last time, and somehow there's a general peace about the fact that God will provide. I don't want to think about it too much because I'll just psych myself out and I do also recognize that there will be times when it's really difficult, but somehow it will happen. I'm sending out my letters this coming week and the whole thing is kind of crazy but, again, this time is different. I'm ready to do all the work, to meet with people, to make the calls and trust that, like my coworker always reminds me, this is the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

And just to end on: I'm graduating in less than a week and get to see my brother and my mom. Pretty dang awesome.

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