Saturday, January 29, 2011

derek, the photo-shopped camel!

[last summer a friend of mine spent a few months in tunisia and sent me some postcards while he was gone, four in all. two came, out of order a few weeks later, three months another came and another two months later the fourth finally made it. and they are hysterical. also, here's the friend's blog--he doesn't write much on there but he SHOULD. oh, p.s. i'll be adding a picture of the postcards soon.]

Episode 1: Treachery Ahoof

This is the story of Derek, the photo-shopped camel. He's in the back there, with the hump. He is the father-figure of this unassuming camel family. Upon waking one morning, Derek found that his beautiful post-card life had been shattered by the iniquitous acts of marauding camel bandits. (Gasp, egads! Whatever will Derek do within the confines of the next image?)

Episode 2

Fighting with all his camel-might, Derek valiantly stood his ground against the camel bandits, until beaten unconscious with blunt things. The camel bandits then abandoned Derek, because past experience had taught them that dragging an unconscious camel was an impractical affair. Derek woke to find his family gone. Stricken with grief, he ran blindly out into the desert, as camels are wont to do.

Episode 3

Deep in the desert,
With sand in his breeches
Dear, sad ol' Derek
Met Camel Jesus

"Oh, woe is me, Jesus."
Did Derek exclaim
"I'm itchy and lost
Thanks to those men's wretched game."

"Be still, my son
Be not you dismayed.
There lies the sea,
I've shown you the way."

"Oh thank you, Jesus.
Your grace is supreme
But may we please stop adhering
To this dry rhyming scheme?"

"Of course, my son.
Though I find it quite swell
Be thankful you've escaped
That vile villain-elle."

Episode 4

After parting from his encounter with the Camel Christ, Derek continued on his way with a spring in his hoof, pondering the wise, carefully selected words of his Lord. "Oh, villanelle, I see what He did there. Poem joke, classy." Deep in thought, Derek nearly missed the call of his son, Durik, who had conveniently escaped free of harm, because postcards supply little room for story-arc. Also, his wife was left just out of frame for budgeting reasons.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

while watching the two towers

Sarawr: Watch the Ent coming up later, he throws his head in the water. It's so funny.

about ten minutes later

Alicia: Can he live without his head?
Sarawr: Huh?
Alicia: Can the Ent live without his head?
Sarawr: I mean... probably not. I don't really know though.

the part where the Ent is on fire and douses himself in the flood from the broken dam

Sarawr: See? Ahaha! [mimes the Ent in the water]
Alicia: Oh... I don't think he ripped his head off, though. I think he just ducked his head under the water.
Sarawr: Yeah, that's what I--wait a second...

And now you know! Throwing your head in something has TWO MEANINGS!

Monday, January 24, 2011

regarding conflict: havin' trouble lovin'?

Last night, a few friends came over and hung out with my roommate and I (we watched The Business of Being Born, which is worth a post in and of itself), and after all the talk of babies and how strange the whole process is, talk turned to conflict. And by that I mean we were discussing conflict, not having it.

I've been thinking about this sort of thing in the last week, more than I have in the last month or so. While being as vague as I can, the same conflict that had been going on for months, the one I thought was as resolved as we could hope for, took one more shot. And whether it was intentional or not, for all the attempts to forgive and hold out loving and move on, last week I found myself right back at square one, as frustrated as I'd been all those months before.

And what to do? The other night I had a conversation with a friend about how I think when you have a good friend, it is your obligation to one another to tell each other if you're doing something stupid, call each other out if it needs to be done (and be ready to listen when you yourself need it). Now the hard part is doing that well, doing it humbly (something I don't have down yet, for sure), and then leaving it alone, not nagging about it, and continuing to love the friend. I need to be called out sometimes--I appreciate someone who will do so, and then lead me back in the direction I need to go with love, but also firmness. And there is so much room for error, let me tell you. I'm thinking of friends I've lost in my poor attempts at this process, but I see it now! I understand what went wrong, how both parties did it badly, how we were passive enough to let things drift away rather than fight for something. The question probably became one of worth: is it worth it now, after everything, especially when I have other good things? Maybe better things? It's a trick question, of course, one that leaves you empty-handed ultimately.

The bigger question is how to really do this. How do I genuinely love my friend through conflict? How do I love my friend when it's easier to be mad. I found out last night that this isn't true for everyone--for some people they have to hold on to anger rather than make themselves let go of it each day, and for you all I say: you guys are miracles. I don't know how you do it, but I hope to. Show me how.

A few nights ago, I was reading my Bible and I came to Romans 2:1-4: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" (Emphasis mine!)

Whoa. First, a question. When you see someone do something that you have done before and you know from experience to be hurtful or unhealthy, is it harder to deal with? Or better, when you see yourself in someone else (whether it's an issue of 'I used to do that' or 'I still do') and you don't like what you see, is it more difficult to love the person and easier to become angry about it? For me that's the case. It opens the doors wide for all kinds of impatience and frustration (not to mention hypocrisy--thank you, Paul, and yikes!).

But then I see this verse, and right there, that right there is the answer to the prayer, how do we do this? How do I do it? The same kindness and tolerance and patience God extends on a daily basis to me, the things that help me continually turn myself until I'm facing him are the same ones I am to give to my friend. And I don't expect there is a limit, even if we feel like we have one.

And so what does this look like, living this way, loving this way? My thought is that it doesn't free us from the responsibility of calling one another out and being open to being called out ourselves, but that doing so must be in the context of an inundation of kindness, tolerance, patience. And the good news is that God is all about some reconciliation.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I found out a few days ago that I was approved to leave for Bucuresti on February 8th. It's a crazy thing, so instead I've decide to post a blog that I wrote over two and a half years ago before I left the country for the first time. You should know I cut out four paragraphs (preceding what you'll read) about alligators and crazy submarine-boat-car drivers. Just for context ;)

voy a ir a colombia

So now it’s Colombia. My actual flight is in around nine hours, but we’re leaving here in six. And I can’t believe it at all. Four weeks in South America. Here’s to making it, to learning Spanish, to becoming adopted Colombian. To flying for the first time, to not getting eaten in the rain forest or contracting Yellow Fever. To seeing the Caribbean, and being higher in altitude than I’ve ever been in my life (currently, I live at ten or so feet above sea level). This is for my story about fathers, it’s for language and how if I had my way, I’d say drop me in a country, drop me in another language, let me live there and be immersed in all of it, the people, the words, the life.

I’ll say this: I’m nervous for all kinds of reasons, and even now I don’t quite believe any of it. It’s sort of like you’re growing up, and all the while you’re looking toward the moments where you’ll be living, where you’ll be doing what you wanted to do when you had grown up or got to the point where you could, and that’s the thing. Getting there isn’t something you realize. I’m here. I’m at that point now, the one that’s only existed before in the things I’ve written. I imagine marriage will feel something like this. Suddenly I’ll be standing at the altar and I won’t realize when I got there, when a whole part of my life began. And I’m not sure now when I got halfway through undergrad, when I got to leaving the States for something bigger than the things I’ve done so far. I feel like I’ll wake up sometime later and I’ll have already published and I’ll have children and it just all seems so fast. Not too fast, and I’m not at any of those places yet. I only mean I can’t believe I’m already where I am now, and it’s only quickening, and maybe when you cross over lines in your life you don’t know it, you don’t have time to ask yourself whether you’re ready, it’s only suddenly you’re doing it and when did it ever happen, but you must have been ready because you got put there and you didn’t sink.

This is what that is, I think. I’ve flown past the starting point because it’s all now, happening is now, Colombia and writing and living are now and if all those waited for me to realize I was ready, now would be a perpetual holding, a waiting. But here I am, and next time that will be South America. And who knows after that, only that I began toward there longer ago than I know. So see you guys on the other side of the Caribbean.

Monday, January 10, 2011

here comes the snow!

This never, never happens here. And it is beautiful!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

guess they're not interchangeable...

This morning at work I was answering the phone and a woman called and asked for a coworker who was on the other line. I told the woman on the phone that I could put her on hold and transfer her once the line was available. After two or three minutes, my coworker was still on the other line, so I picked the phone back up and explained to the woman waiting that I could transfer her to her voicemail, to which she responded: I had already said I wanted that. (If you've ever answered phones, you know rude people just come with the territory. And there's some universal law that states that if you call someone and they can't see you, you can say you said whatever you want and it's always true.) In all the fluster, my immediate reaction:

I'm sorry, I thought you wanted to be held.

And then transferred her as quickly as I could, realizing what I said. Points for early morning, tongue-tied creepiness. Lesson learned: being held is not equal to holding is not equal to being on hold.