Wednesday, June 06, 2007

the right reverend jon anderson.

my fiance preached on galatians 5 over memorial day weekend ("how to lose your freedom"). he's hands down the coolest guy ever.

check him out here. what a hottie.

off the blogroll.

i received an email last week from my good friend laura warning me that i'm about to be removed from her blogroll ... so i think it's only fair that i write an "aloha" blog, a piece that lets my remaining blog audience of, well, laura, know that i'm exiting the blogosphere for a little while but hope to return to the world of the written word after i've conquered some of these big hurdles currently in my path.

i'm not sure if "hurdle" is actually the right word, to be honest. because "hurdle" implies that these things are jumpable, and while some of them are, most others are certainly - and thankfully - not.

for example, work has me involved in the move of our current building of 40,000 square feet into a building three times that size. so i get to be part of the process of determining finishes and furnishings (fun) and keeping the clipboard of all other odds and ends (not fun). if you've ever helped manage a move this size - and have only done it as part of your job - you know how ridiculously huge the task is. really, the more i have to think about, the more i feel like i'm no longer thinking. that's the hard part. i'm nearly certain that the amount of detail stuffed in my mind will result in an early onslaught of alzheimer's. i'm nearly certain.

to be fair, it might not seem so overwhelming if i weren't trying to juggle so many other plates. be warned, friends, that if you plan on getting married, you're doing more than preparing to spend your life with the one you love; you're actually accepting a second job. tell me, who has time in their schedule to visit reception sites? to book hotels? to call the tent rental company for the third time to confirm that they are actually going to send her the invoice so she can PAY them? or to not only remember that she needs to send her best friend the brown paint color swatch so she can buy a bridesmaid dress but also go to the post office and buy a ridiculously overpriced 41 cent forever stamp and put the swatch in the mail? who can do all of this?

but while we're spinning plates, let me add another. jon & i just bought a house. it's great - we love it. it's a pale yellow 1950s 3-bedroom ranch with hardwood floors throughout. since our closing on the 31st, we've been painting the kitchen at night, and i've been packing up my apartment in the mornings before i leave for work because i'll move in this friday. our first mortgage payment is due july 1st, and because i've never paid that much for rent in my life, the idea of paying a mortgage that big regularly has so overwhelmed me that it affects most of my thinking. which is a really good thing, i think. i'm forced to put into practice all the things i've been reading about in "the irresistible revolution" and all the things i've been learning from friends who live simply, who live in a way that acknowledges that this isn't it.

i think it's okay to buy a house. in fact, i think it's a good thing. i'm excited to have a home that can be a gathering place for friends, for strangers, for neighbors and the like. i'm excited to live in a home with the man i love most and share our dreams and our pots and pans and our bed together. i think that's great. but it's a new world - a world of gardening and mowing and light fixture changing and painting - and it costs money. so i've become even more conscious of my lifestyle habits. sure, i cut back to one latte a week from the 5 i was enjoying per week in chicago. but now i've cut back to just a small cup of coffee once a week. i know it doesn't seem like a big deal, and it's hardly life changing. but i think it's easy to spend money thoughtlessly, and i don't want to live like that. i mean, i don't want to live caring a lot about money either. i don't want to pinch pennies. i just want to live in response to what i believe about life. i want to live responsibly.

hmmm ... i know i'm getting off the subject. i'm the queen of bunny trails these days. my thoughts go in one direction while my point is 180 degrees the other way.

what was point again?

really, what was my point ...

it doesn't matter. my mind is a mess. i've turned 78 even before i've blown out the 27 candles that will be on my cake this july.

and that's why this blog is my aloha blog, my see-you-soon blog, my let-me-save-you-from-reading-the-jumbled-mess-of-gobbly-gook my-scattered-brain-will- probably-produce-in-the-next-few-months blog.

i may post pictures of my incredibly precious niece or nephew to-be when baby is born within the next week or two. and i may post a few brief comments while jon's in honduras this summer. and well, i'll actually post another blog in a second with a link to the sermon jon preached over memorial day (i can't even begin to describe how proud i am of this man). but besides all that, this blog may remain a bit empty. so if you like, laura, i won't be offended if you take me off your blogroll for a season.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

visual dna

Monday, April 09, 2007

it cannot rain forever.

i tried journaling this morning, but was not satisfied with the time it takes to write with pen. so now i'm trying blogging. forgive me if these thoughts are a jumbled mess. i don't know if i understand them yet either ...

i'm burdened to write, "when it rains, it pours" but something very little in me is fighting to quote an old chinese proverb: "it cannot rain forever."

deep within my heart, this is my ongoing struggle. should i be hopeful or hopeless? is there more reason to hope or more reason to despair?

i believe in resurrection, and i believe in eternal life. so i hope. but i am here right now on earth at this time, and i cannot figure out if there is sufficient reason to believe things will ever change if we are left only to human devices.

jon, our friend matt, and i went to see blood diamond last night. it was bloody, it was painful. i made it through hotel rwanda and invisible children without sinking to the floor of the theater, but this one just put me over the top. if you're able to overlook some of the poor writing ("in america, it's bling-bling, but here, it's bling-BANG"), this is another powerful and excruciating story from africa.

i hate writing this while i'm drinking my skim latte and looking across the street at quality townhomes built on manicured lawns in a quiet neighborhood. what am i doing? is this how i respond?

just last night before we watched the movie, i was retelling a conversation i'd had with a friend, highlighting complaints made by said friend that i felt displayed how misaligned his priorities were. it was the kind of conversation that bewilders me. but i can't point the finger at him alone; i'm guilty of removing myself from the realities of this world just as much as he is. what is wrong with us??

for better or worse, i empathize very deeply. and so i let this movie rock me. i feel like working so hard that i can buy the biggest plane there is and fly right down into any number of african countries and pick up as many hurting and scared and frightened people as i can and take them to safety. meanwhile, jon thinks about how we can start making forward-thinking choices right now that will be good for everyone. yes, i'm really happy that we didn't get a diamond engagement ring, and yes, i'm glad that we're not buying a house totally out of our budget so we'll owe a bank our lives, and yes, i'm pleased that we're planning our wedding wisely.

but god, it's not enough. please, come back soon.

a third friend of mine died two weeks ago, and another friend's husband has just asked her for a divorce, and i wonder, god, where are you in this?

if my life is not a radical demonstration of god's hands and feet in action, i do not want my life. i can come to no other conclusion than this.

give ear, o god, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of this world. we do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. o lord, listen! o lord, forgive! o lord, hear and act! lord, it cannot rain forever.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"seems i'm never tired" ... and other evening thoughts.

it's thursday evening - maundy thursday evening - and i'm sitting at my desk at church. this is the hour i like to write, and this is the place i like to write.

i used to write at this time a lot when i lived in chicago. i'd be in between the regular work day and the obligatory alumni board meetings, processing my day of bizarre lunchtime conversations with kirsten and anticipating an evening of bored board members discussing events they had no enthusiasm for anyway.

i'd leave those meetings, walk west on north avenue to the sedgwick stop with my ipod faithfully providing the soundtrack to my city life. i'd walk down that platform past the apartment building to catch the skyline view of the sears towers and its neighboring buildings. i'd breathe deep and close my eyes trying to remember that sight.

i still remember it. i can even smell the smoggy city air, the cta in the summer. i can picture the jehovah's witness in the morning, standing with his watchtower magazine open and pointed at anyone who might dare to catch his eye. i miss him.

and still, i left chicago. all because i fell in love with a boy.

i moved because i believed life would be better. it's the same reason i left minnetonka after high school. it's the same reason i left madison to go to chicago. i believe life is better with jon than without him.

i think love is a pretty incredible thing. what crazy things it makes you do. does it make sense that you'd give up your dreams for another person? does it make sense that you'd learn to speak another language not your own just to try and try and try again to tell that person you love him? does it make sense that you'd consider someone else before yourself?

no! but why does it feel so right?

because it's better to be with him than without him. and i can't explain that. even when it takes all the energy i have to figure out how to love him, and even when i fail most often in front of him, and even when it is not the easiest way to go, i still want to love him. i still want to. and i want to make that commitment.

hmmm ... and how right is it that nina simone's "seems i'm never tired of loving you" should be playing? what a sweet thing ...

Darling, you're always needed
And your tenderness is needed too
And it seems that I'm never tired loving you, loving you
never was a feeling stronger
aching for the sweet things you do
and it seems that I'm never tired loving you
should the mountains crumble to ashes
and the rain should cease to fall
and if the river stopped its flowing
and if the clouds cover the sky
so the sunlight wont come through
I will never, never, never, never, never,
never, tire of loving you.