Sunday, February 27, 2005

but it is so happy to love

from one of my favorite books ...

"I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only the few will understand. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at ... Many a quiet, ordinary, and hidden life, unknown to the world, is a veritable garden in which Love's flowers and fruits have come to such perfection that it is a place of delight where the King of Love himself walks and rejoices with his friends. Learn this lesson now, down here in the valley, Much-Afraid, and when you get to the steep places of the mountains it will comfort you."

if you haven't yet, check out hannah hurnard's "hinds' feet on high places."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

personal day

i warn you, this may be a book.

after coffee with abby at 7 and breakfast with katie at 8:30, i veered west on north avenue away from the office and called my boss to tell him i'd be taking a personal day.

my eyes are red, my eyelids are heavy, and my body feels weak. if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know this isn't abnormal. my friend wendy told me once that god will store up your tears in heaven and give you your own body of water when you get there. subconsciously, i think my spirit wants an ocean.

i like being home today. i like getting up early and having coffee with a good friend, meeting another for breakfast and then heading home to contemplate our conversations. i like walking back from the el in the sunshine, like watching the shop owners open their boutiques for the day, like listening to the construction men yell to each other on top of the roof of the house next door. and then i like to sit down and write. makes me wish i could be like anne lammot. i'd finally let my hair grow dreads, i'd try to cook something that is impossible for someone like me to make, and then i'd sit down to write my one great novel that indeed would never become anything except a journal of too much information for my embarrassed teenage children when their friends discover it while searching for frisbees in the garage. alas ... it changes nothing that i still wish to write.

i've written 10 pages in my journal in the past two days. it's been wonderful. each time i've put my pen down, i feel like, yes, THIS is what i can give god. it's the best part of writing. but for as cathartic as it is, it hasn't made me whole. i suppose i didn't expect it to. but i wanted that feeling that artists get when they finally complete a painting. like a big sigh of relief. a feeling of mission accomplished. a feeling of "what's next?" instead, the more i write, the more brokenness i find. and the more brokenness i find, the more i see the depth of my own complexity. and the deeper it goes, the more i fear picking up the pen again.

but this is a good thing. after a few fretful finger lunges, my soul inevitably rises to the challenge; i feel that enough.

you know, sometimes you think back to what you dreamed you'd be like in 5 years, 5 years ago. when i was 19, i didn't expect my life to be this. now, my mind is consumed with plans for safety and security, with desires for people-pleasing and politesse, with hopes to simply survive. and what's worse, i found myself calling god a liar in church on sunday. the second my mind yelled it, my heart broke.

am i this bitter? this fearful of god? this unbelieving? or worse yet, have i created a god in my own image?

*sigh* i have to stop here, though i want to write so much more! i want to explain it, want to really share, but this is a blog. people will read this, thank god it's not them (it's true, i think one of my spritiual gifts is reverse encouragement) and move on. this is a good thing. you can't stay in one place for too long. god doesn't let me wallow in my own brokenness even. he lets me feel how it hurts and then i see better how the world hurts. it's my own complexity that stirs me to see more than myself. it makes no sense, i know, and i can't untangle it properly. but it's when i'm here, in the mess, in the gritty dirtiness of my own stink, that my senses are most acutely aware that god is moving everywhere.

now, don't get me wrong, i'm sure god will spend lots of time with me on all this stuff in my own heart. i'm learning to pray again, and i have the most incredible friends who see in me things i don't, can't or refuse to see in my own life and speak truth to it. i have a lot to be thankful for. i forget that.

well the cd i've been listening to has finished. or, rather, i got to song #9 on the damien rice cd "O" and it nearly jolted me from my seat, effectively ending my rapidly digressing train of thought (seriously, what's with musicians and their obsession with throwing in a last track to electrify you from peace to chaos? geez).

guess i got some time now to clean my house ... who am i kidding? it's too beautiful outside for that. i think i'll go sit outside and eavesdrop on the conversations of construction men next door.

Friday, February 18, 2005

hinting at fulfillment

it's taken me awhile, but i finally got to hear diana krall. how have i not heard her before? ridiculous. granted the first song i'm hearing is her cover of billy joel's "just the way you are," but it is beautiful to me this morning. it fits my mood.
really ...

this morning, i woke up feeling glorious. the kind of glorious when your insides feel alive and the air you breathe smells clean and your body feels 15 lbs lighter than it did the day before. i woke up in the middle of the bed, limbs sprawled out in all directions, snuggled into the second skin of my jersey sheets and felt like i owned the world. i took a deep breath, letting my chest be pulled up to the sky by an imaginary string, closed my eyes and let the early morning blue light rest on my face. oh, i felt alive. i felt ready. i felt glorious.

i pushed off the covers, stepped lightly onto the hardwood floors, crossed the hallway to kat's room, pushed open her door and exclaimed, "it's friday! it's beautiful outside! i love it!"

now, i don't know if i'd call myself a morning person, but there's something about the dawn that dusk lacks. i wish i could find out what it really is. do i feel more hopeful in the morning than at night? do i feel like more is possible? i don't know. and maybe it's just the sun. my favorite part of the day may just be when the sun wakes up so early in the summer. there's nothing like that.

it pulls my favorite dream to the forefront of my mind, of what i imagine heaven will be for me ... all of my closest friends spending a night around the campfire, listening to someone fiddle on the guitar, people loving each other unconditionally, unafraid, seeking jesus' heart, stars shining brighter than they ever have, staying up all night and holding a nutty cup of coffee while watching the sun come up. i imagine it more real than anything, so i think it must be a dream just waiting to be fulfilled in heaven. i imagine it is the dream god planted in my heart so he could reveal it to me someday when we're together in person, when i can see him in his real form, next to me, around me, in me, about me, everywhere, omnipresent, and felt in a way i couldn't comprehend on earth with my limited mind.

with Him, with you, this dream feels like a hint at the fulfillment of all the hopes and expectations and dreams and desires i've had on this earth. it will be you and me and Him and all of us finally complete. finally at peace. finally glorious.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

stay tuned.

i had to post something new already. couldn't bear to see a week old post up there. lonely and sad. i'll refresh this baby asap.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

the business plan

it is 12:34 and i really don't have time to write. but i've been "on" since 7 a.m. this morning, meeting with 6 senior students to assemble care packages for our college age alumni. i am running dry in my energy well. seriously, i am typing with my head leaning against this enormous bottle of warm gatorade. it is my lunch. but until i have enough energy to run upstairs to the cafeteria to get some ice, i am using it as a head prop. it works.

i like being go-go-go for awhile. it works in my binge lifestyle. of course, i think i'd still be working at this moment if i could take monday off. but since monday is certainly not a day off and will probably be just as busy as any day this week, i am allowing myself a much needed 5 minute break.

this lifestyle continues to convince me more than ever that when i own my own company - and i don't care what it is at this point ... well, no, i do, but it will take too much energy to discuss ideas right now - we will only work three days a week and have two hours for lunch. i don't care if we don't accomplish a lot according to industry standards. i mean, who developed industry standards? who decided 60 hours a week was normal? or even 40 for that matter? but fine, if you want to keep 40 hours, i say 32 can be solely used for work, but 8 should be mandatory community service hours. ooh, yes, i like that. so i take back my original plan. my company will work 4 days a week, one of those days being community service day.

so how do i get started? i suppose i could start biking to work and save the $3.50 a day it costs me on the el. how much is that a year? $910. and if i quit having a latte three days a week, that's an extra $468. wow, $1378.

hmm, if you'll excuse me, i'm going to go ask for a raise.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

baby got book

this is probably the funniest video i have seen in a long time.

seriously, the song has been lodged inside my head all day. hilarious. enjoy.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

spotlight on exhausted pride

in the morning, i often wish i were everyone else on the street. i wish i could step into their shoes if even just for a day, to have the conversations they normally have, to meet the people they meet, to answer to the bosses they answer to, to eat the food they eat, all that. what was that show called with scott bakula (sp?) - ah yes, quantum leap. that's the kind of show i think should return to television. but i digress ...

anyway, i've got a load of work ahead of me for the next 10 days. i am feeling better about it since i started exercising again (okay, so it's only been two days, but it's the first two days in a LONG time) and since i got 8 hours of sleep last night. i feel more refreshed. a friend of mine gave me a quote from bill thrasher the other day about how god didn't create us to be burnt out. and that if that's how we're feeling, it's not from god. so, shoot. that's how i'm feeling. i require a complete change of priorities.

last night, we were at moody's founders week where jim cymbala spoke. and as i'm sitting in the huge moody church, i'm noting how hard my heart is towards all these christians. and these voices in my head are criticizing the way everyone dresses (so old school conservatively), expressing annoyance at the amount of christianese in the speeches, etc. but simultaneously i'm thinking, soften your heart, mary. shut your mouth. let god speak. and after all these battling words, i finally felt conviction.

when the new MBI president spoke last night, he mentioned boasting in god. and he repeated it many times. boast in god. boast in what He's doing. boast in God. and all of the sudden it appeared: my pride, there revealed in the light like a little bitty person living in my heart. but instead of running from being found, i felt relieved. and the little person fell into the light, exhausted.

empty, foolish pride. i am glad you were found.