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.

a plea to keep your engagement short.

i don't know what it is about me lately. if i weren't 26, i'd wonder if i was beginning menopause because of all the weird hormonalness i feel. but there's really no excuse - i've got no hormonal changes happening, i can't blame it on PMS, and i'm certainly getting enough sleep.

is this all just the wedding?

i've started to step the planning up a notch. and maybe that's just what's been so awful. i feel like i'm going to fail, like this is just one gigantic moment to show everyone i love that i don't know what i'm doing. in the back of my mind, i know i'm trying to plan this to show my mom that i'm good at being in charge, that i have really incredibly warm, smart and interesting friends, that i am not a failure because i work at an evangelical church, and that i'm actually an adult now who's able to make good decisions on her own.

and is it really my mom who thinks those things? or am i trying to prove it to myself?

it seems like it'd be a hundred times easier for someone else to plan the wedding, so i could show up on the day of and not carry any of the responsibility for it being everything or nothing like anybody would have forseen it.

instead, i'm trying to figure out if a wedding reception that ends at 10 pm is necessarily lame, or if i want to risk potentially awful august weather and tent a piece of land that won't have much in the way of "real" shelter nearby. i have to figure out if i want to spend more than $400 on a dress i'll never wear again in my life or if possibly staining said wedding dress with bbq at the reception is worth it.

as for the decisions that jon and i make together, well, why i get so frustrated i don't know. it frustrates me that i get frustrated. do i actually care whether or not the wedding party is introduced by an mc when they walk into the reception? no! but instead, i withdrawal from him. and inside i'm thinking, "are you kidding me, mary? be a grown up!" but argh! nope, it's the silent-treatment girl that wins out - if even for a few minutes. and then i know jon is frustrated with me when i get that way, but as soon as i feel sorry for making him feel that way, i feel frustrated that he'd be frustrated with me when i'm the one who's initiating this wedding planning. seriously, i need someone to shake me ...

you know what i want more than anything? i want to fly down to los cabos, mexico on that $189 round trip ticket with jon and our intentions to elope, and when we get there, all 300+ guests will be there, waiting to surprise and celebrate us. i wish i could pray so hard for it that it would just happen.

and people wouldn't be pretending to enjoy the moment, they'd really enjoy it. they'd make new friends, they'd dance with strangers, they'd build bonfires and play games.

maybe my problem IS that i'm planning this wedding for too many people. what would happen if i planned this wedding for jon? what if i planned a party for him that made him say, "wow, this woman really loves me"?

hmmm ... maybe i have been totally focused on the wrong thing.

if it's something you do, maybe you'll think about praying for me in these next four months as we go through details. maybe you'll pray that i plan something that says "i love my husband" and not "i have to prove something to everybody else" or "i have to prove it to myself."

i'd appreciate it.

phew ... thanks for letting me vent.