Saturday, December 31, 2005
--To Be Continued...
Friday, December 30, 2005
--to be continued...
Thursday, December 29, 2005
I wish I could say that this story happened “once upon a time”, and in a way, I suppose it did. It happens all the time, to all sorts of people; it is going on at this very moment. It might have happened to you at some point… maybe it will. Most people in their lives have some experience with the infamous character of romantic love. I am probably the last person to ask advice on this topic because I have had so little experience personally. But I have counseled enough others to hopefully make my little perspective amusing.
I am going to tell you the story of “Sarah” and “Daniel”. I have, of course, changed their names to protect “Sarah” from the embarrassment of having her name in print, should this ever aspire to be there, and to keep “Daniel “ from getting a big head about it, as guys are like to do about things. Sarah, I had grown up with, to some extent. She was a year ahead of me in high school. She was romantically attached to “Jack” who made beautiful sculptures out of metal coat hangers. Everyone assumed that they were going to get married and everyone was surprised when post-graduation called off the connection. The “Everyone”, of course, always assume that they know everything, and in a town as small as ours, they usually almost do. But in this instance Rumor was foiled with the couple and had to find some other foul treat to feed herself. Sarah fortunately got over him and moved on to “Bill” who wasn’t in the picture long; he merely flattered her. (Advice to all females: never date a guy merely because you like attention. It is very easy for us to do that because we all like attention, a lot, especially male attention, a lot. But relationships take a little more than just attention, actually a lot.) Anyway, Sarah also got over him. Then she was single for a while, which I think had to be a novelty for her because she hadn’t spent much time as a single person since elementary school, or something like that. Then she had no social life. What? A person who has no boyfriend has no social life? Actually, no. At that point, I had never had a boyfriend, and I had a great social life… she just didn’t know how to go about it. So her mother signed her up for this camp during Spring Break, which was through a campus Christian group. We were all going to head down there and work on cleaning up this camp for all the teen groups that would be coming in that summer. Sarah was a little nervous because I was the only one she knew, but by God’s grace, everything worked out for her to come. She got let off work early and was able to take her car and she made it safe and sound.
--To be continued...
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
The reason that this whole mall issue is so oddly fascinating is that unlike most women of my generation, the mall holds no thrilling treasures or hours of fun. The idea of spending a day shopping is exhausting, and that is just the idea of shopping, let alone the action itself. Not to say that when I am looking for something that I do not go shopping for it in a mall. Occasionally, I have been known to step over the threshold into the den of discontent popularly known as “the Mall”. But in that case, I have a specific goal and purpose. I do not like to window shop or merely wander up and down… The mall is not a source of entertainment to me either. This probably stems from my childhood. I undoubtedly have unresolved issues, repressed memories, and the like… Things like responsible spending and having to work hard for your money and no allowance… These things make a person view the mall in a rather skewed light I am sure.
Past the psychobabble, I know I was raised to spend wisely. It is a skill that I often bless my parents for, despite the guilt that comes over me even when I buy something I really need, on sale…I should be able to get it cheaper somewhere… Whatever the case, the mall is a place to spend money. If one does not have money, the mall is a place to look at things that one cannot have and desire them. The mall is a veritable petri dish of covetousness. I know that every time I walk into a mall with no money and decently content, I walk out again with still no money and horribly frustrated about it. It is as if a horrifying voracious monster lives inside malls that eats your contentment and spits you back out, leaving only what is bitter and wretched…like those pre-ragged jeans you wanted to buy but couldn’t because they cost forty bucks. Those jeans were probably stolen from Goodwill. But, of course, you cannot stoop to buying your clothes from a thrift store…no, no, no…that is too expensive. Growing up, when people would tell me my outfit was cute, they would ask me the dreaded question, “So where did you get it? Old Navy?” “No,” I would reply with feigned enthusiasm. “I got it at a yard sale!” Ahh, the joys of wearing other people’s castoffs.
But what, you may ask, is a mall to the rich and prosperous? Having never been part of this elite society, I cannot know for sure, they have mysterious practices that people like my own poor self cannot fathom. One of my most horrifying memories was the fourth or fifth week of my sophomore year of high school. The girls in the locker room were comparing how long they could go without wearing the same outfit twice. Most of them had not reached that point yet. Some still had a few weeks worth to go. I, on the other hand, might have worn the same five outfits every week to school. Yep, I lost that competition. I do not mind, now. I understand how ultimately blessed I am not to have to deal with that amount of just stuff. Thus for the wealthy, the mall is a place to get more stuff. For girls, this means clothes, shoes, and shoes. But somehow, I imagine that even the rich come out not as happy as they ought to be. The monster in the mall lives there still. But instead of eating contentment, he eats money. Then next time when they want something and they have no money…then comes the aftershock of discontent. Perhaps even with their purchases having been made they are not satisfied. Perhaps the monster spits them out with displeasure written across their faces. To this I cannot testify. I have never been inducted into the great halls of the monetarily unchallenged. I cannot give first hand reports about coming home with something that you do not care about or need but bought anyway for some odd reason. For me it would be foolish, like Lydia Bennet buying a hat she hated because there were several uglier in the shop.
It doesn’t signify what they have in the shops…I am not buying. The only way I could, and I suppose that for most this is a possibility, is to spend money I don’t have. Brilliant! You say… money you don’t have. Credit cards give us the perfect and available source of funding for any worthless item we may have an unfounded desire for. But the monster is only more conniving here. You get what you think you want and you get an enormous bill a month later. I think this only increases the discontent because by the time you shell out the cash (or at least the minimum monthly payment) you are no longer consumed with the euphoria of having acquired something grand (or not so grand, such as the case may be). Then you add onto that the terrible realization that not only are you broke but you now have negative money. What could be more depressing? I am rather thankful that enough of my friends jumped into this pit of despair to render it entirely unappealing to me. I am sorry for them, but not sorry for what I learned from their mistakes.
So, as I said, I am not buying… I have not the funding and I refuse to spend money that I don’t have. I am not even entering such an establishment unless upon a directed mission. And even then, the monster lurks everywhere: clothing, jewelry, shoes, knick knacks…the list goes on. Beside and behind each of these the hungry monster waits, preying on your pleasures, vices, dreams, and desires. And as you leave this monster’s den, you feel as if one of the best parts of yourself has left. And I am sorry to say that it has. Your contentment has been eaten by the Mall Monster. You may grow and cultivate it again, but I would advise keeping it a while and avoiding the fiend who so easily ensnares us in his trap of advertising and sales.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Not lightly flowing
For I am His Child
Alone in the Void
An alien stranger
Unknown and un-understood
For this is Love
True Love and Real
Solid and Strong
For I am His Child
Undeserving and Weak
Poor and Flawed
Wretched, Wrong and Ill
Amazing and Beautiful
How great is the Love
Overflowing and Glorious
An abundant River
Flooding and Filling
Fresh and Clean
Washing me White
Whiter than Snow
For I am His Child
Far off in my own Mind
Forgetful and Ugly
But made New
Alive and Lovely
Because I am Loved
For a purpose Pure
Refined by Fire
Polished and Shining
Gleaming with Joy
Reflecting His Face
For I am His Child
Hated by the world
Disliked for my position
Trash under their feet
Trampled and Torn
But not Crushed
Beaten not Destroyed
For I am His Child
Protected and Prized
Valued and Guarded
Cared for and Comforted
Uncondemned and Understood
Wrapped in His arms
Peaceful in His Presence
For I am His Child
Made for Love to Love
Sent to Love
Just as He was sent
To BE Love for me
For I am His Child
Born of Him
Confident and Awed
Believing Growing Strong
Fed on Love
From the Faithful One
Fantastical and Great
And loving me...
For I am His Child.
Friday, December 23, 2005
A man came into the place where I work today. He was pretty big with one of those mustaches/goateeish things that takes daily maintenance which he does not give it. He had a bandanna on his head, undoubtedly to protect from the cold, but his overall appearance was that of motorcycle dude. This is not what bothered me. I am just fine with all sorts of people, really... What bugged me was that he called me sweetheart. I don't really like anyone calling me sweetheart. I remember the photographer at our school when I was in elementary school calling me sweetheart. It makes me shudder to this day. Other girls got off with equally terrifying names like cutie pie and cupcake.
The more I think about it, it isn't even the names themselves but that they seem to imply some sort of relationship. The problem I have is when strangers use these names. My friend Deborah and I call each other cutie pie and cupcake as joking names of friendship. But we know each other. My mother occasionally calls me sweetheart. That is okay. But complete strangers?
The type of relationships we have with people is very important. And what we call people reflects those relationships. I am glad to know that God calls me His child, His beloved, His bride...
Without our parents knowledge, we saved our whole paycheck for months. We had no idea what we could get with how much money and we wanted to make sure that we could get something nice. The most exciting part of all of this was that my parents had no idea what we were doing. I mean, they knew we were up to something, but I don't think they knew what it was. Maybe I should ask them. When we finally went to the store, we knew what we wanted, if we could get it. We had been making lists of things my parents had mentioned maybe liking or wanting or things they thought were neat. We ended up getting so much stuff, at least we thought so. We spent probably almost 300 dollars. That was an unheard of amount of money to us. We got my mom her favorite perfume and my dad a cordless power drill he had wanted for ages. On top of these we got a random assortment of other things. We put them under the tree Christmas morning after hiding them in my bedroom for weeks. That still remains my favorite Christmas. I loved seeing the surprise on my parents' faces and their joy that we had picked perfect things. They were overwhelmed and it was so exciting. The secret between me and my siblings drew us together with a common joy and a common purpose.
That common joy and purpose is ours as Christians. It should draw us together and fill us with glee, no matter what time of year it is.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I see people.
What do they look like?
That is a good question.
They look normal to most people.
But to you?
I see what they truly are.
What are they?
It depends on the person.
What about that person over there? The one with the T-shirt and jeans, he looks normal.
You see the clothes don’t you?
Well, yeah… he is wearing them.
I see his heart.
Oh. What do you see?
I see a man struggling to be good in a corrupt world and failing.
Oh. And what will that turn into?
It is only a downward spiral from there.
Downward? To where?
But isn’t he trying to be good?
He isn’t succeeding.
But isn’t trying enough. I mean, he hasn’t murdered anyone.
But he has hated, and has therefore committed murder in his heart.
But that isn’t fair, everyone has hated someone.
Yes, and everyone is condemned, that makes thing fair.
So you are saying that even good people aren’t good enough?
Where do you draw the line, murder, theft, lust?
I don’t know. So what is the line?
God is perfect.
But I can’t be perfect. I already lost that chance! Now what?
Now you live miserably, die, and go to Hell.
But it isn’t fair! Isn’t there any way out?
Does the way out have to be fair?
Well, I don’t know…
Is it fair for a perfect man to die in the place of a sinful one?
No. Not really.
What if I told you there was someone who loved you and had already taken your place?
I don’t think I would believe you, even my family hates me.
What if I told you it was me?
What! I don’t even know you!
No, you don’t. But you can if you want to. And I know you.
Not well enough! I am not a good person.
So, what do you want? What do I have to give in return?
Do you honestly think you have anything worth giving?
You mean, I don’t have to change? Do good works or stuff?
Being good isn’t enough, remember?
Well, yeah. But what do I have to do, like pray, sacrifices, all that stuff?
To obey is better than sacrifice.
Okay, what rules do I have to obey?
There are no rules. You would be free.
So I can do whatever I want and it won’t matter?
God changes you.
So, I don’t have to work for this?
Nope. Obedience is easy.
Wait a second! So I do have to obey! I knew there was a catch!
If you truly love someone, do you have to struggle to do what you know will please them?
Uh.. no, not really.
If you truly believe a tragedy will happen, do you struggle to decide to prepare for it?
So if you believe me and love me then the change is only proof of that.
So what do I do?
If you knock, the door will be opened.
Can you give me a clue about the door to knock on?
Start with the Word of God.
Okay. Are you just going to leave me to myself now to figure this out?
You can talk to me whenever you want.
So wait, you are God?