Friday, March 27, 2009

On Wishing for Rain as I Stand in the Desert

From Life After God:

"Now - here is my secret: I tell it to you with an openness of heart that I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God - that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love."
-Douglas Coupland

I sit in my relatives' dining room/office listening to this one Ron Pope song on repeat. It reminds me of school, of prayer and Bible searching, of lying on a blanket next to one of my best friends in our candle lit lounge, listening to a tiny boy playing this song on the guitar. It reminds me of writing love over and over again, self-conscious of how loud the pages were when turned, my hand cramping terribly.

Ready, set: this is my favorite passage on love. It's amazing. But it's just "a drop in the ocean" of the enormity of God's love, and how incapable we really are to understand it.

From the words of John, the disciple that Jesus loved:

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother."
1 John 4:7-21

The Gospel is all about love: the love the Father has for His Son, and for us to be willing to make such a sacrifice; the love of Jesus for the suffering and faithfulness of His life (what an example He is to us all); and the love that we are to reflect with our very lives because we abide in God, and He in us. Dude, we get to live in God, and He lives in us... tightest thing EVER!

Oh man, do I love you right now :)

The Beatles were so wise to say "All you need is love." It's epically true. We cannot have pure, perfected love without knowing our Savior; through knowing Him, love becomes an inevitable core for life (or so I've discovered). Therefore, all we need is love, because Jesus is love.

"You are my heaven..."

Te amo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On Rome Rememberings

So, I just read through my entire journal from Europe last summer (no small feat, as my ramblings filled half a composition book over the twelve days). Most of the things I read I remember so seamlessly, but a few things made me laugh because I didn't remember them; saying "I know..." with Oklahoma; Shacka Lacka Boom Boom three euro, in Rome with Cla and Rodger; making up an epic tale about the kind old man inviting us into his home in Assisi. And then I ran across something so familiar to my mind now, and I wondered if it was the first time I had versed those thoughts on paper:

From June 27th, 2008, a little before five in the afternoon. This was the day we toured the Colosseum, the forum, the Vatican, and about a quadrillion other places in Rome (we walked over 14 miles on this day alone). I wrote this during some down time we had right before dinner.

"So many things make me sad; I think about how much I love people (honestly, I love everyone I see; I do fall in love everyday), and then I see [these people around me] shoving people off, making them feel so small; just acting so selfishly, and I wonder how much of that has rubbed off on me. How cruel am I to people? Do I treat them like rubbish? Do I come across as an arrogant, puffed up, self-centered ass? I just want to love people. I have so much love inside of myself, and I want to show people that they are important, that I see them, and what they do and how they are means so much to me, because it truly does. I can't describe it any better. I want to love people, but I feel like the person I am turning into can't. I want to love the whole world, give everyone a hug who needs one, and not be a part of all of this bashing and belittling of others who deserve nothing less than love. And you can't tell me you don't care, or it doesn't matter, or whatever. Because we are called to love. We have been given the greatest love, indescribably so, and if we cannot see that and be so filled that we must overflow into everyone about us, then we do not know love, and we do not know God. Ok, I'm really sad now."

I think about this now, in regard toward what I desire with my life, and it's essentially the same. There are so many uncertainties everywhere in our world, love is the only thing I can hold tight to: the love that God gives so freely and graciously, and the love we in turn are to gift unto every single person we ever come in contact with.

But there are so many questions, as was exhibited by a three hour theological discussion last night with Ila, Anthony, Victor, and Kristina (which certainly could have continued on for much longer, if we had not all started to fall asleep). And I question the fact that I have put so much stock into my beliefs, even though answers to the hardest questions aren't always readily available from that belief. I don't know: it's a stressful concept, this faith and trust in things that we cannot fully understand.

I find myself troublesomely stuck between two groups of people. At SPU, I feel so liberal in anything I have to say. But anywhere outside of that bubble, I feel like the most conservative, inexperienced person imaginable. Is no one else on this same plain?

I can't tell how much doubt is helpful in making me learn and grow, and how much is potentially faith-shattering.

Paul speaks: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights nor depths, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Romans 8:35-39

Monday, March 23, 2009

On Chilling

Spring break leads to a lot of listening to music, watching Lost, writing (a play), and playing the piano. If it was sunny, it would also entail walks to the beach, but the rain is a bit deterring.

I'm trying to write an outline for my play that will be written during April (or that's the terrifying prospect), and I realize that I never write anything with a purpose in mind. Besides that of getting the characters out of my head so that they'll stop being so pestersome (a word? Maybe not...). Victor was talking to me about this last night before church? "Like, what's your message? What are you trying to say?" I don't know. I don't ever know...

Lately (and by lately I mean the past two days), I've been playing the same song over and over again on the piano. It's a modern hymn called Speak, O Lord. It's pretty much the most awesome thing ever. Lyrics, ready go:

"Speak, O Lord, as we come to you,

To receive the food of your holy Word.
Take your truth, plant it deep in us;

Shape and fashion us in your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfil in us all your purposes for your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,

Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes

In the radiance of your purity.
Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
You majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail- let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;

Help us grasp the heights of your plans for us-
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time

That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on your promises;
And by faith we'll walk as you walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, 'til your church is built, and the earth is filled with your glory."


Friday, March 20, 2009

On Rainy Days

I woke up this morning, in my own bed in my own room in my home, to my cat frantically meowing his head off outside my closed door. I tried to ignore him and go back to sleep, but then my phone made this incredibly loud ringing and vibrating sound as a text from a friend (who is so far away from me...) came into my inbox. And that required dragging my body out of bed and over to my dresser, manuvering my phone out of its charger, getting back in bed, being temporarly blinded by the brilliance of my backlight, and texting him back. Even after this, though, I still was convinced to get more sleep. Then our home phone rang. I gave up hope.

Sitting up in bed, hugging my knees to my chest, room bathed in slightly orange light from my bedside lamp, I stared into space for a few minutes, listening to the pouring of rain over the roof. How very typical, Seattle, to rain on the first day of spring. Try to be a bit more creative next time.

After reveling in the sound of my most favorite weather condition, and texting my friend back and forth a few times, I pulled my Bible out from underneath the novel I started last night. Uncapping my blue bic pen, I opened to where my borders bookmark keeps my place, and read what God had to teach me about love today.

Jesus is talking to his disciples for one of the last times. This sermon (John 13-17) just has some really amazing things to say about what we are to do in the world. Here's what I read this morning:

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other." (John 15:9-17)

His love is rich.

Monday, March 16, 2009

On Finals' Week

Sometimes, when I see something, I have to write. Like, it's not an option. The words are coming out, and now.

While everyone is studying their butts off, I'm writing... I have to laugh at myself.

Rain softly played against the single pane of glass separating her from the grey outside. Taking a sip of filtered water from a plastic cup, she listened to the chorus of her fingers’ typing drowned slightly beneath the speakers sounding slews of lyrics and chords. Her cell phone lay inactive beside her; she could not stop her eyes from glancing down at it between typed sentences, though. Tugging at long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail for a moment, her eyes skimmed over the most recent paragraph of her essay. Leaning back in the blue cushioned chair, tan rocking chair legs hit the carpet solidly. One glance at the phone. One glance out the window, seeing more of her own reflection than the tree outside, the dark blue of a sunless, cloud-filled sky swarming her background.
Finally, that much anticipated buzzing. She grabbed the phone from its place beside her elbow, eyes scanning the digital clock beside her. 8:23 PM; only an hour later than the ballpark time frame he had given her earlier. She opened her phone, placing it to her ear, saying, “Good morning.”
“Good morning to you, too,” came his tired voice.
She smiled. “Where are you?”
“In the visitor parking lot.”
“Alright. I’ll be out there in five minutes.”
“Ok, bye.”
Closing her phone, saving her essay, closing her laptop, pushing her feet into shoes, grabbing her keys, all in one fluid motion, she was out the door, down the stairs, and out in the rain, walking purposefully toward the parking lot, and to him. The rain soaked into her hair, chilling her fingers, her feet in insubstantial flats, the tips of her ears and nose. Pushing hands deep inside her sweatshirt pocket, she jumped down the flights of stairs separating her from her destination. Finally, almost jogging up the street-scape, she made her way into the parking lot, dodging a growing puddle, spotting his car.
He saw her coming, and opened the door, unfolding himself from the driver’s seat. She ran the last couple of feet, throwing her arms around his neck. He caught her against himself, arms secure and strong around her back, lifting her off the ground a few inches.
As they separated after a few moments, she asked, “How was the drive?”
“Long,” he said, straightening the baseball cap on his head. “but five hours alone is worth it to be here now.”
She smiled, sliding her hand into his, fingers interlocking, once again in that place that felt more natural than any other. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s get out of the rain.”
He locked his car, and they traversed up the stairs together. As they ventured inside the building, he yawned widely, his jaw cracking. She looked up at him, and he smiled softly down at her.
“You a little tired?” she asked.
“Just a smidge,” he returned.
“You want to take a nap?” she asked, pushing open the door to her room.
He looked at her for a moment, then said, “I’ll just lie down for a little while.”
She ran her fingers over his back as he slipped his shoes off. He curled up on the small couch in the middle of the room, rain-sprinkled jacket still on, hat not leaving its home atop his head. He gave a great sigh, eyes falling closed, knees pulled up almost to his chest. She touched his cheek softly for a moment, then took her place in the blue rocking desk chair once again.

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
-Micah 6:8

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On Election and Doubt

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [...] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.'"
-John 6:35-40 & 44

Puzzles and more. I feel I keep being drawn back to this idea of predestination and the elect. Probably because it frustrates me more than any other theological issue. Here's my mind laid out (if the words will come): So, I believe well enough that the only way we can ever recognize our need for a savior and feel a calling toward God is if He places that desire in our heart, if we are drawn to Him, as John records Jesus saying. This makes complete sense, because we are crazy, and so incredibly enraptured with our sin that we would never look for a way out of it on our own. Why would we ever need to serve others? That's not a mindset that comes naturally to us at all.

What I do not understand is, how does God make the choice? How does he decide who is drawn and who is not? Why are only some elected? If God loves us all and created us all, I cannot understand how He only calls some of us. If His nature is love and mercy, how does He not extend His calling to everyone? Does not the exclusive nature of the elect imply a sort of favoritism or partiality, a more intense love for some? Also, how can it be held against those who do not believe, since they do not know their need? Can they really be condemned to hell, while the elect skim by toward heaven, gifted with their godly wisdom?

Alright, I know we don't 'skim by.' I don't even think that's a legitimate phrase. But still...

One more question: Can someone be elect, and still not believe? I don't mean hasn't yet come to Christ, but feels the call and ignores it; never turns to the Holy Spirit; doesn't repent. Is that possible? Once God decides someone is elect, chooses to save them, can they resist? On this note, was Judas elect? Did he ever truly believe?

And then all this nonsense about free will comes in to play. And can we really know if we're elect? And what's the point of witnessing and praying for others if they aren't elect? How are we to know? How can God divide His world like this? The idea of a 'chosen people' is so archaic; I mean, I just wish all the world could be saved, that every person could be loved and led to the grace of Jesus. And the idea of the elect just shoots down that plan so royally.

I'd love to say I'm an Armenian, and leave it at that, but the Bible has so much to say on this idea that I'm not sure it can be as open-handed as I wish it was.

Here is where prayer comes. And humble acknowledgment that there is no way I can understand the nature of God and His workings. But He is good.

A continuance: "'Yet there are some of your who do not believe.' For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.'" (John 6:64-65)

Free will fits here how?

While I know that it's ok to question God and to work through these issues, I know that ultimately my mind and heart are the ones that need to change, not the nature of God. He is so great, and I should not presume to believe that my arguments could ever hold ground against His. I readily admit that I am small, and I want to be humbled further. Sometimes I'm scared at the liberal tolerance I seem to have accepted as my mindset for life.

"From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." (verse 66)

I know that before I ever abandon my faith, I would change my mind. And I'm grateful that God didn't make me a stubborn-minded person, or else I probably would have turned away long before.

One last thing: the more I study, the more I doubt; and yet the more I hope at the same time. It's a process too complicated to explain. But I trust in His love, and continue.

"Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.'" (verses 68-69)

Thanks be to God.

On Yesterday

From journaling at Kerry Park:

Maybe I've forgotten how to pray. Maybe I never really learned how. It was always just something that was on the back burner, not as important as going to church, reading the Word, worship, and loving people. But I have to talk to God. When my words are all muddled for anyone else, He understands these impossible thoughts.
Oh Lord my God, all I want is you. To be consumed by you. To be blinded to everything except you. I want to radiate your love to the world, to prove to everyone that they have purpose and they are loved so much more than they can ever imagine. I want people to know they are held.
God, why do I feel more called to pray for strangers than for my family, for my friends? Why do my thoughts automatically go to Parker, to Rodger, to Noah? Do they actually need my prayer, or is it just some ridiculous distraction that I can't shake?
Lord God, how can I feel so content and hopeful, and yet empty? How do I know if I'm growing or if I'm sliding backwards at five million miles per minute? How can I distinguish your voice from all the static between my ears?
Breathe. Trust. Love. Just as you are called to. Ok, Anna?
Ok, God.

A spent match lies atop the memorial plaque. In honor of... Why do we have so many memories of the dead?
Treading throuh the cemetary, dirt crackling under my soles, the quietest breath disturbing th peace. So many graves. So many lives. So many stories that I've missed. As years pass, how much do we know? How much do we see? How much are we part of? How do we know if we're doing what we're supposed to be doing?
The sun comes with peace, tempting the air to pretend it's summer for one more day, before the heaviness of rain (or snow) storms back into the city. Allow us to breathe in the freshness of a new day.

Oh, the glory of it all is You are here with redemption for us all, so we may live. For the glory of it all, the glory of it all...

Monday, March 9, 2009

On Ali

List of things to do tonight:
  • 9 Questions
  • Journal entries for acting for all the classes since our midterm
  • Finish SMC App
  • Small group
And yet, here I am, writing, because Ali demands it. Since she so desperately wants something to read, I'm going to write about her.
On Friday, Ali and I walked up to Queen Anne in order to be 'productive.' We should have known better. We ran into Nate, and ended up just wandering the gorgeous streets of Queen Anne. It was actually decently sunny in the midst of the ridiculous snow we've been experiencing. Mt. Rainier was beautiful behind the skyline, as we sat at Kerry Park. We cheered on a kid in a red shirt who really sucked at basketball.
Before that, though, we wandered through this tiny park about halfway down the hill where Kirsten's birthday party was a few years ago. I'll never forget the picnic we had there, how Jazzy demonstrated her tricks, and Heather dropping a boche ball on her foot (followed directly by Lauren taking a picture of it). Being there, with the grass and the benches, reminded me so much of those girls I love so much, how much I miss them.
But back to Ali. We eventually managed to shake off Nate, leading to (sort of) productivity for a small amount of time. The barista in Starbucks really liked Ali's purse (awesome, because he was a guy). We saw a lot of cute babies, some people from SPU, couples w/ unknown relationships, and one sad sweater-clad orphan (a la Ryan and Leo).
Then, we walked home (in the dark), and we were telling stories about times where we watched scary movies for some reason. All of a sudden, I glanced behind us because I felt like someone was walking behind us: there was the creeper middle-aged man about 50 feet behind us. It was a little nerve-wracking, but then he disappeared. Also disconcerting. But we got safely home.
Anyway, I really love Ali, and sometimes she tells really fun stories.
Example: "One time… man, this would be such a good story if I could remember what happened!"
Here's some more fun things she has said this weekend:
“I just can’t be comfortable right now. Probably because Norton is over here, glaring at me.”
“Sometimes… late at night, I can’t control what I say.”
“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself, at 1:38 in the morning on Krista’s bed… Ok, that was awkward. I’m not going to talk anymore.”
Basically, Ali is awesome. And I had fun with her this weekend. And we're going to go to small group together soon. And we'll sit on the bed next to each other. And eat cookies. And talk about Jesus.
And, eventually, I'll finish my SMC application.
Probably in the prayer room.
This one isn't from the Bible, sorry guys: "Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, "You owe me." Look what happens with a love like that: it lights the whole sky."
-Hafiz (a Persian Poet from the 1300s)

Friday, March 6, 2009

On Friday Thoughts

Today I became one of those SPU kids: I walked down to check my mail barefoot. I couldn't help it: the sun enticed me. And it was beautiful. It always feels like summer to me when I'm outside without shoes on. I love to walk barefoot, no matter if it's on grass, sand, concrete, the carpeted halls on my high school, the gravel path beside my house. Somehow, being barefoot just makes those walking experiences that much better. I don't know: it almost makes me feel more grounded, part of my body is actually in contact with the world.

This weekend might be ridiculously swamped with the projects I have put off for too long, but it's beautiful, and God is great.

A huge tour group just passed below my window. SPU Friday, that's why Gwinn was so good this afternoon. Speaking of Gwinn... ok, so Ali and I were just chilling at one of the round tables, eating lunch, and then this kid comes a sits a table away from us. His lunch consisted of: a bowl of lucky charms, a mug of hot chocolate, and about seven chocolate chip cookies, which he proceded to dunk in his cocoa before eating. I wanted to be his best friend. Watching people in Gwinn is almost always extremely entertaining.

This week has been challening inside my own head. I struggle so much with trying not to complain about everything that irritates me. Because so much really is going right. I'm scared that all I ever talk about is the negatives. This week has been wonderful. God has provided.
Monday: Small group
Tuesday: Chapel
Wednesday: Group
Thursday: (awkward) worship night, and jam time afterwards
Today: Communion, and breakfast with people I love
It's been a fulfilling week, full of the Word, and God's grace displayed through the evident love the people around me really have for each other. The sun has not sucked, also.

"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart."
-Pslam 36:5-10

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On the Prayer Room

I find myself back in Starbucks, for the second day in a row. Don’t worry, though: I’m not falling into a rut. I am most definitely in Fremont today, burning my tongue on a vanilla latte instead of my typical chai. I set myself up to fail in positions like this. I have the ultimate seat beside the window, a perfect view of everyone walking past. While this would be ideal if I had the chance to just sit and write for hours, I really need to be productive. So, of course I’m writing this.
Walking along the canal is one of the most calming activities in my life. I think it’s because there is no definite ending. If I’m just a little freaked, or stressed, or honestly just want to get some air, I can walk to one of the first benches, come all the way to the bridge before turning back, or even just continue on to Gasworks if it’s that bad of a day. Having the water (and accompanying ducks) close by is comforting.
People from SPU keep walking past. It makes me smile. I love my school.
Group last night… Oh man. Holly and I snuck in late after the one acts. We were in time for about a trillion songs, though, and communion. I love group. It is such a time of encouragement, and just fellowship with other students. Anything else that ever goes on in Upper Gwinn just seems so structured; it’s reminiscent of previewers, registration, and move-in weekend. But group is just such a time of relaxation and praise. So good.
But last night… I had one of those moments. One of the moments of ‘everything you believe is a lie.’ Just one of those moments of doubt. It frustrates me endlessly. I am so ready to be crazy for Jesus and love Him with my whole heart, and adore the world and every single person accordingly. But I hit these patches of ice anytime I’m at any sort of church/worship service lately. This, “You’re crazy for believing this. None of this is important. Why don’t you just move on, actually plan something out for your life, and do something productive?” And then I cry.
I was in the prayer room a lot last night, first to cry and try to breathe without eighteen thousand people crowding around on all sides (moments of peace are sometimes lacking in dorm life), and then to run lines. As I was sitting on the floor or pacing back and forth in this tiny room, though, my eyes kept running over and over the scribbled chalk messages on the walls. Words of who God is, and how He is powerful, loving, and ever faithful.
I know that God is good, that God is joy, that God is love. He is my fulfillment. And I just need to trust. I know He’ll hold me.
(A small note: love can gloriously be both a noun and a verb)
"Love the Lord, all you saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!"
-Pslam 31:23-24

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On Seattle Days

Today is blissfully grey outside. This is my favorite kind of weather for walk taking. It’s cool enough that you need a jacket and a long sleeve shirt. Sweater weather, as my friend’s dad once described it to me. I was sitting in class this morning, sorting through what I wanted to do with the rest of my day. I considered going back to my room when class ended and:
- Taking a nap
- Going for a run
- Heading to the library
- Walking somewhere to be productive

The last option won, as it normally does on days like today. Finished with class before eleven in the morning, with quite a few projects to be started and/or completed, I needed to be somewhere off campus. The sun seems to sink into hiding every so often during late winter in Seattle, and today is one of those days. Impenetrable dark grey clouds coat the sky.

I got back to my room, checked my email, went to ask Ali how Spanish class was, then grabbed my backpack from below my bed, where it resides in a sea of dust. As I was shoving five novels inside, I glanced out the window (of course), and saw that tiny kid with red hair walking outside to go somewhere. I smiled, grabbed my ipod, and walked out the door.

The hill up to Queen Anne was deserted. It’s too early for students to be traversing the incline, and too late for joggers or dog walkers. It was perfectly grey and green; the cemetery on the right as serene as ever. I have yet to venture inside to sit and write, as I think about doing every single time I pass the sweeping field.

As I reached the intersection of 3rd and McGraw, the first raindrop hit my face, right at the outside corner of my eye. I smiled. What could be better? Walking in the fresh, clean air, listening to Ben Folds, the slightest rain falling comfortingly. Basically, it was brilliant.
I love Seattle. I love the weather, the views, the parks, the theatres, the music, and most of all the people. I would be content to live here for the rest of my life. As one of the least churched cities in America, I feel to reside here and share the love of Jesus is so important. While community is so important for healthy spiritual growth and support, being surrounded by Christians on all sides is probably not so healthy. We need to be challenged, and to have

people around us who with we can share the Good News.

Maybe Christians in isolation from the world have a tendency to get legalistic, or to get lazy. Without the world to keep them accountable (an interesting idea in and of itself), they might forget, you know, the ultimate need to be living in such a way that people can tell we are different, and question from where that light and love within us comes.Being at Christian schools for my entire life, I’m not sure. I seem to lose perspective of this idea a lot: I have the tendency to just start living, forgetting that this light of love has to shine. I have to be a sponge so full of Jesus that any time I’m bumped, what seeps out is His love.
Sitting in Starbucks apparently makes me think thoughts like these. I have about a quadrillion word documents saved with titles such as “Musings in Starbucks” or “Going to Starbucks for Understanding.” Either here, on Queen Anne Ave, or at what I like to call my home, on 220th and Aurora, I can just write, with people surrounding on all sides, talking, working, relaxing. It is an atmosphere conducive to getting out these thoughts in ways that (sometimes) make sense. I make no promises to ever be concise or coherent. Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that when I have some idea in my head, the getting-it-out-into-words process is long and sometimes painful. But it gets out eventually. And sitting here, drowning out the bustle I usually enjoy with headphones blasting the Republic, I’m just trying to get out these thoughts. Everything’s always running through my head, distracting from what I ‘should’ be doing. Oh well…

"Only be very careful to observe the commandment of the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul."
-Joshua 22:5

On Puzzling

As I sat cross-legged on my PA's floor for about an hour this afternoon, working on a puzzle, I realized I have the mindset of a four-year-old. Surprisingly, this does not bother me in the least. We are called to have faith like children, are we not? :)

I don't know. I think sometimes we have the tendency to complicate things beyond all hope of every getting anything accomplished. I am not a perfectionist (a fact for which I am very grateful); I'm also fairly low maintenance. Therefore, when people are flipping out about little things, I can find it hard to relate. My answers of "Hey, it's ok" or "It'll be fine. You'll get through this" or anything similar don't quite cut it. I never claimed to be good at this whole advice-giving deal.

Maybe I am too relaxed about things. Maybe I should be stressing about finals, and next year, and post-graduation events, but often I find it hard to concretely focus on anything that's happening beyond next Sunday. I just cannot plan that far ahead, and because of that, I can't flip out about what is or isn't going to happen.

This one time, I was having coffee with my friend Nate. We were just chilling on his bed, talking about something: I believe it was my complete inability to deal with confrontation and conflict. He described me as a hippy. All drug references aside, I kind of smile at this description. I really do just want everyone to love each other, to get along, to be able to put aside their stubborn views and tolerate and accept everyone. Is that too much to ask? I'm finding that it is. We just have to wait and see how our world progresses.

I think I am accidentally more of a peace lover than a peace maker, as Dr. Dearborn discussed in chapel this morning. I'm not sure I have the strength, or the spiritual ability to lead such things as would make peace. A simple "Guys, stop fighting," accomplishes little. I think I just try to keep people accountable: why do we need to be bickering about all these little things? Just calm down, and let's move on, ok? Ok.

This has progressed farther than I had originally planned. I mostly just wanted to talk about how much I love puzzles. Oh well...

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart."
-Deuteronomy 6:4-6

Monday, March 2, 2009

On My Blog

It's March. Which means, I find myself about 1 week into Lent. And therefore without Facebook. With a multitude of time on my hands, and no where to spill my seemingly unending thoughts, we find ourselves here.

But no, I've been thinking about making a blog for a little time now. Just somewhere to write. To get out those ideas that sometimes grip me in the middle of the day, or night, or in the midst of a lecture, or anytime really.

So, here I sit. It is beautiful outside. This is spring, right now, today. Sure, it may snow again tomorrow, but for right now, throw on some flip-flops, cast aside any semblance of a jacket, and go bask in the sun.

I'm sitting at my desk, staring out the window in between sentences. Just a warning to the masses: if you're walking into Hill Hall, I can see you. Yes, creepy, I know. But you guys make me smile. So much. Example: Taylor just walked by, up the path to the boys' side, crazy bushy red curls pulled back in a pony tail, walking the slightest bit gingerly because he has no shoes on. And I smile.

"You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the Lord."
-Leviticus 19:17-18