*I prefer Mick McAuley and Winifred Horan’s cover of this masterpiece.
I don’t necessarily listen to this song with a romantic notion of love in mind, although in some cases that would be an accurate interpretation. I genuinely feel this way about all of the people I care deeply about. I have “no doubt in my mind where you belong.” “There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do to make you feel my love.” I feel that intensely about the people in my life and I hurt when they hurt.
We’ve been discussing Lamentations and lament psalms and laments in the prophets and I have felt like it’s the most relevant thing I’ve ever studied. I see so much pain and suffering in the world, particularly amongst my loved ones, and it makes me angry! It makes me question where God is at in all of it sometimes and reading the Old Testament tells me that that’s ok. It’s ok to ask questions. It’s ok to lament and be angry, because I am not the first person to blame God. You are not the first person to blame God. And yes, I have faith that God will do something good with all it and I will keep praising him, but right now I just need to put my emotions out there and it’s my job to let those who are hurting know that they have a resource to use when they cannot find the words to express their anger and sorrow. I’ve been there, you’ve been there. Sometimes we have so much to say, but our language is limited.
Well, turn to Jeremiah. Turn to Lamentations. They are beautiful in that they are so harsh and honest. Jer. 20:13 says that the LORD has enticed Jeremiah. The footnotes there in the Harper Collins edition say that this is typically read as rape language, that this is the most blasphemous curse in the Bible. And he was the LORD’s prophet! This was a man that God loved. If he can make such a harsh statement and still speak to the people on behalf of God, well, then I’m not doing too bad. Better yet, it must be ok to angry with God sometimes.
What beauty! What grace I feel knowing this, because sometimes I DO blame God for my situation. I often identify with this particular passage, because, like Jeremiah, I was enticed into ministry at a young age and as a result I do not have other training. I am solely equipped for ministry and sometimes that means dealing with the weight of the world, sometimes it means working myself ragged to pay the bills or to get a necessary education. It is God who gave me a heart the size of the Pacific Ocean and it is God who has convicted me to take care of the lost and the broken. Sometimes, I feel I may be torn in two as my heart leaps from my chest. Sometimes, what awaits me is terrifying.
But I am not alone. We are not alone.
So let it out. Yell and scream and cry and, yes, curse, because we have Biblical examples of that and God is listening to the hearts of honest men and women.
The title of this post makes it sound so much more glum than things really are. I really am doing quite ok. I’ve had the opportunity to have short conversations with Bestie and last night I spent two hours on FaceTime with Big Sis. I haven’t had much of a chance to talk to The Nerd(aka Little Sis), but I know she’s busy experiencing college and spending time with her boyfriend. I do miss her, though. Also Little Man. He’s gotten so busy with boy scouts and soccer and choir and band and theatre, and the list goes on, that he’s never home when I call. I try not to feel sad about that, though, because I’m so proud of him. He’s growing into such an amazingly talented and SMART, geeze is he smart, young man. Sometimes I can’t believe he’s only 12.
Anyway, I didn’t really mean to blab on and on about my family, but they’re just so amazing. I came here to fill you in on what’s been happening in my life!
Well, first of all, I was in a car accident a week and a half ago. I’m ok. The car is going to be ok. The other driver is ok. It was a pretty wretched way to come back from my short visit to MO, but it could have been so much worse. Today was my first day back to work at PPL and I definitely feel the soreness and stiffness, but it was good to be back. I do a surprising amount of thinking while I’m at the library. The kind of thinking I used to do when I shelved at Smiley or when I would spend hours a week driving back and forth from Grandview in high school.
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I’ve felt the weight of the world. All the sadness and pain I see in the news and in the people I interact with. I don’t know, it’s like my undergrad experience and my experiences working in ministry have taught me to be aware of what others are facing and dealing with and I feel so convicted to do SOMETHING that it’s becoming a problem. I love school and I believe in an educated ministry, but it’s so hard to do seminary when I’m wading through the issues of the world. I can’t sleep at night, my social skills are suffering, I don’t have an appetite, I can’t focus in class…
Again, this makes it sounds so much worse than the situation is. I’m still going to class everyday and doing my homework and doing fairly well, I think, I’m just distracted. And I need to figure out a way to refocus very soon, otherwise it will be a problem.
I’ve also been fighting some of my own demons, but if ministry has taught me anything it’s that our demons never really go away. I just have to trust in the God who loves me to help me make it through. And also take proactive measures against myself. It’s really easy to get trapped in my own head space, especially when I’m so far away from the people who can get me out of it.
Hot tea helps. 🙂 I think hot tea might be able to solve the world’s problems. Maybe not hunger. I’m still working on that one.
…That may be so, but it is not so here at Central. Our weather has been all over the place. Today was a rather nice day; however, it was a bit on the brisk side. Be that as it may, it was a fine day here on campus.
I was just thinking to myself a few days ago that I really ought write a post, but that there really wasn’t anything spectacular or ground breaking to post on. A variety of things pop into my head throughout the week that I think might make a good post, but by the time I get to a computer the thought is gone.
This week, however, I have been pushed to the keyboard.
This evening I experienced something that was not earth-shattering, but that doesn’t happen all that frequently. Think back to the summer I started this blogging journey, think far back to the beginning. At that time most of my postings were about an afternoon program I was running for children K-3, a program called The Caretakers’ Club.
Ah, yes! I can practically see your eyes growing large with the memory. 😉
Well this is Christian Perspectives Week here at Central and this evening we hosted the Fleer Lecture. The speaker was a wonderful woman, Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter, and it just so happens that she authored and co-authored two of the books I used for The Caretakers’ Club!
It’s just not every day that you meet the author of the curriculum you use for one of these things. Besides that, her lecture really has the potential to light a fire under the feet of the people here to become more environmentally friendly as a part of our stewardship obligations! It was a really cool experience, to say the least.
Another cool thing happened this evening! I had somewhat fallen out of contact with my dear old penpal, you may know him as DinoMan. Well this evening when I jumped on here to finally write up a post, I had a comment waiting from him! Good thing too, because I had lost his email address! He’s been on my heart a lot lately, he and DinoGirl both, and I’m really glad to be back in touch with him.
In other news, I’m doing well. Life is a little crazy and it’s not always rainbows and unicorns, but it’s pretty good. I’m working on getting my applications in to seminaries, right now I’m waiting on some financial things to line up. That all makes me a little stressed, but I’m on track to graduate, so that’s something!
I’ve got a really good group of friends that are really making the difference in my life right now. I need to work on a few of those relationships, but I’m not falling apart anymore.
That is one thing I’d really like to work on as I embark on the next stage in my life. I’d like to be more emotionally stable. Yeah, I do alright, but in the course of the past four years, I’ve been a rollercoaster! And what makes me cringe is that my highs and lows are often a result of, even if not directly, my relationship status. I would like to find more of my identity within myself and within Christ. Not to toot my own horn, but it feels like I might finally be thinking like an adult.
I certainly FEEL like an adult with the way my schedule looks. Just to keep you in the loop, I’m now taking 17 credit hours(which includes Major Readings/Senior Project), working 19 a week, am on Service Scholars, and am running ΣAI. I’m learning some real problem solving skills as well as conflict resolution techniques. It’s exhausting most of the time, but I think I’m well on my way for being prepared for Grad School. My dad actually said the other day, “Welcome to adulthood!” And yeah, he was being pretty sarcastic, but it also kind of seemed like a compliment. 🙂
This week, the last two nights to be specific, my dear friend, The Actor, celebrated the run of his senior show. Because he one of his majors is theater, his capstone project was to direct a play. His choice was the play by Bert V. Royal entitled “Dog Sees God.”
The show is an evocative piece that asks the viewer to challenge the way things are and make the world a better place. Dog Sees God takes the infamous Peanuts characters of our childhood and throws them into adolescence. This time, Charlie Brown and the gang are in high school and Snoopy has just died. The characters partake in all manner of vile behavior from using drugs and alcohol and using offensive language to bullying that wrenches at the gut of the viewer.
Fair warning, this show is not for the faint of heart. It forces the audience to step into the worst experiences a young person faces, perhaps on a daily basis, perhaps on rare occasions. Some of the toughest subjects that young people deal with are thrown into the mix. The point is to show just how far from butterflies and rainbows life is for some kids. Kids are faced with really difficult situations, asked to make tough decisions, tempted and pulled in multiple directions, forsaken by adults, and still asked to come out on top. This show really makes you think about how hard that is.
The show also makes you reflect on how many times you were the person who stood idly by while someone was bullied, how many times did you make a bad decision in order to fit in. What decisions have you made, or are making, in your life that could be devastating to you or to someone else? Yeah, you may leave the theater feeling really sh*tty about yourself, but that’s the point. We cannot make a change if we do not face how bad things have become.
Dog Sees God is difficult and offensive, but it is also beautiful and meaningful. It is a show that doesn’t suggest change, it outright demands it!
This show touched me in particular, because I was someone who was bullied relentlessly in school. So much so that by the time I reached the 3rd grade my parents had pulled me out of public school to be home-schooled, because my clothes were being torn to the point of indecency on the bus and I would come home bloodied and bruised. The first few years after I went back to public school in the 8th grade were not much better and like Beethoven I attempted to take my own life. I think God every day that I survived, but in the show, Beethoven doesn’t.
This show hit so close to home that I cried for at least the last 20 minutes of the show, through the talk-back, and for part of the ride back to campus. It saddens me to the deepest depths that we live in a society where the kind of behavior that can lead to a child’s death is thought of as “character building.” It sucks that it wasn’t just me. It’s a problem so basic within our culture that this play had to be written to make us question it.
And question it we did. This play faced an outbreak of controversy almost immediately after rehearsals began. A student on campus found the show to be offensive and so exercised her right to petition the ban of the show. To an extent, her goal was achieved. The compromise was that the show would not be allowed to be performed on campus. The Actor had to find a new performance space and ended up at the Berlin Cafe in CoMo. When The Roommate told me it was a small space, I could not have prepared myself for just how small. Last night when we arrived, there were 54 chairs in the house, the stage was practically in our laps, and we were finding spaces for people as they poured in.
In the end, I think it worked in The Actor’s favor. Being physically close to the actors helped me, as a viewer, to connect and feel like I was watching real life play out before my eyes. And, in reality, the controversy that lasted for so long was free publicity. By the time posters went up last week, everyone knew what the show was. Honestly, I think there was a better turn out, despite the conditions surrounding the performance, than there would have been if it had been performed on campus as scheduled.
The space also worked really well for the talk-back. At the end of the show, The Actor opened the floor for conversation between the actors and the audience members. This was exactly the kind of thing Royal was looking for, because it was the beginning of discourse on what was wrong about what happened in the show and why exactly it was wrong.
It is wrong to abandon young adults, teenagers, to make hard decisions alone, to feel unloved and unwanted, during the most influential and fragile years of their young lives. It is wrong to bully and torment another person and to become so immune to it that you truly believe it’s just all fun and games. It is wrong to idly watch as the people around you destroy the lives of themselves and their “friends.” And it is especially wrong that a child who is different than the rest of the crowd feels so alone and so hated that he took his own life.
I applaud the playwright and I applaud the cast and crew. Most of all, I applaud my friend, The Actor. Thank you for all you do, all you have done, and all you will continue to do through this beautiful and heart-wrenching work of art. Thank you for going through with this no matter how ugly and difficult it got. Thank you for making the choice to stand up for me and for many others after me. You can’t know what it means to me that people are beginning to take notice.
*A play about five women in Calgary, Canada during WWII, also the play I’ve been cast in!
Things have just been so fantastic this week! I received information on about 4 or 5 internships this week. The one I want the most will take me to Wisconsin! Milwaukee area, specifically. There are so many fantastic things that make this internship the one I can’t stop thinking about. There are five positions open, all five interns live in a house together for the summer, they lead mission trips and Bible studies and VBS, they help in the community gardens, they work in the Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, and then there is a week trip to Rocky Mountain National Park where they commune with God and Nature and deepen their own spiritual relationships.
My description doesn’t do it justice! And there is no way to make you understand how excited this possibility makes me, how it makes my heart soar, or why. I also can’t explain why, on Tuesday at the Missions Fair, talking with the representatives of the various mission groups made me feel at home. It was the sense of, “ah, these people get it” that I feel so infrequently. Not that my friends and family don’t try, but most of them don’t have the desire, no, the need to get out into the world to spread peace and love and justice. The people I talked to on Tuesday, they got it, and I could feel it vibrating off of them as they spoke about the things they’re passionate about. That’s how I feel when I’m talking about these things too.
So there’s that. I also received my info packet from Princeton’s Seminary! Yeah, I’ll be applying. 🙂
I received an invitation to apply for membership in ODK, a collegiate honor society that focuses on leadership.
I auditioned, AND WAS CAST!!, in a play here at the university.
I understood, and enjoyed, my chemistry lab.
Lots of little things that all put together this week have made me feel like a million bucks. I feel successful and productive and lots of other good feeling things. 🙂 It’s awesome!
That’s how I feel. Mostly.
The events of the last few days have been… exciting. And not in a good way.
Shortly after my last post, and I mean within a few minutes, the WhiteKnight let me know that he was in the ER for what was either a flu bug that didn’t make him throw up, or appendicitis. (For those of you who don’t know, WK and are now on speaking terms again as good friends) It was the latter and they were going to take his appendix that night. When I talked to Mr. P. I asked if WK needed someone to sit with him at the hospital. I quickly amended my question to the more appropriate, “Do YOU need someone to sit with him at the hospital?” To which he firmly replied, “Yes.” So I went. And my lovely roommate went with.
Yesterday WK was released, he was up and moving(albeit slowly), and he had eaten solid food. Needless to say, after a much needed night of sleep, I woke up today feeling calm.
There’s another piece to my calm. I blogged on Wednesday about my unstable financial situation and the need to figure out the funding of this semester. Well, my wonderful friends are just that, wonderful. In the last 24 hours, I have received $155 in gifts from friends to put toward my education. It’s not a lot, no, but it’s a fantastic start and more than I could have asked for. There really are angels in my life, truly wonderful people looking out for me and helping me fulfill my calling. Thank you.
Everyone has angels in their lives, they’re people who show up in your times of need, people who help you through an icy patch on the road of life, people who love you when you feel like you’re an island in the storm.
I’ve always believed that we have hidden angels in our lives and it’s struck me lately how true that is. I’ve been blessed with so many angels, so many people who genuinely love me, friends who go out of their way to ease a discomfort, wipe a tear, heal a hurt…
My family is in a rough spot financially and that’s really hard to swallow. It’s made me question a lot of my decisions in life. It’s made me second guess my plans, my actions. It makes me feel selfish for being at school. And it makes me realize how wasteful I’ve been in my nearly 21 years on this earth. I can’t afford to be here, at school. I have no idea how I’m going to make it to graduation when I can’t even come up with the money for this semester.
I’m second guessing seminary. Maybe this is God’s way of shutting down my pride and telling me I need to work for a few years before continuing with my education. I don’t NEED to go to seminary. I don’t NEED to be ordained. I can do God’s work without those things. It’s my thirst for knowledge and the example of my mentors that led me down the road to seminary. Maybe that’s not what God wants. Maybe I don’t need to spend the extra money.
I’m scared. I got some bad news today, news that I don’t feel particularly comfortable publishing for the world yet. And in this time I’ve turned to some of the most beautiful and talented and inspiring young women I know, my SAI sisters. They have helped me so much without knowing they were doing anything. An Angel, we’ll call her Rose, manifested herself about a week ago. She bought my books for the semester. She’s stubborn and once she gets her mind on an idea, there’s no stopping that train. She’s fiery and passionate and silly and one of the best friends in my life. Tonight, I cried on the shoulders of those sisters. I told them for the first time that I was in trouble and they smiled and told me things would be ok. They hugged me and kissed me and gave me strength and courage to hold my head in confidence that, though life will throw me curve balls, they will pull out all the stops to get me the biggest damn net you’ve ever imagined to catch it.
These girls are my angels. They are my guiding stars. My companions through the thickest of evil nasty forests. And I love them with my whole big heart.
You have someone like this in your life. Let them in. God has sent them for you specifically. And when you’re able, return the favor. Then it’ll be your chance to be an angel.