Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Well, I have started this afghan. It’s going to be a bunch of interesting colors: since it’s practice afghan, I’m trying to use up some yarn that my grandmother gave me that’s not too fancy. I’m about a quarter of the way through, and I think it’s going to take a while…
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I decided Friday that I would go to vespers at All Saints' this past evening. I called a friend for a ride, but she wasn't going, so I took myself and my black currant (deep purple) car, Elliot (it's a girl Elliot), all the way up to Chicago. With a moderate amount of traffic, it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive to church from Plainfield. I was able to get there faster today which was a wonderful blessing.
Vespers was a glorious hour or so spent in God's presence and if another parishioner hadn't been chatting with Father Pat, I would have stuck around to pray alone in the sanctuary if he'd let me. But, on my way back up the stairs I ran into Olivia, a fabulous young woman from choir who has always been very nice to me and whom I rather like. She asked if we could go to dinner. Of course! So we had great food and very beautiful conversation. I love when you can just talk to someone very openly, like you were meant to be friends.
After two and a half hours of joyous fellowship with my sister in Christ, I began the long and tired journey home. Things went smoothly--I was able to cruise again (twice in one week!) and I cranked Viva la Vida and was snug as a bug in a rug. Finally, I made it to good ol' P-ville and got stuck behind a POLICE OFFICER going about fifteen miles under the speed limit...grrr.
Cop left, I continued to drive, and was three miles away from my home when the event occurred. Now, I was on Rt.126. I've been driving down this particular strip of 126 since I've had my liscence. So here I am, cruisin' along, when all of a sudden---BOOM!
I heard a noise like an explosion. Immediately I assessed all sensory information I was receiving from Elliot--noises, balance, changes in equilibrium, straining, etc. I was sure that with a noise like that and its accompanying jolt I couldn't possibly get away without a flat tire.
I was right.
Sure enough, about a block later as I was turning right, I noticed that I was having a difficult time with both steering and accelerating. Once I'd made the turn, I was positive. I had a flat tire. The right front end of my car was leaning down quite noticeably, and my poor steering wheel kept trying her darnedest to drift off to the side of the road. At this point I said a few inappropriate words and had a little fight with the evil pothole demons, while at the same time searching for an appropriate place to pull over. By the way, after I had turned on my hazards and began pulling into a parking lot, the truck behind me finally decided to flash his brights. "Hey, little car! You've got a flat! Thought I'd let you know!" Elliot replied, "Thanks a lot, genius. Ya think I hadn't already figured that out?!"
Called Dad. Assessed damage. Attempted tire change--spare was flat. Went home.
My poor car is still in that parking lot, looking all sad and lonely next to TWO--count 'em, TWO--other cars with flat right front tires. Hmmm...
Also, I must say that I was driving home from the Christmas Eve service at All Saints' just this Wednesday and there was no pothole. Now, there is a gigantically deep pothole capable of serious damage, a pothole that also happens to be invisible in the dark. Oh, well. At least figuring out how we're going to fix it will keep Dad and I occupied for a day.
And the moral of the story is: don't drive down familiar streets at night because there might be a brand-spankin'-new pothole waiting for you, complete with evil pothole demons.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
As I said previously, I had been seeing our campus pastor for guidance and prayer and whatnot. At this time I was also seeing two others: my wonderful professor Joel (of Euangelion) and a counselor named Anna. Joel and I would meet about once a week for prayer and I cannot tell you how helpful that was to me. His care and support have been a great blessing in my life over the past two years, but especially in these last four months. However, this Anna was a whole other ball game. I had three appointments with her before I realized that she wasn't taking my issues seriously and that she was trying to befriend rather than counsel me. It was not entirely unhelpful, but nearly so, and so I stopped going to see her. I also stopped going to see Judy for the same reasons.
My counselors became God and my friends. It was hard for me to pray, but my friends advised me to set up a regular prayer routine anyway. I did so, and I continued it until I came to my parents' house (my entire rhythm of life has gone out the window since I've been here...). They made sure I was eating and going to church and not stressing about my homework. I don't know what I would have done without them and their late-night rescue sessions with me.
The end of the semester was rather bittersweet. On the one hand, I was grateful to have made it, to be at that place where all of the work must eventually be completed. I could finally be free of the academic trappings of the semester and have some time to read and relax and catch up on the music I was supposed to be learning all semester. On the other hand, my work was so backed-up that I was incredibly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all, and the need to finish that work prevented me from spending adequate time with my friend-family in those last weeks.
The last week of school was torture. It began the Saturday before with what turned out to be the bright spot of the week: our eight-hour stake-out in the library. We brought tea and slippers and sat in a rather large and beautiful room from 10am to 6pm. The rest of the week, however, proved to be the most academically stressful week of the semester. I did homework almost non-stop through Friday morning. Two bright spots: I finished Theory and Aural Skills at 8:21pm on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008; and I had breakfast with the magnificent Mary Veeneman on Thursday morning. It was a glorious two hours of eating, coffee-drinking, and chatting--she has also been a wonderful blessing to me this semester, and I cannot express how glad I am that she has come to us.
It is now over. The semester that was the worst and best of my life is over. I experienced the pain that comes from reopening old wounds and letting them air out (or, you know, flushing them with rubbing alcohol), the stress of falling behind in classes, and the awful temptation to forget it all and run away screaming. But, thanks to God's infinite love, I survived the semester through His help and guidance and blessing in friendship and comraderie. Praise be to the Lord!
That's my story. I'm looking forward to surviving Christmas break and beginning the next semester. Then, I'll be a SENIOR. I'm not ready...ach.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Two weeks into school, I decided to finally get rid of this burden of sin that I was carrying around with me for about six years. I was at the University Ministries Student Leadership retreat and I had been feeling especially guilty for two months, and that evening at the worship service I realized that I just couldn't keep my secret inside me any longer. Honestly, it was the worst and best feeling, which is how I have come to describe this entire semester. I had a bit of a panic attack while I was waiting for the darn thing to be over--I'd decided very early in the service that I needed to tell someone about it, and decided shortly thereafter that it would be our campus pastor, and I was made to sit there for what felt like an eternity. Then I needed to go to the little girls' room and I had to make Judy wait...THEN there was someone talking to her for twenty minutes when I returned and I just stood there freaking myself out. She finally called me over, and I told her. When I left, I cried a lot. I thought I was done.
HA! Boy, I do often wonder how God puts up with me. Seriously, he must just be laughing at me most of the time. I like to make my little plans and think that I control my life---not so! He always comes up with something better.
Well, I wasn't done. I started going to see said campus pastor about once a week for accountability and direction. A week after the retreat, my roommate suffered a severe family tragedy that took her away for a week and left her and our apartment in shambles. It was at this point that I began to be very anxious, and after being anxious for a week or so I also began to be depressed. I realized that I needed to tell some other people about "Bob the Onion", and first told my friend Laurel. That went okay, so I felt a bit better, but my mom still didn't know about it and I was starting to dig up some other things from my childhood (which I now think are quite funny) and I couldn't handle it any more. I called her and sobbed and sobbed and told her everything I could think of at the time, and I told her some more things later as they came up. Every time I felt a bit better, but I still hadn't told my friends.
I didn't feel like I could really trust anyone. I've had trouble trusting people for some time, and this was a big thing that I needed to trust them with and I didn't know who to talk to. Slowly, one by one, I began telling people, especially those in our morning prayer "group". I grew so close to those people this semester, and I am so grateful to God for putting them in my life and teaching me how to trust. Anyway, I started with Josh, who became one of my favorite confessors because of his understanding and care. After Josh came Cindy, Janna, Kasey, Alethea, Matthew, and Melissa (in no particular order). With each confession, my story became easier to tell, and all of them still talk to me! And Alethea and I hang out all the time and we can't really remember when we started hanging out or how our friendship came to be, but we're both very very blessed. She's teaching me Spanish. =)
I suppose I will pause now since I've started to ramble...more lata!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Normally, when folks say they don't recognize themselves anymore, they mean to say that they have hit one of these reflective places and they realize how sinful and backwards they have become. I mean quite the opposite, but I am just as confused as to how I got here. I guess I really shouldn't be confused. Perhaps I should say rather that I would not have planned my life to go this way this year, and especially this last semester. I am quite appreciative today of how God's plans always work out so much more beautifully and intricately than I could ever have planned or imagined for myself.
So, you may remember that this past spring semester I was having a very difficult time with all of my schoolwork. I was completely bogged down, unsure of what I wanted to do with myself and unsure of what God wanted me to do with myself, and full of questions. That semester turned out well and I survived, so I thought that things were good. At the end of the semester I applied to be a summer RA and that didn't work out, so I was a bit upset, but I figured I would just go home and work and visit my friends at school a LOT.
This I did. Quizno's had by that time been transformed into "Tastee Grill" (clever, right? that was my boss's brilliant plan) and was not doing well. I'm pretty sure that at one point we were not even making enough money to cover labor for the week, let alone pay all of the bills. So, work was slow and I didn't feel too bad about going up to the city every two weeks or so. Then, at the end of June while my family was in Seattle, all of those unpaid bills finally piled up and exploded in our faces, resulting in a shut-down store and weeks of worry about bounced paychecks and future employment. I applied to about five places before I realized that it was useless for me to try to get a job for six weeks. I mentioned this to my boss in the Writing Center at school and she hired me to house-sit for her for two weeks.
Those two weeks were the beginning of the end, really. I was very anxious the whole time because I had not been prepared for how creeped-out I'd be that I was sleeping in a room with so many windows and the back door right in front of my bed. I hardly slept, and only really when my good friend Christina was there...It was also during this time that I began to feel very badly about what I have and will continue to refer to as "Bob the Onion". I had not yet told anyone about Bob, but I really felt like I should, and really felt like I couldn't.
The girls and I moved into our apartment in early August and made the necessary adjustments to apartment life--cooking, cleaning, locking up, sorting out whose stuff goes where. School began and the first day of class I dropped my Opera Scenes class. This was the first in a series of unsettling events that led to what I now call both my worst and most painful, and also my best and most beautiful and healing semester of my life.
To be continued...
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Me: "Arrgh! I'm just so whiney! I can't seem to stop!"
Cindy: "I know, right? I'm so cranky and I have weird cravings..."
Josh: "Haha, yeah. I think finals just does that to you."
Me: "You know, I think the week before finals is like PMS--"
Me: "--because you're all cranky and tired and sore and you eat horribly and snap at everyone around you...it's like PreFinals Syndrome!"
Cindy and Josh: "Yeah, PFS!"
I will stop there, because at that point the conversation took a turn into Inappropriateville...guess it's just PFS.
The great thing about this is that we've had an enemy besides our poor professors to blame our trouble on. Can't focus? PFS. You're overcome with an isatiable urge to bake and/or clean? PFS. Can't sleep? PFS. It's amazing. It is also a testimony to our obvious need for a scapegoat because we refuse to blame our problems on ourselves (umm, procrastination, laziness, willful ignorance...)
Anyway, tomorrow I will no longer be suffering from PFS but merely FS because it's the beginning of finals! I'm actually mildly excited to take finals because it signals the beginning of the end. Once they get going, it will be all downhill. I had my very last class today, and it was more freeing than I expected to be finished with it. I still have my final on Thursday, but I turned in the last of my assignments and so it's OVER.
Well, thus ends my disjointed musings on finals. Until next time...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So, please pray for my soul. And my mouth--I tend to get a little fiesty in these last days and say some things that nice Christian women should simply never say.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,
Weaved in my lone devout melancholy,
Thou which of good hast, yea, art treasury,
All changing unchanged Ancient of days.
But do not with a vile crown of frail bays
Reward my Muse's white sincerity ;
But what Thy thorny crown gain'd, that give me,
A crown of glory, which doth flower always.
The ends crown our works, but Thou crown'st our ends,
For at our ends begins our endless rest.
The first last end, now zealously possess'd,
With a strong sober thirst my soul attends.
'Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high ;
Salvation to all that will is nigh.
I want to make apple pie. My host-mom from choir tour a few weeks ago made THE BEST apple pie I have ever had, and I found out all of her little secrets. I won't publish them here, but I'm very excited...
You would think that being in class would automatically give me something to fully occupy my time, but that is not the case, generally speaking. I slept through class today in five-minute increments, waking every time I thought Lee was addressing me. He never did, but nevertheless, if you've ever tried to sleep (or have fallen asleep against your will) in a situation in which there is a known potential for great folly, like missing your El stop or a question from your instructor, then you'd know that it is a highly unpleasant experience. You awake in a tizzy every couple of minutes wondering if you've missed that thing that you couldn't afford to miss.
Anyway, I didn't pay much attention today, but I know that it was a pointless class. How do I know? Because we were analyzing Tristan und Isolde, and most of us had already done so in Theory IV earlier this semester. That's basically all we did. And if I'd had my crocheting, I would have survived. As it is, I know have two lovely little oily spots on the back of my notebook from where my nose and forehead were using it as a pillow.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It was actually during chapel chat, which is one of the more beautiful "programs" that UMin has put together. Today's speaker was answering someone's question as I came in and I heard him say, "We consume so much media [his talk was on media consumption, 'case you couldn't tell] that we lose our will to create. We just don't have it in us because we've taken so much in and put nothing out." It's funny that he said that, because I've been thinking recently how creativity-deprived I am. Honestly, it's a funny thing for a vocal performance major to say, but it's true. I have not been able to spend time exercising my creative abilities outside of singing, and singing is not even a creative process for me anymore because it has been beaten down by the industry.
When speaker-guy said that today, it clicked. All of the vague ideas floating around in my head finally made some sense! I'm working on narrowing down the topic of my independent study to a semester-sized bit, and with an umbrella topic of "Christian Sexuality" there's a long way to go. I've been reading a lot and writing a little, but what I mostly write is just a bunch of summaries and some musings, but not a whole lot of my own thought at this point. In light of this discovery, and in light of the fact that I am not actually starting this project until next fall (or summer?), I have decided to just do some freewriting. I think this will help me figure out where my interests lie and what my own opinions and presuppositions are, while giving me a break from all of this thinking. And then I can focus on my actual schoolwork.
But this does not only apply to my personal academics--oh, no! I think that it would be very good for my group of friends to spend some time being creative. A few of us do some sort of yarn crafting on a regular basis, and I think one of my close guy friends writes poetry on occasion, though I'm sure he isn't right now. The difficulty would be to convince them that this would be good for us--we all have a really hard time putting aside our work for a while to do something seemingly useless. But it's not useless...
Anyway, I'm rambling now because it's late and it's been a very long and exhausting day. I'll probably look at this later and laugh. Until then, BED.
FINALS!! Okay, not really. We actually have...exactly eleven days of class left, one reading day, and three days of finals. So we're not quite there, but we're totally getting there much faster than I would like. I won't enumerate my projects-to-do here, but I can tell you that the list is incredibly long and I have absolutely no idea when it's all going to get done. I imagine that I just won't sleep the last week of class and catch up during finals week. Or something.
We can do it!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Since I didn't know how to turn off the screen of my laptop and didn't feel like figuring it out, I blindfolded myself instead and this is what I came up with:
“There are so many stories I could tell, but I am choosing to tell this. It is interesting how stories develop in our minds, and even more interesting how difficult it is to choose one. Some stories make us laugh, some make us cry, and some inspire anger, love, mercy, frustration, or hope. How can we know what a story will have to say before we try to say it? I will recount my story to you, and you can tell me what sort of story it is.
I used to live in a relatively good neighborhood of a small town in Illinois. That small town is now a suburb, and the neighborhood I was living in is now a gang hub and a place for hoodlums. But anyway, I moved away from there when I was seven years old with my parents and my little sister. We arrived in our new town full of expectation, which was inspired mostly by the promise of a great school system, lots of space for kids to play, and a generally friendly neighborhood. Plainfield was all of these things at the time, so life was going well. The only problem was that I had no friends. I was not particularly upset by this, but I knew at age seven that one could not go through life friendless, so I set out to make some new friends. My methods for this were a bit strange: I sat out on our new driveway and waited for a kid to pass by. I waited and waited, and one day this little girl about my age walked by with her mother and said, 'Hi.'
We were instant friends. I went over to her house every day, or at least every week, for about five years. One day Maura and I were sitting outside and trying to come up with a game to play and I told her in passing that I am part Cherokee. She thought this was really cool, and so I was encouraged just enough to try to embellish my story just a little bit. So, I told her that because I was Cherokee, I could just naturally tell time by the sun. For months after that day she would ask me what time it was and I would look at the sun and pretend to know. My guesses were usually correct.
Later in our friendship, though not much later, we were playing outside again and I told her that I knew how to make bowls and things out of stones. We ran around finding all of the stones that we could and indeed constructed the most useless bowl and plate you’ve ever seen. I sometimes wonder how Maura could have believed sincerely that I could do any of those things, but it seemed that she did and our friendship continued happily for years.
Maura and I never really stopped being friends. I suppose the friendship did end at some point, but I have no recollection of when that could have been. When we got to high school, we were in different classes most of the time and got involved in different after-school activities, so we grew apart a little bit. I haven’t spoken to her in years now, but I hope she’s doing well. Without that friendly little girl I may never have belonged in Plainfield.”
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Now, wherever we are,
and in every place,
and at every hour,
throughout each time of each day,
may all of us honestly and humbly believe,
holding in our hearts
to love, honor,
magnify, and give thanks
to the Most High and Eternal God,
Trinity and Unity.
- St. Francis of Assisi
I hope this blesses you as much as it has blessed me.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
She's one of the best writers I've read. I just recently finished her collection of essays on gender and sexuality, published by Conciliar Press (2002).
*study for a listening quiz (I failed the last one)
*read 30 pages
*prepare for a meeting
*listen repeatedly to a Debussy piece and analyze it a little bit
*practice a ton of music
*read 40 pages
For next week:
*3-4pg Mahler paper for Theory
*Aural Skills performed midterm
*Aural Skills written midterm
*music of the classic period final, listening and written
*two letters for tutoring writing
*...I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
And did I mention that my sister is coming to visit this weekend? I'm super excited about it, but it will mean that I have no time to do anything. At all. Which is probably really good for me. =)
I'll let y'all know if I make it!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
There are many reasons why students explore EO and RCC, and I think that those given above are valid. I would add to that list a desire for a more structured and unified church body–this stems from the obvious lack of cohesion in the Protestant church (in fact, it is difficult for me to refer to Protestantism as a “church” as I see it more as a melting pot of beliefs without structure). EO and RCC have visible leaders and hierarchy, and while that hierarchy is not friendly to women, I still see the benefit of making at least some attempt to communicate with the rest of the church. This structure also provides authority that I feel the Protestant church does not have, with pastors frequently interpreting the Bible in their own way, sometimes even with cynicism toward the Church and the pastor’s own personal history. The Protestant church also lacks unity in that many churches are on their own and not at all attached to any communion of churches.
Above all, in my experience with EO over the past six months, I feel there is a greater reverence and a sense of mystery there that I have simply not found anywhere else. I don’t know that I’ll “convert,” but if I did, it would be for the reasons above in combination with those Scot gave.
One of my greatest hopes for the Church is that one day, we would all be in communion with each other, sharing the Eucharist as one body instead of keeping it to our own sectors. At the very least, we can begin to talk with each other about how we can even get along–what is the Church supposed to be to the world? Whatever the answer is, our response to it will be much more powerful if we work together.
Just my thoughts. =)
Let's see how this works!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
I was tortured by sin and guilt that I had been carrying for six years and had successfully trapped inside of me to the point that I actually believed that my life needed to be like that. Then, a little over a week ago, I confessed my sin to a living, breathing human being, and suddenly I was feeling much better. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do and there is tons of healing to be had there, but I do have a sense of freedom from that particular bondage. I need to work on getting through that bondage before I can work on the other things in my life that need working on, so I am.
I had been released from my sin and guilt through confession and was feeling much better. Then I started sharing my story with other people and suddenly they were sharing their stories with me! My head filled instantly with thoughts of how I was going to keep in touch with all of these people and remember to pray for them and to ask them how things are going. I was full. Completely. No room left in my head.
Three days ago (Friday), I had been having a long, rough week. I met with our campus pastor in the morning and that was great because she's helping me with my sin/guilt issue (cleverly christened "Bob" by one of my more intelligent comrades) and we talked a little about how people were sharing with me. The day was really long after that, though, and I was SO grateful at the end of my lesson that the day was finally over. I was going to go home, thaw some chicken, make dinner for me and Jaron, and meet with him to discuss the small group we're putting together.
Melissa had left a somewhat frantic message on my cell phone saying, "Hey, umm...call me when you get this," and I thought, "Is she running to the store and wants to know what I want? I wonder what the hurry is..." When I got home, she ran in and gave me some rather horrible news of the extreme family emergency type (I can say no more) which caused the care of our roommate to be my top priority. For example, I felt personally responsible for making sure that everyone ate at least something at every mealtime and I rejoiced in every shower that she took this weekend. Obviously, her pain is immeasurably more than anything I've ever experienced. I must say, though, that this definitely goes down in history as the most difficult weekend of my life. My head was already full of all sorts of junk and mess, and then this entirely unexpected and unbelievably shocking occurence whacked us all in the face. Thankfully, we have a few people who know the situation with whom we can process things. Also, Jaron was a rockstar AGAIN.
Friday night, it felt as if time was standing still...and I only wish it had. All I want right now is for a single moment out of time. I wish that for the worldly equivalent of five minutes God would transport me to a place where I didn't have to feel or think or worry or remember to be a functional human being, and where I could just sit in his embrace. And possibly cry and laugh, but mostly just sit. And then he could return me to the world and to the shackles of time and space and the nitty gritty bits of life, and I would be refreshed. I must above all remember to continue to place my trust in God and to remember the hope that we have in Christ Jesus, and that all things work together for good.
If you are reading this, please pray for us--for all of us who are struggling with personal issues, with friendships, relationships, grief, depression, anxiety, overload, stress, and loneliness. These issues are not all mine (praise be to God!), but they are mine and those that I am bearing with my friends. Pray especially for my roommates and especially still for our roommate who is bearing the heaviest load of all and for her safe travels.
Praise the Lord God whose mercy endures forever!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
My roommate and I woke up this morning a little after 6:00am, which, after a summer of eight-to-nine o'clock mornings was a bit early for me, and went to our little meeting and ate bagels (spelled "bagles" in our schedule). Then we moved people in at our assigned residence halls and I got to leave early to do computer orientation sessions, a total of three for the day, which brings me up to the grand total of fourteen computer orientation sessions. WAAAY to many for anyone. I'm a pro.
Lunch was absolutely grand, as usual. We have this massive picnic where a bunch of profs come and sit in these little tents and new students can come and meet them. By some strange coincidence, the department of Christian Life & Thought and the School of Music always end up in the same tent, which I find absolutely hilarious because I have one foot in each discipline. So funny!
I had a meeting in the afternoon for "all" of the PAAs (there were about six of us...woot) and the new Dialogue adjuncts, and then my adjunct and I met the parents of our class. I'm honestly a bit nervous about the two of us working together because I have this complex...well, we'll see how it goes.
After this meeting was the CREW Kick-Off, my baby. This was my personal project this summer/yesterday (I ran a meeting where we decided together how to organize it), and I was very nervous about how it would go over, especially when the woman I still thought was in charge handed over the reigns. I've just been so spacey all week and I wasn't really prepared to direct people, but it worked out. In fact, Seth was an absolutely fantastic emcee and he really pulled it all together. The students were so excited, and I didn't see a single one not participating, which is a small miracle. So, even though there were some staff coordination issues that were totally my fault, there were no noticeable glitches in the actual event.
Convocation...ah, convocation. I believe I must be the biggest nerd of all time, but I simply love convocation (and commencement, for that matter--anything with robes). Once again, I ended up sitting toward the front and was able to smile at nearly everyone I knew. I was grinning the entire time. Convocation is much too short...oh, well.
The rest of the evening was absolutely insane. I met a young man by the name of Joshua and we ate together in ARA, we had Viking Kick-Off which is one of my favorite events of Threshold because we all run around in crazy clothes behaving the idiots we truly are inside. =) Then, Comedy Sportz did their bit and everything wrapped up at about 10:30...whew.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
And I was just vividly reminded of how incredibly nerdy I am. Seriously.
This whole summer I was feeling very displaced. I lived with my parents, and while I love them and their house is lovely, I just never really settled in there and felt the whole time like I was on some strange vacation. It made it very difficult for me to get any work done, and I was anxious much of the time. When I could make it back to the city, it was like a glorious homecoming--except it wasn't really my home. I was staying with my roommates, so it felt sort of like home (and they did a fantastic job of welcoming me), but I knew it wasn't really. So this whole summer I've been feeling very floaty and strange. Now that I'm back, I don't intend to leave. Ever. I mean, I'll probably move out of Chicago in a few years, but I'm not going back to my parents' house again, especially not with all of this furniture!
Friday, August 8, 2008
My family and I packed up the truck Tuesday night in a way that prevented me from being able to use the rearview mirror at ALL, which was a source of anxiety as I drove up. I was able to follow a relatively slow truck that was hauling some sort of liquid, so that was good. I arrived on campus at about 3:20 and took the next ten minutes to get situated in a parking spot with a Beverly Hillbilly truckload of furniture with the bed extended and a bike strapped to the end of that, after which I climbed on top of my dresser and read for about a half hour. Kat went to get checked in at 4pm but it took her nearly a half hour to do that, so we didn't get to move anything in until about 4:45.
Christina came by and helped at this point, but the going was slow. We finally did get all of my junk out of the truck, up the three flights of stairs, and into the apartment. We drove over to the girls' summer place and I went upstairs--I won't share my exact words when I walked in and saw all of the stuff that had to go, but it was something like, "Crap!...OH MY GOSH! CRAP!" Good times. We started reloading the truck but then Christina had to go to work at her other job (one of three, currently) so then it was just me and Kat and Matthew (praise God for Matthew). After we dumped this load in the apartment, Matthew did rounds and Kat and I put some things away to make room for the rest of the stuff, and then we all went to McDonald's for dinner.
At about 8:30 I finally called Jaron to say that we were ready to get Mel's loft out of his storage space, and I went over to the Taj to get it. When I got there, Jaron asked how I was and I had a pounding headache at the time, so we went inside to get some drugs (great apartment, by the way). Well, as goes my relationship with Jaron, we ended up talking for an hour before I asked what time it was, and we could have talked for much longer. So sad that we had to move. =( So we took the loft over and brought it all the way up, at which point I lost my keys.
Jaron checked his pockets, I checked the truck, we all checked the apartment--no keys. We were searching for at least thirty minutes, but likely closer to forty-five, and to no avail. I called my dad at 11:20ish to ask if he could meet us at a halfway point and he grudgingly agreed. We went out to the car to push it into a more appropriate parking space, and Jaron decided to paw through his pockets once more. I was talking to Kat when he said, "Heather, call your dad," and pulled out my keys! I was so happy that I just laughed and hugged him and called my dad, and we all had a good laugh.
By then it was 11:30 and I had already kept Jaron much longer than I should have, and we were supposed to have checked out of the old apartment at 10:00, and there was still a lot more stuff to be moved. Matthew called me and I asked him if everything really needed to be out before we slept, and he said it did. Grr! So, Jaron stuck around (Lord, bless him) and we got the last bits of it with some help from Matthew and Josh, and we were finally finished. It was all over at about 1:15. Christina and Katrina went to sleep and I stayed up and put things away as much as I could, and Christina got up for work around 3:45. I left the apartment at 4:27, arrived home at 5:22, and went to sleep around 5:45am. Two days later I'm sore as can be, and my right leg is very stiff and practically useless. I have muscles hurting that I can't stretch, so I'm off to take a hot bath.
Many thanks to Jaron, Matthew, and Josh for all of their help. We couldn't have done it without you!...I'm never moving again unless all roommates are present. =)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Okay, so I'm a little tired. I just spend the last two hours packing up my Mom's truck (yes, my MOM's truck) with furniture and anything else that I own that would fit. *sigh* It was truly exhausting, but quite possibly the most intellectually challenging activity in which I've recently participated. Something about all of that organization of three-dimensional objects...it's like Tetris for super-nerds! I was having a blast, and so was my dad, whose help was invaluable.
It's a rather small truck, as far as pick-up trucks go; it's a little Nissan Frontier with a full cab which means, unfortunately, that the bed is a bit smaller. Like, I can barely lie down in it. BUT, inside that teeny little bed we were able to fit my dresser (drawers and funny cabinet thing full of stuff), desk (also full of stuff), dining room table and chairs (table's in pieces), and nearly everything else that I own that's not furniture. Plus a bunch of stuff in the cab.
What we have left to take to Chicago, hopefully on Saturday:
*the big red sectional
*the tv stand/entertainment center thingy
*the leaves for the table (unless I can miraculously fit them in the overflowing truck tomorrow morning)
*what little remains of my clothing
I think we might actually be able to do it in the truck, but if not, we'll just take my car up as well. And both of my parents so that the vehicles can be returned to their house. It's so much stuff, but when I think about it, it's basically all the common furniture for the apartment, plus all of my personal furniture and clothing and dishes and books and office supplies and...
This is so fun. Tomorrow is going to ROCK!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
*finish a solid draft of the plagiarism workshop so that I can have a 'usable' draft by the 10th
*prepare a timeline for the CREW kickoff rally thing in five-minute increments
*finish the last seven books of Augustine's Confessions
*pack everything I own
*decide what's coming to the city with me on Wednesday and what can stay until Saturday
*find out how much money I need from the Threshold budget to buy poster-making supplies
*create some sort of schedule for Compass week so that I can work both jobs...
Don't get me wrong, folks--I'm totally not complaining!! I'm actually very excited to have made it to August alive and not completely bored (in fact, rather enthused about life in general), and also with all of my sanity still intact. God has definitely preserved me and my joi de vivre this summer, and he just continues to surprise me (see Tuesday's post on what I learned at Carol's). I'm just sayin' that time just whizzed by me much faster than I had anticipated, and now I'm paying for it!! Here's to time management!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This post is about the last two weeks and what they have done to me!! I learned so much about life, and even though they were painful and difficult at times, these weeks have been a positive experience overall. I will begin with the more practical aspect: house-sitting for my supervisor taught me how to take care of a house and its many many plants. I learned that if plants get less that one inch of rain per week, you need to water them a LOT. Also, if they get four inches of rain in two days, you don't need to water them until about a week later. I learned that security systems only serve to decrease a certain level of anxiety, and if one experiences higher levels of anxiety, said security systems are not much help. I also learned how to operate the security system, and how to use the seven or so keys that belonged to that house. Floorboards can be very creaky and very noisy, but one can cover up these noises with a very loud movie. AND, some toilets can be yellow or blue, and shower "curtains" can be oddly curvy plastic sliding doors that squeak loudly when you open them. And old lace curtains give a house a very odd smell. And having an icon of Jesus by the front door is about the coolest thing you could do to your house.
What I learned about myself: I need at least an hour of alone time every two days, which I hadn't noticed because this is really the first time in my life that I experienced a forty-eight hour period when I was constantly with someone else. I love natural light in the kitchen. I like making refreshing, simple dishes for myself, and I don't mind the occasional hot dog roasted over the gas flame on the stove. Walking through neighborhoods where the people are so old that their lights aren't on after nine o'clock creeps me out. Oh, and I'm more easily creeped out than I thought--I had not prepared for my utter inability to sleep in a strange house by myself. I tried many things, and the help I found was in my good friend who came over to sleep there with me so that I could actually sleep. When she wasn't there, I kept a frightened vigil with my hand clutched around my keys and my cell phone, and with unhappy parents being called at all hours of the night to kill time while I waited for intruders that would never come.
I gained so much knowledge of relationships also. I learned that I am very stubborn, and that I greatly appreciate stubborn people, even when their hard-headedness makes me irritated and/or uncomfortable. And that stubbornness reveals tenderness and care. I learned once again that it is possible to spend too much time with a friend, though after years of too many sleepovers in a row, you would think I'd pick up on that! I found that people can surprise you and say really nice things when you least expect it, and that these suprises can wipe away any negative feelings you might have been having toward that person. A mixed crowd of eleven people can get along perfectly well, but there's always going to be that someone who has to bring up a personal problem in group conversation, thus creating an awkward situation for everyone else. But then there will be someone to make a joke of it, and it will all be back to normal. I learned that I really wish that I was friends with a cool, moderately older married couple, and that I would like to find a female mentor. And I learned that we can bother people without meaning to, and that even I have trouble opening those wounds after a night of letting them fester, despite my usual ease of manner in confrontation.
And I learned about God--prayer is so powerful. Especially praying aloud. I am terrified of praying aloud when others are around, but when I'm alone, it's just about the most wonderful thing on the planet. When I am anxious, praying aloud brings peace and confidence, and when I am broken, it brings healing (though sometimes painfully). I like to talk to God when I'm walking around the house, cleaning, cooking, whatever. God takes care of me in better ways than I ever could have imagined. This last bit is really about my whole summer--I went into this summer expecting to work thirty-five to forty hours a week, but I ended up working twenty-five or less, but that allowed me to visit my friends more. I grew closer with people that I wasn't expecting to befriend, and I grew away from some old friends. Also, my group of friends has shifted, and it has brought a myriad of beautiful changes in my life. Then I lost my job, which was a whole adventure in and of itself, and that allowed me to house-sit, which brought about all of the aforementioned learning. So yeah, I would definitely not have orchestrated this summer in the way that the Almighty saw fit, but of course, my plans consistently fail while his exceed all possible expectations. Praise the LORD!
That's enough reflecting for now, but I promise there is more to come. =)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
It was Tuesday evening and night that were terrible. That evening I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to distract myself from the fact that I was utterly alone. Something that you don't realize when you've never lived alone is how terribly sad it can be. So, I read on the porch (and got to at least see some people) after making dinner, and watched some weird TV shows. Then I decided that I should try to sleep. So, I pulled out the sofa bed and laid down to sleep, and got to sleep for about an hour. The rest of the night was awful--I laid there awake for an hour freaking myself out and eventually woke my dad up because I had to talk to someone. So then, I napped for about fifteen minutes at 2am, forty-five minutes or so at 3:30am, and fell asleep somewhere between 4:15 and 4:45am and woke up to the sun at 5:30. Once the sun was up, I was able to sleep a little more soundly. But yeah, awful.
So last night my awesome friends came over to the house with me for a little while and now I don't feel so isolated. It just helps to know that someone knows where I'm living!! =) Now that I've proved myself to be completely insane, I will sign off and leave you to your confusion about my irrational anxiety. Yay!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Sunday= All Saints', book club, beach (so AWESOME!), dinner at the Huddle House, park
Monday= Threshold meeting, coffee w/Joel, dinner w/Jaron, sitting around w/Christina and Matthew
Tuesday= Meeting w/writing supervisor, Cafeneo w/girls, was supposed to have coffee w/Boaz, dinner w/Matthew, rounds, ice cream, movie, sleep
Wednesday= house-sitting orientation, visiting Josh, visiting Joel w/Josh, visiting Matthew, home
So, yeah. I was completely booked for one week. It was GREAT. And now I get to go back Monday and stay for two whole weeks! I'm house-sitting for my supervisor while she and her husband disappear to somewhere, and that puts me about six blocks from campus, which is great since up till now I've been forty-five miles from campus. I am looking forward to this so much!
The best part about this is that it wouldn't have been possible if I had not lost my job. This is a great opportunity for me to learn to keep a house by myself and also hang out with all of the people I love on a more regular basis. I would have spent this two and half weeks just waiting for my next visit (July 24th-27th) and working. Granted, the money would have been nice, but this is so much better than that! Praise God!!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I have also read so far: Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (ed. Gundry, including a chapter by our very own Brad Nassif), 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed (our very own S. McKnight), Becoming Orthodox (Gillquist), Lilith (MacDonald), Praying With Icons (Forest), Adam (Dekker), and The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God (St. John Maximovitch). I am currently reading Augustine's Confessions, Jesus of Nazareth (Ratzinger), Theology of the Body (Pope John Paul II), and A Bird's-Eye View of Paul (Michael Bird).
Yummy. I hope this keeps me busy for the rest of the summer...
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Oh, cruel fate! Of course, I said, "Yes, I am." She replied, "So you won't be around much longer?" "No, I'm not, unfortunately." "Oh, okay," she said, sounding moderately embarassed, "We're really looking for someone who's going to be around..." I cut her off and said, "I completely understand. I was just giving it a shot. No worries." She then said goodbye and we hung up.
Mom and I decided today that it would be a waste of gas and energy to apply anywhere else (I've applied to three other places) since I am going back to school so soon. I mean, I'm basically available for only four and a half weeks of work at this point, now that I've thought about it, and no one in their right mind would hire me because it would take that long to train me. The only place I could concieveably work is a Quizno's. There's one in Naperville, but it's too far to drive and it's a very sketchy place (plus, my store and theirs have been fueding for years). However, the one in Oswego is owned by the woman who used to own my store, so I've given her a call to see if she'll take me back, even if it's just for a few hours a week. I'm supposed to hear from her today...
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
'Cause I need a job, folks. Mine is practically gone. It's hanging by a teeny tiny microscopic spider-web thread, and likely to fall away in a matter of hours. Which makes me a college student in debt from loans, looking to go to Israel (next summer, hopefully), needing to pay for books and groceries and necessities and gas, with no job. For six weeks. Unless someone in this town is crazy enough to hire me for that short a time...
Please pray for me. If I don't get a job, I'll definitely be volunteering somewhere to help the community (and kill time, I'm not gonna lie), and yearning for August 10th. If I don't get a job, I'll try to go up to the city sooner than that and live with a friend off campus in an effort to preserve my sanity. So yeah, being unemployed...not cool. Prayers please!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Wright was discussing his new book, Surprised by Hope (umm, is it just me or does this sound a bit like Surprise by Joy in the same way that Simply Christian sounds a bit like Mere Christianity...just sayin') that I cannot wait to read. He was absolutely gracious and awfully charming. It must be his adorable accent. Or the fact that older clergymen are just generally charming in my experience. Whatever the reason, I was captivated. I'm sure that you could find the video of the interview at Comedy Central's website. Check it out!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Par example...the struggles I'm having with the Church, as I discuss probably more frequently than necessary, lead to questions that beget more and more questions. Here's how the dialogue began in my head: "I am dissatisfied with my church. Why? What exactly is it about this particular gathering of Christians that bothers me? (lack of community) Why does this lack of community bother me? (churches should create positive community in various ways withing themselves) Should I leave? What is a good reason to leave a specific worship community? What are good reasons to stay? (so I left) Wow! Orthodoxy is beautiful and powerful and so confusing! What is this for? Why do they do that? What do the colors mean? What's the deal with icons? (I've only just recently cleared that up) Why have women stopped becoming Orthodox deaconesses? Why am I wondering these things? Do I care? Why should I care? Will I ever convert? Should I? Why do other people convert? Is it better to stay where I am and do what I can to improve the situation? God's call is not always obvious to me, so how would I know? Is the Protestant church wrong? What about Catholicism? How do I know? Did the Bible provide any guidance for this particular type of situation, or are we all supposed to just figure it out? Obviously that's not working because there is so much division in the church and especially among Protestants--why? Can we not make more honest efforts to get along? Is there significant common ground? Should we not try our best regardless?"...and so on, and so on, and so on.....
Welcome one and all to my mind. On the one hand, my wondering causes me to learn much, and the layering effect of my questions generally provides answers from multiple views on the argument. I rarely make decisions without careful thought, which keeps me out of a lot of trouble. On the other hand, can you imagine thinking like this all the time? When I don't have anyone to talk to, I end up just thinking in circles. It goes back to the beginning eventually, and I realize that I have only moved a teeny tiny smidge forward from where I was--which, in reality, is better than not at all, I suppose. Anyway, I'm sure that my inquisitiveness is a gift that I will cherish for a very long time, even if it can be a bit annoying.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Anyway, I was writing the other day for a little over an hour, then I went downstairs for a break and some milk. I got downstairs and realized that I just earned money by sitting in my chair doing the kind of thing I've done for years (and often enjoyed). And I loved it! Now, I'm entirely sure how the whole writing books and articles as a professor thing works, but I think that if it is even remotely like this, I could definitely enjoy that aspect of professing. I wasn't worried about classwork and grading and mentoring and such--those are broadly the appeal. I was a teensy bit worried about the academic writing bit. No longer. So yeah, this is how I spend my summer--reading, working, visiting friends, and writing workshops on plagiarism for first-year undergraduates. Yay!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
1. Come up with more creative ways to get people to talk about themselves.
Well, this is not going in the direction that I thought it would, but the direction it is taking is good. I am learning a bit more about people in my efforts! For example, I have learned that some people are simply not good at or are not comfortable with telling stories about their lives. This is new to me, since I love both telling and listening to little anecdotes. Like, all day. That's what my friends and I do...I'll keep working on this one.
2. Start something new
The problem with this is that one must first come up with an idea to 'start.' This might take awhile.
3. Love others better
This is difficult to measure, but I think I am at least marginally successful in this area. Any growth in this is definitely from God and not me!
4. Learn a seemingly useless skill
I said "seemingy useless" because you never know when a skill is going to come in handy! Nothing comes to mind, but knowing me, I'll learn a bunch of them by the end of the year and not even know it.
5. Learn a skill that is actually useful
I now know how to grill the perfect burger. Disgusting, dirty, and sometimes painful, but it is in fact useful. I can be the totally awesome GIRL grilling at family cookouts instead of my uncles!
6. Read, play, eat, travel, decorate, blog, and create---outside the box
Okay, who am I kidding? I was bound to do this whether I resolved to or not. Check!
7. Make one plan for after college.
I have made one plan for after college. The plan is to not go to grad school for music. I didn't say it had to be a plan of action--my plan of non-action is perfectly valid for this case. For the record, I am pondering my options which are: take a year off and live in the city working...somewhere; do an MDiv, possibly add a ThM to that after I'm already in the school (tee-hee, I'm so sneaky), be in ministry for a while, go back to school and get a DMin and teach at a seminary (whew, that was a long one!); do an MDiv, get married, have children, rear said children while husband continues going to school, eventually go back to school, teach at university; get married, do MDiv, have children, let husband rear said children while I go back to school, teach at a university. Okay, so these are obviously only a few of the options. And some of them are indeed contingent upon my finding a suitable mate, getting into grad school, being physically able to reproduce, and all contingent upon my ability to fund my endeavors. However, with prayer and much counseling from my horde of fantastic counselors, I believe that everything will work out.
The year is still young, and so am I!
I was slightly offended, but honestly, I was leaving for school and what was Dave going to do without me? So he hired this totally fantastic woman who used to own a similar establishment, and she is so good at her job, it's scary. In fact, most of the high school employees are scared of her. Anyway, I went away for school and came back and this woman had turned my workplace into her empire. She rules. In both the literal and figurative enthusiastic-shouting kind of way. I've come to love her. Here's why.
Tracy does all of those pesky little things that I used to do, and does them better, and runs the store because the big boss is never around anymore. I still got a raise even though I started doing less work. On top of all of this greatness, I retained all of the fabulous perks that came with being the favorite, including my ability to dictate my schedule exactly the way I like it and to eat whatever I choose. AND, on those lovely occasions when Tracy goes on vacation, I still get to be the manager.
Call me the assistant manager. It's basically the best job. I have occasion to be the manager when she's out, but when I'm not being the manager, I don't have to make people hate me! No disciplining, writing horrible schedules, ordering the wrong food, or doing hardly anything wrong. Then, when I do get to be the manager, I make everyone's life by not being the real manager and they take me seriously while I'm in charge, and then complain to Tracy when she gets back. It's great.
No, really. I do love Tracy--she took my job, but hey! I wasn't going to be around and she's much better at it anyway. Also, I do love the responsibility and miss it, but I figure that it's the summer and I will have more than enough lovely responsibilty to cradle in my happy arms come August. So, I aim to thoroughly enjoy this week as the manager, after which I shall resume my assisant managership with pride and joy.
Tomorrow I am off work so I am cleaning out my car and riding my bike to the library. I think a change of scenery will be very good for me. And then I can return my overdue book (yes, just one, I missed in on my shelf). Hoorah.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
1. Work on Dialogue plagiarism workshop
2. Read Augustine's Confessions
1. Study Greek
2. Read Theology of the Body
1. Work on the workshop
2. Theology of the Body
*other assorted necessary tasks
Of course, this is flexible enough to fit around my work schedule, and I do indeed have goals set for the completion of these tasks. So, much of it will change after my vacation in Seattle, but for now this is what my life will look like. I have it all written out on my fabulous little whiteboard--on the other whiteboard I have people's prayer requests (feel free to add). Both of these are within view of my desk in my OFFICE! Yes, I have an office. I commandeered the guest room in which there is no mattress (a bed, but no mattress) and put a desk and chair, a small bookshelf, a "guest" chair, and a lamp in it. It's beautiful, and I am going to miss it very much when I move in with my four roommates in August, but I think I'll definitely get over that. My girls are much more important than my space.
Schedule starts tomorrow! I can't wait!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Let us examine the developmental process of cabin fever. First, you wake up in the morning thinking that you have all the time in the world to handle all of those little tasks that pop up. With no one around taking care of similar tasks, you have less motivation to take care of them, which, coupled with your inordinate amounts of free time, makes you lay in bed a little while longer. You lazily shower and eat some sort of breakfast, maybe read, maybe play piano, check email, and other such activities that can be taken care of with little effort or motivation. After a morning (this is how long it takes me, but others may have more endurance) you begin to be a little antsy, but you aren't really sure what to do. Which of your tasks has priority? It is very difficult for me to prioritize when I am not pressed for time. Give me a schedule, and I can tell you exactly what fits where and when and why. And I'll ask for more things to fit in! But when I'm free...I'm lost!
I think the problem is partly that I have intentionally forbidden myself to drive anywhere, thus changing the act of leaving the house into a big to-do because I'd have to ride my bike. So I don't. There's that, and the fact that I have no one to call. I'm a bit lonely right now and I don't like to voice that feeling because then I think my family is going to think that I don't like them. I did voice it, though, so now my family is getting together with my dad's siblings' families so that I can re-establish contacts with my cousins so that I have someone to hang out with! Isn't my mom the greatest? That was her idea. So, yeah, I definitely do this to myself and I think the solution is to simply decide the night before that I am going to get up and choose a task and just do it without looking at the clock. It's the clock that's the kicker--'what, only ten minutes have gone by? Are you SERIOUS?--so if I just stop looking at them, maybe it'll get better.
We'll see how it goes...
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Though I will not see these girls for a while (two months, seven months, and maybe years, respectively), I felt as though we had a physical point of contact through our letters. It's a great feeling, and reminds me of the sacraments (of course). Through our very concrete letters, not emails or Facebook or phone calls, we are able to hold on to a piece of each other until the next response to our piece comes to us. The letter that I received from Laurel is a treasure that I read at least once a day, remembering all of the fun we've had this past year in getting to know one another. Laurel and I were acquaintances freshman year, but at the very beginning of last year we swung on the swings together at the University Ministries student leader retreat and became fast friends. We've been close ever since, and our friendship just keeps growing. She and I are truly kindred spirits--similar aspirations, fears, joys, and wonderings. It's beautiful, and I'm glad that we can communicate in this way while she is at camp!
Johanna is a transfer from CBC Canada that I met in choir this year. We also took Paul together with Prof Willitts, which is where we first began bonding, but we grew closest during the choir tour to California. Now that we've finally become friends, she's studying abroad in Sweden in the fall!! So the letters are great for us, too. And as for Amanda, she was my mentee this year, and our relationship had an interesting start. I met her on the bus to the boat dance--she sat down next to me and basically told me her life's story on the ride to the dance and we've had coffee at least once a month ever since. No classes together, no common activities or hanging out, just little touchpoints here and there where we discussed life and her growth through her freshman year. She is transferring to BIOLA next year, but I should see her at her wedding in the next few years! Again, letters are very good. =)
I cannot wait until my girls respond! I've made a cute little box for the letters so that I can keep them to look at later, especially when Laurel and I are little old ladies sitting in rocking chairs reminiscing and we think all the way back to when we were in college and wrote each other these fun little letters!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Once upon a time, I was part of an Evangelical Free church with my family for over eight years. When I was almost sixteen, we left that church (and things had been bad for a WHILE before we finally left), and didn't really settle anywhere else. I didn't even want to go to a Christian school, but ended up at North Park through a series of events and couldn't be happier! Anyway, so here I was at an Evangelical Covenant school going to an Evangelical Covenant church and things were okay. The school part was great, but I was really just going to my church because it was close and convenient and lots of people I knew went there. We didn't try anywhere else. It was much more liturgical than I was used to, and it weirded me out a bit at first. I mean, written prayers that everyone reads together? What?? And hymns--you've gotta be kidding. After years and years of Baptist church camp in Missouri I was burnt out on hymns, but they eventually weren't so bad and I almost preferred them to what we sang at school. But that's not the point.
Anyway, after a year and a half of attending this very nice church, I had begun to feel like something was missing. People weren't talking to us no matter how hard we tried to get involved, the worship was not nearly as much about God as I thought it should be (it sounds obvious, but you really don't think about it all that much when you're in it), and I really just felt like I was going because I needed to go to church. I worshipped on my own time, but I was really lacking a community, a Church. So, a few of my friends had been feeling the same way for a while and some had found homes in Catholicism...well, I wasn't quite ready for that, though I do intend to go to Mass sometime soon. But I knew people attending All Saints' Antiochian Eastern Orthodox Church just a couple miles away, and my friend Mark was being chrismated there in a few weeks. I thought I'd try it out. We were also preparing to go to Pascha and didn't want to be totally shocked when we made it there, so we wanted a few weeks to get used to the Liturgy. Since then, I've been welcomed and have experienced God in ways I never could have imagined, and I love it. I don't know that I'll be converting to Orthodoxy anytime soon, but I won't leaving All Saints' anytime soon either!
This has become much longer than I meant for it to be--too bad! So, back to why this going to lunch with a priest thing is strange for me: remember all that stuff about my Evangelical Protestant background? And the church camp? Well, I grew up being told that most Catholics aren't Christians and that they worship Mary and believe all kinds of weird stuff. I grew up knowing nothing about Orthodoxy. At all. So it was easier for me to accept things like priests and the Eucharist (not that I'm a communicant or anything, I just recieve blessings!) and the veneration of Mary through this other door. While I still have issues with Catholicism, namely the power of the Pope, I am no longer terrified of it, nor am I terrified of Orthodoxy. And now I've had lunch with a priest...from my parish...after the Divine Liturgy and church school on Sunday. COOL!
About the lunch itself--it was exactly what you'd expect from having lunch with a very nice grandfatherly man and his wife and two granddaughters. They asked us about ourselves, our majors and backgrounds, what church we grew up in, how we ended up at All Saints'...told us we should join the choir...you know, normal things. And it was AWESOME. The only thing that was odd about it was the fact that, in classic Father Pat fashion, we were invited over the chalice. Christina and I went up for blessings, and after blessing Christina, Father Pat pulled her close and said, "I want to take you to breakfast with me and my wife today." Christina told him I had driven her, and he said, "Great! Bring her along, too." Christina nodded, turned away, and said, "We're going to lunch with him and his wife!" I was shocked, went up for my blessing, and spent the rest of the Liturgy marveling at Father Pat's ability to carry on completely ordinary conversations while holding the chalice containing Christ's body and blood...it's not the first time. But it's his quirks that I love!
I hope you like long stories.
This weekend, Melissa and Christina (two of my roommates) and I and a bunch of our other friends from school gathered in Chicago and took the MegaBus down to St. Louis for our friends' wedding. Robert and Anna Eisenbraun were married on Saturday, May 31st at 1:30pm.
It was an absolutely lovely wedding, and I cried twice. Anna was georgous, and I've never seen Robert so happy. The two of them smiled their way through the reception. I cried twice during the ceremony (at the giving away part and the "I now pronounce you husband and wife" part), as did Christina, though Mel was able somehow to hold back her tears. Marriage is so incredibly moving and spectacular!
The weekend itself may have been the best one I've had with my friends. It was the first time that Christina lived with Melissa and I since we've been roommates for two years now and Christina will be joining us and two other girls in our apartment in the fall. So that dimension was expanded and beautified. Also, we all travelled together, the three of us and "the boys" and a few other female acquaintances, and riding a bus with people for six hours at a time definitely shows different sides of everyone and strengthens the relationship in strange ways.
Before we even left, I had a very nice long walk with my friend Josh and a very nice long breakfast with Mel. Matthew and I had a good walk on Sunday before I left as well, and all of these little touch points were fantastic for me. Since being home I have found that I left my heart in Chicago. Every time I go back it feels like I'm coming home, and I forget that I don't actually live there and sometimes I do things like invite myself over and offer my roommates' food to people who just show up at our door. Thankfully, they don't mind (I hope), probably in large part because I always make sure to bring gifts! It was a great weekend.
That's it for now. Peace
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
These five authors addressed the question, "Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism compatible?" Each wrote an essay to which the other four responded, and then he wrote a concluding argument in response to theirs. One of the authors was our own Bradley Nassif, and I must begin my evaluation by saying that Professor Nassif did a fantastic job of keeping the two views in balance and debating with his peers in the most loving fashion imaginable. Kudos to him!
I do not want to say that the others were entirely unfair, as I understand that a question of this nature is a nearly impossible attempt to combine a wide variety of factors to form one small and somewhat unclear conclusion. There were many pages full of praise for one another's work and I believe the word "irenic" was used no less than four times by one author describing another. A great many beautiful comments resulted from this discussion, giving some hope for unity. However, despite these small glimpses of agreement (or, at least, appreciation), there were a great many pages filled with confusion on both sides. This confusion generally resulted from a misunderstanding or misdefinition of an author's opinion, or a misstatement of doctrine or misreading of patristics. It was disheartening and a bit frustrating at times to read these authors as they argued over points that could have been cleared up with a helping of patience and a closer investigation of beliefs and doctrine.
I believe that there is a greater issue here that was only very lightly touched on in a few of the responses, and that is that the question at hand is not the appropriate question to be asking and answering. The question posed to these men was, "Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism compatible?" If we truly believe as I think we do that Christ intends the Church to be a loving body, caring for itself and the world, then the question that we must ask is, "HOW can Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (and Catholicism, Emerging, Fundamentalism, etc.) begin to better understand and love one another in a Christ-like manner, above all of the doctrinal issues that separate us?" I do not want to diminish the importance of the doctrines and elements of church structure that are the beginning of many ecumenical arguments, but I do think that these elements might best be held lightly in one hand while the other works to establish healthy, holy connections with other branches of the Body. Your little finger does not say to the rest of the body, "Well guys, I think I'm going off into the world on my own until Christ returns--see you later!" For the good of the Church and for those outside looking in and seeing the turmoil resulting from our current diminished state of ecumenical dialogue, we absolutely must begin to regard our brothers and sisters with less skeptical eyes and with love.
It is likely that I will write more on this later.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
HOWEVER, despite all of this nonsense, good has come of the gas "crisis." At least for me. I now ride my bike everywhere possible (work, store, library) and have seen many others doing the same. I noticed a bunch of people riding their bikes to school with their kids--families that would normally drive their kids to school. And, when I ride my bike to work, I see all kinds of birds that I haven't seen in a long time like red-winged blackbirds, goldfinches, black-capped chickadees, and cardinals. Beautiful! I hope that in this time of low economics, our country's families are able to grow closer and develop comraderie as a result. It sounds naive, and it is, but hey, I'm still allowed to be a little optimistic!!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I miss my parish. I think it's funny that I now call it "my" parish, as I've only been there two months and it is just about the least likely place for me to go. The last I wrote about All Saints' was after my very first Sunday there, and I am still enthralled. Actually, here is the progression of adjectives: dumbfounded (in a good way), smitten, intensely curious, and romanced. It's a bit of a scary place I'm in since I've found myself thinking and even subconsciously making and defending arguments from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, or at least what I know of it. I miss worshipping in that way...I'll be back soon, I hope. Actually, I think I might be able to go next week if I work out my sleep schedule appropriately (I'm going to a wedding and returning to the city about two hours before the Liturgy...)
Anywho, here is the new plan. My priorities are now as follows (I'm so grateful to have enough to do to NEED priorities): working, writing, administrative duties for Threshold/VIP, reading, and crocheting. This list is obviously not exhaustive, but it consists only of my personal activities, not social engagements. If I were to include those, the list would be ridiculously long. You're probably already bored, so I'll stop now! =)
I shall read so that I can wind down a bit. Until we meet again!