Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Choosing to see His goodness thru my wilderness

That statement is written in purple ink on a weathered post-it note in my Bible. Weathered because it's been there for at least 4 years. The thing about walking in the wilderness is sometimes, you get caught up in the simplistic nature of the beauty of it. I guess that could also depend on your image of wilderness. Wilderness could be thick, tall oaks that beckon you to use their broad trunks as back rests after a long hike. Trickling streams of fresh water flowing steady underneath a log, welcoming you to tight-rope walk across it. To the bush of fresh berries. Under a canopy of branches that lie just so that the rays of sunshine seemingly fall through to warm the ground beneath your feet.

Which are covered in mud. Caked on your hiking boots and long socks. Sounds delighful. And I'm not even a nature-outdoorsy kind of person. But I wouldn't mind that! Which is precisely my point. Sometimes it's pretty! And I've walked thru my own wildernesses. But I'm inclined to believe that this time, I'm walking out of one. At least out of a dreadful one. The kind of wilderness that has the alter-ego of the one I just described. More like a swamp. Or a desert. Where the sun is too hot. The ground is too uneven. The broad tree trunks are instead cacti. You're weathered. Dry lips that crack. Mouth that is like cotton. Feet that are raw and blistered. Knees that are weak. And a heart that is one beat away from giving up. Yea. Sounds a little less delightful. But I've been there. I've been weathered. And in those times, though in my mind I could agree with the statement I have written on that post-it note (choosing to see His goodness thru my wilderness), my heart would remind me just where my vision was. It was t on His goodness. It was totally fixated on the desert. My wilderness. My aloneness. My fatigue. My lack. My striving. My anger. My hurt. So much so that not only did I consciously choose to NOT see His goodness, but I chose to not see Him at all. It was easier just to shut Him out. Rather than open my heart and share what was trapped inside of it. Now, looking back on my wilderness, it's easier to see that I'm coming away from it. Walking to the clearing. The gaping stretch of open land before me is like a hug that i try to give back when I stretch my arms out in a wingspan kind of way. And I could never wrap my arms around a clearing so great. As I picture it now, walking out of, first a desert, then a huge forest, I can even feel the relief of coming up to a clearing so great. I've been lost in the woods before. And when the trails start to not look familiar, panic sets in. And you realize you're lost. Swallowed up in a great wilderness. But when I finally found my way, and I recognized the clearing ahead of me, I ran. And I felt safe once again. This time, I am choosing to see His goodness thru my wilderness.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Been there, done that.

As I reflect upon my imminent turning of age from 24 to 25, ive decided to open up my heart a little deeper. How...? Easiest way is a trusty list. I like to incorporate humor in my writing. It takes the edge off a serious, emotional blog post. Not only that, but it keeps readers engaged. And since I've learned that my blog, in total, not including my own page views has gotten over 1800 clicks, I've decided I must be doing something right. And it may just be my humor. Or my infectious way of telling it like it is. Either way, you suckers read it!!! Maybe it's to be entertained. Maybe my blog is good bathroom reading material on your mobile device. And maybe you think it totally sucks and read it when you want to drift off into mindless, restful, deep sleep. Whatever your reason, I thank you. I guess the old saying is true..."if you build it, they will come." keep comin' people, and I'll keep writin'! So, on with it. In this post, I wanna list some things. Enjoy reading my list of humor and truth. Commence: the '25 things I never thought I'd do before turning 25' list. 1.) make it out of diapers 2.) wear a dress 3.) go to prom 4.) get ASKED to go to prom! 5.) ride in a limo 6.) go to Bible school 7.) buy an SUV 8.) run a 5k 9.) run TWO 5k's! 10.) run a 10k 11.) captain a hockey team 12.) like wearing glasses 13.) work in a hospital 14.) live out of state 15.) total a car! 16.) find a church I LOVE. 17.) want to get married 18.) want kids! 19.) preach on a Sunday morning 20.) discover who i really am 21.) be able to tolerate some country music 22.) go to a friend's funeral 23.) win any awards 24.) read people's minds! And the 25th thing I never thought I would do before turning 25... ...write a blog.

Monday, September 19, 2011

White gauze around her wrists

When I walked into the ER room and saw the gal sitting on the bed, I saw her face first. Then i saw the white gauze wrapped around her wrists. A suicide attempt. I guess I get frustrated with myself when I think, "it's another suicide patient." but not in a condescending way. It's just so not rare to sit with them. And more than my heart breaks to watch the loved ones sit for hours with their relative, it crumbles when my mind asks, "what is so bad in their life that it came to 'white gauze around her wrists.'. Both of them. She took time to engage with each wrist. And one wrist wasnt enough. It was both. Thank goodness we only have 2 wrists. I catch myself dazed sometimes when I'm thinking about what torment they're experiencing that brought them to the rationalization of contemplating taking their life. I wish my heart and shoulders were big enough to carry it for them. But God already took care of that; He sent His only Son, Jesus to take on our burdens for us. I silently pray for grace to break them. And strength to rebuild them. And at the end of my shift, I am humbled to know the Creator of the universe loves me just as much as the gal with the white wrist gauze. And I'm grateful to be able to leave. Harsh as that sounds, I sometimes think about the rough road ahead ofthese patients and of course I have empathy. But I thank God every morning after my shift that I get to go home.
I wear white gauze too. Not around my wrists. But around my heart. It's tender and bandaged. Wounded and healed. Grateful and whole.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Catching the bouquet...or 3

I had a fleeting thought while at work. I hope in my near future, it is not so fleeting ;)
I started thinking about all of the bouquets Ive caught from the dozens of weddings I've been to. I chuckled when I realized I am the exception to the promise associated with catching the budding bundle. I'm not married...but I do have a collection of bride's flowers. The first batch I caught in New York...on a quaint little grassy field. I used my 6th sense and anticipated where Erin would toss them. I have a picture. It's quite comical. The second bundle I used my airborne skills to literally snatch them out of the air.I bent my knees and even tugged my bridesmaid dress up like a shortstop would his baseball pants. Then I used my jump shot skills and timed the toss...and I grabbed those flowers like I was grabbing a baseball on its way over the fence. Thanks, Bethany. They're beautiful. The 3rd bouquet I caught...well, I didn't even want to try and catch them. Since obviously I was still single and clearly catching bouquets wasnt working for me. I was front and center on the dance floor at my sister's wedding reception. My thoughts were as follows; "There is NO way she will throw them straight back. She's not that coordinated.

 So I'll just stand right behind her and she will definitely throw them wide left, or wide right. Hit the ceiling. Cream an unsuspecting older relative drinking coffee. But surely. She will not come close to me." 1-2-3...toss. I didn't even move. And wouldn't ya know it, those friggen things lobbed right in front of me. All I did was stick out my hands and they seriously landed there. I was shocked. For a couple reasons. 1.) Angela has never been known for accuracy when throwing stuff. And 2.) I was now gonna have to be the one whose space would be invaded by the guy that caught the garter. Only a razor has been that high on my leg. No one was goin up MY dress! to my relief, my sister knows me well. As soon as she saw I caught the blessed budding bouquet, she changed her plans and decided to only have a picture taken. Thank you sister.

And thank you bouquet-catching gods. You have cursed me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Scattered, refreshed and new

There's something so refreshing about bending open the spine of a new book. The newness of the pages unturned. The white cracks that begin to appear on the outer binding of the book. Showing, eventually, the wear of the book. I feel accomplished when a new book begins to show the weathering affects of being used. Not being used...offering itself up. I feel the same way when I look at my Bible. It's not really too weathered. And that actually makes me sad. And a little anxious. When i flip thru it, I smile when i see a page filled with notes. Most notably, the passage in John 4. It's my favorite section of Scripture. Even the page can prove my statement of passion. Notes overwhelm John and the woman at the well.  It's so good. A true story of grace accompanied beautifully and equally with the truth of who jesus is And what his sacrifice offered; a second chance. My thoughts are a bit scattered but I feel refreshed. My thoughts are scattered and fresh. Scattered and fresh and new. I'm in an ICU room with a suicide precaution patient for the night. She's asleep. And in this room is where I opened my new book. In this room I've fallen into the bliss of starting a new book. It's been awhile since I've even wanted to read. The last book i read was Portia de Rossi's book called Unbearable Lightness. Excellent. Note my subtle plug...
Anyway. I was afraid to indulge in a new book for fear that the next read wouldnt be as good as Portia's book. It's serving to be a page turner. I lucked out. It was a rare find. I found it on the very bottom shelf of the Fiction Christian heading at Barnes and Noble. This was about my 3rd pass and 2 hours of walking around the little store. For some reason, i stooped to the bottom shelf, craned my neck to look at the titles and this one lit up. If you know me well, even the title of the book alone will cause you to nod your head in agreement with my choice. The title of the book is: Words. At first it was the title that got my attention. Secondly, it was the simplicity of the title. A book with a one-word title. Edgy! Daring! Perfect for a closet grammar freak and aspiring blogger such as myself. If you know me, you know my mind is violently active! Yes, even while reading a so-far-intriguing story, am I thinking about a handful of other things. Even blogging. I put the page-turning book down about 30 minutes ago to share my crazy active mind flooded with thoughts. I'll take my break from sitting to go sit alone and read my book at 3am...in 32 minutes from now. For 30 minutes. As I read, I stretched my back in this very uncomfortable computer rolling chair. It reclines back when you push back on it. Book in one hand. Balled up fist in the other hand as I stretched out my legs in front of me and pushed back on the chair. I felt the instant relief of a tightened back but tightened it back up again when I thought about how silly I would look on the floor. I was worried I would break the chair with the force with which i was pushing back on it with. Then I got self conscious and quickly sat back up and fixed my shirt and volumized my hair with my free, now un-balled fist. I looked around to make sure no one saw me as I indulged in my self consciousness. A quick scan of the patient reassured me that she was still asleep. Perhaps it was her snores that put to rest my racing heart. The nurses were busy wheeling in a new patient. No one saw me. Phew. Im safe. And so is the chair. Still intact. Still in one piece. Still as spine-wrenching as when i first jumped on it.  I guess I got lost in my book. Perhaps I'll get lost in it again. I tend to think less about my surroundings when I'm immersed in a great book. It's nice to not hear my thoughts. Most of the time. I shall retreat back into my newly found good read.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of school...

I'm gonna be 25 in about 5 weeks. This will be the 6th year I don't start high school. And ya know what, it's on my list of what to thank God for. I remember the night before my first day as a freshman. I was up nearly all night...crying because I was so scared to start high school. I was scared I would get lost. Scared I would be late. Scared I was too dumb for high school classes. And most of all, I was scared I'd get made fun of. Most of those fears came true. My only saving grace was playing hockey. I dont know how I would've made it thru without hockey. I hated pep rallies. I hated gym class. I hated math. Especially because my teacher wouldn't help me. Yea...i went in early and stayed late. But she didnt help me. She would do the math problem and ask "does that make sense?" I would say no but I guess that meant yes on Tuesday's and Thursday's. I hated the guys. And I hated the girls. They were mean. When I blew out my knee, I got made fun of for having to use crutches. One kid even said, "oh my God, she doesnt even need those." the next day, i started using just one crutch. About 2 months before i was supposed to. 7 years later, my knee still keeps me from being completely free. Thanks, stupid kid. I shouldnt have listened to you. Oh! And I got my first job in high school! It was seasonal. But then it wasnt. I got let go cuz it was seasonal again. 2 days later, some pretty, skinny and blonde chick was there. She was new. Guess they had room after all. I kept my mouth shut and did my homework. As best I could. Thank God the even numbered problems were in the back of my math and chemistry books. I woulda been in high school this morning.
So. What did I learn in school? If you weren't rich and pretty and athletic and popular and smart, you weren't anybody. Even to the teachers. Some of them. what else did I learn? Hmm. Well I didn't learn this until after I graduated...I'm glad it's over.