Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fossil Hunting & Extraction

From the archives, comes a year old post that sat in my draft folder.  This one comes from one of my nights sitting in a hospital room, in the dark, listening to a patient snore.  That was my job back then.  Sitting with patients in the hospital who needed to be supervised.  It was overnight, in a hard, uncomfortable chair, in the dim light of my cell phone that I met with God and heard Him talking to me as if He was sitting right next to me.  So I wrote down some things. 

Like a fossil that's just begun to be brushed off. And the thing about being buried for so long is that someone else needs to dig it up. Brush it off. And a fossil is handled with delicate care. It's displayed under lights & scrutiny & opinions. Then it gets named. Then everyone knows what its identity is. I wonder if the person who discovers the fossil is the one that names the fossil. A fossil can't discover itself. It can't name itself. Only the discoverer. 

God must be the one digging, brushing, pulling out of the ground, handling with care, researching it out, giving a name, displaying. 

That's the vision I have. I'm a fossil in the ground. Being dug up, brushed off, polished up, named & displayed. 

(random thought) Before something becomes a fossil, the organism has to die. 
During the extraction, the fossil is at its most vulnerable state; a well-planned extraction reduces the risk of damage and takes into consideration the desired end result. i.e. how the specimen will be prepared and displayed. 

So I did some digging... (ha...get it, digging...cuz fossils. never mind)
I found some stuff online about fossil research (so it MUST be true...) and found it very similar to the way God digs us out of the pits that we find ourselves in and bury deep to protect ourselves from the things around us.  And when He digs, He does it carefully.  And just because He's careful, doesn't mean it's not gonna hurt.  It just means He knows the value that's in you. 

(online research) In some cases it may be necessary to strengthen the specimen and/or surrounding matrix before progressing. For example it's common to find naturally occurring cracks passing nearby, beneath or even through the fossil; a weak matrix might crumble during the extraction and must therefore be stabilized before progressing. A fast-setting superglue is a controversial technique but useful in these situations, providing essential stability before hammering.
**** Note that overuse or misguided application can create irreversible damage to the specimen.**** 
As a general rule use as little glue as necessary and apply it as far from the specimen as possible - a drip of liquid superglue will follow the crack unaided. Avoid allowing the glue to make contact with the surface of the fossil as it can be difficult to remove. Once the fossil and matrix are stable the extraction can take place. (end online research)


Sunday, May 18, 2014

On Being (Un)popular

If you know what it means to be popular, then this post isn't for you.  Well, because, you already know.  When I look on my life, a lot of the decisions I've made...have been the (un)popular ones.  And now that I am old enough to look on them with a tiny bit of wisdom, most of the decisions I've made...have no regret attached to them.  Right or wrong. 

I was encouraged by someone to begin writing again and it was then, in that moment, that I realized I had actually stopped writing.  I have nothing worth sharing, I have nothing worth the time it would take someone to read through my jargon of uselessness. 

But I made the unpopular decision by not caring what other 'might' think about my writing and I'm writing anyway.  Part of the reason for my dormant writing behavior has been because well, there's been a lot of unpopularness going on in my life.  And since social media is all about showing off your best side, I really had no 'best' side to show off. 

So I'm making the unpopular decision by sharing my worst sides.  Which at the moment, seems to be all of them.  (Un)popular.

Maybe you've been unpopular enough to read some of my previous rants, and woven in and throughout all of them are truths, hurts, wounds, anger, confusion and realness.  The real unpopular things.  And there are popular things in them, too.  Like when things make me happy, when things are going well, when all the pieces of this unpopular life are seemingly fitting together quite nicely. 

But then there are other times...when the most unpopular thing to to bear it all.  Not for the sake of pity "likes" or "comments" or "shares" on my social media pages.  But because my hope has always been that even if one person reads something that I have shared and finds an ounce of hope tucked inside, then this piddly blog has done what I had originally set out for it to do; help someone hope.

I made a really unpopular decision 3 weeks ago.  I quit my job.  And you might expect a long laundry list of excuses and reasons why I was right in doing so.  And I would expect that too!  But instead of what I expect, or what you expect, this is what is true.  I have never lived in faith up until about 10 days ago.  And regardless of the status of my decision, whether it was right or moronically wrong, it happened.  And I've been walking out the repercussions of that deision, both good and bad.  Because this is what I've learned in making decisions as an adult.  Even if you prepare yourself before setting out to make a big decision, and walk it out till the very end, somewhere after the decision was made, you'll go back and say, "why in the world did I do that?"  And I've had a lot of those moments...where I've considered the realm of stupidity I must have been living in when I made that decision to put in my 2 weeks. 

I've had many sleepless nights, moments of peace, times of panic, words of encouragement, portions of chaos and plenty of disappointments...all in the last 10 days.  I've had fits of rage (ok, not really rage), moments of doubt and genius plans about how to get revenge and cause retaliation towards those that hurt me in my previous work place.  A place that caused me to hit my knees in my bedroom before I began getting ready for the day.  A place that forced me to pray for protection and peace.  A place where I treasured the bathroom...because I could talk out loud to Him.  A place that, had I never seen pictures and video of war, I'd believe I was in a constant war zone, ducking and diving.  A place that forced me to go to Him because He truly was all I had. 

I had to rely on His Word of truth, His quiet whisper of encouragement, His gentle nudge of obedience, His strength to keep my mouth order for me to survive. 

In my 27 years, I cannot remember ever being treated with such disdain and betrayal.  And the things He asked me to do???  I doubted whether I was hearing Him at all. 
But at the beginning of that 5 month journey, I asked Him to help me to hear Him and I always want to be where He wants me to be.  So I did the unpopular inviting my superior to church.  Not because I wanted to, not because I wanted to hug her and sit by her, and not because I wanted to just get it checked off my list of things God had asked me to do and move on, but because I was reminded many times that this human being was hurting.  And there would never ever be anything I could do or say to fix her but He can.  So I put aside the namecalling, the backstabbing and the conspiracy against me and invited her to church.  

She didn't show on Easter Sunday.  I wasn't surprised.  And so after that I thought, "ok, things will get better."  They didn't.  They got worse.  And worse.  And worse.  For the last 3 weeks that I was employed there, I was belittled and berated and spoken to numerous times about my abilities.  Not even just as an employee...but as a fellow human.  I made my decision to move on.  I went quietly on the outside, but on the inside, my heart looked like a war-torn land, desolate, abandoned, smoking, with fists raised and arrows of anger poised and ready to sling.  

So I did the unpopular thing.  I kept my mouth shut and I moved on.  I had an interview 7 days later and I was confident it was "in the bag."  I found out 3 days later, it wasn't "in the bag" at all.  I didn't get the new job.  I found out as I was sitting in my car in the pouring down rain.  And after I got the phone call, I couldn't be sure if the puddles that formed were from my tears of disappointment and devastation or the storm overhead.  I hung my head in failure and raised my questions in anger.  

So I did the unpopular thing.   I forgave the ones that treated me the way they did from my previous job.  I let go of the grip of frustration and grief.  I loosed the chokehold I had over my own neck by allowing that experience whisper the lies of failure into my soul.  I forgave myelf.    

I'm doing the unpopular thing...I'm living in faith.  I'm counting on God.  I'm believing that He has my best in mind.  I'm believing that no weapon formed against me will ever prosper.  I'm believing that nothing can separate me from the love of God, in which the height, depth, width and longevity of it cannot ever be fathomed my man.  Ever.  

I'm doing the unpopular thing.  I'm trusting in Him in the midst of what may seem to be a great defeat.  Because maybe it's in the moments of your greatest defeat that He shows up with the biggest miracle.  Maybe.   

I'm unpopular.