this winter-spring time has been (per usual) chock-full of things that make my calendar look like the highest level of a particularly challenging tetris game. one of the things i am doing is leading a “roots” group for aaiv, which is iv-speak for a book cohort, which is further-iv-speak for “a-group-of-around-4-5-girls-that-meets-once-a-week-for-an-hour-to-talk-through-and-process-a-book.”
the book that our group is reading is called “one.life” by scot mcknight. mcknight talks a lot in the beginning about dreams and how it is our natural instinct as human beings to be dreamers.
now, i’m a before-i-met-jesus-i-was-really-sarcastic-and-negative kind of girl, so fluffy clouds and rainbows and unicorns were never really my thing, and, even now, i like to stay away from cheese and corn. but, i mean, i think dreams really are something that we participate in, and we are regularly swept away by our need to participate in something bigger than ourselves.
i find it kind of ironic that we have this inherent desire to participate in something grand & great. because…well, we have such a hard time thinking outside of ourselves. we get stuck on the immediate details or the next steps that we can touch, hear, see. i wonder if we get swept up by the dream of participating in something greater (swept up by things like a cause or a company or a culture [like dance]) and allow ourselves to be satisfied by it when in actuality, there is a greater arc that sweeps farther than we could ever imagine.
my junior year, i went on this crazy eurotrip and found myself needing to travel alone for a little part of it. i had to leave my companions at the brussels train station to take a train by myself to the brussels airport and fly to athens to meet a high school friend studying abroad in greece. i have a blog post on this, but i can’t find it, so i’ll just repeat it here: i freaked out for a little bit because at first i thought i had gone to the wrong brussels airport (there are two). once i calmed down and realized i was in the correct airport, i sat for a little while and watched people.
it was like a scene out of the movies, you know? where you’re sitting there before a huge glass wall that looks out on a scene where all the airplanes are arriving and departing, taxiing and parking at gates. it was a grey day; there weren’t really clouds in the sky, but i remember there was dull lighting filtering through the windows.
as i sat there, in a foreign country by myself, i suddenly felt small. not that i was insignificant, but i really was, because my footprints in the vastness of the world were and are miniscule. who was i, a lonely traveler, when there were all these other people, coming & going? who was i, when there is this great & big God who knew all these people? who not only knew, but also moved with all these people?
that humble moment is what it took for me to understand how to look beyond myself. i’ve been wondering lately how others might be able to know how to look beyond themselves — and understand that there is this vastness that we aren’t meant to get lost in, but participate wholly and impactfully in. how have you come to understand this? i’d really like to know, so if you want to pull me aside or email me, i’d be happy to listen.
walking my sight is so much easier than walking by faith; it’s easier to focus on my feet than look up & squint at the horizon and sometimes not really knowing where the destination is. but here’s the paradox: i’m already at my destination, just not yet. it’s not a matter of time, it’s not a matter of space; it’s a matter of participating in his vision.
with that comfort, i could joyfully sit in an airport and feel small for forever.
As Christ breaks bread and bids us share, each proud division ends; the love that made us, makes us one, and strangers now are friends. — "I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord"
Justified anger: Rev. Alex Gee says Madison is failing its African-American community -
The pastor of Fountain of Life Covenant Church says his concern about a quality of life for all Madisonians has grown in recent years.
this Cap Times article came out a couple of months ago (mid-december 2013) and, since then, dr. rev. alex gee organized a town hall meeting, which took place today.
on a snowy, february afternoon, many traveled to “south side madison,” or the “ghetto” of madison, to hear what dr. rev. alex gee might have to say in the time since his essay was published in a town hall meeting.
i have thoughts swimming around in my head since attending this town hall meeting, but i’ll just end this post for now with two bits:
1. i am angry, too.
2. from dr. rev. alex gee’s poem, “are we there yet?”:
these are all our sons & daughters, /
…of course we’re not there yet.
only wounded soldiers are called to serve. — jon ido warden
in britain (i have been watching a lot of sherlock lately), the underground, or “the tube,” has signs everywhere that say to “mind the gap.” the words are meant to serve as a warning for passengers to watch their step while boarding the train, as there is a, well, gap between the platform and the train.
i’ve been thinking about these words in a sense that is both similar and different lately, in that i feel as though there are too many gaps (i.e., chasms, gulfs, rifts, splits, separation) in my life, in the lives of those around me, in the world, really. and when i say “too many,” what i mean to say is “there are gaps when there should be none.”
think of it as…a venn diagram. when really it should be concentric circles, where the little circle is me and the larger circle is God, or maybe vice versa, though i’m pretty sure i mean the former. there’s just so much…empty space in between, and i’ve filled it with my selfishness and brokenness and messiness and pain. and all that piles up in the negative space to form walls and barriers that multiplies the Separation. i think we’ve all got something to throw into that pile.
what an ugly picture.
i had a strange flashback (perhaps appropriate for hashtag-throwback-thursdays) today as i was thinking about all this. when i was around 8 or 9 or 10, my parents signed me up for an overnight summer camp. there are a few prominent memories that stuck out to me and displayed temporarily one after another in my mind’s eye (much like one of those old fashioned photo slide projectors) —
swimming in a lake & being terrified of 20+ feet of water, smelling like lake, tubing for the first time, relay races, being horrifically aware of my asianness/otherness for the first time, horse back riding, and awkward friday night dances.
really the summer was rather unextraordinary if you think about it, but what became apparent to me was how distant and removed the whole memory felt. and sometimes i slip into weird phases when i feel like an outsider looking in, part of the world, but not really, trying to mind the gap between one side of the veil and the other.
and how can i mind the gap between my vision and the lord’s? between heaven and earth? for truly i (and you) am not meant to live on the outskirts of the venn diagram, teetering on the thin line & separated from the creator and one another.
mind the gap, You say. empty it, and cross it. the veil is torn.
With each decision, we tell ourselves and the world who we are. -
it would be repetitive and time-consuming for me to preface this post with an exasperated sigh (read: an introspective explanation) of where i am and what i have been up to these days and why this blog is filled with figurative blank pages. so i’m going to bypass that prolegomenon…for now.
anyways, it’s timely - maybe tardy - for me to reflect on 2013 and look ahead to 2014. i’ve reflected and resolved on this blog for the past two years at least, and i’d hate to break a perfectly reasonable habit.
2013 began with the thought “am i becoming who i want to be?” and ended with an answer of a resounding “no.” i think both question and answer were originally thought of and answered in sorrow and finally thought of and answered with redemption. that’s not to say that i am not a creature of cyclic habits, in constant need of the repetition of death and life, death and life.
it’s been a hard year, full of discovery of adulthood, servanthood, identity, and responsibility (and with it, decisions).
many times this past year i’ve referenced an alternate universe running parallel with this one, one where i’ve made different decisions and walked down the other path rather than the one i’ve taken. i’ve come to realize that the hard decisions come with “the real world,” that adulthood is characterized by constant, difficult, and life-altering decisions, where the stakes are high and consequences immediate and impactful.
"who do i want to be?" rang loud and dizzyingly - with the answer of "a faithful servant" all but making things clearer, just fuzzier sometimes.
but getting lost in the expansiveness of the world is no way to dwell. i’ve realized that it is time to stop listening, stop mulling, stop ruminating, and do. i’d like to speak well, speak often, love well, love often - and i think speaking and acting and loving are all one in the same. i’d like to be. less so because i am a product of my generation, and more so because of love (and faith and hope).
i think next year will be an interesting one. no doubt it will be full of more transitions, more discovery, and more stumbling around. but i rather hope it’s full of the spirit. full of the image of the cross. full of the the father’s providence.
sometimes at work people like to say that hope is not a plan. i think that’s a gross misunderstanding of what hope is, because hope is expectation in certainty. i am a tad more sure of who i want to be, and it is not what i want at all. and that is life-receiving, life-sustaining, and life-emanating.