Yum yummy food in my tummy

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm watching Top Chef Masters now as a break from exam work. I want to be a judge on this show because the thought of eating five separate meals at one time sounds delectable. They are all working to win thousands of dollars but it all goes to charities. This does not help with my new tendency to sympathy crying. "Awww, look a the charity that feeds millions of small children a year!!! Ohhh sob sob weep weep.." I tear up at that Target commercial where the people ask all of the questions- Can only children have chewable vitamins? What is the difference between Tylenol and Advil? Then they answer "We became pharmacists to help you answer these questions." And then it's awww they have a calling- that is so nice! Seriously. That is how I act. It is very difficult to watch things anymore. But standing back and taking a look at it- it's hilarious!! It's important to stop and laugh at yourself. Even when it comes down to symptoms of a disorder I cannot change. Life is still funny and I still have to laugh. Even when I'm crying.

Are people religion or does religion have people?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I find it interesting that a lot of the irreligious or agnostic or atheist people I know aren't turned off so much by theology or even God as they are by the people in it.

So what is theology to people? Is theology the ideal, the truth we are supposed to live up to? Or is it that people create the theology- a living theology that is separate from an idealistic theology. I think in creating free will, God gave us freedom, but also gave us the potential to create confusion. And we have. We each have our own standards that we live up to- often flying in the face of traditional (and academic) theology. In every religion, every denomination, every church, we bicker like children over who is right and who is wrong. I've seen people stomp out of the room, leave the church and never come back. Is it better to have angry religious opinions, or be wishy-washy and sit back and watch, or even quietly back out? People can make the church an inviting place, a sacred and safe place. I've heard too many stories of people who have left religion altogether because other people ostracized, kicked them out, shut them out of a church as well. The God of so many faiths calls us to bring humanity together, to invite others in.

That boy had the highest of expectations
And he heard that Jesus would fill them up
Maybe something got lost in the language
Because if this was full, then why bother?
This was not the way it looked on the billboards
Smiling family beaming down on the interstate.
He dressed up nice for the congregation,
Scared that someone would find him out
Through the din and the clatter of the hallelujahs...
-"Expectations" by Caedmon's Call

... Including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they shall be called children of the living God."

Do you hear me God?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I realized as I was talking to Natalie today that my prayer life is a little angry lately. It is sarcastic, demanding, frustrated and sometimes non-existent. I don't blame God for what is going on in my life. But I do realize that I blame Him for standing on the sidelines. I wonder if there is a difference, why there is a difference between my working for peace in my life by finding Him within me or if I can ask Him to interject directly. Is He in or out? Both? Does the Spirit within me work with the Lord above? I think I feel disconnected from both right now. I don't know what I'm doing in the middle of the street, but I'm staring at God on the sidewalk.

Collecting small things with big memories

Friday, April 23, 2010

I collect things that don't take up a lot of room. I collect quotes. I keep them in a yellow notebook. Hundreds of them. Obscure ones, famous ones, Biblical ones. They are all lined up, neatly penned in in black ink and tiny script. I often find that the best thoughts are already spoken. A few sentences can inspire a day or refresh a dim outlook.

I collect postcards. I have nearly 300 of them. But they all fit in a tiny box. They are the cheapest souvenirs, but the ones that mean the most are the ones that people have sent. I have one dated March 15, 1991. It's from San Francisco and written by my late aunt in perfect handwriting that matches my mother's. She tells me that she hopes my ear infection will go away soon. I have a dozen postcards from my best friend who lives in Scotland. I postcards from almost every continent sent to me by my grandparents, the world travelers that they are. I know where every one comes from and the stories behind them.

I collect letters. Very similar to postcards, but more conversational. My dear friend Wesley and I have been writing letters back and forth for years now. Every time I open my mailbox and find her joys, prayers and wisdom I feel blessed and happy. I enjoy taking time out of my day to write to her and share my thoughts. I love the intention of letters, the time put into them. 44 cents is a small price for handwritten prose. What is more fun than a letter?

I suppose I have a few other collections, now that I think about it. I collect (not professionally) stamps and coins. It's something special that I share with my paternal grandfather. The stamps tie into my apparent love for mail and the postal service. I collect stickers and stationary. But those two things are collections that I give away. I like to send stationary that I find unique or fine. I love envelopes with a surprise lining of fun paper or a card that just makes you happy the moment you look at it.

I suppose you could analyze these things that make me happy and come up with all sorts of answers. The simple fact is that they make me smile. They connect me with the people I love in strong ways. That's the only reason I need.

The fair only comes once a year

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What? You too? I thought I was the only one! -C.S. Lewis

It is in times of despair when we see the beauty in life. It is not in our own lives that we see it, but in the lives of others. We no longer take the small things for granted. We have the small victories in life. Getting out of bed, or simply taking a shower are monumental feats meant to be celebrated. A completed task for school is even larger. Seeing the truly productive lives of others are often envied, but we must remember to celebrate for them as well. Our life on earth is short and often full of painful moments, but the life we choose to live between those moments is what counts.

"Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard." -Coldplay

I often complain that my life is not fair. And it isn't. There really isn't that much I can do about it. That simple statement doesn't take away my feeling, but it is a quiet resolution. Somehow, keeping that thought will sometimes encourage me to do something about it; to work in some way towards a goal, to accomplish something that everyone else is able to do. Even if it takes me three times as long. It often manifests itself in my life of faith. As 1 Timothy 6:12 says, "fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life." I've got to fight to keep my faith sometimes. And that's okay with me. I know that part is fair.

"Dear Child of God, I am sorry to say that suffering is not optional. It seems to be part of the human condition, but suffering can either embitter or ennoble." -Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Just Another Rainy Day

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's one of those days where I feel like Eeyore. My tail is missing, I can't walk straight, and my world seems gray. One of those days when you think back to the first thing you did and it seems so impossibly long ago that it doesn't seem like it happened today at all. Maybe yesterday, or further back. One of those days when you feel like a failure the moment your eyes flip open at the sound of the dreaded alarm. There's pollen in my hair that's probably been there for hours and my face doesn't look like I've put on any make up at all, it's so spotty. I lost my shoes and I can't go to class. I've had a headache for 8 hours. My life seems more like a really depressing book with no end in sight than an actual life. My actual life. I've eaten pink Peeps and watched a lot of Gilmore Girls. The highlight of my day was talking about Desmond Tutu for an hour in Theology class. Can I just do that for the rest of my life? It would be much better than getting ready to write a letter to my professors telling them that I'm a depressive bipolar person.

"Of course, there were times when you had to whistle in the dark to keep your morale up, and you wanted to whisper in God's ear: 'God, we know You are in charge, but can't You make it a little more obvious?'" -Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Yay Jesus!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I love Easter. I love the lilies, the azaleas in bloom and seeing all of the people in church who haven't come since Christmas and probably won't see again until next Christmas. Even the long sermons.

I don't think about the afterlife very much even though I am a Christian. I am very focused about how I live in the moment- about how Christ changes my life here on earth. I suppose I should think about the afterlife more than I do- in order to truly comprehend the magnitude of his sacrifice. Even though God gave us this magnificent gift of eternal life in the only way we could understand it- through his son, flesh and blood- we still don't grasp it fully. Death still scares me.

We are saved. We are saved. Through Christ. Grace. Love. Forgiveness. Meaning we don't have to worry (or fear) death. That's a relief. But we'll still walk to the tomb and find it empty. We go and expect death, only to find it gone. We won't believe, refuse even, to think that something greater has happened. I'll forget that when things get too hard and expect doom and gloom. Then I'll smile and remember he is risen. And that is greater than any worry that I may ever have.

He is risen indeed.

Alleluia Alleluia!!