Thursday, March 31, 2011


There have been good things, too. Like getting to spend over a week with Andrew for his spring break, which was, wonderfully, the week of my birthday!

I learned how to throw a baseball, so I'm now a true American.

We ordered wedding bands, which means we really are getting married.

We stole all the newspaper crosswords from my mom, and gave them back to her when we couldn't do any more.

Keith and Rachel came down, and some of my mom's friends threw us a joint wedding shower. It was uncannily like being a twin.

And, for my birthday (among other wonderful things, including a scarf and earrings from Honduras), Andrew found me a first-edition copy of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox, in great condition hardcover and with all the original illustrations. So beautiful!

Image: Original illustration by Donald Chaffin, via Beg Borrow Stijl

What I have been doing lately

(Which is a great short story by Jamaica Kincaid, by the way)

This glum weather, the very opposite of spring, has made me dig my sweatpants and socks out again, and shoved my spring cheer back into hibernation. Grey weather oppresses my spirits. And these days, it feels like I'm not doing anything worth doing: a small job, a small town, planning a wedding months away, addressing invitations, and reading Roald Dahl's biography in the in-between time. Really? They feel like wasted days.

Yesterday I was moping around the house, feeling sorry for myself, and decided that I needed to get dressed up and get out of the house to cheer me up. So, off to the coffee shop with my poetry notebook in hand. I have not written in months. I sat and stared at the page for a while, wrote a few words, crossed a few words out . . . an hour later, I had actually managed to re-write the end of a poem I've been fighting with for a while. Some small accomplishment.

At this point, an elderly man sitting near me decides to engage me in conversation, asking if I'm writing, if it's for school, all about my school, if they argue about Christianity at said school, and what I want to do with my life. Somehow (probably because I was already feeling beaten down), I heard his questions and attitude as demeaning and judgemental, and I further sunk into the darkness that screams in my ear:

Why do you try? Why does it matter? Why should anyone listen to what you have to say?

I don't have an answer to that question. I don't know why anyone should listen. I don't know what I want to do with myself in ten years. I don't know why I continue to pound away at my poetry in a world that doesn't give two figs about literature of any sort. I'm afraid to care, because I care so much. My heart screams that this matters, that our world needs art to make us human again, needs the gospel to make us human again. And maybe I can play some small part in that.


What do you love, and how do you make it matter?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

People Stories

Every day this week has seemed wearying. I worked Tuesday evening, enjoyed my co-workers and my customers until one lady shattered my composure. She was sitting with her family (husband, teenage daughter, and daughter's boyfriend), and seemed pleasant enough. I was slightly taken aback when mom ordered for her daughter. She was obviously a teenager and old enough to be there with her boyfriend. Why couldn't she order her own food? When said food arrived, the mother informed me what was wrong with her daughter's food, and we set about correcting the problem. No good. Mom looks at me with disgust and tells me that I have misheard; the food still is not right. (The daughter did not say a word this entire time, or even look at me.) Mom then comes back and sticks her head in the kitchen to tell us to change something else. Okay. A few minutes later, she comes back into the kitchen (which, by the way, she's really not supposed to be) to tell the cook not to bother; the daughter doesn't want her food anymore.

I know that as a waitress, my job is to please the customer, even if it is not my fault. I know that as a daughter of Christ, I should love my neighbors and turn the other cheek. But reader, I let my frustration show. I know she could see it in my eyes. I wanted her to see how frustrated I was with her. I know that was not the proper response, but that was how I responded.


Yesterday, my family and I spent the day driving down to Charleston and back (four hours each way) for a funeral. My uncle's father (as in, my mom's brother-in-law's father) passed away after a long battle with various illnesses and problems, and my parents felt it was wise for us to drive down and support my aunt and uncle. I have never met any of the family -- other than my aunt, uncle, and their two sons -- and I didn't know the granddad at all, so it felt strange to mingle around in their grief. Have you ever been to the funeral of someone you didn't know at all? I've heard plenty of stories of him, and he and his wife are friends with my grandparents, but I did not know him. I was, however, blessed by his funeral.

Doesn't that sound strange? I was blessed by Barnie Reeves' funeral. His sons stood and testified to his life of deep love for them, and of deep love and study of the Scriptues. His young pastor spoke similar words, and read from notations in Barnie's own Bible, allowing us to share in his joy of the Word of God, and challenging us to love it as deeply, study it as thoroughly.

I read this morning in 1 John 2 -- "By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to wak in the same way in which he walked." I fear that I cannot say that I walk the way Jesus walked.

Thank goodness for the gospel, that (as John says in the previous chapter) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Amen!


Andrew is driving here now. I feel spoiled to see him again so soon. We usually see each other once a month, and this is only a three-day gap between times together! Pray for us, reader, as we prepare for marriage, as we deepen our friendship and seek to be a blessing to each other and to others as a couple.

Monday, March 7, 2011

one day closer

I feel like I haven't been here in a while; the laptop refuses to load this page properly, so I've resorted to the clunky old family desktop.

Spring is slowly springing, Andrew was here this weekend (and will be back again on Thursday to begin his spring break), my birthday is soon, we picked up wedding invitations today, and I wore my Chacos this evening! What a joyful list!

With the days becoming warmer (excepting the current cold snap), my wedding seems alarmingly near. On the days that were still obviously winter, June is far away. But now it's March, and June 25 is relatively soon. Frightening, exhilerating, stressful, and wonderful. Preparations for the actual celebration need finishing, as well as preparations for marriage counseling. I know that I won't ever be really prepared to be married, but I pray that we will both be as prepared as we can be. Just reading through our list of questions for counseling is daunting, and answering them is more so. I can understand why the culture finds the idea of co-habitation so appealing: the pleasures of living together without the inconveniences, stresses, or obligations of marriage.

Andrew and I listened to a sermon today (I wish I could remember who it was. John somebody, I think) about love. He said that humans define love by the object's value to us. We say things like "I love chocolate pudding," meaning that chocolate pudding is useful/pleasureable to me. We treat one another this way as well, whether we intend to or not. We love our parents, and why wouldn't we? They take care of us, buy us things, feed us, pamper us. But love, he goes on to say, or perhaps even better as the New King James says, charity, defines love "in relationship to the object's need." (I hope I'm quoting him correctly.) It is this way that God loves. Of course we love Him in our way -- He gives us all things! Yet He loves because of our great need, and in our great need. God loved us, so He gave. That's it. He loved, so He gave. And He gave what we most needed. He gave a Savior, a freedom from the slavery of our sin.

I need to love Andrew like this. I need him to love me like this: at the place of need.


In other news, what kind of dessert do I want for my birthday next week?