Category Archives: Journal

Lemonade and Freedom

Why couldn’t I write?

The need for perfection without the spur of the deadline and the grade. What I have to say is perhaps not profound enough. Perhaps not new enough. Perhaps not100% right.

Perhaps not.

And so I waited for perfection–the perfect idea, the perfect plan, the perfect words.

They did not come to me. Meanwhile, this blog was very boring.

I am currently planning a wedding, and hard as I’m trying to make it ours, it is everyone else’s wedding. I will come down the aisle in a white dress. We have a photographer and we will have reception food and I’m making my bridesmaids wear dresses that I like (and hope they will wear again). My two best friends are getting married this summer too–three weddings that will be not very different, actually, as different as they seem to the three of us. A person from the other side of the world could visit and take her pick and be able to say she’s seen an American wedding.

Things are going to go wrong. It’s not going to be the perfect wedding. I don’t get everything I want. My mom and I have to put a lot of effort in to pull it together.

And that’s not stopping me. If we end up serving pickle juice instead of lemonade I will be happy, as long as Dustan is still there. Being with him, after all, is the point.

And the point of writing is not to get it perfect. I hope to post more often. I hope to post worthwhile things. But nothing is going to be perfect, and perfection is not my goal.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

I live in the freedom that lemonade will not make or break my wedding. I live in the freedom that making a mistake on my blog will not ruin my writing career. I live in the freedom that this imperfect life is a celebration of the coming wedding supper, the ultimate union when Jesus will take his bride.

It is with this freedom that I intend to break out of my paralyzed state and live in the joy of the Spirit.

For I was called to be free.

Farewell, Beginning

In less than two weeks, I say goodbye to life as I have known it.

A life driven by school. A life of planning, always looking ahead to the next thing. A life of preparing. And now I’m there.

I’m prepared to do something.

Something—what something? Getting a job, paying the rent, buying specialty foods at Trader Joe’s (the stuff I begged my mother for back when I was riding in the grocery cart), keeping TJ Maxx in business.

Sure, I’m ready for that. Ready to clean the kitchen without being reminded. Ready to do my own laundry with my own detergent (I am definitely buying a new scent every week).

And if that’s all it is, I’m not interested.

Fortunately for me, I went to a liberal arts school. So my brain works better than it did four-and-a-half years ago. I plan to start my new life by catching up on some reading, starting with classical literature and The Brothers Karamozov.

Also on my list of post-graduate activities: baking bread, getting back into photography, paying down the school bill, and getting my CWP.

Because life isn’t a cycle of surviving. It’s not a multivitamin; it’s a feast.

My life is my religion. That is, my religion is my life. Every moment is joy, because I can spend every moment worshiping my creator.

My education sanded down the rough edges of my personality and sharpened the edges of my brain. I left behind the awkward high schooler and found a self-educator.

And that is the beginning.

Twenty Digits

Today I met with the founder of Amputees in Action, Bryant Young. He founded the nonprofit after realizing that he wanted to live a life that inspired his wife and six children to live healthy, active lives. AIA wants to encourage amputees to get active–tangibly by providing adaptive equipment or helping secure a coach, and inspirationally by connecting with recent amputees. “Live the life you have, not the life you used to have,” Bryant said.

Which is very resonant of forgiveness. Acknowledge the grace you have today. Move past the faults of yesterday, both your own faults and those of others. Don’t keep living yesterday.

Is is possible to forgive your body? I’m not perfect. But this is the life I have now. I walked away inspired to use my two arms, two legs, and twenty digits despite the imperfections that sometimes seem too great to overcome.

Get active. And also, check out that website. It’s a great organization to consider supporting.

 

Enough Chili To Feed The World

Throughout four summers under the tutelage of some unexpected teachers, I found that everyone is human.

I worked at a special needs camp for campers ages eight and up. That’s right–some of my campers were my grandma’s age. I led them by the hand, carried them to the bathroom in the middle of the night, pureed their food, cleaned up their messes. I learned the characteristics of all kinds of disabilities. Four summers of wild autistic fits and stubborness rivalling a two-year-old’s going down for a nap. And what was my biggest takeaway?

Everyone is human.

The group of college-age counselors spent most of every day making excuses for the campers, both verbal and silently understood. The range of acceptable behavior at camp extended far beyond social norms. We let things slide. And we laughed. You could always hear someone laughing, because something unexpected was always going on.

Mercy. That was mercy.

No one fulfills every social and intellectual expectation. Why should I withhold mercy because you lack a diagnosis? Mercy is not a big bowl of chili that has to be carefully portioned out so that everyone gets at least a little. Because I’m human, I can at least understand that you’re human too. That should be enough reason to have some compassion.

Mercy is eternal because God is eternal. There’s enough to go around.

Grief

What is grief?

How would I know? I’m twenty-two years old. If my life is average, I’m only a quarter of the way done living.

But that’s the trick, isn’t it? Who gets to be average?

Today in my Milton class we began studying Lycidas. It’s an elegy for Milton’s peer, a twenty-something year-old: a man who didn’t get to be average. Milton makes parts of the poem ragged to reflect the raggedness of grief. Some people criticize the poem for that and for being too much about Milton. But of course it has Milton all over it. Isn’t that what grief is?

How would I mourn without even being in it?

I lost an old coworker, a friend, this week. I’m left with a raggedness, some part of me that can’t be the same because someone is missing. This is my monody for you, Cliff. I’m sorry that I’m so much in it.

Two songs have been going through my head today. “It Is Not Death to Die” by Sovereign Grace and “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry, which go together like ice cream and bacon: surprisingly well.

A young man like Cliff, with his kind heart, had so much to live for. The pain of his going is “the sharp knife of a short life.” How could anyone make sense of that? But people manage to, because hope is built into humanity. Because even unbelievers hope for eternal life. Because even people who live their entire lives without reference to God hope that possibly, somehow, someway, someone conquered the grave.

In the middle of Lamentations, a confusing and painful book, we find hope. And right in the middle of my own raggedness, I find the same hope. Jesus.

“This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

The best and most hopeful hope is that the ultimate love of Jesus conquered death, demonstrating his control over the very worst of evil. He wins. And that means I win, and Cliff wins. My hope for him is secure, “sunk low, but mounted high.”

Kuyperian Librarian Begins

Kuyperianism (similar to John Piper’s Christian Hedonism) refuses to separate the secular from the sacred. I know it’s a word to be afraid of (pronounce it kai-PEER- and then -ianism), and so is the word hedonism.

But the thing to really be afraid of is trying to separate God out of life.

To live in the reality that God is not only watching but participating means you have to know who God is.

I once announced to a Catholic that I sure was glad I was a Protestant and didn’t have to go to confession. Stupid mistake that I could have avoided it if I’d known her better. And once I knew that little detail, my apology led into some pretty interesting and worthwhile conversation.

That was an interesting story. Here’s how it applies: Knowing the one person whose presence you are always in will teach you how to act.

You have to know God.

By studying theology. You can’t get away from it. It’s the biggest part of life. Your doctrine or lack of doctrine influences every action you take. Every microdecision of your day sits on who you think God is.

Theo-logy. The study of God. Let’s dive in.