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Showing posts from February, 2009

Rest

My friend Sarah and I had lunch the other day and we spent the time catching up on the past two weeks apart. Roommates this and graduation that and how short on sleep we both are. How technology gives us the power and expectation of ceaseless communication and immediate results; that the world seems to turn faster than it ever used to.
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Walking to class this afternoon a stroke of twitching red in the gnarled crab apple to my left caught my eye. A perfect red robin was standing on a branch just behind a shield of red berries stretching his small scaly legs and shaking his feathery body, his movements the equivalent of a yawn. With a small sharp dive, he alighted on the mulch under the shade of an OSU building's smokestacks, and I felt compelled to stop and watch. As multiple students passed me by, in groups and on cell phones with destinations and deadlines, I watched quietly as the robin's little wife cautiously hopped out into view from behind the bush at the fo…

Street-Smart Grace

I have realized that some of the most gracious and affable people are those who have a practical construction of grace in their lives. Often times, it seems those least able to point to a verse or rattle off a quote are the most able to live it in their lives with gratefulness; that those most educated in the vocabulary of grace have the most difficult time in the practicality, the street smarts, of grace.
Grace is most definitely a religious word, but it's something I have more visible examples of outside of any church building. This is what I mean when I say gracious here: a disposition to act in kindness, pleasant, one who offers a reprieve, compassionate and forbearing. As of late I have been thinking more specifically of those who are gracious as an attribute of character.
I've been in the church or church settings quite literally all of my life. I was in the pew with the floral dress and white panty hose, I was in the Christian school's folding chairs in my plaid unifo…

Day 66

Marriage is:
The last loss of privacy I used to live in houses that held up to 7 other women, always sharing a bedroom with at least one other girl. Whenever you rose there's sure to be another morning person up, and when you go to sleep there's sure to be someone who is staying up later than you. But in the bathroom, that sacred hour in the shower, unless the other bathroom was locked and an emergency "evacuation" is upon us, you could latch the hook on the door and have some precious privacy. But even though I've cut down my roommates to one, I've lost that last boundary. You get company while peeing as they brush their teeth, and usually you don't even bother to shut the door around each other any more. It's not like THAT is a secret anymore, but sometimes I forget that it's still a secret to my guests who come over and they would like it to remain as such.
No longer being able to call something "yours" and have it only be "yours&qu…

The Currency of Life

In "The Last of the Mohicans", there is an extraordinarily compelling scene. A handful of captured colonials are brought before the Huron indian Sachem (the wise man) to have their fates judged. Their captor has a debt of life owed by these colonials, so the Sachem rules that one girl will be sacrificed to settle the debt and her sister and their friend Major Duncan may go free. Duncan, shown previously to be honorable, but jealous and a kiss-ass, does an incredible thing. Given a check for freedom, he volunteers freely to trade places with the condemned girl, a life for a life. He is stretched over a fire to burn to death, having to now settle the debt that only a life given, not just generously offered, could have fulfilled. What struck most forcefully was Duncan's recognition of the currency of his life and a willingness to pay that price when necessary.
This theme of sacrifice of life dogs the steps of impactful literature. In Mark Twain's Tale of Two Cities, when…

Investigation of Holiness

Holiness has lately become an object of fascination for me. In the Bible, the word "holy" crops up over 500 times, and that's not counting other words like "sanctified" or "hallowed". God is holy, He made the Sabbath holy, His Spirit is holy, His name is holy, His angels are holy, and He wants to make his people holy. But, pardon my unholiness, what the hell does it even mean to be holy?

After some minimal online research I've put together something somewhat satisfactory.

Holy is: perfect, set apart, unique, pure, sacred, of divine quality.

God was emphatic about communicating His holiness back near the beginning when giving laws of every kind to His Israelites. They would give holy, eat holy, anoint holy, wash holy, sacrifice holy in a holy place, live in a holy city, commanded to be holy because they are set apart, God's showcase of holiness to the world. Holiness is something we do to show ourselves different and unique. And they worshipped a…

Venice is Sinking

Last winter I took an Anthropologie class to fulfill a science class requirement. At the end of the quarter when the student evaluations were handed out, the teacher asked for a willing student to deliver it to Brown Hall, since she was no longer allowed to handle it for fear of tampering. I'd never been to the Anthropologie Building before, so I raised my hand.

You could tell the building was old from the way it faced the street. Every other edifice was square with the curb, but Brown Hall tilted away from the road at almost a 45 degree angle, possibly because it preexisted the road itself. The front steps were old stone slabs bordered by brick, and beneath the front steps 2 opposite sets of stairs dove beneath the surface, leading to the lower levels. Dried ivy remained on the grey bricks at the corners, and I went in with anticipation to one of the diminishing few old buildings on campus.

I deposited the manila envelope with the secretary of the appropriate office, and I was abou…

Price Check

It's strange, this writer's mantle I've been consciously bearing lately. I fear that if I am not constantly unraveling it into print, then it will consume me by its sheer weight of thoughts and descriptions and questions. I feel I must constantly be feeding a loom of writing with the disheveled threads of my thoughts, trying to turn it into a beautiful piece of fabric, presentable and sensible to the world. I fear that I cannot keep up with this newfound deluge of materials, now that I'm actually sitting at the loom.
Also, I promised myself that I wouldn't write entries like these, mere diary entries of my days and emotions. For the training I want, that simply will not do. But it has to be said at least once what the strange pitfalls of an inarguable need to write are.
When you read a book, a good book, do you even know what that author went through to get those words on that page in front of you? Perhaps weeks in a cabin, isolated with his pages, doing solitary bat…

Shadows and Greyscale

This afternoon I suffered from what was probably the fourth headache I've ever had in my life. Blessed mightily by an excellent immune system, the times when the rogue bodily malfunction slips into my life I am completely lost. The last time I threw up (2 years ago) and was forced to rest my body, I thought Ramen noodles counted as the soup required for sick days. My appalled roommates quickly corrected my naivete. And when my headache came today, Dave had to forcibly tuck me into bed so I could sleep the effects away.
There is a window in our bedroom that, somehow, no matter what hour of daylight is always gilded in yellow sunlight. It makes for waking up on Saturday mornings a warm and gentle process, the shadows from the leafless branches painted onto our cream-colored blinds.
As I was waking cautiously from my nap, gauging whether the vice had been removed from my temples, my eyes were drawn to the blinds by a flicker of movement. The shadow of a sparrow had alighted on the shad…

A Letter To God

So how do I pray, God?

After a lifetime in 3 churches, after reading the Lord's prayer, after praying aloud a thousand times with friends, another thousand times trying to bumble through it with just you, I still don't know how to pray.

How frustrating.

It's not for lack of want. I just don't understand the methodology. After reading Miriam's Prayer and Mary's Prayer and Moses' Prayer, all with formula and poetry, is there some unknown code I need to crack? I long to overhear Daniel's long hours spent in prayer, hunched over the windowsill facing Israel. I long to overhear Elijah's conversations with you up in the mountains by the brook, or John's communiques with you as he walked the hot sand in his camel tunic. The people who knew you and knew how to pray, but their most intimate communions with you unshared and secret, and the silence of such drives me mad.

It's not for lack of want. I just don't understand the methodology. You used James…