We Leave with Nothing but Love


Day #1 without Coffee
August 30, 2010, 8:07 am
Filed under: God, Living

For the next 2 weeks, until September 12, I have sworn off coffee from my daily consumption. It’s time to make changes for the better, for my body.

I am a coffee addict. I am a huge fan of a good cup to start the day, of the scents and the sounds of the brew. However, some good things should be put on hold for the sake of honoring what is better. I want to train myself to wake early to be excited about new life in Scripture, not in another cup of coffee.

Doing homework at Starbucks yesterday, I assumed that my normal intake of coffee would help me in doing my homework. Unfortunately, I only experienced increased anxiety, and could not help but heighten all internal concerns about everything uncertain in my life.

After severe distraction from my book-reading, I was hit by the beauty and truth of hymns sung in communion with my peers and fellow believers. It was there that I realized I need to take a handle on myself, and start my semester with more consistency and motivation to fee my soul, rather than my appetite.

After morning #1 of coffee-free Bible reading, I remember that as a Christ-follower, it is necessary to turn away from idols in order to turn to Christ and wait on His presence (1Thess. 1:9-10). May this be a good step toward recognizing idolatry in my life, and moving toward true love. Capturing beauty doesn’t require idolizing beautiful things.



Waves
August 14, 2010, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Virginia Wolf has much to say about relationships. Several platonic and romantic relationships are described beautifully in her book The Waves, which I read on my flight home from Japan. Bernard has a story for each of his friends. Each of his friends is a story. Neville tells Bernard that he is more than just a story, and suddenly they discover each other and himself from a huge step of confrontational friendship.

I had spent two weeks with Jon and his buddies and their wives/girlfriends. It was amazing. And I observed a whole new community of relationships in a way I never knew I could- from the military perspective. The para-rescue squadron was full of many silly men, and good men. They serve our country, and the most sincere men serve God. I loved each of these relationships that were formed, and I loved rocking out with Jon in the car, drinking ChuHai (a slightly alcoholic soda) and singing Journey songs. I loved waking up and watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia together, and then having all kinds of adventures all day. I loved all the good food (esp. the Garlic House- the new beat of my heart). And I loved being able to invest in my relationship with Jon. We had great times and a couple miscommunications, and learned that we have a lot more to learn about each other. We went to Zumami Island… And basically did tons of things I have never done before. For example, playing “I have Never” with a couple bottles of wine and two other military couples.

I hated that I didn’t get to talk with Stacy.

It was an amazing trip, and I hope that the relationship continues to blossom. There are several levels that are waiting to be reached, but so far so good.

Then two days later, Royal Family Kids Camp. On my way to the church I listened to Jars of Clay.  The other counselors in my cabin had much to say about relationships, and I was very grateful for that. One had no support from her family, even though she and her boyfriend are amazingly legit. The other was happily married until her husband pulled out the divorce papers. Another was happily married for 40 years until her husband left her. The last has been happily married for 30 years or so, and had amazing stories to share about diamonds and husbands.

The kids at the camp challenged my heart to stand against the winds of tragedy. So much of what happened will not even blossom or show fruit for years, since these girls are still learning how to even take in life’s processes. A week with precious children hurt by the world showed me that not everything can be explained by God or by love. How can an orphaned 9-year old really understand that it’s okay if her dad died and she doesn’t know her mom… God is her father and loves her.

God doesn’t take children to baseball games or fishing or skipping rocks on a lake. God isn’t a mommy with arms to wrap around her.

She called me Mommy all week. We cried together almost every day.

I wished I had not ever thought about going to this camp, but then again, I can’t imagine who I would be without having this week in my life.

On my way home in my own car, I listened to Jars of Clay again. Suddenly lyrics held a whole new kind of life:

I never minded calling you a king
If that meant that i could count on you
To give me everything
I never thought to ask you
I always thought you knew
It was never my intention to question you

You never minded calling me a child
Well, i guess that’s how i acted all the while
But you live through every tantrum
You see through every lie
Though they seem to be more common
I just wanted to know why oh why

Unforgetful you, unforgetful
Unforgetful you, so unforgetful

You never minded giving us the stars
Then showing us how blind
And unaware of you we are
You painted me a picture
And showed me how to see
Though I just won’t behold it
Unless it pertains to me