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29 June 2007

let's play trust

i hate this game: trust. i don't hate it because i'm not good at it, in fact, i am GOOD at the receiving end of trust. but somewhere, a long time ago, on some sidewalk or lawn, i decided i didn't want to play with kids like you. i said no to trust.

you have to understand, i have always thought, since i can remember being concious of my appearance, that i was "bigger." and by bigger i just mean too big for you. it's not an actual physical reality, it is an imagined mentality that i adopted, integrated, and settled for. it is the air that i breathe.

well one day, err evening, i was at a party. lets say it was April 2007, i was 22, about to graduate from college. and guess what, i STILL hate the game trust. but i have this friend, his name is mark.thomp and he's incredibly strong. he has a big heart too, so you feel okay letting him love on you; it requires very little effort, he just loves you and it's feels like maybe that's how simple and yet how satisfying love it supposed to be. so the scene is a party: my 2 best friends from highschool, their boyfriends, and siempre single Estef. well after requesting mark to be my fill in boyfriend in the photo, we proceed to let him "dip" me. which requires that i TruSt him.

and somewhere inside of me, i found just a little bit of that magic.

and look at this: look at the JOY on my face. look at the ease and comfort that i am holding onto him with. and look at the sheer simplicity of the moment. it was simple delight. and i tell you what, it was worth it to ignore whatever fear it is that i'm always listening to. it lies.

trusting is life.

the reason i am thinking about this at all is because my dear friend hallie reminded me of how fun this moment with mark.thomp was. mark.thomp is kinda-sorta-always fun, but it was memorable and fun. and it reminded me that i am capable of trust. and i'm not too big for you. and i actually know how to play. and maybe i should play just a little wee bit more.

so today, at work, i have millions of thoughts about my lack of trust, and i admit i found a LOT of them. ones that are completely irrational and unreal, mingled with ones that seem very real. i want to explore those.

and believe me, i will keep you posted.

26 June 2007

anchors

well for starters, i would like to say that my entire day's focus revolved around the idea of grace.
i would also like to say, that as soon as i began to operate out of a place of normalcy, i lost all thoughts of grace completely. i had to constantly check back in with the presence of life that anchors me----and i felt extremely thankful for the amount of grace that is extended to me, despite my undeserving life.

i have hesitated to actually write tonight----instead i frolicked around all of the internet, browsing newly posted facebook photos (what an idiot i am! see! there goes the grace) to stalking the winner of these shoes that i abso-freaking-lutely coveted on EBay (cole haan g series flats with rhinestone, ughhh i can't believe i lost). and now i realized that it would be best if i just reflected for a moment of two before i sleep (a mere 6 hours, have to open in the a.m.). my hot tea has made me a bit too hot.

the word anchor has been extremely present in my life today---and i just thought about that as i used it in a sentence four sentences prior to this one. and i just looked over at my hot tea, thinking about how it was making me hotter but still going in for a sip, and the tag of my tea reads: "Love, compassion, and kindness are the anchors of life."

anchors.

anchor1 [ˈӕŋkə] noun
something, usually a heavy piece of metal with points which dig into the sea-bed, used to hold a boat in one position
Arabic: مِرْساة السَّفينَه
Chinese (Simplified): 锚
Chinese (Traditional): 錨
Czech: kotva
Danish: anker
Dutch: anker
Estonian: ankur
Finnish: ankkuri
French: ancre
German: der Anker
Greek: άγκυρα
Hungarian: horgony
Icelandic: akkeri
Indonesian: jangkar, sauh
Italian: ancora
Japanese: いかり
Korean: 닻
Latvian: enkurs
Lithuanian: inkaras
Norwegian: anker
Polish: kotwica
Portuguese (Brazil): âncora
Portuguese (Portugal): âncora
Romanian: ancoră
Russian: якорь
Slovak: kotva
Slovenian: sidro
Spanish: ancla
Swedish: ankare
Turkish: çapa, demir, çıpa


anchor2 [ˈӕŋkə] noun
something that holds someone or something steady
Arabic: مَلاذ، سَند، مَرْبَط
Chinese (Simplified): 固定物
Chinese (Traditional): 固定物
Czech: opora
Danish: forankring
Dutch: plechtanker
Estonian: ankur
Finnish: ankkuri
French: attache
German: der Rettungsanker
Greek: άγκυρα
Hungarian: rögzítő
Icelandic: haldreipi
Indonesian: penahan
Italian: ancora
Japanese: 固定する
Korean: 고정재
Latvian: drošs patvērums
Lithuanian: pagrindas, ramstis
Norwegian: forankring, feste
Polish: kotwica
Portuguese (Brazil): âncora
Portuguese (Portugal): ancorar
Romanian: salvare, sprijin
Russian: якорь спасения
Slovak: opora
Slovenian: (pri)vez
Spanish: ancla
Swedish: stöd, förankring
Turkish: destek
i am going to go ahead and identify with the later of the two definitions. i love the distinction here: it is clear (except not in the english language) that an anchor is not just a physical thing, but a presence, a something, which could be aNyThiNG, that holds us steady. maybe that's why i am here...or still not far out from the shore. regardless, i trust grace without expectation. (this does not mean i don't have expectations, i just realize they are absurd.) grace, wasn't that where i started? . and i will finish there, too. ˆgrace & peace to you; and an anchor to hold you steady when neither seem present.ˆ

25 June 2007

tired tears

a vivid description of the recent pain: (as told to ashley hepburn)

here is my very long story made as-short-as-possible: i was feeling very sad on thursday night because i wanted so badly to try out this new discovery (an al fresco bar in the highlands) and i drove by it hoping i could conjure up the courage to go in alone and i was simply overwhelmed by my own incapacity. it frustrated me that I couldn't be brave enough to go in alone, and it sadness me because i feel a lack of companionship here (and the always lack of people pursuing me). understandably, no one hopes to go out alone, but i have no grace for myself and i thought the fault lay invariably in myself. "clearly, there is something wrong with me," i reasoned in my silly little head. so i was calling you to do what i consider fairly normal, which is leave you a little reminder of the many million times every week that i wish we lived in the same city, or even, considering the circumstances, i just needed a reminder that it was OKAY to not have the courage at that moment, that despite the lack of new girlfriends or good companions to accompany me for a cerveza doesn't represent my value. however, forgetting you were traveling to dallas, it was a surprise that you answered at all (i almost always expect to miss you, though i don't "hope" to miss you, it's just that we have a voicemail relationship) and a wall within my chest collapsed when I heard that you were arriving and embarking upon this amazing weekend adventure with quality friends and goodness abounding---- i was envious, of course, but more than that it was timing that felt like acid in my already fresh wound of loneliness. NONE of this could have been prevented, all of this is somehow embodying God's spirit and the presence that moves us along in life, but neither does it mean that we will always see life from the mountaintop. so that is why i was choking on my own words when we spoke briefly on thursday night. i almost think i didn't need to talk at all, rather i just needed to hear a voice that was comforting and truthful and real. i'm sorry for you that i can't be stronger, i want to be but maybe this season of my life is just about me hanging on a bit less to my façade of fortitude and well-being, and maybe it is more about trusting God and leaping dangerously into the unknown. regardless, that is my story. and i began to write you late thursday night, but i went to delete something after typing about 5 minutes worth of text, and the freaking "firefox application encountered an error and was forced to quit." so i lost everything i wrote you and my tired tears couldn't bear writing it again. thank our very gracious Lord that the hours continue onward, and we do as well.

"tired tears" is a phrase i have coveted these past few weeks, and it is derived from Betty Smith, author of my current read, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in her editor's note, written in 1947. the quote is: "My cup flowed over, literally, when I added a few tired tears to the water."

24 June 2007

limit to your love

my desk looks like an explosion today. in fact my whole room seems destroyed and in need of some serious attention. but i'm sitting here in my robe thinking about this past week and watching the rain fall so hard outside of my window. louisville needs rain in a serious way. we all could use a few showers. summer is just kind of like that, it's soft and slow and sensational.

i'm listening to feist and she makes me want to write but i'm completely and utterly distracted. did i mention it's raining outside my window?

21 June 2007

sweat dripping down my face

i would like to take a moment and thank you for talking to me even when i have sweat dripping down my face. i am so completely full of pores, toxins are emitted from my every pore during any point of the day, and i love people who love people despite their plethora of imperfections. thank you for loving me.

today, at work, bobby & josh scrubbed and mopped with us. i couldn't believe it. it shook my bones to accept their generous assistance. i didn't know what to do. i just stepped around in circles, watching those lanky arms scrub harder than i have ever seen before---and the generosity sat me on my heels, i mean honestly, i was stumbling around like i had no toes to balance my body. i was so so so so thankful. it wasn't because i didn't want to do it, i wouldn't have minded at all, its just that their gesture was so generous. and their time is precious (or at least that's the sentiment I perceive from them), so to stop and take ten minutes to help me (even indirectly) was this abundant blessing. thank you, thank you, thank you.

i finally cleaned up my desk. i did this rather than run because i need a day of rest. or because i wanted to. i love taking off all of my work clothes and sitting around my room in loose clothing (or none at all). i am always most productive when i have these precious moments to regain control of the many strands of thread that make up my life.

guess what: (three things, actually)
1. ERIN AUTIN returns to the States today! Hoo-FreAkiNG-RAy! i am so pumped to have her around constantly!!!!! (i wish she was moving to KY)
2. I finally got to watch Volver. I'm not thru with it yet, I still have one hour of the movie left, but so far, so very very good. Almodóvar is amazing. ¡Viva Almodóvar!
3. Julie and I went to Bargain Barn today (you wish you could be me on these days), and I found the best gift at the book section: "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. I have wanted this book since Melanie showed it to me, when I then remembered a quote I'd read and become infatuated with in the spring of 2006, and then it showed up on Renita J. Weems "to read" list and now, it's in my hands. And it was only one dollar. and I purchased it from a local shop. I mean, that's beautiful news. I will keep you posted on it's wonder. (I hope it is full of wonder)

until then...

19 June 2007

humility

i just have a few words, ones i read this morning that humble me, and break me, and move me into new, wonderful places. here they are:
" Am I in authority? how prone to abuse my trust, make will my law, exclude others' enjoyments, serve my own interests and policy!"

and so now, the day ahead of me, will I serve you, or myself? i pray it is You. and you. and you.

"Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace."

*aLL these are from prayers in the Valley of Vision

07 June 2007

traitor is right

one of my friends just sent me an email that consisted of photos of "10 women drivers" and shows us how we can avoid looking like idiots and being made fun of... in 6 of the 10 photos the driver is indistinguishable, and it's just assumed that the person who made such a stupid mistake is a woman. in photo # 7, the cheesy, bold font reads: "YES! IT'S A WOMAN!" i am livid. but you know what, my momma said, chose your battles, and this is one i don't even want to fight (think of how much trash and tragedy is constantly attacking us when we use the internet). unfortunately, my friend who forwarded it to be is a) a woman and b) not the world's best driver. but the worst part to me about all of this is the words in the subject line from her email: "FW: The Top 10 Contestants For The 2006 Women Drivers Award O.K.--so I'm a traitor to my fellow gals. Couldn't resist"

ok.
think about this statement. USE YOUR HEAD, take off the rose-tinted glasses, and read this statement, then consider the content to follow. first of all, the creator of this wonderful forward makes the assumption that women are being rewarded for this kind of behavior. what an epidemic: confusing women and their mistakes as a reflection of their inherent nature. seco
nd: that a woman could thoughtlessly pass along such ridicule and pass it off with saying "so i'm a traitor to my fellow gals. couldn't resist" kills me. really, it kills me. i want to write in bold letters: CARE. know that with these subliminal messages you are only AFFIRMING the stereotypes that already exist. don't just brush it off, really, please just care a little bit, and see what caring just a little bit will do.

i almost replied to this lovely fwd. with this:
___(name.of.friend)____
traitor is right.
you just threw your own kind under the bus.
i wonder:
if the creator of this email is a man or a woman?
what kinds of messages we pick up from viewing things like this?
whether those messages are full of truth or lies?

and you know what, why shouldn't i say that?
those are truthful observations, and i hope that by saying them it makes her think next time before a) she sends something like this or b) she writes it off. you know what? maybe she is bored at work, and maybe she wants to send forwards, but next time send ones that BUILD women up. don't tear us down. we have a terrible enough reputation as it is. see italicized above.

05 June 2007

say hello part dos

ok so i totally did what i just wrote an entire post about. i drove past a "friend" this evening, and we clearly made eye contact. it took me by such surprise that i didn't wave, i didn't even acknowledge the other with an expression of the face or mouth or eyes. nothing. how extremely awkward. all i would have had to do is wave, but i think i was experiencing a shock wave, or a wave of emotions and old associations, or something. it was a moment in life when time seems to slow down dangerously, and in that instant when you notice the change of pace, you wonder to yourself, "am i going to fast? or are they are going too slow?"

well i will tell you what.
i was just trying to get the hell out of there.
and i didn't even know it.
ain't no need to say hello if that's not what you want to say.
my parents taught me: "if you don't have something nice to say..."

say hello

ok so i totally work in the service industry. i can deal with that. but what i cannot deal with is people who do not acknowledge your life. just freaking say hello. today i walked up to greet a duo of women and before i could even say hello this woman looks up at me, like i'm a walking-freaking-chalkboard of the daily specials and says "whats the soup?" i paused, almost threwup in my mouth, and proceeded with my generous, "hellloooooooo." i hope she saw my suprise at her indignity.

now to me, saying hello, or not saying hello in this case is a humane behavior, acknowledging the other human on the most minimal level. and i think of the comparison between myself who is faced with this "indignity" (that was a strong word, wasn't it?), and people in other parts of this globe who see guns and who get orders shouted at them and who cannot hear anything at all and are constantly belittled. what is it that the power of communication so ineffectively pursues? connecting all of us crazy people, i suppose that is the goal of communication. but some of us, such as i, feel that we merit such wonderful communication that it "SHOULD" be done the way i do it. this is a crazy thought in and of itself. so let's be honest: of course, say hello, but if you don't, be humane. whatever it takes for you to meet the other people in your life with love and openness and courage, be that. and when you cannot, just say hello. that is all that i am asking.

04 June 2007

my newest obsession

i have to go to bed. but i'd just like to say, my newest obsession is anything and everything french.

i love the music, the words, the wine, the style, the design, the food, the imperfection, and the complex everything.

i am tired tonight and anything foreign is appealing to me.
maybe because it doesn't make sense and it doesn't need to.
it is just beautiful because it exists, not because it makes any sense.
"you have to take risks," the grandmother said, "and you will have a wonderful life."

what risks did i take today?
what courage did i display?
"what will you do with your one and wonderous life?" (elizabeth gilbert, eat, pray, love)

03 June 2007

hands


i have always had this obsession with hands.
one of the first things i notice about people are their hands. maybe they tell a lot more about people than we think. i don't like to put my hands in dirty things. this week that became an issue because a part of my necklace was lost, got sucked up in the vaccum, then my precious boss sought it out of the discusting vaccum bag for me because i didn't want to touch it. but i will pop a zit on your back for you anyday, i swear. i mean, seriously, who are we and what do we do with our hands.

in ecuador, about a year ago, i was traveling with my dear friend EA, who noticed that i was attracted to the art of Oswaldo Guayasamin, and i think that she was cognicent of the fact that this obsession started with his poignant use of hands. i bought an antique ring in EC that manifested this obsession, and to this day it is one of my most valued pieces, i think it is more than just a piece of material for me, it is a reminder of the amazing treasure that is given to us each day: life. and what we chose to do with it is the only responsibility that we have for every moment that passes. we use our hands to touch one another. to write in journals and on greeting cards. to build and to tear down. to serve and to protect. i use my hands to wash dishes and dress my body and put my hair in a ponytail. i am thankful for my hands.

"hands once bound in slavery are now challenged to be open & free & loved." ashley seaman

i have this idea though, that i have yet to really use them to bring justice and peace into the world. the kids at my church scrapped up every penny they could find this week so that they could raise money for Heffer International. after about 30 kids finding every coin and dollar within reach, they raised enough money to buy a cow and a fish. that is an amazing accomplish ment. those same hands learn to how to sign and sing a new song about coming to table---how EVERYONE is called to God's table. and they prayed with those hands, over the ways God is tugging at their hearts, calling them to use their hands in new ways...

and i wonder, how can i use my hands this week? what comfort or service or assistance can i use my hands for? i pray with them open, all ten fingers sprawled out before the amazing throne of the Lord, calling for blessings given and received through the tiny person that i am. and my greatest prayer is that they would be used for new and humble tasks this week. maybe digging through the vaccum bag for someone else.

"give thanks for the hand of God that reaches through your hands." ashley seaman