December 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
This God we serve became a baby. His love so pounded through the stuck-together cells of human skin, so wanted to identify with the small-eyed, coarse-haired, oily-skinned of us, the ones who can’t get out of this three-meal-a-day, put-on fabric to cover up the weird knobs and folds of our bodies existence. He wanted not just to show us compassion, like a mother trying to comfort a daughter. He wanted to become the daughter. To become the son. To be one of us. He could have just called us higher or transformed a lucky few to be demigods and demigoddesses. Instead, he became a person. Someone who had to wear clothes and ask for help from God. Who had to put up with crass language and inconveniences like long lines in the grocery store and people cutting you off in conversation. He had long days. He had hard confrontational conversations he would have rather not had to have had. But before all that, even, he had a manger. He had the speechlessness of a baby. The limited communication of crying and cooing.
Why? Sometimes I’m still not clear on that topic. I don’t really think it was because it was necessary. It certainly wasn’t the minimum we could get by on. It was the extravagant heart of a lovesick God. There was something irrepressible in his very nature, something that didn’t just push the Son off the cliff of heaven into a war-torn earth. No, I can see him dancing off the clouds, the angels holding their wide-eyed breath. He is going, He is increasing His government, because of a terrible drive inside His Spirit. It’s something we feel a twinge of, I think, when we see the beauty of Christmas lights and Santa reflected in the eyes of a 4-year-old. Or when we take a bite of peppermint cheesecake with oreo crust and wash it down with the silkiest decaf. Or when we put on something beautiful and catch sight of our transformed self in the mirror and resonate – yes, that’s really me. That’s the real me.
That’s the real you.
Did you know? Did you know He came ugly so you could live pretty? Does that sound blasphemous? It does to me. I literally recoil and want to erase the words. I live with a firm grip on my budget, a deer-in-the-headlights approach to life even when there aren’t any headlights for miles around. I research the lowest prices for ingredients for homemade Christmas gifts before an early bedtime on a Friday night then spend my Saturday mornings with the treat of black coffee from a coffee shop surrounded by strangers with screens. Sometimes on Saturdays, little innocent ones toddling by me on their day off from daycare, I feel like the ash tray of the world – the leavings of someone else’s stress-reliever. But then – today, anyway, not always, I remember. Christ the Savior is born. The Savior. And I still need saving. Not just from hell or from sin, but saving. Rescuing. Someone, Someone with real power, caring enough to preserve the me that has gotten so totally obscured by the fake print-outs of people I love but don’t even know. Distant goals I attach so much weight to – run this fast, wear this brand, have this experience, work this hard, live in that neighborhood, marry that man – that, when I hold them, turn out to be so weightless that they do nothing to anchor me down.
It isn’t a weighty anchor I need. It isn’t a mansion or a man or a medal. The directive of my life is (unfortunately) more ethereal and (blessedly) more tactile…so feel-able, in fact, that it makes me squirm. The soft skin of a baby. In the rough scratch of manger straw. That’s my hope.
August 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
I am choosing a new season.
- One of thankfulness.
- One of art.
- One of laying down my life for Jesus’s poor.
- One of letting Jesus open the door for me. Like a Southern belle, I will stand by the door until He opens it.
- One of community.
- One of returning to desire.
- One of slowing down.
- One of believing I am loved.
July 24, 2012 § 6 Comments
I know I have shamefully neglected this blog, and a huge reason for that has been that I’m not back to running yet, so the blog has just been a painful reminder of that fact. But I also just haven’t had the time or energy! I feel like I got on a train with broken brakes when I moved to Austin, jumping full force into a busy full time job I love, tons of opportunities to be with my family hanging out/meeting for coffee/going to church/helping them renovate/cohosting garage sales/etc., trying to plug into church stuff and build some community, and living with four girls I had never met before. And it’s not that I never get time to myself or couldn’t spend a few minutes on the weekend hacking out a blog post. It’s that when I have those minutes, I find myself just needing to recover.
I’m reading a book right now called The Introvert Advantage and oh my goodness. I am apparently what is known as a “highly sensitive introvert.” I get so frustrated with this about myself. I am sure many people (my poor roommates) must think how anti-social I am. I just cannot be on “go” mode nonstop without serious alone time frequently interspersed. As of now (I’m moving next week), home is not super restful. My house is basically a nonstop party, with people in and out, two types of music going in different rooms, people wanting to talk, any clean surface turning into an opportunity to make it a dirty surface. Am I complaining? No, because I would so love to be one of those exuberant people who can just absorb it all and get energy from it and live large.
But I am not.
And it’s a realization I’m coming to that I’m not sure I’ve accepted yet.
Still, I want to, and a part of that acceptance, I think, will be a renewal of my creativity and the ability to just be. In a moment of being I had yesterday, walking the city block from Whole Foods to my office, I was thinking about a conversation I had with an older man who came to a party/concert/bbq we had at my house on Sunday. He had been raised on a farm and has a vision to raise crops to feed the homeless. My heart.
I was also remembering a woman Sarah and I struck up a conversation with the other day at the Whole Foods bakery case. We were all three admiring the enormous, golden kolaches oozing with cream cheese and fruit and chocolate chips and the woman said (unbelievably),
“But, you know, at least they’re healthy.”
Sarah and I made indiscernible noises intended to sound agreeable, if not in agreement. The woman went on: “I mean, I’m sure they’re still full of calories, but at least they’re not fat calories.” Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Walk away.
These are the topics that light my fire – food, health, the poor, the American diet, agriculture, sustainability, whole living. And I don’t think I know enough about them to write about them. I didn’t get my master’s in anything ag-related. I don’t work in healthcare or on a farm. But I want to write about these topics, even just to process them in my own head. So stay tuned. The blog may be evolving.
May 9, 2012 § 4 Comments
No stress fracture! I feel like I’ve told so many people that, but I keep forgetting to tell the blog. Normal bone scan and very steady improvement in pain level for the last week. Praise God. I’m still not running and there’s really no way I could even take a step of a jog without some major pain, so Pilates, the bike, stairmaster, and free weights are where it’s at for me these days.
Cryptic life update:
I’m back in Austin! For good! I am ecstatic about this and feel so much hope about the next phase of life. I am actually starting a potential job today (kind of on trial) and so I’m writing this blog post to calm my nerves.
I think I’m about go change my outfit…again.
The last few weeks have been kind of nuts with injury worries, finishing school, moving, finals, my dad coming into Baton Rouge, other family drama, etc. I’m ready to just be settled!
And I’m ready to get back to running. It’s been over 3 weeks since I ran a step. But during this time, I really haven’t gone stir-crazy or felt like I’ve lost a part of myself or anything. It’s helped me realize that I am more than just a runner and it’s been fun to have extra time to pursue some different creative/fitness outlets.
Sorry this is brief and discombobulated, but just wanted to pop in and say I’m still alive and have unbroken bones. God is good.
May 1, 2012 § 6 Comments
I’m writing this outside the LSU Parking Safety Building (wouldn’t you hate to be a parking safety officer? Of all jobs in transportation, that seems one of the least exciting), where in fifteen minutes I’ll be appealing a ticket I got cause I parked in a handicapped space before I had my medical tag. I know. It’s bad. I’m a terrible person.
These guys have become my new best frenemies. Glad to have them so I don’t have to limp around but boy, they are exhausting. If you, like me, have ever thought crutches seemed kind of glamorous (am I alone in this?), let me just tell you right now…they’re not. Bright side: I get a major upper-body workout using them, which is handy since otherwise I’ve just been doing a lot of sitting lately.
The doc yesterday told me my X-rays were normal, which I expected, and referred me to the orthopedist. I see him Friday. The day before, I’m getting a bone scan and the story behind that is pretty amazing, but that’ll have to wait for another post.
I’ve got to crutch in to plead my case to the parking people.
Thanks so much for your prayers!
April 29, 2012 § 10 Comments
After a couple of weeks now of very limited mobility and ongoing pain in the ol’ hip bone, I have done some “research” (i.e., scoured the Internet and read a lot of forums) and am 99% sure that what is going on with me is actually a femoral neck stress fracture (FNSF).
The implications of this are kind of hard for me to even grasp right now, so I’m taking it one day at a time.
Make that an hour at a time.
I wanted to write and just ask anyone who reads this to please pray for me. I go back to the doctor tomorrow for results of my X-rays, but FNSFs are notorious for not showing up on X-rays, which means I may need an MRI or bone scan to accurately diagnose the problem.
Thanks so much for all your support and sweetness…and thanks ahead of time for praying.
April 27, 2012 § 9 Comments
Does running make you happier? All kinds of bloggers, runners, magazine articles, and even researchers seem to think so. I’m no expert, but today, I’ve at least felt the converse effect, the tearfulness that seems to hit me when I’m not running. Strange things make me cry. And even though it’s only just after lunchtime on a beautiful Friday, I’ve found myself crying three times today already. Maybe it has to do with the pain I’m in. Maybe it’s because I’m just a baby. Or maybe it’s because when I run less, I feel more.
Here are the three. Prepare yourself. They’re small.
- The nurse didn’t care.
The pain in my hip, I am sorry to report, is not better. I won’t go into it, but suffice it to say, I wound up at LSU’s Student Health Center first thing this morning for triage so I could try to get in to see a doctor (who would hopefully refer me to a specialist, to get X-rays, and maybe for physical therapy). The nurse, not looking at me as I limped into the room, said, “Alright, what’s wrong with you?”
“I hurt my hip–”
I gave it.
“Are you on any medicines?”
“No. I’ve been taking two Advil in the mornings.”
She looked at me for the first time, peering skeptically over her glasses. I stood my ground. I wasn’t lying.
“What’d you do?”
I told her I’d hurt it running. She asked when the pain had started. I told her a week before I ran in a marathon and had to drop out because of the–
“Where’s it hurt?”
I showed her.
“And no trauma?”
“Well, no, it just got worse when I was in Boston, trying to run a –”
“And you’re not on birth control?”
That’s when I felt tears. No, lady, I’m not on birth control. I just have a hurt hip. That’s ruining my life. Help me out here.
2. I’m saying good-bye.
I am so crazy-excited about the next step in my life, which I’ll write more about later. But it means that I am leaving some people I love dearly behind. I was texting with one of them today, my friend Matt who has done so much for me and has been such a true friend to me even when I basically have done nothing for him. Suddenly, I found myself with full-on tears streaming down my face. I felt so sad about not seeing him anymore and not being in and out of each others’ lives (even though we don’t really hang out that much as it is). It’s just hard to say good-bye. I hate it. So I cried.
3. This American Life
On my local public radio station, they play last week’s episodes of some shows on the following Friday. Today, I caught a little bit of This American Life in the car. It was Mike Birbiglia telling a story, first explaining that he didn’t believe in marriage and then describing how he had gotten obsessed with bringing to justice a drunk driver who had hit him and totaled his car. Then one night, on a date with his girlfriend, he was scribbling on a napkin an idea about his case and how he could prove himself right. His girlfriend, Jenny, suggests he do that the next morning. From the transcript, here’s how it plays out:
I say, “This is serious. Which part of this napkin don’t you understand?”
She says, “I don’t know what to tell you Mike because you’re right, but it’s only hurting you. And I’m just so glad that you’re alive, and I think that we should focus on that.”
She only has to say it once, and I dropped the case and I pay for the guy’s car. And a few months later Jenny and I go to City Hall and get married.
I still didn’t believe in the idea of marriage, and I still don’t. But I believe in her–
That’s where I started crying. The thought of someone else giving up their case, their need to prove something to the world, because of love–it just got to me. I want to believe in someone like that. I want someone to believe in me like that.
So…there’s my sappiness. May your Friday and weekend be joyful and full of smiles. But sometimes I think tears are okay, too, in the midst of all of that. Tears tell me there’s something in me besides just toughing it out and laughing it off.
Running may make you happier–and I definitely think it makes me happier–but days without it have something to say, too.