I Love My Pepys.

“In appearance, at least, he being on all occasions glad to be at friendship with me, though we hate one another, and know it on both sides.” -Samuel Pepys

I heart Samuel Pepys (and, as he had trouble turning away from women, I think he might have liked me, too).  I laughed when I read this-- almost 400 years later, humanity is still ridiculous.  I can certainly think of times where there were civil, even friendly, interactions between people who detested each other.  While we are indeed called to love our neighbor, there's some consolation in hypocrisy being a longstanding tradition.  

And Lord knows, Pepys makes me laugh.  Can't we study him instead of Augustine?


Wednesday Prayers: Opportunity

You know that old saw about opportunity only knocking once?  Hogwash.  Or at least, hogwash when it's a character-building opportunity.  In that case, opportunity just seems to keep pounding at my door.

Around certain people, my sturdy Self dissolves into so many tiny nonpareils, and scatters across the kitchen floor.  I, in my infinite foolishness, keep thinking that maybe I can just avoid those people.

Opportunity keeps knocking.

Eleanor Roosevelt was right that no one can make us feel small without our permission.  What she didn't say was that we might have to practice taking up our full space.  We might have to remember to breathe, and remember that what God has put within us is very solid, and cannot be eroded by others.

Opportunity remains.  It hurts like the dickens, but I like what I see on the other side.  And I'm convinced that God is with me between here and there. 

For the presence of mind to stay close to God, 
For the ability to respect God's creation in us, 
and for learning to love our neighbor and ourselves at all times;
                                                          Lord, hear our prayer.


Wednesday Prayers: Teenagers

I've run into a lot of people this month who really love teenagers, and it's been delightful:
  • An English teacher who's been doing it long enough that he could be really jaded, but instead works hard to give his students exciting opportunities. 
  • A recent college graduate who champions the role of teenagers in church (RIGHT NOW, not when these teenagers are middle-aged).
  • A middle-aged woman who knows and loves the teens in her church as the extraordinary people they are, and who encourages others to get to know them.
I think you've heard me say before that the adults in my life when I was in high school and college made a tremendous difference.  They might not have literally saved my life (though I wouldn't put any money at all on that), but they made the life I have today possible.  Today I'm praying for the loving and the loved.       

For those who love people at all stages of development,
Thanks be to God.
For the myriad challenges young people face,
Lord, hear our prayer.

Is there anything of yours I can hold in prayer this week, too?  Do you know teens that we can give thanks for, or who need a bit of grace?  Are you noticing any parts of your own teenage self that are still wrestling with things this week?


Bullets, Again. Crabby ones.

  • Things that used to be easy are hard now.  Being with a lot of new people all the time-- hard.  Used to be easy.  Even though they're lovely.
  • I'm feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and insignificant.  Not insignificant in the beautiful, "look at the vast sea, and the billions of stars, and consider your size in proportion to the splendid universe" way.  Insignificant in the, "So what, you're overwhelmed?  Big damn deal.  You're fine." kind of way.  
  • In the last month, I started seminary, our apartment flooded, we found a new place to live, and we moved.  That truly is a lot.  Our old apartment became inhabitable.  Unrestored, post-flood.  Moldy.  Stuff is just stuff, but it's still a damn lot of upheaval, plus our wedding pictures. 
  • We've been moved, only have odds and ends to take care of at the old place.  Our movers were excellent, worth every penny, a blessing to us.
  • I keep trying to piece together why undergrad felt so much warmer than seminary.  I do not like competition very much, and when we're all working for such similar things (even in radically different ways), there can be an element of competition (or of needing to be right).  It screws with my shalom.
  • I long, nay, pine, for the return of routine.  Maybe by next month.  I really need some nice, cozy familiarity.  I'm wearing a cozy sweater/wrap/shawl thing today, just because a cocoon seemed like a good idea.
  • Someone said to me a couple of years ago that I "seemed angry" about The Process.  You know what?  I am.  And maybe that's not a character flaw on my part.
  • I really want to be gentle with people, because it seems to me there's an incredible drought of gentle listening.
  • (Yes, I get that I'm talking about anger and gentleness in almost the same breath.  I, like Whitman, am large and contain multitudes.)
To sum up:  I'm crabby.  And mad as hell at the arrogance of telling other people how they should feel.  Makes me want to use all sorts of rude British words. 


Wednesday Prayers: The Enemy of the Good

I wrote three mediocre papers this week.  I'm not excited about them, but I didn't get paralyzed by perfectionism.  In context, and given my history, that's a victory.

Movers are coming tomorrow, and things are not in pristine order.  I wanted them to be, but making sure the last days in our first home were peaceful and loving was more important to me than tidying.  We (mostly Dave) did some, but not all.  And really, if we'd had the time and energy to get everything in place, we wouldn't have had to hire movers.  So be it. 

For the grace to just be "good enough," thanks be to God.  


Week 4 Summary: More Bullets! Keeping My Head Above Water!

Hey, y'all.  I cannot stop making water references.  I'm cracking up a little here, in the flood aftermath.

  • Flood Stink continues.  Move is scheduled for 10/7.  (That's right, a week from yesterday.  We're charging at a breakneck speed around here.)
  • Dave is rivaling Hercules for accomplishing monumental tasks.  He's cleaning the new apartment and this one, and generally making my life so much easier.
  • School is not making my life easier.  3 papers this week.  Not long ones, but... oy.
  • Still haven't shaken last week's cold/flu/icky bug.  This is not like my immune system, and very annoying.
  • Have I mentioned that the new place is pretty cute?  I'll give a little tour soon.
  • Our new address is shorter than our current one!   That makes me happy, because it's quicker to write on the upper corner of envelopes.
  • ALSO, Williams-Sonoma for the WIN!  (But you knew that, anyway, right?)  I ordered a new address plate for my embosser Sunday night, and it was here TUESDAY MORNING.  Those people are on TOP of things!
  • Church History:  shockingly, my favorite class of the semester.  I thought it would be my least favorite, but I love it.  I can't wait to have more semesters of this.  Also, it's addressing more of my denomination-search questions than anything else.  Did you know that we mix water and wine in the chalice as a symbol of (well, "symbol"... that's a whole other argument) our joining with the body of Christ?  And it's been that way since the 2nd century C.E.?  You probably did, but it was cool news to me.  (I love communion.  I miss communion.  Yes, I should be going to chapel, and haven't been regularly.  Also church.  The "shoulds" are about to devour me, folks.)
  • I'm reasonably sure I won the small formation group lottery.  Seriously.  Mine's awesome.
  • You know that old saw that the same kind of issue/person will keep popping up in your life until you figure out how to deal with it?  Annoying and true.
 You'll get more than just bullets at some point, I promise, but this month has just been way more about breadth than depth.  (I'll be glad when that changes.)

And, like Diane, I still miss my bloggy friends.  (Hey-- that reminds me-- I'm not ignoring comments, I'm just taking them too seriously to slap off a quick reply.  Soon.  I hope.)