I’m still not entirely used to the sunshine in Colorado. It has been extremely cold and snowing for weeks, but still, when I walked through the building this morning at 7am and saw the cheerful, pink and gold glow of the morning, my heart leaped as if it were summer.
It was overcast for several days in a row and my mind quickly returned to Seattle expectations. I remember one year, growing up, when it was overcast for 90 days in a row. You can take it several ways, really- it can be a cozy shelter from the universe that allows you to wear sweaters and drink your coffee and read your books. Or, the grey ceiling can sit on your shoulders, while the wet cold seeps into your lungs and your heart.
The older that I get, the heavier an overcast sky becomes. Which is why on days like today when I’m up early and there are numerous tasks to accomplish, I’m so grateful for how lavishly God pours out the sun on Colorado Springs.
It won’t make everything easy, but like good smells and delicious food, it sure won’t make it harder.
I’ve been mentally digesting two important thoughts today that seem to oppose each other.
Thought number 1 came this morning from the Twitter world. It struck me so soundly, that I typed it into a sticky note on my computer. It’s been staring at me all day.
“Hyper-individualism leads to spiritual homelessness.” -Bevin Ginder
This makes so much sense. I have walked that particular road, although I have also seen God pushing me ever toward interdependence with other believers.
Thought number 2 came this afternoon in class. Ron Smith, the founder of SBS is here teaching the Gospel of John to us. Today, in the first four chapters, he touched on several great things about Jesus, but one that got stuck right in my throat. In John chapter 1 Jesus is baptized. John the baptist (who dunked the Lord himself), says that he saw heaven open and the Spirit descend upon Jesus like a dove. He saw the Spirit, and it was like a dove.
Ron pointed out something that makes the dove particularly unique among birds; their flight pattern is unpredictable…. Continue reading “Mental Digestion”
Although I have mostly integrated my Western Washington self and my Colorado Springs self, I find the first day or two after traveling really disorienting.
Coming back to Colorado is the more disorienting of the two transitions. It doesn’t help when I have lost a lot of sleep.
So Wednesday night I had two hours of sleep. This led to a very confusing time checking in at the airport at 5am on Thursday. They have those machines now, the do-it-yourself check-in touch screen computer screens. Although I was flying into Denver, I did not remember this until I’d failed three times on the computer screen typing in Colorado Springs, and then stood in line and talked to a real person. The real woman I spoke to made me wait, “I’m not ready for you yet,” and probably because I was so tired, I felt sure that she was clacking away nonsense on her computer keyboard simply to put me in my place. I explained the confusion I felt that my flight didn’t exist and it wasn’t until she used the word, “Denver” that I realized my mistake.
Once I was finally back in my room in Colorado, I did some random unpacking and took a nap. Then I read, or tried to read and took another nap. Last night, exhausted at 9pm, I fell asleep hard and woke up almost twelve hours later. This was not disturbing to me, but a relief to have gotten sleep I obviously needed.
What was disturbing is how the day unfolded following this epic sleep… Continue reading “Zombie Life”
Transitions often make it difficult for me to know who I am. I would like that to be different.
Oddly enough, one of my “Strength Finders” strengths is flexibility. I began to seriously question this “strength” sometime at the beginning of this year because I was flattened by a particular transition. Totally undone.
At that time I realized that what makes me flexible is my great intolerance for not fitting. It’s like a big splinter that I MUST get out RIGHT NOW.
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I’m not talking about morals or anything. I’m talking about cultural things which are not connected to morals- bed times, food habits, conversation topics, clothing, time orientation, what communicates respect or what is considered rude. All of these physical manifestations of culture come from underlying values and when I first enter a new culture those differences feel unbearable to me. So I have a tendency to wrestle hard with myself in order that those things not be points of conflict…. Continue reading “The Log in My Eye”
Here’s what I’m thinking about today as I slowly sip a cup of coffee.
It’s one of the things I’ve been wrestling with this year. I’ve lived in Colorado for almost two years now but in many ways I still feel very new. Sometimes it feels like I’ve settled here, but to be honest it’s more like I’ve just become good friends with Colorado Springs. We’ve had a few fights (blazing fires, snow in April) and we’ve had some good times (hiking in the hills, summer-length summers) but I have known Home so deeply in WA that it’s hard to compare it. In fact, I don’t want to compare the two places.
One thing that solidifies my desire to understand all of it is a conversation I had with the last speaker in the school a few weeks ago. He used to travel around the world and teach the way I have been dreaming of doing and so I asked him if he would sit down with me and give me some pointers about doing this well. He had some really good tips. One of them was to have a home to come back to- not a house necessarily, but a community and a place where I feel grounded… Continue reading “Place to Be”
This morning at 2:30 I pulled (carefully) out off of the sidewalk driving a 15 passenger van with a trailer attached, full of sleepily eager students and staff.
To the airport we went. Conversation was pleasant with an undertone of excitement on the long drive to Denver. I think many of them were still in a state of disbelief. For at least one, this would be the first time flying, and her introduction to air travel would be no small trip. Denver to LA, LA to Seoul, Seoul to Chang Rai (Mai? I can never get those two straight).
I requested to be their driver because what I wanted most was to go with them all the way to Thailand but the airport is as far as I could get this time around…. Continue reading “No Fear of Drowning”
Sometimes a bad evening happens and all you need is a person (or two) to hear you and sympathize. Nothing major, just friends who care.
Even friends like your own mom. (Thanks, mom!)
It’s a bit like shushing a frightened, crying toddler. Only a scrape… kiss the wet cheek, snuggle a moment.
Except today I was the toddler.
It was nothing. Really. Some crazy people, driving dangerously and flipping me off for not also driving dangerously (you know that strip between Co Springs and Denver where it’s narrow and curvy and everyone drives like maniacs!?). Then some technology issues, then running around and retracing steps because I did things wrong (without knowing the rules) to start…. Continue reading “Withalittlehelp”
For the last few weeks I’ve been realizing my need for better time management. I read some list of Signs of Burnout and identified with most of them. Of course I read this only a few days before I planned to come back to Colorado and work. So I asked God what I should do and I felt strongly that a long sabbatical was not the solution- instead I need to learn how to manage my daily time in a way that allows me enough rest to keep going.
Then, less than a week after returning to YWAM I sprained my ankle.
The funny(?) thing is that the morning before I found myself crumpled in the parking lot with fire in my foot I was thinking pretty hard about how I could serve the people on my team. I didn’t consciously think, “I need to prove I’m worth having,” but looking back I realize that I felt this deep down. So I invited one friend over to take a walk with me and I would make her lunch. Honestly I wanted to spend some time catching up with her. Our walk lasted mere minutes and then for the next two days she was helping me all over the place; ice for my ankle, rides to a meeting and to the doctor, crutches to get around on, delivering movies for me to watch while I sat in my bed.
Okay, okay, I get it, I’m resting… Continue reading “This I Know”
The two week break from school is nearly over.
I can’t say that it’s been a bad time, but it also has not been the best. I think the worst part was really all in my head. I have this great excuse of the Waldo Canyon fire but I don’t know that it’s really the culprit.
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Somehow I avoided doing the one thing I really needed to do most- rest. In part I avoided this by accident. I thought it would come when I spent some days house sitting for friends… watching movies, reading books, cooking in a real kitchen, drinking coffee and taking naps. That’s what I really wanted to do. Then I thought I would come back home and spend the second week organizing my stuff (which had gotten out of control during the last quarter of school), read by the pool, swim in the pool… maybe even go to the movie theater a few times… Continue reading “Lay it Down”
Watching a city burn in front of your eyes is so different than watching it on the news.
We are evacuated from the actual burning areas, of course, but we can see it from a distance, from roadways and houses. We can smell the smoke constantly and see ash covering cars, feel it pushing into lungs.
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We are refugees living a few miles from home in a borrowed bed. A run to target for some underwear and a toothbrush.
And we’re just waiting. Waiting for the fire to get tired of its cruel game. Waiting for it to run out of breath and give up. We thought it would give up so much quicker. Sunday we were sure it would never reach town and we felt so much gratitude that no structures had been touched. Monday we were surprised to see it still going strong and we felt, too, a little exasperated… Continue reading “Letter to a Monster”
Today was so incredible and I’m not sure if I can put it into words that will do it justice.
For a start, last night was not good. Bad zombie nightmare and then no sleeping… bad dreams for my roommate as well and for the kid who lives next door to us (my roommate heard him screaming after she woke up from her nightmare).
But when I woke up very early to work out, I was full of excitement. I refused to let a bad night influence such a day as today.
Just in the introductions this morning I felt an almost overwhelming gratitude rising up in me. I admit I got choked up several times.
Then during worship (which involves the whole base) they all prayed for us students and our staff. I had four different people pray for me things that God has been speaking to me in the last few weeks- using specific words He had used to me. I just stood with my head bowed, nodding and crying because again, God is so good and faithful and generous. He speaks and all of His plans are good…. Continue reading “Relentless Mercies”
Sometimes life moves so fast that I feel like I am walking in slow motion. And so it is right now.
Coming to Colorado in January was, what felt like, a huge risk. I even gave myself an “out”… while I felt like God was saying “just try it!” I was saying “Fine! But don’t expect me to like it there”. Which is ridiculous in the extreme. Now that I’ve been back here for around 7 weeks I see how silly and unimaginative my perspective was. Granted, I was struggling with depression and getting to spend time with some of the dearest, best people on the planet.
It is hard to see daylight when you’re huddled up in the dark with good friends. My friends, how I love you.
And what of Colorado? In some ways it’s not so different here at the YWAM base than it was at the camp in Washington. Reach out in any direction and there sits a friend. Look around even just briefly and see ways to help, love and serve.
Now I am again on the verge of something that feels like a huge risk. After praying with and being challenged by a friend the other day, I started moving ahead with one possibility here. The School of Biblical Studies. I’m not sure if I can follow the path of this idea, or if it would even be interesting to read. Mainly I have wanted to do the school for a long time but always felt like I would not be capable of the work required. It’s pretty intense. 9 months of studying the Bible in depth and in entirety…. Continue reading “Life: Take Two”
I’ve been trying to read books. A little success was made this last week.
I picked up Perelandra by CS Lewis. It’s the second of the “space trilogy”. In all fairness, I have read this book several times, so it’s less of an exercise and more of a favorite world to visit. What I love so much about this book, though, is not the interesting world, but the depth of insight Lewis shows concerning the mind of the main female character.
The main male character, Ransom, is sent to the planet of Perelandra with the job of saving its perfect and innocent first inhabitants from the dark serpent sent to corrupt them. Ransom is just a man.
This suddenly reminds me of what I did last Thursday night. I went with a group of friends to down town Colorado Springs to see if God had anything he wanted to say to people there through us. Back in the days of Bible college this would have been Evangelism time but this was much less about putting notches on the soul conversion chart and more about revealing God’s character and His heart for whoever needed to hear…. Continue reading “Out of a silent planet”
The sliding glass door in my room faces East. In the morning I wake up before the sun, shower and then, once my roommate is up, I open the curtains. This is just a little before 7am and the world is light, but that hazy, cold light that makes me feel a safe distance from the duties of the day. I set up a cozy little nest on my bed, then and hang out with God for a bit. My mind is sleepy and messy at this point, songs from the day before, moments, phrases, loose threads from the dreams I had in the night… but this time is sort of about letting go of those things and focusing, expressing gratitude, confessing need….
And then the sun makes its ways up the sky in earnest.
As I mentioned above, my room faces East, so as the sun climbs the sky, it peaks over some low hills and paints itself on the wall next to me in a cheerful orange and then hits my face.
If this happened as a way of waking me up I might find it annoying but, by this time I’ve had my shower and have come to some form of acceptance about being alive for the day. It’s more like a big, happy kiss from the day.
The sun has a lot of ground to cover, so my moment with her is brief.
I just now realized that January is done… Phewf.
I have not really felt like “myself” in days. This is both disturbing and a bit freeing.
Thursday I came down with what seemed to be the stomach flu. Since I can’t recall the last time I had the stomach flu, it was not what I guessed was happening to me until my fever rose up high in the evening. At this point I was at Jessica’s house and she and her husband let me sleep and sweat on their couch that night.
I guess I don’t really need to go into great detail about being sick except that it adds a strange quality to packing, saying goodbye and then traveling when you feel that exhausted.
I would like to write a post that sort of wraps up my thoughts and feelings about coming back to Colorado Springs into a tidy package but I’m not there yet. My internal landscape for this step is vastly unrecognizable to me. Part of me wanted to stay in Washington, part of me wanted to come back here but most of me wanted to curl up into a little ball and sleep for the rest of the month.
I do not like January... Continue reading “Anger and Gratitude”