My Soul Is In The Sky

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.

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Mental Digestion

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….

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Zombie Life

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…

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The Log in My Eye

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….

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Place to Be

Here’s what I’m thinking about today as I slowly sip a cup of coffee.

Home.

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…

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No Fear of Drowning

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….

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Withalittlehelp

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….

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This I Know

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…

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Lay it Down

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…

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Letter to a Monster

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…

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