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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Relentless Mercies

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….

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Life: Take Two

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….

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Out of a silent planet

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….

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Kissing the Day

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.
But awesome.

I just now realized that January is done… Phewf.

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Lunch for Thought

I‘ve been in Colorado Springs for a week now! It has been a good week. A tiring week.

After spending a few nights recovering from the stomach flu, I started one of my new jobs on Monday as the lunch cook. Last week and this coming week I am partially assisting and partially in charge as I learn how it’s done.
The fun and slightly nerve wracking part of this job is that there are two culinary arts schools happening here right now, so I share “my” kitchen with  a ton of chefs and student chefs. When I expressed that this was a bit intimidating to me, one of the teachers told me I should look  on the very bright side- if I ever get stuck there are a lot of people who know what they’re doing and I can ask them for advice and help…..

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Anger and Gratitude

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...

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Blue and gold day

There’s something about Colorado Springs… in the old suburbs… that reminds me a lot of Chicago.

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I spent the day at my friend Kris’ house on Sunday. We baked, she raked, I took pictures… we went to dinner and then watched a movie. It was really lovely.

On my photo excursion (around the block) I kind of marveled at the crisp, blue and gold beauty of the day.

I could not really capture it the way it was because it involved so much more than color and shadow.

But also the colors and shadows were in glorious splendor….

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Consider the Lily

Yesterday I spoke at church. It was just a few minutes in each service, but I was still pretty nervous before hand. I did okay in the first service, really good in the second service and then by the third service I seemed to lose my focus and just kind of stumbled through the information. Sorry, third service people. Thanks, Pastor Pat for laughing at the joke I flubbed.
Today I feel good to be on the other side of something that I was nervous about. You know?

So not only is today Monday, but it is also the first day of August. My Last Month Before Leaving Washington. Also my last month before arriving in Colorado Springs. I can see it from both sides….

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Running headlong

I had a talk yesterday with Jessica about The Unknown.
Somehow the unknown used to seem less scary. Maybe I was naively optimistic about the possible outcomes. Now I am not quite a cynic, but I am more wary. Also I have learned how awesome it can be to be known and know others… to get good and comfortable in the familiar.

When I think about moving to Colorado sometimes I feel afraid. It’s very unknown and I will be leaving some pretty incredible people who have become so dear to me….

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