Thursday, March 31, 2011


I'm hooked. I've got a serious problem. The three hour gap I have on Tuesday/Thursdays is usually spent in this one coffee shop on campus, mostly because it's closer than the library and cozier than the student center. I don't usually buy anything, but this one Tuesday two weeks ago I had a coupon for a free coffee with a dollar purchase. I got me a bagel and a coffee. The coffee met my expectations: kind of weak, nothing special, definitely watery. But the bagel? Oh my soul. Divinity. The following Thursday I got another one. Just as a treat. Why not? It was only two fifty . . .

Now, two weeks later, I've had four bagels. That's $10 in two weeks.

This is so out of character for me, since I don't really like breakfast, and I don't really like spending money, and I am definitely resolutely against buying things out of habit. But oh, I can't help it! I have to say, those bagels were definitely worth the cash.

Okay, listen. Multigrain bagel. Toasted. It's got this sticky salty glaze on the outside, it's the best. Then, raisin walnut cream cheese. It's creamy and sweet, but also chewy and crunchy . . . a nice even and thick layer of this stuff on the bagel, they match each other perfectly. This is a full sensory experience, folks!

The thing is, I can't really afford to spend $5 a week on bagels. There are five more weeks left in the semester. That's probably $40 in bagels if I keep this up until the semester ends. You know what I could get with $40? A tank of gas. A new pair of shoes. A textbook rental. Groceries. A cellphone payment. A fraction of tuition/missions trip financing/insurance payment money.

Why am I so irresponsible?!

Still, you guys, best bagel ever. A bagel worth blogging about! I can't really eat any other bagels anywhere else, because there's just no way for it to be as good. Waste of calories.

Happy Thursday.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just being honest doesn't make it right

I am sad. My Intervarsity group went to New Orleans on a service trip to help rebuild after Katrina. I was supposed to go with them, but at the time I didn't have the money. And they came back today. And I'll see them all tomorrow when we all go back to school, and I'll hear all about the things that God did in and through them. And I'll hear more stories and see more pictures, and be happy for them, and sad for myself.

What did I do over spring break? I was an epic fail at work. I can't think about it, it makes me sick. A different heartache to express at a different time. What else did I do? I played house with my siblings, when they could have been staying with my grandparents, witnessing to them. It was a week of small nothings. I spent my spring break watching TV. Instead of going to New Orleans with my Intervarsity group.

Was it a mistake? Was I supposed to go? Did I step out of God's plan?

I don't know. All I know is I'm really sad. And I wanted to tell someone, and I didn't know who to tell. So here I am.

[What does that say about you, and me, and this?]

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bonding moment in the library

I was sitting with Kyle, working on philosophy, thinking about whether the many were capable of the greatest evil, and if that necessitated them also being capable of the greatest good. Just a few seats over sat a girl on her Macbook, earbuds in, music blasting.

I have no idea, really, how long she was sitting there with her music on. I was in my own little world. All I know is, I came up for air out of my reverie and noticed, that music was really loud. I could hear all the lyrics! I wondered out-loud with true curiosity, "I think that music might be making her deaf."

To this Kyle remarked, "She's probably already deaf if the music's that loud!" The girl sitting across from her looked up from her homework. "It's getting kind of annoying actually." I had to agree. "I don't really even like this song." The three of us laughed and exchanged smiles, "It's not like she can even actually hear any of this!"

And then the girl with the music blasting from her ear buds blushed, and turned her music off, and we sat staring at our papers, exuding nonchalance, trying to subdue our laughter.

I always have good times with strangers here in the library.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life is Suffering

I would write a poem from the depths of my heart
If my heart had any depth.
I would tell the story of overwhelming difficulties
If my life knew hard times.
I would illustrate the drama of unending sorrow
If my soul truly ached.

But my pain is temporal
And so is my joy.
A sheltered life isn't glib
But it knows not the language of hurt and euphoria.

I can only stare wide-eyed at threats of suicide
At the TV screens broadcasting genocide
At cancer patients and parents turned mourners
Their pain feels real but still so far away.

How will I face it when it finally comes?

"What if this storm ends? and I don't see you as you are now ever again . . ."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And please:

Oh yeah. Pray for the Veritas Forum event that our Intervarsity group is hosting at URI. [Os Guinness. April 4th. Does life have meaning? 7:00pm.] Pray that people come, and that they listen. Pray that we are not guilty of quenching the Spirit. Pray that God moves powerfully. [For our God is able.]

"For the prayers of the righteous are both powerful and effective . . ."

Also, the fat jokes.

Friday was a heart-breaking day.

My Friday started at 12am, there I was, furiously writing the assignment I had forgotten was due in just eight hours. And when I arrived in class that morning, my mind was too deadened from tiredness to feel any dread in the realization that I had also forgotten about the test. I blew through it in twenty minutes, not knowing any of the answers, having not studied a wink. I was left with time to kill before heading in to work, so I sat in the library and watched videos of people eating bugs.

It was there I saw my friend, who snuck up behind me and made me shriek in an unseemly manner to the whole library. We talked about little nothings, and just before we parted ways I asked him about The Veritas Forum. "Yes, I'm going," he told me, and I was delighted. Even more gratifying was what he said next, about the Q&A time, that he was interested in discussion. That's what the event is all about. But what sobered my glee was when he said, "I believe in the 10 Commandments, but Jesus Christ is not my savior."

I left the library shortly afterward with a lump in my throat. It was just that, I'd never heard anyone deny Jesus, never had a friend come out and draw such a line in the sand. There was no wishy-washy theorizing, and no waffling justifications. It is clear where he stands. There is really no question. And while it gratifies me that he is not deluding himself, I feel with some great urgency the clear divide he faces.

I trudged through the day, making like I was busy through a humiliating linguistics class and a mind-numbing five hours at work. I waited with unbearable anticipation for quitting time, for that walk through the warm sunshine to my car, and the exciting car ride through the woods of Exetor. After arriving, chasing the cats, heckling Peter's basketball skills, tickling Prudence, watching Georgia's card tricks, and generally making myself quite at home, I prepared my impatience for the short ride to Beavertail.

It really was a crime, how beautiful it all was, "elemental", as Lilly described it. The wind was blowing so hard it was a roar in my ears; I shouted and not a soul could hear me. We clambered all over the rocks, Peter and Aidan were nearly washed away, Luke barely saved me from meeting a similar fate. Our shoes stayed dry, for the most part. We talked, and laughed, and bemoaned our lack of a camera. Notwithstanding that photo op gone awry, due either to Aidan's skills or Peter's phone. Not sure which. We watched the sun set, all lavender and gold, and there was nothing but humility in the five fallen people standing on the broken, crumbling rock. His creation testifies to His glory and to entropy. The rise, the fall, the resurrection.

On the way back, we passed a playground, and Luke and I begged for the car to make a quick stop. Uncharacteristically, I ran around the course that looked so much like the playground near my grandparents' house where I used to play make-believe with my cousins. With immature mimicry, I crawled on my hands and knees through sandy tunnels and fell on my back off the slides. Entirely shocked by my sincere enjoyment of something I thought I'd lost interest in [this foolishness was for other people, never for me] I thought, here it is. I've turned a corner. The childishness is truly over. I am permanently growing up. It was a measure of closure, as I failed the monkey bars and pwned the balance beam, it was just as it had always been.

That night we parked ourselves in front of the television for three hours to watch some Jason Bourne action. And we talked the whole time, which is the best when you've already seen the movie, and the worse when you haven't. [Sorry, Luke.] I frowned at the car chases and the gunfights and the collateral damage. All these shades of gray in people and organizations that were not completely good and not completely bad. And how easy it is to make value judgments, to become callous, to "criticize a judgment made in the field from your office chair." All the hurt was entirely cold-blooded . . . I could not understand, and it really frightened me.

That household, it's an overwhelming sensory experience, with so many people talking at the same time and so many things going on concurrently. But I love it all. I love the mooing of the poor hungry cows and the spelling lessons in the kitchen and the long winding driveway. I love Ingrid's singing and Harold's crazy grin and Connie's approach to exam-taking. Each time I visit I leave so tired and so full. It makes me a little bit sad, I love it all so much, and just falling asleep above Lilly's bed staring at her book collection, it filled me with such thankfulness that I am blessed to know these people.

In short, it was a really good day. Possibly the best.

These people, these adventures, these creations: "I hear in my mind all of this music and it breaks my heart."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

John 8:32

Not alone.
Not forgotten
Or lonely
Or friendless
Or absent

Not perplexed.
Not frustrated
Or confused
Or wandering
Or listless

Not discontent.
Not lazy
Or restless
Or worried
Or underwhelmed

Just waiting for the sign.
The right time
The right words
The right path
The right steps

Waiting for the truth to become whole
For when revelation strikes and burns
For the inspiration that will rearrange
And the truth that sets us free.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Do you ever feel like a plastic bag--"

You who are broken hearted
Curl up in the arms of the hospitable
Who in their mercy will bear your burdens.

Too fragile to comprehend our brokenness
With our glass menagerie laid out in dust
We are defeated with every rising realization.

We who are those stunted souls
Who never learned to love in innocence
We never grieved like the pure in heart.

In the electric calcium night of those Yale marching bands
We are not lonely close to the edge
But the rush comes not from the company but from the failure.

Do not be tempted by the risk. Do not deceive yourselves with lofty purposes. Do not fall prey to the curiosity. Rather stand your ground and burn out bright and broken.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Abstracting reality

I'm researching heroin again. Last time I perused the internet on this topic was when I was writing one of my NaNoWriMo novels. It was really quite sickening, at two in the morning everything is more poignant and vivid, and the vision in my mind's eye regarding the difference between "popping" and "mainlining" made me want to abandon the plot point.

And this in turn makes me think about San Francisco. Think about what to do with my summer. Think about Summer of Service with YWAM, and whether . . . well, why not? I can't really think of a why not. But I feel apprehensive about applying anyway. Uncertain. What's the worst that could happen? They say no, okay. They say yes . . . do I go? I don't know. But it wouldn't be hard.

So I'm reading about heroin, for my psychology class. Which is gratifying to me, because it's just an intro class, but this is what I wanted to study psychology for. My university has a drug counseling certificate program, and, I don't know, we'll see. I just think it's really interesting. A few new pothead friends have come out of the woodwork this week, and I really just have a billion questions, I'm so inconsolably curious, probably too much for my own good.

But anyway, it turns out that most heroin "overdoses" are not actually overdoses at all. Though they occur in experienced users who theoretically have a high tolerance, in autopsy it's frequently discovered that victims don't have very high levels of the opiate in their system at all. Which is curious. I'm assuming the point to the article is to demonstrate the role of Pavlovian conditioning in these overdoses [which is really sharp of me to ascertain, since that's the title of the article], but I'm not sure what that role could be. I'm trying to guess before I read the rest of the article. Conditioning increases sensitivity?

Oh. Next sentence. They die because tolerance is not developed. Because of Pavlovian conditioning. Spoiler warning.

It's all so clinical. With statistics and citations and bland sentence construction. All information, no life. Which on the one hand is fitting; the facts, just the facts, no value judgments or disrespect. But on the other hand, it's dehumanizing in its detachment. Were these not individuals? Did they know, did they know when they started that they would eventually kill themselves? I do feel naive. I could never know, never understand what drives a person to pick up such a habit. I am, after all, afraid of needles. And I have it so easy. But.

Evangelism and justice are not an either/or but rather a both/and.
He came to seek and save the lost. Seek and save.
So I try to understand. And if not understand, then learn.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A blank slate

Every day I grow more and more stressed out. The semester is approaching nearly half over and yet I still don't know what to do with my summer. There are too many options, and none are particularly viable. I should probably get a job, pinch those pennies, but I'm filled with anxiety of the prospect of finding a job.

I know this summer can't be the same as past ones have been. No Nationals, no VBS, no youth group trips, and no traveling. No staying up all night in Hannah's backyard? Scholarship contests, yes. Summer classes, possibly. Time with my family, of course. But lazy weeks of nothingness? I wouldn't want them even if I could have them.

College has helped me get in touch with my type-A, super-J side. I'm certain my friends here must think I'm anal-retentive. I go to bed early, my room is immaculate, and I rarely stray from my schedule. I eat the same thing every day at the same time every day. I can be found in the same places every day, and part of my routine is leaving for school early so I can get the best parking spot. And yet, the minute I walk in the door of my house, the dresser is piled high and my clothes are unwashed and my papers are unorganized . . . I'm developing a split personality.

That is to say, I don't want to spend my days doing nothing. It's one of the things I've come to adore about college, or maybe just this age in general. There are so many things to be done, people to see, so much to stay busy with! I like that. The sense of purpose and occupation and movement.

What?! Wait. I just saw a hipster walk by! Yes! Oh man, and another kid just walked by holding an honest to goodness lunch box. Where do these people hide during the rest of the week?! I really can't get any work done, sitting here by the window, watching people walk by. But it's my favorite thing . . .

So I wonder, what does my summer hold? Internship? Employment? Missions trip? It doesn't even matter to me at this point, so long as I find something. And so I can only trust in Him who has given me all I have . . .