our book group is reading 'blue like jazz' by donald miller. in the chapter 'alone' he talks about loneliness and says:
'loneliness is something that happens to us, but i think it is something that we can move ourselves out of. i think a person who is lonely should dig into a community, give himself to a community, humble himself before his friends, initiate community, teach people to care for each other, love each other."
i could come up with dozens of reasons why i shouldn't do each of these things when i am in the midst of my loneliness, but none of these reasons would alter the basic fact that we are all flawed, broken and haunted by our own special kind of pride. we all need each other to reach out, in hope that while we ourselves are extending our hand into the darkness, that there is someone else out there also doing the same.

suddenly, it's not about who the needy one is, because at our very core, we are all the needy one.



i love margaret becker's writing. back before she wrote books, her songs haunted me, as though she lived inside my closet, her lyrics echoing all that was going on inside me. then i read her book, initially eight years ago, but one line of 'with new eyes' has stuck with me over the years. it has practically become my mantra.

"the most that i could ever hope to be is malleable. someone who actually listens and considers a point. someone who does not see it as a loss to concede their wrongs. someone who is not afraid to change. with change comes the ability to be strong; because when one recognizes their own fallibility, the threat of it is diminished--and the freedome of growth develops. to be wrong is to be free."

"the most that i could ever hope for is to be malleable." to this day, this remains my prayer. i am well aware of how stubborn i can be. no one gets called tete de pioche as a child because she is compliant. if left unchecked, that stubborn child makes far too many appearances into my life.

i want to be able to see where i am in the light of where i've come from, while envisioning where i still need to go. in short, i want to not be the same tomorrow as i am today. i don't want my relationship with God never to change me. i don't want to be someone who others, at best, tolerate, because i am refusing to let myself be changed.

the most i can hope for is to be malleable. may this always be my prayer.


Les Miserables

in what could only be described as a stellar example of my tendency to be obsessive, i am going to see Les Mis again next week. in my feeble defense, the day i saw it initially at the beginning of october, i was somewhat distracted by the other events of the day, and was really not fully into it until intermission. but now i have the opportunity to see it yet again. yay.

"Will the future ever arrive?...Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds" (Victor Hugo)



reading: every book on paris in my possession
listening: les miserables soundtrack

although i've decided that i want to spend my 40th birthday in paris, now that it's come to the time for me to book the flight, i'm faltering.

it's a lot of money to spend entirely on oneself. and this is just the flight. it just seems like there are so many things in the world that could be better served by all this money than spending ten days in paris, even though its been my dream for as long as i can remember.

i just need to do it. tonight, laura said that i work hard, and i just need to do this for myself.

why do i have to make everything so incredibly difficult?

"To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals - that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him."
-- Honore De Balzac


no coincidence

i am fighting myself right now. i know the right answers, the right thing to do. but i am fighting myself--or, more accurately, fighting God, for a chance to have it my way.

i am not eloquent right now. i only know that it hurts, and i want the chance to make the hurt go away, if just for a little while, even if it ends up costing more than my life can afford.

i also know that i'm incredibly self-centered right now. until this one, every sentence has begun with 'i'. like a little child who expects her demands be met simply because she wants something, i've been refusing to acknowledge the existence of a bigger picture.

and there is a bigger picture, of that i have no doubt. i've seen the faces of the bigger picture, heard their voices, with questions so raw that mine are shamed into silence. i've witnessed the cost of the big picture, shedding a light on my demands that exposes them for the selfish trifles that they are.

they say that life imitates art, and the fact that this struggle so perfectly mirrors the monologue i am doing this sunday is, i'm sure, no coincidence. in a previous post i quoted a poem by Rilke in which he refers to 'the unspeaking center of her monologues'... as i lay down this struggle, i can only pray that the end of this poem be my story:

...with each disclosure you encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold you.



sometimes i forget how blessed i am by all the amazing friendships that are mine. God has chosen to bring into my life some truly exceptional people. sometimes i forget this, especially during those inevitable and inopportune times of loneliness. but every once in a while, i get tossed a reminder-shaped lifesaver.

today i caught such a lifesaver. while working at a conference, i ran into an old friend from high school. it has to have been pretty much 20 years since i have seen ann, but i recognized her the moment i saw her, and for a short time today, the two decades evaporated, and we were once again two 18-year olds, laughing and talking.

later i realized that a long time ago, back when my teenage brain didn't have a chance to comprehend what a gift a friend truly is, i was blessed by ann's friendship. and then over the years by so many others. some are the rocks on which part of my life is built, some i've just met. those with lives in other cities and countries who, in spite of the miles between us remain as present in my heart today as they ever were. a few who have moved beyond this world, whom i will never stop missing while here.

so much laughter. so many memories. so much love.

i am blessed.


room to think

listening: les miserables soundtrack
reading: a suitable boy (vikram seth); velvet elvis (rob bell)

i'm on a mini-vacation right now. my brain needs some elbow room. i haven't written a lot lately, mostly because i feel like i don't have much of any value to say. and while i will occasionally squander verbally, i won't do it to the written word.

perhaps because there is a finality to putting something actually on paper. a commitment if you will. one must be intentional. lately i have been feeling anything but committal or intentional.

i am tired.


just another manic monday

why is it that when we are hurting, having a bad day, or are somewhat inconvenienced we give ourselves licence to do things we would normally never allow ourselves to wander near?

today is an excellent example. i could give you lots of excuses; the headache i've been fighting for five days, the ever-increasing workload, the inequity of the situation...but all of these would be just that. excuses. definitely not anything that would justify the frustratin level i felt and the shortness i had for those involved.

this poem by c.s. lewis so completely sums up how i feel tonight.
all this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
i never had a selfless thought since i was born.
i am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;
i want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the goals i seek,
i cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;
i talk of love--a scholar's parrot can talk greek--
but, self-imprisoned, always end where i begin.


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