Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prompt 19: Something that makes you different

I cry when I laugh. Not like a single tear slowly and dramatically dropping down my cheek as a symphony plays in the back ground, but tears cascading down both sides of my face. My friend Becky calls them projectile tears and says that they are my super power.

This past weekend (why did I take not pictures of this?!?) my super power was in rare form as I gathered with other youth staff leaders for our annual retreat in Cle Elum. The tears started flowing on Friday night while playing Catchphrase. The following day I basically cried so hard that I think my body might have actually dehydrated itself. We played Balderdash and bag of nouns and developed more inside jokes than are really necessary for any one group of people.

God is really working in my life to soften my heart in a lot of ways and I think part of that is being kinder to myself. One of my fears is that I'm destined to live an unspectacular and insignifcant life. There's all these places I want to go and things I want to do, but feel bound to this time and place because of the amount of debt that I'm in. My little bro and I were having dinner last week and I was explaining some of this and he reminded myself of what I'm doing now that's indicative of where I want to be in the future: I volunteer with students, I work at a non-profit, I serve. So, while my gut reaction might be to say that there is nothing different about me, that I am mired down in mediocrity, I feel like God is challenging me to question that.

I really like that I cry when I laugh and that I do so easily because it reminds me the way that God has sown seeds of joy into my life. There's something almost sacred about laughter. If I don't laugh while in someone's company it's difficult for me to imagine being great friends with them. When someone asks me to describe any of my favorite people, aside from their physical attributes, I normally mention that they are funny. All that to say that I think God has gifted me in a way to experience moments of piercing joy in the midst of sorrow, feeling sick, being discouraged, having PMS, etc., and that one of the embodiments of that joy is laughter and therefore many tears.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prompt 18: The Person You Wish You Could Be

I skipped prompt 16 because it didn't interest me.

While I could write about the actual person I'd like to be more than any other (Kate Winslet, Toni Collette, Mindy Kaling, or maybe David Hasselhoff) I feel like it's more important for me to talk about the kind of person I wish I could be -- because that person is actually within myself and not a celebrity of some sort. By the by, I don't actually want to be David Hasselhoff.

I'm starting to realize that I have some unhealthy ways of relating to people, primarily in the way I react when I'm upset by a situation. Somewhere in my development as a human being I determined that it was appropriate to handle situations by shutting down, blocking people out, and moping. While on the inside there's a firestorm of feelings and frustrations, on the outside I try to present an image of cold stone blankness. What happens, though, is that people can tell I'm upset but I don't want to upset them by admitting I'm upset, so I just don't talk. This happened a couple of weeks ago while having dinner at a friend's house. Something was said that upset me and I didn't want to state so at that moment, so I instead decided I'd remove myself from the conversation. People were asking me if I was okay, and I just kept denying that anything was wrong. About 30 minutes after I made that commitment I started to laugh and contribute to the conversation and almost chastised myself for doing so. I kept thinking I was being inauthentic for moving on so quickly from an upsetting situation but started thinking about it and decided that maybe God has prevented me in my spirit to hold a grudge. I decide to be upset about something, and 30 minutes later I'm laughing. Is this an inability to feel things appropriately? I'm starting to see it as a blessing. Why is it that I can have an infuriating conversation with someone dear to me and 1 hour later be out with my friends eating dinner and laughing hysterically? The problem is that before I get to the laughing hysterically bit, I try to dwell on the anger bit and shut down. I try to make people feel how angry I am without actually expressing my anger. I want to be the kind of person that can be blessed with joy, but not someone who in the midst of sorrow is determined to make others as miserable as possible.

I feel God beginning to transform that part of my spirit, and I know that it's something that I've inherited and have developed b/c it serves me in some way (albeit negatively). The other day while discussing this with some people I verbally said out loud "This stops with me. If I ever have children, this is not something I'm going to pass on. It's finished." And I know that through Christ, through asking for healing, and through intentionally trying to love people well, that it can be finished.

Also, here is a poem my friend Katja wrote about our friendship. It made me smile.

across a state line or two, me and you,
or the palpable distance, contorted,
renew: varying between the mileage,
anew: doing things i never thought
i'd have to do, did you?
believe me:it's only a matter of time before you

She also took the pictures I included with this post. I like these because I think they all either were taken at a time when I felt really free or depict the kind of freedom and peace I want to trust God to equip me with each day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prompt 17: The Place You Wish You Were From

I just took two different quizzes to find out the place that I should live, based on arbitrary questions such as "what food would you most like to eat: cheese, a hamburger, Indian food, pizza" I got two different response. One response said that I should live in Greece because it's artistic and apparently so am I. The other response said I was a "country mouse" and should move to Michigan. Both great ideas.
I'm going to change this prompt a little bit and instead answer where I would move to if money and purpose were not at all to be determined. Of the places I've been, the place I'd like to most live is London or somewhere in England or somewhere in Ireland. I loved walking through London at night (the way it looked and the way everything felt and how many people were out and about). I loved being in a place with lots of history. I loved knowing things that a local would in a see of tourists. I loved the weather (VERY similar to Seattle). I loved the public transportation system. I loved Ryan Air.
I understand that it is completely possible to idealize a place and maybe I am idealizing London. The last time I was there was 4 years ago so maybe my feelings would be different going back. More than anything, I think, I'd just love to live abroad. I want to immerse myself in a completely different culture for at least a year. Now just to determine when that will happen and where I should go and what I should do. Details, really.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Prompt 15: The Person You Miss the Most

I'm reminded of the scene in the Bruce Willis movie The Kid when little Bruce Willis (played by Spencer Breslin) realizes that as a kid they moved houses 12 times and shouts of "What happened?!?" That's what I'm asking myself about this blog. I was doing SO well! What happened?!?

Anyway, no condemnation, just moving on. This one is actually pretty difficult for me because I don't feel like there is anyone I really miss all that much. My best friends (whom have been mentioned in previous posts) that live far away are people I still connect with regularly, and those people that I've drifted away from I am trying in some small measure to reconnect with. There are people I wish I could see and people I'd like to see more often than I do. But, I think I simply get used to it when people aren't around anymore. The people I end up missing are those that are in my circle of friends here in Seattle or that I interact with frequently. Then, when they aren't around for days or a week or two at a time, I miss their presence.

While I rejoice whenever my long distance friends and family come to visit or when we talk on the phone, I've gotten used to not having all of my nearest and dearest within a 5 mile radius. It's like I've created a new category for my long distance friends. I remember and think of them keenly, would love to see them more often, but don't miss them in a heart achey sense of the word. The people I've missed in the past week or two are my friend Maggie, Kara (one of the girls in my youth group), Jaelithe, Chrissie, my co-leaders at youth group, and others that I go through spurts of seeing and then not seeing. Hmmm...maybe rather than name the person that I miss more than any other, I'll contact them to hang out and finally end the misery of not seeing them! Time to be a doer, and not a thinker.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Prompt 14: Someone You've Drifted Away From

This is kind of a bummer, but there are about 15 people I could write about here without even batting an eyelash. I know that's just kind of the nature of life, right? One of my high school girls recently moved to Chicago, and when I was talking to her on the phone shortly after the move, I told her to not be too hard on herself and not to kill herself trying to maintatin relationships with every single person she knew here in Seattle. I explained to her that it's just too exhausting to maintain every friendship in Seattle while also developing friendships in Chicago. The most important relationships stick, but I'm beginning to realize that sometimes people can enter your life for just a season, and I'd do better to simply appreciate them in my life at that period of time rather than forcing each relationship to be what I think it should be. However, in appreciating these relationships within their seasons, sometimes some rather important friendships dissipate as well.

Growing up, I am sure I had "best friends". You know, the ones you always hung out with, always shared your lunch with, and generally just had a skipping good time with. This kinds of friends in my case did not last. In the 3rd grade Nikki Norris told the entire 3rd grade class that I stretched our her body suit and that I was fat. In the 5th grade Melissa Bong only hung out with me as a way to hang out with my adorable next door neighbor. In the 6th grade I met Emmalee Ridgeway who was my nearest and dearest friend for about 3 years until she went to another school. She was, however, a fantastic friend and I hope one day to find her on Facebook.

It wasn't until I was in the 9th grade that I developed a "best friendship" that was built on a solid foundation. Kristen Miles is probably the first person I can remember pursuing me as a friend not because of what I could give her (access to a cute next door neighbor, for example) but because she wanted to be my friend. We established a ridiculous mutual love for Goran Visnjic, Spy Daddy from Alias, and other random artificats of pop culture. We ate lunch together almost every day during Junior and Senior year of high school, planned winter formals, and gave each other permission to ask questions about one another's faiths and respond respectfully. And when we got together, stupid, stupid amounts of laughter transpired. Our friendship was always easy, in the best way possible. Never any stupid drama, never any subtle criticism of one another, just friendship.

I lost touch with Kristen, but was randomly thinking about her one day in college, knew she was on her mission in Norway and found her through the LDS website where we sent a couple of emails to one another. I have the best intentions of being her pen pal as she is in Idaho and I am in Seattle. It's weird, isn't it, the relationships that last and the ones that quicksilver that seem to slip between our fingers? I hope I was as good of a friend to Kristen in high school as she was to me, but as this is one relationship that I would really love to rekindle I may have the opportunity to be that kind of friend to her even if it is across long distances.