Archives for the month of: November, 2008

warning: this post is emo, sappy, tear-jerky, maybe even melodramatic? read at your own risk.

last night i met a dear friend for a day of celebration, tea, picture-taking, laughter, prayer and tears. we said goodbye for two years or so as she plans to move to eastern europe. i got choked up sooner than her and said, “we’re both pros at goodbyes…” it’s true. she’s lived most of her life with her family and friends spread across countries. she’s said goodbye a million times. i’ve had a much more stable life geographically, but had to say goodbye to my brother when he was killed in a car accident and to my sister when she lived in the middle east for nearly 4 years.

as i drove home from our lovely day together, my windshield wipers and eyelids worked to the same end and i listened to music she’d given me. one album was aradhna, the other share the well–both layered with meaning and memories as they explore God’s work all over the world, especially in India (a culture we both share great affection for)

One of my goals in life is to grieve all my losses, so i chose not to call friends on my drive, but instead to spend time reflecting and allowing myself to be sad. as i listened, i thought of the future and life without closeness with this dear friend. our friendship will continue, probably for life, but this next season will look different than the last. i remembered the good times: laughing in our dorm, cooking pasta and curry, praying for our friends and the Kingdom to come, painting fruit and portraits and european streets with palette knives, eating fiesta lime chicken, applying eyeliner, dancing. i thought, too, of my other goodbyes, especially to my brother whose death was 7 years ago this week. the sadness welled up into my eyes but it wasn’t long before the music had overwhelmed me with hope. i realized: i’ve been here before. sad, uncertain of what’s next. but every time, God comes through. i recognize the dark valley and I know Jesus will be with me. the last few years have been full of joys and sorrows and the last few months have been packed with more drama than I could have anticipated. I know that life will probably not be boring anytime soon. I still worry about the future, but not in the same way I used to. I know God will be faithful to me. He won’t do what I want, but He’ll be good and faithful and tender and surprise me with comic timing. I’m glad to be here and I’m looking forward to the road ahead.

T, I’ll miss you metric tonnes, but I know that the God who holds together the universe holds us both and will be faithful in the future like He has been in the past. Thanks for helping me see my life in the context of the greater story and for loving me in my brokenness.

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r: “where are you girls going?”
j: “to a denison whitmer show in arlington”
r: “oh yeah? what kind of music do they play?”
j: “he’s a singer/songwriter–mostly indie folk”
r: “eww, folk. i could be on board for the indie, but no folk”
j: “have you heard of Sufjan?”
r: “who?”
j: ….
r: ….?
j: “have a nice evening!”

as part of my overachiever year/discipleship program/work-life-balance training/develop a coherent worldview/gradschool-internship-host family-volunteer-mentor-service-retreat fellows year last year, we had to come up with a list of a few governing values. mine were a short list that attempted to reflect things that are important to me, reasons i make decisions, etc. here are a few: the Kingdom of God, relationships, understanding causes, space & rest, communication & expression, variety, and health. it’s an odd jumble of things, but it gets the job done. i was thinking last night that i need to add another one. it’s as awkwardly-named as the rest, unfortunately, but it has to do with celebrating the good things in life.

over the past few months, i’ve celebrated:
– having lyme disease–with a party for 40 people. i stood on a chair and thanked God for a proper diagnosis and my community for their love
– getting laid off–with an unemployment dinner party. we had chicken tacos, a delicious quoinoia salad, salad, and delightful conversation (quinoia=couscous’s south american cousin)

so those are my dramatic examples. but i’ve been taking the time to celebrate little victories, too:
– a friend ordered for a reconditioned computer and apple accidentally sent her a new one.
– that same friend has been raising support to leave the country and do missions for the next 2 years. it’s been her lifelong dream and she just got to 80% of her funding.
– another friend got asked out by a Good man who she’d had a crush on.
– another is able to cut back her hours at her very stressful job to take care of herself and her unborn baby
– my roomate got a high score on her paper for law school
these are friends i’ve known for a little or long while who have things to celebrate and i’m committed to raising a glass, shrieking over the phone, going out to lunch and just taking the time to rejoice.

life is short and the kingdom is veiled from our eyes most of the time. we’re stumbling around in faith, trusting God that the end of the story is a comedy with a good, good end–despite the evidence to the contrary. we look through a glass darkly and see only glimmers of the patterns of redemption, then we’re pulled back to the mundane or the darkness. I’m committed to celebrating those flashes of good things with those who rejoice. will you join me?