From the very first day

“That thing that was from the beginning” (1 John; WYC), “- we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands” (MSG) “When this life became visible, we saw it; so we speak of it” (GNT) “[What we] witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.”.  “This is the life we have seen and heard” (GW) [and] “now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us”.

“We share life with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (NIRV). “Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!” (MSG)

“This is the message we heard from Christ and are reporting to you: God is light, and there isn’t any darkness in him” (GW).

“Suppose we say that we share life with God but still walk in the darkness. Then we are lying. We are not living by the truth” (NIRV).

“But if we live in the light as He is in the light” (WNT) “[t]hen we share life with one another” (NIRV); “we […] experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin..” (MSG).

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (ASV); “we are false to ourselves and there is nothing true in us” (BBE).

“If we acknowledge” (CJB) “that we have done wrong, he is upright and true to his word” (BBE) “stedfast He is and righteous that He may forgive us the sins, and may cleanse us from every unrighteousness” (YLT)  “giving us forgiveness of sins and making us clean from all evil” (BBE).

“If we make the claim that we have not committed averos* (OJB) “we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (ASV).  “If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God – make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God” (MSG).

*averos_middle english dictionary kurath

Middle English Dictionary, By Hans Kurath: 

– 1 John 1

“Were you scared?”: A review of East Cleveland Community Theater’s Dracula

     I am not a fan of exploiting fear. I quit Student Council in the second grade because of the ritual of scaring kindergarten children (thus ending my political career); I feel violated when someone sneaks up on me or manipulates my body’s healthy reaction to threats. The thrill of roller coasters escapes my understanding so zombies, werewolves, psycho clowns, etc. etc. … no thank you.

     Thus my slight (albeit purely internal) apprehension when I agreed to attend Dracula for a school project.

     All I knew was that it was about a vampire- a blood-sucking creature – and that the show would be extremely well done; the most terrifying prospect of all.

     They would succeed in scaring me; that much was clear and I resigned myself to accepting the fate gracefully, but I still feared the cheesy, thrill seeking Halloween tactics (such as jumping out at audience members or loud bangs at the end of a suspenseful moment) that I thought such a show would be forced to include.

     I did not expect to feel respected by the story itself. I did not expect the characters and cast to earn my trust by inviting me into such a well told tale that the inevitable flinch could come without bringing the shame, embarrassment and even anger at being fooled.

     I did not expect the depth of emotion and the layers of complexity that the cast was able to portray. I expected cheap shots and to leave feeling violated because I thought that was the horror genre was all about.

     Instead, well, let’s just say that now I really want to see East Cleveland Community Theater’s rendition again. Perhaps a couple times.

     I’ve read original newspaper articles from the late ’60s and early ’70s and from the start, this passionate group of volunteers has impressed their audiences while challenging their preconceptions so again I should not be surprised that they have left me with questions and not nightmares. I should have trusted their reputation and not just the brief relationships I had made with the cast and crew willing to help on an assignment.

     “The overall production of the show was excellent and placed a mark of professionalism again of the East Cleveland Community Theater efforts. The word ‘professionalism’ in the theater does not mean dollars and cents but rather that air or attitude of serious undertaking” (East Cleveland Citizen; Dec. 3rd 1970).

  Itself an incredible example of the determination and love for quality in East Cleveland, the Citizen’s words still ring true.

     Showing through the first week of November (Fri and Sat nights at 8, Sundays at 3), there should be another opportunity for not only I but perhaps for more within this region. With twelve showings in all, this cast and crew proves that the theater that has thrived theatrically for 47 years even despite changes in the cultural climate around them is more than just still there.

     Dracula was, and is, a serious undertaking and should be supported. Quality theater continues at 14108 Euclid and I look forward to seeing their efforts rewarded.

impeccable timing’s object lesson

January 3rd, 2017 update/ explanation.  This was written on May 9th, 2015 about an encounter with a stranger in September 2013 who looked and acted a great deal like someone I had stopped talking with in July 2012 but in whom I was still very much interested.

Now extremely happily married to someone else (see themakingofamarriage.wordpress.com), I feel I can now share this because the point is more true and clear now than ever before.

The closest human relationship, marriage, mimics and wets our tastebuds for a relationship with the divine.  In a good relationship, the other will look enough like Jesus (gracious, merciful, firm but tall and open and loving) that the differences will be that much more painful and yet a good relationship is Christ’s way of refining us and of showing Himself off- making us fall so much more in love with the One who makes such a beautiful relationship possible.

In RefreshedI wrote about how a family unit is like God cloning Himself- inviting us to sit at a table with boundaries and rules but where we have enough support to thrive.

I very much feel like He’s cloned Himself in my husband.  That man is so very good to me and it just makes me long even more for the God he represents.

 

May 9th, 2015

A little over a year after the gentleman mentioned in “Frustratingly True” and I stopped talking, I was working six days a week at one job and was giving my mornings and days off to a second position.  My manager at the first saw that I had twelve days in a row and offered a day off- I admitted I’d just give it to the other.  That night (Thursday?) a huge crack sprang up across my windshield- just below my line of vision- so I went back the next day and said sure- an afternoon off would be helpful.

Tuesday afternoon, I was just a floater anyway so I arrange to leave early, going home so that the windshield man could come by noon.

Other than being a couple years older, the man is a splitting image of the other and immediately launches into a story about how he had broken up with his gf that morning.  Deep breaths.  As I watch him work, I can’t help but notice that many of the mannerisms are the same, the way he spoke was very similar.  Even some of the phrases seemed verbatim.  As he starts telling me about how he washes dishes at his friends’ homes (something I loved about the other), I interrupt him and attempt to return myself to reality.

“I didn’t catch your name”.  This is a completely different person.  This is a stranger, in my driveway, changing my windshield that just so happened to crack because I really needed an afternoon off but I was just too stubborn to take one.

It was purely coincidence that he had the same name as the person he was unintentionally mimicking to the tee.

I explain to him a bit of my incredulous laughter by sharing a bit of my own story, as always hoping “that I didn’t condense it so much as to remove the honor from the words”.

As he left, I reentered the house not sure whether to laugh or cry so I did both.  Water welled up in eyes that had done really well up to that point as I slowly close the door, laughing to myself- glad no one was around demanding an answer as to what was causing such a mixed response.

For over a year, I had longed to hear a similar voice, see a similar face, respond in a similar way to similar body language.  There was a familiarity with this stranger that time hadn’t earned and it was messing with my head and heart.  He was 40 while I was 24 so when I say we hit it off immediately it wasn’t a sexual desire; he was not someone that I wanted to be with, but he was enough like another that he increased my longing for that other while being a wonderful companion in and of himself for that brief moment.  I thoroughly enjoyed his company but his presence was bittersweet.

I knew he could not stay and I didn’t want him to.  There could never be the closeness of a real relationship, only an hour of sweet familiarity with a stranger.

In the same way, an earthly husband will frustrate me to no end.  I’ll know he can’t stay but I won’t want him to leave and his similarity to my real love, Jesus, will just make the differences oh so much more painful.

In the letter to my widowed self, all I needed to explain all of that was two words.  Windshield [Name].  Remember that his brief presence was a gift.  Good things can make me cry too.  God saying, “You may grieve, but him leaving doesn’t mean that I have also left.  I am the one you really want”.

I am not [yet?] a widow but the man I refer to, the one playing the role of ‘real deal’ in the divine object lesson, is currently dead to me and there is no guarantee, no likelihood, I should but can’t add no possibility that he will ever return to a life that intertwines with mine.  He has chosen another and not out of anger {well, usually) but out of respect, I grieve his absence while refusing to make a move that suggests he’d come back.

Including send what has turned into quite the lament into cyberspace where it could be seen before its time.

If God ever brings this story to light, he will bring it to light without my help and then give me permission to share, perhaps publicly.

Until then- I don’t know.  I’ll share as the Spirit leads as much as the Spirit leads.

January 3rd, 2017.  I’ve tried to be as transparent as appropriate about my struggles because it makes the victory all that much more exciting.  God really does work all things together for good. All things.  This man’s parents met my husband and I the morning of our ceremony to sign our marriage license because no one else was able to make it all official.  I’m telling you- God’s really good and will use everything, your hurts and hangups and disappointments and and and to show Himself faithful and to build His character into us.

 

impeccable timing

May 9th, 2015

This morning I heard a ‘Java with Juli’ program that made me weep with hope that her words about our dreams changing- our fairy tale endings being replaced with a better reality- would come true soon enough.

This afternoon I try to find the blog post that she had referenced at the end and ended up on Moody Cleveland’s website, where the invitation to ‘listen live’ was awfully tempting.  “Now playing: ‘Java with Juli'”.  I turn it on exactly as she’s stating the words that had impacted me so deeply this morning.  She follows with, “I don’t normally do this, but I’d like to pray” and the tears return as I agree with her as she prays for those of us who are committed to honoring God in the middle of our mess.

Relatively speaking, my mess seems like one that many would love to have and my common answer, “can’t complain”, to the even more common question, “how are you?” is true on multiple levels.  “You can’t or you won’t?”  Both.

I am grateful for the place I’m finding myself in- very much reliant on an invisible being that I’d be tempted to believe I made up if I didn’t have scores of stories, both mine and from others who’s lives have also been hijacked.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Neither can they.

A stranger told me on Easter that in a chess game, I’d be the knight; he said I was a mover as his feet started going into a restless point- pulling them together and raising to the toes in the same way that I do when I clearly want to start dancing but am not positive that it’s appropriate (or when I’m fighting the sometimes uncontrollable urge).  My mind raced as to whether he had been watching me; I hadn’t done that yet that evening, or had I?  I was in the back half dancing- I almost let myself go when I was interrupted and then discouragement hit in and then….  No.  This man didn’t know me but I heard the words- that I was finding myself in odd places and wondering how I got there- that I jump (vs shuffle or move in a straight line) and I just marveled at how accurate that was.  Even more so now.

The following week I found out that I was accepted into graduate school and the week after that I accepted the offer and started a new shift at work, starting occasional 4 am mornings that wouldn’t have been possible if I had been asked a month before when I was still living at home.  Oh yeah- did I mention that I have officially changed my address to a place of my own; the switch was much sooner than expected- I did just buy a new car at the end of Dec- but like with everything else; the fit is so perfect, the timing so impeccable, the story so divine that –

I let the blinking line just sit there for a moment as I try, once again, to justify the seemingly arrogant assurance that my life is divinely orchestrated.

I think of Job’s statement, ‘can I only accept good and not also the bad’?  I brace myself for one of these close calls to be it; I half expect an accident to change everything.  I write journal entries about being a tomato that needs a sharp knife to be able to be cut well.  I send that reminder to myself via Futureme.org and I wrote a letter to myself yesterday that can only be opened in the event of my husband’s death, reminding myself that the loss of the man who frustrated me so greatly and who I loved so dearly would not be the end of my story- that a change in status reflects a change in assignment.

Single and wishing I was not (or more so trying to be grateful for this time while hoping that it doesn’t last much longer), I speak to my potentially future self- single and wishing she were not – saying that even now you are not only allowed but supposed to live an abundant life.  I give myself permission to grieve, just like now I claim the right to cry over the death of a dream.

I cry along with a grieving widow, hoping the letter isn’t opened until 2095, but wanting to be prepared.

My memory isn’t great so I remind myself of some of the object lessons from over the years; some of the examples that this world is just a reflection of the next “a stop-over in an unfurnished shack” (1 Cor 5:2 MSG) and that the gift of an earthly husband was designed to make us long for Jesus- the real deal.

Frustratingly true object lessons that I’d get mad about if I wasn’t so grateful for the personal attention; for divine patience in spelling things out for me.

(I wrote out one of those stories and some of the lessons that it taught me, but cannot release it into cyberspace.  I have it password protected on this blog: email me for the pw if you would like to read it.  vklong@aol.com)

Jan 3rd, 2017 update: now married to someone other than the one the object lesson refers to, I’m ready to remove the pw. I’m still convinced that the Lord set up that encounter to show me something incredible, explain more of His character in a way that would make sense, prep me to allow myself to love a man without making him my all in all.

I’ll continue to try to trust in my God’s impeccable timing.  “Do or do not, there is no try”.  I will trust.

Who else has words of life?  Where else would I go?  Who else is clever, capable, kind enough to pull such things together?  I’m drawing a blank.

 

almost goodbye

I just refused, yet again, to transfer into another department at Allstate, having been a temp there since August.  I came back by their request to help through another transitional period and that period is ending.  I’m back to feeling excited while somewhat irresponsible for not taking the first thing offered.  

& yet when I started to beat myself up last year for being irresponsible- for volunteering a couple times a week but not looking for full time, or even part time work- that volunteer work sealed the deal on the perfect job for that season.  

So I went back to reread my post about the cul-de-sac and when to quit (Dec 2011), written on my last day last time I was leaving Allstate & of course I have to go searching for the one about leaving there the first time (Dec 2008) & I find “I gotcha” (July 2012) that tells story after story about learning to trust a God I can’t see; it’s a post about knowing that presenting my experiences as reasons to trust the ‘god nobody knows‘ might upset many- or just cause you to roll your eyes- but I have to.  

I’ve always been hard on myself but I’ve also been extremely naive and vulnerable and lets just say its obvious Dad’s got my back. & I know that pisses some of you off because after 1000+ words I still haven’t offered any rational hope or reason to believe its not coincidental, too experiential to count but even facts are experientially based. My reading leads to a different set of authors presenting a different set of facts, leading to a different set of conclusions than you might come across.  These the facts I’ve been presented with.

 

I have a couple more days- probably one or two a week for another week or two and as always, I have no concrete plan, but I know it’ll be good.  I, for one, am excited.  Let it roll

what’s up?

I found this prayer in the private section of an old blog – I got about about two posts in before these two blogs merged, but the framework for that one is still there and the message in this prayer ring especially true.  yesterday started a new day, a new year; as does today.

«

Private: new years prayer

God I don’t know what I’m doing but I know you do. You hear these thoughts as they ramble through all day every day- and they dive and scratch the surface and revisit the same topic again and again and again. you hear me at work atnd you havent throuwn me away yet. You havent told me to please, just once shut up for 30 seconds b/c you know i can’t. You made me to think. God, You made me to think intelligently though and Lord, I offer this day to You. I offer my thoughts to You. Use them. Teach me something. There’s gotta be something.

This year is yours just as much as this day is. Even more so. Thank you for last year. Thank you that a new year doesn’t only start tomorrow just as a new day didn’t only start yesterday. A new year started today. Dec 31st- Dec 31st; May 15th- May 15th; April 4th- the 4th of April. A year isnt the only valuable measurement of time. 4th of April- April 14th of the same year. You want me to go, right> thank you. thank you thank you thank you.

there’s been a number of years now where i honestly could say that i didnt know what was coming. i remember remarking that as a kid, it was always the same- school, break school. that was the outline of the year and all i needed to know. even when the school year started in a new state, it was still school.

You’re changing things, keeping me guessing. Thank you. You give me enough but not too much. You will be pursued, don’t run. Thank you for that. Now what> Don’t run too fast. He’s supposed to chase and its a game. It’s not fun if I don’t run at all.

Wait? How long? By all the book rules of when not to date, now’s not the right time, too busy, planning for something big, desperate. Am I desperate? I don’t think so.
Chiquita. Writing in tongues would be awesome, but even if I can’t express it here, thank you Lord for giving me that venue, avenue, out. In. Intimacy.
Thank you for being big enough to be personal. Strong enough to be humble.

This year is yours and Im looking forward to it. I love you Lord.

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Older: ambitious.

Privacy isn’t quite as much of a main goal these days.  I’m not going to type up and publicize an entire bookshelf of journals, but a lot of what has been running through me lately is so much more exciting, and makes more of a difference, when I get to share it.  Many times it wouldn’t be possible without letting it be public

Like this dancing phenomena.

Last night, Akron Chapel hosted a CCDA conference, which was cool for me b/c of a class I took called Christian Community Development in October 2012.

Cool stuff is happening in this area.  surely every area, but I’m partial to this one because its home.  I wanted to move out and Abbi (my main name for God, coming from Abba, meaning Daddy) put me in a live in nanny position a couple times a week right next door to my home church (and just for long enough to make a point and a few cool connections).  This is where I belong for now.  Yes Sir!

So, Abbi, ok.

So last night the choir was singing a lively song and the audience was sitting.  I was standing (generally a huge step in and of itself) and starting to dance in place, then really dancing in place, the hands taking over.  I felt that now familiar tug/ urge to move; an inability to not move and, being the only one in the row, I inched towards an aisle, knowing what would happen if I actually stepped out into it.

Maybe 45 seconds before the last song I did it and it was lovely and it was over.

Until they launched a reprise upon dismissal.

Then a piece of heaven broke loose and it was beautiful.

& then I went into the hall and saw people being acquainted with some of the area’s ‘best kept secrets’ and saw connections being made and names, including mine, finding a spot that fit them perfectly and a bit of heaven broke loose and it was beautiful.

& then I found myself telling a local leader that a dream of mine has been to have a site like Akron AA’s where the next prayer meeting going on in this city is readily available and all are invited even though the thought has only crossed my mind on a whim three to four times in the last two, two and a half years.

I had an actual dream last night that I crossed that man’s table and he greeted me warmly, asking, “what’s up sweet girl?”. What’s up, what’s new, how am I?

I’m eager and excited and easily disheartened and easily renewed.

I want to have a valid answer- one that shows progress has been made since the last time we met.

I saw one of those leaders Tues night and was given an assignment to find God in unexpected places.  I saw her again last night and just had to saw wow, mind blown.

And it was only Thursday.

What’s up, what’s new, what’s my desire for today?

I don’t want to lose a week full of stories and I don’t ever want my answer to that question to be nothing much.

Instead oh my, where can I start.

How about

  • Waking up to an audible voice last Saturday and having a phenomenal back and forth with the One I love.

 

You- my dear- have no clue what I want to do & through you. Yes – you fit & no- you don’t get a static (puzzle) piece.  you don’t get to define your role & then attempt to stick with it

  • Putting in the incorrect address to meet someone in Cleveland last week and telling Abbi, I don’t think we’re in the right spot’ only to hear back, ‘you’re not, but it’s ok’.  I pulled over & discovered I was missing a 1 and was five miles off.    I wanted to be annoyed, but when I got to the main lobby area and pulled out the phone to text my friend, I had one from her, received two minutes earlier, with her new room #.

God’s timing is impeccable- I knew someone who would regularly say,

sneaky Jesus!

and I’ve used that phrase a few times lately b/c it just happens so often.

 

So what’s new today.  what’s fresh and new and has to be told today because tomorrow will be a story in and of itself?

If the answer is still, nothing much, who can you get around that can encourage you, stretch you, and invite you to emulate them as they emulate Christ?   if that doesn’t sound exciting to you, I know- I get it, sorta.  eagles aiming for my head don’t really intrigue me either, but if that’s what sends me into the sewer where my Abbi is holding a blind girl with chicken pox, just needing a physical hand to lead her out of there so that she doesn’t die from the isolation caused by something so benign, then ok.  Count me in.  Chicken pox doesn’t scare someone who has jumped through multiple hurdles, had their toes munched at, gone w/o lunch looking for this lost child, hoping that their time in the woods hasn’t proven fatal.

When lost, adults wander, trying to find their way back. Children stop and sleep, expecting to be found.

What are you expecting today?

 

 

A Thanksgiving Lament

picture027

Weds Nov. 27th [2013] 5:57pm

A lament in the tune of gratitude, in the key of thanks, spoken in the dialect of thanksgiving is still a lament- an acknowledgement that all is not well & it hurts.

Lamenting in the tune of gratitude keeps one in tune with the source of joy, never ceasing to seek out its key, never quitting the praise of He who makes joy possible even now.

Can one lament healed hurt that left no scars; no visible scars.

I can walk because I was tortured as a child.

I do not remember the pain; I would not know the story had it not been told to me second-hand.  I have seen pictures but it could have just as well been another little girl with a huge cast attempting to play tee ball in the living room.

Still- she had my characteristic smile & my Daddy’s attention.  I recognize him- he hasn’t changed as much in the last 22 years as I have.

Yet where were You- my heavenly Daddy- when I fell; when they asked You to take away the pain & You apparently did b/c I stopped whimpering.  Are You really that literal?  I was still hurt & that was ignored for a couple days b/c they thought You handled it.

I was left alone.  I was stuffed in a big machine with no Mommy & no Daddy; legs spread eagle- separated excruciatingly – I can only suppose.

Their prayer wore off.

A lament in the key of gratitude speaks in loud opposition to the testing spirit within me that wonders whether I’d have grown up a bit saner had that not happened.

The key of thanks counts it all joy that I can walk – that I have had painful experiences & that I cannot remember most.

Humility has resulted from the debilitating fear – courage of a different kind than if I was born brave.

[…]

A lament in the key of gratitude cannot sound sour.

Surely it is possible to claim one signature but let accidental marks upon our otherwise perfectly grateful tune tint it to the point of oblivion.

A finely tuned ear can pick out the correct and honest key regardless of what’s written – that smile […] is easily exposed when those accidental slip ups are so consistent that they (re)characterize the entire piece.

Thurs. 12 [noon]

Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful that I have a job to be off from- that this isn’t permanent – that senses of uselessness never stick.

I’m grateful for my disappointments, that laments don’t get us sent to solitary confinement – that camps are not our final destination but that we’re allowed to admit our desperate attempts to convince ourselves that we really are grateful for what we have.

Perspective matters.  A lament in the key of gratitude cannot sound sour.

I am grateful for solitude and I am grateful that it will not last forever.

Give thanks for silence and the chance to fill it.

Then say ok.

I

am grateful

for

space and crowds

heat

air

freedom

chairs

people that are smarter than I

sheep that act as mirrors

unintentionally.

Mon Nov 25th, 2013 8:30pm The will of God is that we would be thankful so I’m grateful for a warm bed & free time – for work & extended hours & for patience – that so many have had so much patience with me.  I’m grateful for rest & responsibility, that I’ll never be able to claim full independence but that during this cold season I am not the one who needs to scrape $ together for heat.  I thank You that […] that […].  I thank you that […] & that […].  Thank you for […] & vice versa.  Thank You for creating us to be dependent creatures & that You use us to satisfy needs.  Thank You for wisdom & boldness to give generously to the right places.  Thank You for expecting us to stand up for truth.  Thank You for my disappointments.  Thank You that I am single but I am not unattached.  Thank You that You are consistent even if Your people & our representations of You are not.  Thank You for being real & big enough & powerful enough to prove it.  Thank You that You don’t have to but You do.  Thank You for […], for […], for […] & […] & […].  Thank You for […] & […] and that […] whether or not […].  Thank You for buying us back- continuously.  Thank You for […] & the hope […] for a fresh start.  Thank You for people,  young & old, across the board & that all of this is temporary.  Thank You that we don’t win but You win & then choose to share Your victory so its a win-win […] Thank You that You have really high standards that I can’t meet.  Thank You that You met them for me.  Thank You for […

May we never run out of reasons to give thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving

to care

7/30/12

(read Part 1: 1919)

Watching and preventing are not equivalents; preventing and caring are very different.

I do care for them.  Fun is a perk but it’s one that I aim to achieve.  I care for them enough to want them to know a fun, safe but realistic world that does not revolve around them.

10/5/13

My “to be continued” at the end of the ‘1919’ post took over a year off and I still don’t have an answer as to what exactly my role entailed as a full time babysitter.

The eight year old girl screamed at me yesterday that it was my job, essentially my main goal of the summer, the ultimate priority of the 50 hours I spend with her each week, to make sure she had fun.   Oh my dear you are sorely mistaken.

I am watching those same children this evening, along with their now three year old sister.  I’m excited- it’s been a while.  We’ll have fun, no doubt.

Still that’s not my primary goal, responsibility; that’s not the reason I, or someone older than eleven, needs to be there.  They could have fun without me- a mediator is helpful to lighten things up when it goes inevitably sour (they would certainly  disagree over what fun is supposed to look like), but they could have tons of fun making homemade concoctions and jumping — oh my.  What pops to mind is the time another mother just laughed at the thought of her hyper eight year old and large (new) dog spending the weekend home alone.  “My house would be destroyed” – said very matter-of-factly.

 

I think they can tell I care- enough to want them to laugh but also enough to expect respect and insist that it be shown not just to me but to each other because I know they are capable of it.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing them again; it’ll be a good night.  & then tomorrow, early morning, like 2 am tomorrow, I’m telling my little world that it’s not that I don’t care, but that I’m skipping out on them.  Just for a week.  They are important- I enjoy my studies and extremely part time job (Allstate); friends and fam are much appreciated, but I won’t be available next week.

-Phil_Parker; licensed under 'attribution' under Flickr's Creative Commons
-Phil_Parker; licensed under ‘attribution’ under Flickr’s Creative Commons

I’m hopping a train to Chicago and then onto Montana for a few days and then hopping a train back.  Someone I barely know but care for deeply (my mom’s best friend) has been showering me with gifts and prayers for as long as I remember and I finally am able to take up her offer to come visit.

Maybe that’s what it means to care.  Carving out time to focus on whoever is before you; alerting the others that for this moment in time, I am unavailable because I care too much about my host to fight for cell service, even if it is to walk another dear friend through a painful moment.

Maybe caring has a lot to do with planning ahead- we plan to be fully involved elsewhere so we don’t want to be relied on too drastically here because we know that things happen, that even the most trustworthy human is human and cannot give a 100% guarantee on anything.  We can promise to be somewhere, but cannot guarantee that the path won’t be blocked, that circumstances outside our control won’t ruin our best laid plans.

My parents have been putting together wills and telling me who to call if… and who’d be in charge of the estate and how to get a hold of the lawyer who’d walk us through some tough processes.  Mom’s written out which bills are due when and I know it’s not a fun thought but I am incredibly grateful that they care enough to make sure I know how to keep going in their absence.

It’s like finding a good babysitter, knowing they cannot be you, but that you can rest assured that your kid has someone with them that is enough like you that they can act on your behalf.

So a child left at daycare may not feel cared for at first, but what if you take the time before leaving to introduce them to the fantastic sweet and very fun workers who are determined to invite them into a fun, safe but realistic world that does not revolve around them.

A fantastic leader makes sure that those around them know how to act on their behalf in their absence.  Their subordinates know them well enough to care out their desires without constant oversight and supervision.  The unexpected does not catch them off guard.

And then, like parents desperate for a date night or a girl eager for a day and a half train ride to be alone with her God, they lovingly ignore any protests or do not bemoan their lack.  Even if no one begs them to stay, they know they are loved and needed and that their return will be welcome, expected and very much appreciated.

They feel cared for by letting others handle their cares.  Then they come back refreshed, ready to do the same for someone else.

 

 

 

 

5 stinkin’ classes

My frustration with the prospect of finishing my bachelor’s has been building for quite some time so the slight inconveniences that keep preventing further action add to the weariness.  Trying to print from a tablet was harder than expected; the disk accompanying the textbook for my upcoming January class doesn’t work with this version of windows (I tried to take the class last year and wanted to print out one of the assignments to show a potential collaborator).  I pulled out an old portable cd drive to try the cd on the tablet and of course it’s not recognizable.

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