Monday, April 27, 2009

sufficiently soaked but smiling

I went for a run today. When I left it was warm and overcast with patchy sun breaks. I started out strong even though my knee has been a little achy lately. About a mile and a half in, out of nowhere, a colossal downpour hit and I was sufficiently soaked in about two minutes. I couldn’t help but just bust up laughing. It was exactly what I needed. I love running in the rain, but this was the best.

I love situations that are so completely ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh and embrace the hilarity of the moment.

People driving by must have thought I was absolutely mad with an ear to ear smile, just running through puddles, completely soaked, barely able to see through the river pouring down my face. I was running by this office building and it was fun to see everyone in the formal business attire sheltering themselves with newspapers and briefcases and running at my pace through the parking lot to get to their cars. I felt like I was in a movie or a Nike running commercial.

It felt so ridiculously refreshing. It was one of those cleansing moments, one of those washed by the water moments that leave you feeling energized and renewed, as if all my worries or anxieties rolled off me like raindrops, leaving only goodness on my skin and in my thoughts. I’m just sitting in my studio now, listening to the Giant upstairs (he sounds like one anyway) dance to ‘you send me’ by Sam Cooke (it’s a classic and a personal favorite of mine) and I’m still drying my soaked clothes with my Hawaiian breeze fan. And, I’m still smiling. Things are good.

“God gave you style, and gave you grace, and put a smile upon your face.”


My days of calling myself a student are quickly falling away. I have always been a student, even in my two year hiatus; I still called myself a student because I had a sneaking suspicion that I would pursue a master’s degree soon. Now as I enter into the final six weeks, I’m ready to shed my student’s skin. It’s difficult to think about giving up that title, when I’ve held tightly to it for so long. Though, I will soon hold claim to the title of social worker, I still feel that sliver of loss in parting ways with the life I’ve known all these years.

I think it was Mr. Rogers that said it best,

"Transitions are almost always signs of growth, but they can bring feelings of loss. To get somewhere new, we may have to leave somewhere else behind."

That being said, I’m ready to transition to a career of doing what I love, but I’m not sure I’m ready to transition to a new place. People keep asking me if I am going to stay in Portland or move back to Seattle. As much as I ache for my people in Seattle, I’m not quite done with Portland yet. I haven’t gotten my fill. I just have that deep gut feeling that God has more in store for me here and that’s enough assurance for me that this city is where I am meant to be.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where I come from

I love writing exercises that switch up the way I think or write and this one was particularly cool to me as I love reflecting on the people and places that I come from. I saw the template on this cool girl's blog. It's called Where I'm From and I think all of you should try it as well. It's thoughtful to think through and it's a lens for others to see a bit of where you come from.
Go here for the template.

I am from salty beaches with seashells and sand dollars, from Peachios and cartwheels on the lawn.

I am from the orange house on Pleasant Beach, the aging speedboat and the tire swing twirling in the afternoon sunlight.

I am from hardy rhododendrons that bloom vibrant and fit perfectly behind the ear, the sweetly fragrant lilies that wake me every Easter morning and unwavering dandelions that push their way through cracks in the patio.

I am from road trips guided by theme parks, from stepping lightly after curfew, from Harmony in Korea, from Katherine Williams and Uncle Ambrose.

I am from great lengths for the love of family, from five hour drives every other weekend to keep our family together. I am from my dad’s heartbreaking stories of loss witnessed in a life-time of fire-fighting and service in the Vietnam War.

I am from wheelbarrows full of fuzzy caterpillars, play clothes and school clothes, and puddles you could jump right through.

I am from a house full of skeptics, wincing at street corner preachers, televangelists and abortion protesters, unconvinced that heaven could hold both a sinner and a saint. I am from youth leaders who never uttered a word about God or unfolded a prayer but always found time for flashlight tag. I am from that still small voice that whispered to me that we are all meant for so much more.

I am from the ferries of Bainbridge Island en route to Seattle and the leap of faith that crossed oceans for love. I am from Grandma’s Christmas goulash everyone pretended to love and the chocolate chip cookie dough that vanished before the cookie sheet appeared.

I am from first dates post World War II, running terrified from the theater when the opening scene exploded on the screen, the girl who could waltz in her sleep and double-clutch like a pro, and Clapper the Clown at pancake breakfasts, and walking in the fourth of July Parade to celebrate the honor of citizen of the year.

I am from puzzle time with old ladies, telling stories about their loves and the latest romance novel.

I am from beaches of drift wood and Hurricane Ridge, from hallways of frozen moments of awkward years, from dusty piano tops alongside Frank Sinatra and Etta James. I am from cold Christmas Eve nights on the porch listening to carols sung from fire truck speakers.

This is where I come from and I’m forever grateful..

Thursday, April 16, 2009

on being known

I LOVE knowing people’s names. I really do. I love it when people know my name, even if I still blush a little when I tell people my full name, or when people give a hearty chuckle when they hear my name. I feel like people know me when they know my name. It makes the world a little smaller, community a little more real. You could go all around town all throughout life without having anyone really know you, and the idea of that forms a pit in my stomach. We are wired to be relational to be with people, to be known. This is why isolation is greatest punishment. We NEED people.

Complex pathways of the brain and regulation of certain functions of our limbic brain makes expulsion from the company of others the cruelest punishment humans can devise. Studies have been done long ago on orphan children, finding that children NEED affection and emotional attention. Feed and clothe a human infant but deprive him of emotional contact and he will die. We are born with the innate need and desire to be known.

It’s not easy to be known; it requires vulnerability and risk. It’s not always something that comes easy. We hide ourselves for fear of truly being known and on the other end of the spectrum we have within us a deep desire to be known. We need it but we fear it. What does one do with that? I find myself hiding myself away at times for fear that people won’t like the real me and trying to be vulnerable hoping that people will like the real me, so much of life is lived somewhere in the space between.

I value community and that place where everyone knows my name. I like feeling at home with people. Take for example, my place of work, at the coffee shop; someone can come in everyday and we quickly stack up fleeting moments of interaction and all the while have no idea who the other is, but one day, a moment is taken to ask the name of the other. Once names are exchanged, it’s a whole new interaction as if the name is your “in” this allows you to ask questions, see who the other is. At least this has been the case with me, maybe I am a little nosy or curious, but I can’t help it. For me, it has that feeling of “yeah, we go WAY back.” Like an old friend. And even though that’s not the case, I like that feeling of seeing an old friend when they walk in the door.

I like going for a run in the neighborhood and passing my favorite old couple on the street with a smile and a wink. Or running into Steve who is giving his son a pep-talk on how to ride a bike even if it’s scary, or passing Lee and his co-worker out for a run along the riverfront. It’s the hellos I’m after, the community, the recognition of knowing and recognizing the we are all tied to one another.

We are all fellow travelers in this life. We’re all in this together.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Marinations

Here's a trial theme for Mondays. I am a lover of words, especially the words of others and I find myself constantly gathering words from poems, books, and quotes or quickly scrawling words I hear onto grocery receipts and post-its. And I am forever reflecting and marinating on the beauty of what I read and hear. So, as long as I can remember, my Monday posts will include little pieces of what I am currently marinating on. I hope you enjoy!

There’s a lovely story about a Hasidic rabbi who always told his
people that if they studied the Torah, it would put scripture on their
hearts. One of them asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?” The
rabbi answered, “Only God can put scripture inside. But reading
sacred text can put it on your hearts, and then when your hearts
break, the holy words will fall inside.” -Anne LaMott

"No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again
-Regina Spektor

"And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its shame, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."

“Now we have Gogurt. Did we have a mobility problem with yogurt?”

Ellen enacts hypothetical phone conversation….

“Oh hi Tom. Oh, I’ve been wanting to see that movie. Hmm… No, I just opened a yogurt….I’m in for the night…yeah. No…not even later, it’s the kind with the fruit on the bottom. Have fun.”

-Ellen Degeneres

“I stand on the edge of these wetlands, a place of renewal, an oasis in the desert, as an act of faith, believing the sun has completed the southern end of its journey and is now contemplating its return toward light.” –Terry Tempest Williams

"The famine's begun for many in our own land; right here; right now. The reality is that we only come to know Jesus as the bread of life because we've known hunger. Whether we hunger for meaning, freedom, intimacy, freedom from fear, or something else, when we find the one who can satisfy the hunger, our gratitude becomes a natural wellspring of praise. The same thing is true again and again. We know Christ as light because we've walked in darkness; know Him as life because we've been in the realm of death; know Him as father because we've stood by the grave of our own dad. However it works for you, I hope you can see that real thanksgiving is always born out of the transformation which comes from crisis."

-Richard Dahlstrom

"so I shall search the land of void and vision until I find something fresh like water and comforting like fire; until I find some place in eternity, where I am literally at home"
-GK Chesterton
If every building falls

And all the stars fade
We'll still be singing this song
The one they can't take away
I'm gonna get there soon
-Mat Kearney

Thursday, April 9, 2009

it's a new day

I’m thinking about loss today. It’s kind of my job to think about and talk about loss with people all day. I love listening to people’s stories about life and love and loss. That may sound like a strange thing to love as they are often heartbreaking stories to hear, but I find there is always so much joy and so many blessings. I get to listen and seek out these pearls they have said and re-tell it for them so they can re-experience that person or memory as a blessing. It’s a privilege to be a little piece in someone’s healing process.

Occasionally, loss will creep its way into my own life. I’ve experienced loss in many forms and I am by no means immune to its sting. It’s never been easy for me to say goodbye to people or places or things...haha…NOUNS. I have a hard time saying goodbye to nouns. Oh boy, I really make myself laugh sometimes.
So as I walk through yet another loss…I am surprisingly hopeful and feeling good. In all my experience with loss, there is always the opportunity to learn and grow. I feel that I am both learning and growing. Ultimately, I am resting in a plan far greater than my own in breathless expectation.

“…and it just might be the prettiest thing that you’ve ever seen, it’s a new day. Baby, it’s a new day.”