Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fresh bouquets of pencils and a graduation gown

Yesterday, as I was sharpening pencils for the Learning Center, I got a giddy feeling in my heart. Like I do in the fall when I get to buy school supplies. This invariably leads me to think of that scene in You've Got Mail when Tom Hank's character says, "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils..." So, as I'm standing by the pencil sharpener blissfully sharpening pencils, I quietly laugh and say, "Bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils!" The girl at the desk look at me funny and said, "Uh, did you say something?" I smiled and shook my head no. It was okay if no one else understood. It was for me and, in that moment, I was happy.

I'm having one of those moments right now. I'm working on my speech for graduation tonight. (And can I just say...WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? Sure, it's a great honor, but on top of my other papers, I have to worry about this thing...ugh. Darn me and my over-achiever tendencies!)But every now and then, I look over my shoulder to my closet. Hanging on the door is my graduation gown with my honor cords draped around the hanger. Every time I look at it, I get these little butterflies in my stomach. Not the butterflies like before a date butterflies or nervous butterflies. No, these are excited butterflies.And maybe, there are a few fear butterflies mixed in with the excited ones. That's okay. I seem to remember those fear butterflies from, oh, about four years ago when I first started classes at Alvernia. They seem silly now. Just as I know these little fear butterflies will seem silly when I graduate from my Master's program--whenever that happens!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Faith in Crisis

"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? "
--C.S. Lewis "A Grief Observed"

I love the words to "In Christ Alone." I cling to the line that says "No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand," because of its promise to me. Today I heard it and wept because of the promise it meant for someone else. For him, it means that the poisoned words that satan tried to get him to believe cannot keep him from God. It means satan didn't win in the end. Though this was a very encouraging thought, it saddened me. Why couldn't he have understood the Love of Christ better? He knew, surely, that God was with him always. But then, maybe this is the wrong question. I still question, wrongly, if I could have done more. I know the answer. Knowing the answer doesn't make my heart hurt any less.
So today I saw him in heaven where he knows no separation from the Father and the Son who died for all of his sins. And that glimmer is going to have to be enough for me.
At least until God calls me home.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

As time goes by

Well, another year has almost passed. That infernal timepiece that doesn't stop until God allows it to is still ticking for me. I'm still waiting for my "what I want to be when I grow up" to kick in. I think I might revert back to what I wanted to be when I was a child: a nurse and a truck driver.
Sometimes it seems like I haven't grown at all. I was looking through my journal and note that I still struggle with the same things. But I also noticed that some of the issues I found monumental were so very childish. I like that I can see the difference now. I like the way that I relate to people now. I was always so aware of my own pains and problems. They were so very childish. But I find that the lessons I've learned from those hurts makes it possible for me to minister to others in a very special and unique way.
My future is still uncertain. Due to my fear and abhorrence of needles, I will probably never become a nurse. Due to my lack of depth perception, I would make a really horrible truck driver (coz I wouldn't be able to back up to a dock properly). I'm not done having problems in life, but they don't seem as insurmountable now. Like the song says, "It's still the same old time goes by." Some things change. But others...oh, they are the fundamentals. I still love coffee. (I secretly pray I never have to give it up. Ever. If I ever have children, they will be java junkies from birth.) The smell of books is almost better than flowers to me. I would rather own more books than clothes...but not shoes! I have a God who watches over me, even (and especially) when I'm faithless. His love for me never ends and there is nothing I can do to change that. When I remember He is the one that invented time and everything that goes with it, I don't mind that I don't know what I'll be when I grow up. I don't mind because I know that He knows. He knows coz it's what He has purposed for me.
And I like the idea of having a purpose.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where do the years go?

Children grow up. All of you adults are laughing at me now saying, "Uh, yeah well, that IS the point. And it's about time, too!" And I know. It's the way life is supposed to work. It doesn't mean I have to like it!
Over the past week or two, I've been noticing people more. Noticing that maybe I have more friends than I had previously thought, that those silly youth group kids weren't dorky awkward freshmen anymore, but seniors soon graduating. I'm noticing that infants and toddlers grow in leaps and bounds in WEEKS! I swear the little girl I babysit gets bigger week to week! She is holding her head up more and is more alert. It's so amazing to watch! See? I know not all growth is bad!
But there are moments when the years catch up with you, and when they do, they hit you hard. At our Good Friday service at church, we have a large cross in the front of the church. At the end of the service, we nail our testimony cards to it to remind us that Jesus took our nails and the punishment that was ours by right. At the start of service, two men carry a ladder in and a third climbs up to nail the sign at the top of the cross. Anyway, this year a member of the youth group and a member of the young adult group carried in the ladder. It doesn't sound like much, but it shocked me. That was a MAN'S job. Like, a grown up man's job. In my eyes, they were still boys. "When did they grow up?" I asked myself. Last week. Last week they grew up. When they carried their friend's casket to the front of the church. That is the moment they grew up. And I mourn their passing into adult hood, because I didn't even notice.
As the years continue to come and go, I realize how quickly they pass. Again, you parents will moan and say I'm talking crazy, but that's the way it is. I was reminded tonight that I am a bit older than the youth group members. Wait, am I? Didn't I just graduate high school? Are you sure I'm a college senior? Am I really five years older than these kids, I mean, young people? Where did the years go? I think I didn't notice they were gone because I still hold so many of my "little girl" insecurities. But maybe, it's better this way. Not noticing the years pass because I know I still have flaws keeps me from thinking I'm better than people. I like that I fit in with the youth group when I can, or adults when I need to. I guess it's really the best of both worlds.