Friday, May 27, 2011

Welcome to the Bat Cave

Today is my second to last day of work.
I was excited to get to work today. I have things I want to finish, people I want to see. Basically, I have a life.
But seeing as how this is me, things did not go according to plan.
It starts with last night - a babysitting gig. All in all, a most delightful way to spend my evening. We read books, played Go-Fish, snuggled and laughed a lot. (This 5 year old understands sarcasm more than most adults. When asked how school was, he didn't respond. I said, "Did you even go today??" His response? "No, I was sick. Cough Cough." I mean really? How many 5 year old's do YOU know that can think that quickly on their feet and then laugh because he knows he was joking??? Priceless!)
I didn't get home so late, but it had been a long day with some tearful goodbye's. We had a retirement party and I was on the set up/tear down committee and, well, it was just a long day. I fell asleep drinking tea last night. That's how tired I was.
So I wake up, early, before my alarm (not to mention the 2 AM wake-up from the storm last night), get a shower and start my day. In between the getting out of the shower in a towel, putting a robe on and getting ready, I noticed a scratchy something on my back. Going through the list of things it might be in my head (as I knew there were no tags on my towel or even in my robe) I settled on the disgusting idea that it might be a stink bug. Ew. I loose the robe and grab a mirror to check my back. No stink bug. I pick up my robe to shake it out so I can flush it. No stink bug. What in the world--
Yes, ladies and gents, there was a bat in my robe. AGAINST MY SKIN!
I screamed like a little girl, but only for a little. I was so tired, emotionally & physically, that I just didn't have it in me. After many phone calls, thankful prayers that ALL of my clothes weren't in the bathroom and a quick covert op into the bathroom to retrieve my contacts so I could see, I went to the hospital to make sure there wasn't a puncture or scratch on my back.
Thankfully the doc said it looked good and that I would be fine. (The alternative was no less than 6 shots TODAY with many follow up shots in the next 2-14 days. Double Ew.)
Currently, I'm in my kitchen gathering up the courage to go back in my bathroom to finish getting ready. To everyone who saw me this morning without make up, hair done or (sorry!) teeth brushed, I am sorry.
Happy second to last day of work to me...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This week is proving to be a difficult one. Not simply physically demanding (it is VERY hard to go to work when the sun is out, you know it's going to be a beautiful day AND you have to spend it all indoors) but emotionally as well.
It started with graduation this past Sunday. As I listened to their names be called and watched "my graduates" walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, I was filled with a strange sense of pride. They were students I knew, I had talked with about school, both undergrad and graduate level. Study abroad, travel. Books and assignments. The value of starting a paper on time, understanding how a paper can be "basically done" days before it is due and the familiarity of starting a paper the night before the due date. I had hugged these students, cried with them, encouraged them, listened to them rant and blow off steam. These were my students and I was proud of them.
I looked over the crowd after the ceremony and realized that I could have helped some of them, was sure I helped some of them pass senior year. The idea struck me as odd and strange. For a moment, they all felt like mine. But as I continued to consider this thought, I knew they wouldn't see it that way. I was simply the librarian (ok, intern) who helped them get started, find a book, do the research, fix citations. The little things that got them their A. But you know? I don't mind. Not one bit.
Being at that graduation reminded me so much of my own. I didn't mention much on this blog last year about it--it was such a blur! It was interesting to see how similar and dissimilar they were. For one, Gettysburg holds graduation outside - rain or shine. I like that. Graduation happens on the green between Musselman Library and Pennsylvania Hall. The best seats are the cheap seats: sitting or standing on the steps of the library. One more reason to love Musselman! Another tradition they have is something they call the Stole of Gratitude. It is a simple blue stole with "Class of 2011" printed on it and all the graduates wear one for the ceremony. One of the last things they are charged with before being dismissed is to carry on the tradition of the college by gifting their stole to the person --faculty, staff, parent, friend, mentor -- who inspired them, supported them, loved them, encouraged them, and pushed them to do their best at Gettysburg College. This small token spoke to my heart (and reminds me a little of foot washing. Anyone else??). It whispered to me, "Who would you give your stole of gratitude to?" And honestly? There isn't one person I could give it to without offending many. Names and faces come to mind; where one springs up, three take its place. I was astonished when I realized just how many people it takes to keep me encouraged, to keep me sane.
Astonished and humbled.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Broken Umbrellas, Spilled Coffee, Blind Spots - and a little hope

Today was better than yesterday. And for that I am thankful.
Yesterday started with a broken umbrella, spilled coffee, and, well -- let's just say a failure to comprehend labels on my clothing. Yeah. Good day.
This morning, I stuck my mascara brush in my eye, resulting in a big black blob on my contact lens. Not a brilliant thing to do, but truly a much better boo-boo for my morning than yesterday.
But back to the problem of not being able to see out of one eye. What do I do? All of of the rest of my eye make up was already applied and removing the contact to clean it, well that would just ruin that work! I tried to cry, attempted to put eye drops in and eventually got all the mascara out of my eye ball. Phew. I will be so glad to get this contact out and cleaned properly tonight!
I stumbled on something today from The Village Church. Before you run away, assuming I will once again be singing the praises of Matt Chandler, this isn't about him. (But he DID just finish up a sermon series on Habakkuk that is AWESOME and there is a short Q&A video he did here. Oops. I guess that was...well, never mind.)
I found this video testimony from a guy called Nick Stevens.
(One of these days, I will learn how to embed a video. Today is not that day.)
I don't know Nick. He doesn't know me. But it seems we are close to the same part of the path of Christian living. Here is something he says at the end of the video that spoke to my heart today.
Not really knowing whats ahead of me. Not knowing what God has in store. And even some days, just not feeling his presence in my day to day life. But I am thankful for ... the right understanding of God so I can press into Him in times where, even tomorrow, I'm not sure what's next, or even what's in store.
~ Nick Stevens
Maybe this will bless you. Maybe it won't. But for me, knowing that another believer miles away is struggling with this but has found a way to, as Matt says at The Village, "press into God" even on the days of doubt? It gives me hope.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Finals Week/ Final Weeks

We are in Finals Week here at the college. They run a Sunday to Saturday schedule which really confuses me, but anyway, here we are. The last week or so has been total madness in the library. Every desk is taken, every computer desk full. The printer is constantly pumping out papers, last minute research and, probably, summer vacation plans. Laptops and cell phones are plugged into every available outlet, and sometimes even the unavailable ones. (The photocopier is usually the thing that gets unplugged. Poor old dinosaur.) Piles of books and paper everywhere. It's a madhouse.

As busy as the library is, the campus has been pretty quiet. With the warm weather, people have been out of doors soaking up the sunshine, laughing, ignoring the work they needed to do. But this week, everyone is in study mode. Nose to the grindstone and all that.

And for some reason, I've been feeling sentimental. Maybe some of it is remembering that a year ago, I graduated. (I still have trouble believing I did it. And that I gave a speech to a bazillion people, too.) I've been trying to chat with all the student workers I've gotten to know over the past year. I find it hard to believe (even about myself) that I've made such friends over one year. There is J. who works in my office. She is a marathon runner and always has extraordinarily nice things to say about me. She can lift my spirits on a horrible day. E., J., M., and A. who all work in Interlibrary Loan. I've gone to dance recitals like a proud mama, harassed them like a sister, talked & giggled about boys like a girlfriend, checked up on their school work like teacher and just...sorta fell in love with them. I can't even finish--there are so many people I might not see again and it hurts to think of it.

And then I remember, I'm almost done too.


Monday, May 9, 2011

the thing about Christian living

The more I learn about this thing called Christian life, the more I think I have it all wrong, and have had it wrong for years. After being a Christian for 16 years, I think I thought I would have the basics down. Or, you know, not feel so fish-out-of-water-y most of the time. I'm not sure what I really thought it was all about. Probably about being perfect and shiny. A model Christian to show up & shame all the other lesser Christians out there (also, ask about my humility). All of that sounds like it is still based on a 6 or 7 year-old child's understanding of Jesus.

But yesterday, as I prayed and talked with a close friend, I had the smallest thought maybe I had it wrong. There I was again, struggling with the same fear and doubt of the future. The unsettling uncertainty of what life brings, and "Can't God just give me a hint as to what is next? Just a tiny glimmer of things to come?" My friend looked at me and smiled. She didn't scold me for not trusting or tell me to "just have faith." She looked me in the eye and said, "Has He ever let you down in the past? Hasn't He always provided for you?" Through my tears I sheepishly said that Yes, He always had provided. "It's that step of faith," she continued, "that He asks you to take. You don't have to have all the details figured out. You don't even have to know what direction to step in. Just step out in faith. He will take care of the rest. He owns cattle on a thousand hills, right?" (This is her favorite thing to point out to me and I love it. She prayed this for me a lot when I was trying to work all my England plans out. She's prayed this prayer a lot for herself and her family, too.) Again, I agreed with her and remembered the times God has provided for me financially. Finally, she reminded me of the "eleventh hour God" that He sometimes chooses to be to teach us faith and dependence. And, again, I knew this to be true. She didn't tell me anything I hadn't heard before, but it was everything I needed to hear again to remind me of God's faithfulness.

After intense moments of doubt like this, I usually feel like I've let God down by not trusting Him enough. This yesterday? Yesterday I felt encouraged. And then I realized that maybe it's not about getting it right the first time (or second or third). Maybe it's not about being perfect or shiny. Maybe it's about knowing where to go, knowing who to talk to (and who to listen to) and listening to instructions over and over again until it sinks in.