Thursday, July 7, 2011

For the Learners

Ah, the sweetness of summertime.  This season, unlike any other, makes me want to jump, spin, dance, play, and frolic in the meadows like the mothership is calling me home.  In addition to filling me with some serious childlike joy, summertime also has an uncanny ability to open my eyes to so many new life lessons.  Maybe it's the fact that my mind is emptied of the many things that tend to consume it so while school is in session.  Yet then again, it might just be due to the lack of wind -- thoughts, ideas, and theories seem to just rest upon my shoulders amidst hot summer heat instead of breezing by as they so often do during the spring and fall when the OKLAHOMA winds come sweeping down the plains.

Whatever it is, it seems as though no matter the season, there are always more thoughts to be thought.  But then again, such is life -- bread to be bought, fish to be caught, fights to be fought (or not), snot to be shot (that's disgusting, my apologies), and lessons to be taught.  

Below you will find the top twenty-ish things in which precious people, places, and things have been teaching me this summer -- in no particular order.  Some things I'm learning for the first time, some I'm having to re-learn, and some I'm re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-learning for the 138298349873459871230987th time.  Let's just say, it's a reaaaaally good thing God is love, and love is patient because without his patience, I'd be up a creek without a paddle.

See now, that actually looks like the liiiife.  But my guess is that whoever first coined the phrase, "Up a creek without a paddle," was referring to a much coarser creek.

Nonetheless, we've all heard Danny and Sandy sing Summer Lovin', 
but here's to 
Summer Learnin'...

1. I wouldn't mind living in an enchanted forest or secret garden one day.  Thank you, beautiful photos and green grass for always making me remember that the great outdoors are a perfect picture of  LIFE in its purest form.

2. I have yet to fully get over my fears.  Special thanks to cars, airplanes, tornadoes, world disasters, and loved ones not picking up their cell phones for reminding me of what a mess I am and that my heart has not yet been perfectly formed in love -- for where love is, fear won't tread.  More thanks to the apostle JohnDave Barnes (strange video but good version of the song), and the Holy Spirit for pointing out my sinfulness and prompting me to pray for a trusting heart daily.  Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on me.

3. Pinterest rocks.
Thank you, bestie Hales, for supplying me with an incredible source of inspiration, travel ideas, photos worth a thousand words, and crafting tips to last maybe not forever, but a really lengthy amount of time.  

Also, just want to suggest everyone read Miss Hudson's incredible work "Unlikely and Unworthy, Yet Chosen by God," which she wrote for a class this past semester, featuring the lives of Ruth, Rahab, Bathsheba, and Mary.  Such a precious reminder that while we are all icky messes, God not only loves us but chose us to be included in His forgiveness, love, and the only hope that will last into eternity.

4. Life is only as awkward as you make it.  I used to find this encouraging until I realized that I make many a situation incredibly awkward.  Thus I suppose the theory is valid just not one I have continued to tell myself or awkward others like me.  Props to Courtney Kib for pointing that one out -- you're the best.  Also special thanks to Courtypoo for putting up with my immaturity and silliness every day this summer.  No better wombmate than you, girl.

5. Jane Austen is undoubtedly the most eloquent author I've ever read.  With brilliance and wit, she possessed an uncanny ability to perfectly capture the sentiments of the human heart, and furthermore, she wrote in such a way that made even the simplest of conversations seem like the grandest of adventures and the wisest of truths become plain as day.

"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment." -Pride and Prejudice

Not only would I like to express my thanks to Jane but to Mr. Darcy for A. stealing my heart and B. reminding me that while I'm going to think my husband is the greatest, manliest, godliest, funniest, coolest, outdoorsy-est, wisest fella out there, he is going to be completely, utterly HUMAN and sinful -- just like me.  That being said, I don't even know who he is, but I know he's going make me cry some days.  I'm a crier.  He might even mortify my pride on the first evening of our meeting, just as Mr. Darcy did to Elizabeth.  And I'm confident I'll make him pretty dang angry on occasion.  We're going to get in disagreements.  We're going to make lots of mistakes.  But at the end of the day...
 that is the kind of life I want.

I want to crawl in bed every night and ask for forgiveness and hear someone say, "I forgive you."  (We'll have to get in bed pretty early because that'll probably make me wanna make out and then some -- just bein' honest.)  Our lives will never be perfect.  They won't be written about in a book or created as the next-best motion picture.  But our lives -- our life together -- I pray will be a picture of the GOSPEL -- brokenness and forgiveness sealed by a kiss of unconditional love.

6.  Two things I'll never get sick of -- coffee and Bon Iver.  Muchas gracias a mi madre y mi padre para siempre keeping the coffee pot full and the state of Wisconsin for being the birthplace to such a stud.  And if you haven't heard this a cappella version of For Emma, stop everything and listen RIGHT NOW.  Holy mmmmmmm can't get enough of it.

7. Scrunchies shouldn't have ever gone out of style.  Join me.  I'm bringing 'em back.  Thank you, Kirbs, Annabelle, Annie, Autumn, and all the other scrunchie-lovers at Council Road!

8. Theories as to why things are the way they are aren't nearly as important as the truth every theory is pointing toward.  Thank you, CS Lewis and Mere Christianity.

9. Actions speak louder than words.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for reminding me what pain my actions cause you when they fail to depict my love for you and all of the people I love so dearly.  And thank you, that even when I am a brat and hurt your feelings, your love for me is constant, unceasing, and truly impenetrable.  Nothing can separate us from it. -- Thank you, Jesus, Romans 8Dave Barnes, Chris QuilalaJon Foreman, and Ben (who comes home from CHINA this month--PTL!) who reminded me of 'I Will Not Take My Love Away' by Matt Wertz.  Now then, my suggestion: light a candle, listen to all of those songs, and rest in the truth of the love of the Father.

10.  Apart from shimmering starlight, sunsets are the greatest blessing to the end of the day.
Thank you, Jesus, for always knowing exactly what we need.

11. Everywhere I look 
there are places I want to go, 
things I want to see, 
coffee I want to drink, 
people I want to meet.  
The world is full of incredible beauty
and I want to experience all of it.  
Seriously though, let's go.  Who's with me?  One of my besties, Snattt, is in Lebanon right now!  So jealous.

12.  I still have no idea what I'm doing with my life.  Thank you, indecisiveness.  My sentiments for you will be left unsaid.

13. Skip -- Sorry, I'm superstitious occasionally.  Thank you, my freakishly-weird anxiety.  Love you about just as much as I love indecisiveness.

14. A little dreamin' blesses the soul with some good therapy.  Thank you, daydreaming (paired with a cup of coffee) for doing me just as much good as a week-long escape to Tahiti by route of balloons.
I'm kind of kidding.  I think the whole Tahiti/balloon combo might be a bit better than daydreaming, but for my current stage in life and lack of monetary funds, daydreaming suits me just fine.

15. Live courageously.  Thank you, Elizabeth McKenna, Juliet, Dawsey Adams, Kit, and all the characters from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  If you haven't read this, buy a copy immediately or ask to borrow mine -- absolutely incredible.  Now if I can just go to Guernsey one day...

16. "It's a sucky life, and just when you think it can't suck anymore does."  Thank you, Phoebe Buffay.

Part of what makes the juxtaposition of faith and the reality of the world we live in so difficult to comprehend is that we can envision what life should be like in our minds.  We can envision a world in which everyone treats one another with respect, a world in which there isn't pollution, sex-trafficking, abortion, rape, murder, addiction, etc.  We all have this engrained sense of rightness in our beings -- CS Lewis talks about this extensively in Mere Christianity, as well.  And because we all have this inherent sense of the way things ought to be, we also instinctively know that the world isn't as it should be.

That is the reality though -- the reality we face on a daily basis.  I talk all the time about the fact that everyone is experiencing or has experienced pain of some kind.  And maybe for some people, they've experienced literal, unbearable, physical pain.  But for the majority of us, I'm referring to an emotional pain that can be so lethal, it can cause us to lose feeling completely.

It doesn't make sense.  So much about life won't -- EVER, until we're in heaven, that is.  There may be certain prayers we pray that we never see come into fruition.  There may be hearts that we so long to see healed that never come to understand the unconditional love and forgiveness found in Jesus.

May we never forget that no matter where we go, He is with us.  Lest not forget this most important truth, hold it close to our hearts, and not lose sight of the magnitude of its validity... Wherever we go, whether in sun or shade, whether we're joyful or broken, weary, tired, sick, hopeless, overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, doubtful, or uneasy...  Whether we're weeping or filled with laughter, in India or England or Sweden or Zambia or Israel, wether we're alone or surrounded by ten-thousand people, HE WILL BE WITH US.  WE cannot escape His presence.

"You cannot escape my love.
For I created you, my child.
I know every detail about your life --
your favorite things,
your most hidden sin,
your fears,
your desires.
I know them all.
I know when you sit and when you stand.
Perhaps, my child, ee cummings said it best,
that wherever you go,
i carry your heart.
i carry it in my heart."

17. Few things can make my heart fly all-a-flutter like fireworks and sparklers.
Thank you, America, for adopting such a fabulous celebratory holiday like July 4th.  Thank you, Founding Fathers, for believing in the necessity of liberty, freedom, and justice for all.  Thank you to the newly married couple, Russell and Nicole Brown, for having sparklers at your beautiful wedding and glorifying the source of all our light.

18. As much as I love crafting, I'm pretty bad at it.  Thank you, dresser drawers and spray paint for teaching me not to take off the little white contraption from which the paint sprays out of.  My paint-stained fingers are especially appreciative.

19. "If you don't want your babies, give them to me."  Thank you, Mother Teresa, for showing us what it truest human example of love looks like.

20.  "Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.  And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.  If you think that you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself.  You are not that important. [...]  So do not grow weary in doing good for at the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up or quit."  -Galatians 6:1-3, 9
Thank you burdens that even though you are heavy, we do not have to bear them alone!

That's all for now.  More to come.  All my love!