Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just Say No

...to carbohydrates.

Ack!  One of the hardest things about being home is going to be the sheer amount of carbs that are available and within arm's reach at every given moment.  I've been trying to be so super-conscious about how much carb I eat - focusing on less than 20g/day.  It's been really good for me - reminding me how much energy I have and how good I feel when I ditch the sugar and junk and just focus on good stuff like meat and veggies and cheese and cream and butter and mmmm....

But one of my strategies for avoiding mindlessly binging on the junk food is to simply not have it around.  Almost everything I have that's bad for me has been tossed since Easter - I've kept a few things around for when I need a treat from time-to-time (mostly for when I get back from the wedding...), but really, it's all gone. It's easier to resist temptation when you aren't being tempted in the first place.

Coming home, though.  Ugh.  There's like 5 different kinds of ice cream in the house.  There's Chex Mix and chocolate and candy and bread and Hot German Potato Salad and mmmmm... Obviously I know that next weekend at the shower/bachelorette party, and at the reception itself, are just going to be nigh-unto-impossible to eat well.  I'm planning for that, I expect it, and frankly, I'm looking forward to it.  I just want to hold out a little bit longer!! 

As my Catholic priest friend says when it comes to hot women, the strategy is to "maintain custody of my eyes".  Yes, indeed.  Help me, Jesus.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review - Freedom for Ministry

Ok, so the alumni book checkout limit is 25 books.  Yesterday I checked out 24.  I'm looking forward to a summer like the summers of my youth - laying around reading endless books.  Of course, I'm no longer checking out "Choose Your Own Adventure" books or the occasional "Babysitters Club" that I don't yet own - no, this summer it's N.T. Wright's commentary on Colossians (yeah, I'm going to read it straight through because I'm a geek) and John C. Knapp's How the Church Fails Businesspeople.  Nevertheless, I've got lots of reading planned, and I'm super-excited about it.

Depending on how much the books move me, I may or may not put reviews of them up here - it's hardly like most of them are brand-new and need this kind of review from a no-name blogger, but because I like to write about the things that are important to me, if I love them, I'll probably write about them.  Besides, mostly I like writing, and it's helpful when I have a topic that isn't my own emotionally overwrought internal drama.  :)

So, first up: Freedom for Ministry, by Richard John Neuhaus. 

This book has been on my shelf, unread, for a couple years now.  I just really haven't had time to get to it, plus I've been engaged in much self-denial about what I'm actually called to - and this is definitely a book directed at the clergy. (Although I think it could be a good read for laity, especially lay leadership, to help them understand the common mission that belongs to the priesthood of all believers, vocationally ordered though that priesthood might be.)  It's fairly old - the first edition is from 1979, and I have the revised 1992 edition.  It first came out the year that Fr. Neuhaus left Lutheranism to go "home to Rome", and the 2nd edition claims to be "revised, not rewritten." 

All that said, this book is awesome.  It is pretty much a summary of my entire final semester of seminary - so I'm not sure if that means my professors did an awesome job, or going to class was a waste of time since I could have just read this book...  Nevertheless...  The book is really just about how to be a great pastor - it lays the groundwork by defining the Church and finding a model for understanding it, then delineating the role and authority of the pastor, and giving specific advice on how to preach and "pursue holiness".  In the Introduction, Neuhaus notes that had he chosen to rewrite, rather than revise, he might have subtitled the work "A Guide for the Perplexed Who Are Called to Serve." It turns out that this is an extremely apt description of the book. 

Having only just graduated from seminary, so admittedly, I know hardly anything, it seems that this book will have something to convict and something to comfort just about any minister, at any point in his or her career.  Neuhaus is marvelously ecumenical - he rarely if ever succumbs to the exaggerated denominational apologetics one often finds in new converts.  Rather, without going so far as to state that the fractured nature of the Church today is a good thing, he acknowledges that this is what it is and it's unlikely to change anytime soon - therefore we all need to get to working with what we've got - which is varying polities and practices, traditions and prejudices. 

Am I Crazy?

No, really.  Sometimes I think that I'm just really truly unhinged, and self-centered to boot.  You all four people who read this would tell me, right?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's In A Name?

Warning: More CPE-ish-ness ahead...

This year - and this semester, in particular - I've been doing a lot of work (or rather, God's been doing a lot of work) on figuring out (revealing) who I am.  Not who everyone thinks I am, or who everyone wants me to be, or explicit or implicit expectations of me, or what the narrative of my life has been up until this point.  But me.  Me.

What do I like/want/need?  What has God created me to do?  Who am I?  For so long, without even realizing it, I've been and done everyone else's expectations - probably up to and including the Accuser's.  (He's a devilish one...)  And it hasn't been intentional, for the most part - mostly it's been because a) I don't think I know how to do anything else, b) I'm a nice person and I do what people ask me to do, and c) I trust other people more than I trust myself.

So learning to be my own person has been hard.  I feel like I'm constantly peeling back layer after layer of personal junk to "find myself" - ugh, this sounds so new-age-y, but that's not how I intend it - and sometimes that "me" underneath all the layers is really sensitive, because it's had so many defenses built up around it for so long to keep it from hurting.  Like the way certain skin sunburns super-easily because it's never exposed to the sun, "me" has been "clothed" for years, and when I finally let it see the light of day, it's really fragile.

Something that has been important to throughout the years is my name.  I don't know why, for sure, why my name has been so critical.  I have very few nicknames - only one, really.  Most people don't know it, and only people who are super-close to me are allowed to use it.  I've had friends and quasi-family attempt to call me by this nickname, and I absolutely hate it.  My parents, a couple aunts and uncles on my dad's side, and my high school BFF are the only ones who are allowed.  People who just presume to use this nickname annoy the crap out of me.

Other than that, I don't really have any nicknames.  I don't really like them all that much, and besides, my given name is a shortened-nickname-form of a lot of other people's given names.  It was a super-popular name at the time I was born.  And therein lies the problem.  My whole life, whenever I'm in a group of any size, there's always someone else with my name.  Even if it's a nickname for them, it's the same as my name.  And so, whenever someone says my name, there's always a genuine chance that they're not actually referring to me - either directly or indirectly.

That's been really hard for me, especially this year, and especially as I'm trying to live into me and who I am.  One of my best friends on campus has the same name as me (although hers actually is a nickname).  We're good friends, and I love her to pieces, and we have spent much of the past school year attached at the hip.  I mean, we're together basically all the time.  Right down to the same job and the same class schedule and the same friends.  And it's been great.  I love having her around, and I'm so ridiculously glad we're friends.

Of course, everyone else notices that we're always together, and simply refers to us in the plural.  Never us individually.  Or when I'm with other friends and they reference her, it feels strange - like, they're talking about someone who isn't me, but they are using my name to do so.  And also: and yes, I'm such a girl, so deal with it - she's all the -er's, compared to me: smarter, prettier, funnier, cuter, cooler, better, more popular, more fun, more Christian, etc.  I don't begrudge her these - it is what it is.  But being around someone who has my name but is way more awesome than me all the time gets hard, and it sometimes feels like me and my identity just get lost in the shuffle - because my name hardly ever refers to me, or at least to me exclusively.  

This really hit home last Sunday when a friend and I went to hear another friend preach in worship.  Same Name As Me Friend did not come along.  Afterwards, while Preacher Friend was greeting congregants, the friend that I had come with and I were visiting with the senior pastor.  When Senior Pastor learned my name, he said, "Oh, you must be the one Preacher Friend talks about."  Oh, really?  Hmm...I guess.  I didn't know Preacher Friend talked about me to his pastor, but that's cool.  Until Other Friend jumped in and said, "Well, maybe.  We hang out with another one a lot too, it might be her."  And then it hit me.  Oh, right.  I forgot.  It probably is her.  She's the cool one, the one that people are interested in and want to talk to and about.  Nevermind. 

So, I think that I need a nickname.  Something that when I hear it, I know it means me and not anyone else.  Even if it's rarely uttered by others, because they are talking about some other person with my given name, I need that space for my identity.  Because it's not just about one or two people, it's about that from the time I was in kindergarten, I've always just been part of a group of people with my name.  I need to know that there's something about me that is unique, and that I'm not just second-string owner of the name.  It needs to be something that fits me and suits me, something I can live with and feel like is actually me, not just some name I picked off the shelf.  Something that's mature and professional, but fun and playful at the same time.  Something that feels like me.  Suggestions?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


So graduation turned out to be pretty okay.  I was sitting (mostly) by friends, and it turns out that we're all friends on a day like Graduation Day, so, yeah...

The service was...eh...mostly good.  Between Baccalaureate and Graduation, they managed to put together some decent worship.  My fam was around, so I had dinner with them afterward, and then got up the next morning to open at work. 


Now I've just got a couple days left until I head home for my sister's wedding.  Eh.  I feel like every support system I have is systematically being stripped away.  In a way I suppose this is good, because it's forcing me to rely on God in ways that I don't know that I've had to before.  People who were my close friends are just sort of...not...anymore.  The friends I have that I'm still close to are so far away, and it sucks not having them around to be with.  By the time I get back from the wedding, another of my friends here on campus will have left to start her new job.  I'm really happy for her - I'm just going to miss her.

And I think that's part of my struggle with going home for this wedding.  I say "going home" because that's where my parents are, but really, Kansas isn't home for me.  I lived there the last three years of high school.  I haven't been there longer than 2 or 3 weeks since I was a college sophomore.  The people that I'm friends with from high school no longer live there, and the high school classmates that still live there I'm no longer friends with.  I'm headed to my parents' house where they are basically the only people I know or care about, to be drowned in the fact that everyone else but me has the one thing I really want.  

I suppose that's covetous or jealous on my part, and I wish it wasn't.  Because I'm trying really hard not to be jealous or bitter, it just hurts so much.  It's like being the last puppy at the pound, or kid at the orphanage.  Everyone else gets picked except you, and not only do you know it's happening, you're actually having to watch it, and what you want more than anything is someone to pick you.  Should I be joyful and content nevertheless?  Probably - I have the "one thing needful", after all.  But what do you do when your heart is so broken it can't break anymore?  How do you be joyful and content then?

I was deep into Psalm 51 last night, because I just have a bad attitude and a bad heart about so many things right now.  Sin, death, and the power of the devil are just so oppressive.  So often when we talk about freeing the victims of oppression, we mean the ones who are being sinned against by other people.  But what we often don't talk about is that those who are doing the sinning - to be trapped in jealousy and covetousness is every bit as oppressive - it's just that you're being oppressed by the devil himself, rather than somebody else.  And that's almost worse.  Maybe. 

It's days like this that I wish (modern) Lutherans hadn't ditched the tradition of private confession and absolution.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Graduation Day

A friend asked me today on the way to church how I "feel about today."  I told him, "I don't know.  I don't know how I'm supposed to feel."  Which doesn't really matter, I suppose.  I should feel what I feel, not what anybody else tells me I should feel.  But still.

I feel like all my friends are just super-excited - as well they should be.  Graduation is exciting.  It's a good thing.  It's a ritual to mark all that we've done.  But I'm just not super-excited.  I mostly just want it to be over with. 

Part of it, I think, is my introverted hate-being-the-center-of-attention self.  So, at least there will be 174 other people there.  Still and all, that 5-10 seconds of me, by myself, up there.  What if I trip on the steps or miss some kind of cue or walk faster or slower than I'm supposed to or any other number of things that could happen?  The only thing I hate more than having everyone watch me is looking ridiculous while everyone is watching me.

Part of it, I think, is feeling really...separated...from my friends right now.  Like the people I care about most, I'm most distant from, because of all sorts of reasons.  Some of them are in a different class, and they're all off on internship, and I'm sad that we don't get to do this together.  Some of them I've just been less connected with lately - somewhat intentionally on my part, and somewhat intentionally on their part.  

Part of it is, I think, feeling like this thing is ending, but nothing else is really beginning.  I'm more than a month away from the draft, before I know anything else about what is happening.  Just...hanging out.  Going to a couple ordinations this week, and then I'm going home for my sister's wedding.

And that's part of it too.  What's next is that I'm spending three weeks at home getting ready for her wedding.  Which will definitely be long enough.  I'm frustrated because I'm the only person who is taking that much time off from work and - life, really - to be there for this wedding, and no one seems to really appreciate that.  I don't live there anymore, and I don't have friends there, and there's really nothing for me to do except...be in my parents' dealing with wedding stuff.  And every time we talk about the wedding, I feel inadequate.  Like love is the one thing I haven't proven I can be successful at, and what's wrong with me that this is true?  Every time my mom goes on one of her "I can't believe how wonderful Fiancee is" monologues, it leaves me feeling 4 inches tall.  Like if I were only skinnier/prettier/more graceful/more ladylike/more alluring/more perfect/smarter/funnier/ontologically just...better...somehow, someone would want me.  But I'm not, and no one does, and so I'll just have to a) try harder at that particular endeavor, and b) gird my loins, try my hardest, and do all these other things, so that at least I can claim I'm successful at something, even if it is entirely by myself.  And I'm just not looking forward to being confronted with that every moment of every day for three weeks. 

Part of it is, I think, that I'm just not sure why this is that big of a deal.  There was never any doubt in my mind that I would graduate, that I would be able to complete the requirements to obtain this degree.  It's not my dream, it's not my life's goal, it's just...apparently the direction God has led/is leading me, and it's where I am now, so, whatevs.

And I think because I think all of these things - that I don't feel the way I'm supposed to, that I'm disconnected from the people I care most about, that I don't have anything really to look forward to, that I don't think it's a huge deal - makes me feel even more like I just don't really fit in anywhere right now.  Because I don't think anyone else feels that way...which makes it hard to be excited...let the cycle begin again....

Eh.  I'm ready for it to be over, that's how I feel.  Is that terrible?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Vocational Discernment"

So, if you know me at all, you know that I've done a lot of work on so-called "vocational discernment" in the last couple of years.  Very few of you know the extent of it - the nights of tears shed and fears faced, days of believing the white devil and trusting my own reason over God's grace, listening to the lies in my head and rejecting the truth that anyone else told me.  Praying and worshiping and reading and writing and very seriously trying to wrap my head around "what God wants me to do" vs. (?) "what I want to do" vs. (?) "what the world wants me to do".  I worked so hard at "giving it all to God" and discerning Truth and almost literally "taking up my cross and following him".  And I think I would say that it's been good for me, on the whole, even if it hasn't always been particularly healthy. 


By the time I came back from internship - and even probably half-way through first semester - my prayers were just begging God for clarity.  I was really messed-up inside and not even really seeing through the glass dimly, more like staring at a ceramic coffee mug.  On the other hand, I was almost afraid to pray for that clarity, because of what I thought He was going to say.  (See?  I told you I was screwed up...still am, a little bit...)

And so I came back for my senior year prepared to apply for PhD programs - I honestly thought that's what God wanted me to do.  Ok, that's a lie.  If I had had the ability to be honest with myself at the time, I probably would have noticed that the PhD thing felt forced.  I mean, sure, I'd love to teach at the undergrad level - it was so important to my own faith formation, and I'd like to do that for other kids.  And maybe that's in my future at some point.  But in my most honest moments, I can recognize that it was this: I'm the smart one, that's what I have going for me, and I'm a good person who always works as hard as possible - I must get this doctoral degree to prove that I'm not a slacker and living up to who I'm supposed to be.  Yeah.  Screwed. Up.  

Lois Malcolm's Holy Spirit class was fantastic for this - the Holy Spirit - through her teaching - has done such a good job of freeing me from this identity that has been imposed on me - it's the narrative that has always been told to me about me, and I haven't known how to step out of it, or away from it, or...just not make it my primary identity.  So I'm working on that.  And it's getting better.  Slowly.

And then I preached in chapel a couple weeks ago.  As I mentioned, it felt so, so good.  It was fun and joyful, I felt alive.  I felt like, "there is something to be said here, and apparently I'm the one who's going to say it, so, here we go".  I had a lot of good feedback from students and faculty afterwards, and it felt really good - although it's so not about me, it was totally a God thing.  I know that a couple people watched it online, and that was nice - to feel like people were interested enough to watch. 

But on Monday I got a package from a friend who had clearly watched the online broadcast - but who didn't tell me she had done so.  She wrote me a lovely card, and then she made me art that draws out the main themes of my sermon, cites a myriad of excellent Scripture passages, and has my name and date on the back.  I opened it in the presence of several friends, and in the midst of a lot of stress, so I didn't have time to really absorb it.  But when I went back to it that night, it brought me to tears.  I really put my heart into that sermon, and I hope that God was able to speak through it.  It felt so right, and so me.  And this beautiful art says, "That was authentically you, Katie.  This gift for you is for you.  The person who you are." 

Thank you for seeing that, Mary.  Thank you for seeing me. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All Over But the Shoutin'...

And just like that, I'm done with seminary.  How weird.  Actually, I've been done for a week now, since senior grades had to be turned in last week, but today was my last class.  I'll be honest - it feels weird.  Like, wait, what just happened?  The last four years have absolutely flown by - where did they go?  Lost in a whirlwind of classes and friends and CPE and internship and crazy people and awesome professors and "vocational discernment" and work and books and tragedy and comedy and just ... incredibleness.  It's just...gone.

I'm not sad, per se.  Just...sentimental.  The saying-goodbye piece is different here than in high school and college.  Of course, there's the last day of classes and baccalaureate and graduation and and and.  And maybe I'll be sad then.  But my friends are all leaving at different times and different paces.  You bond differently in seminary, or at least, I did, than in high school or college.  There are a couple college friends that are people I care about very much still, but very few of them are people that weren't in "my class".  Those few who weren't are people who, for whatever reason, I just stayed - or became? - close to.  But so much of high school and college revolves around "your class".  Basically everyone is in and out in 4 years, and while we all go off to different colleges or jobs or grad schools, being that graduating class is the main thing.

Seminary has been much different.  I've bonded with people over faith, over key experiences, over classes and professors and - frankly - the important things.  The things that have made me friends with people from high school and college who were in "not my class".  There are people who have graduated before me - and who will graduate after me - who are my true "classmates", my true friends, the ones who I know will be there with me and for me when the road ahead is tough. We all come from different places, and we are going different places.  Some of us have been here 4 years, some 2, some 10.  But love - the love of Christ - has brought us and bound us together.  And I am so, so grateful.

I'm not much of a name-dropper, but I'm doing it here.  Maybe because I need to tell this to myself, maybe because I want to let the people I love know that I love them, maybe because I need to give thanks to God for all that he's given me.

I am grateful for Katie - who I think was possibly my first "seminary friend" - one of the first, anyway.  And she is also, I think, my "last seminary friend."  I am grateful for her companionship, her laughs, her hugs, and her always understanding what I'm trying to say.  I'm grateful that she has been attached to my hip, and that she drinks wine with me, and tries to convince me that I need to not tolerate people's crap.

I am grateful for Liz - she who understands the strangeness of home.  I'm grateful that she never judges, never condemns - I'm grateful that she lifts me up and dusts me off when I need it.  I'm grateful that she is such a good listener, and that she loves Jesus and is always as excited to see me as I am to see her.

I am grateful for Rachel - I'm grateful that she pushes to places that I need to go, and I'm grateful that she tells me who I belong to and how much I am worth.  I am grateful to her for showing me what freedom in Christ looks like.

I am grateful for Brian - I am grateful that he has taught me to stand my ground, and to seek the Truth at all times.  I am grateful for his ministry, and the call on his life, and his ability to preach the Gospel - even to me. 

I am grateful for Andrea - I am grateful that she is kind and sweet and loving and pastoral.  I am grateful that she so often confirms my suspicions about what ministry looks like, and I am grateful that she teaches me so much.

I am grateful for Angela - I am grateful for her quirky, honest takes on life, love, and ministry.  I am grateful that she makes me reevaluate my presuppositions, and I am grateful that she makes me laugh and loves so deeply.

I am grateful for Susan - I am grateful she picked me, Angela, Andrea, and Brian.  I pray that, in the end, it may turn out to have been as life-giving of a choice for her as it was for all of us.

I am grateful for Will - I am grateful to him for reminding me that good guys do still exist, and that they love Jesus, and that said love bleeds out into the rest of their lives.  I'm grateful that he has been such a fantastic co-HR, that he humors me and my quirks, and pushes me when I need to be pushed.

I am grateful for Tim - I am grateful to him for teaching me about boundaries, and how hard they are to draw, and how necessary.

I am grateful to Melinda - I am grateful for her honesty.  I am grateful for her laughter, and I am grateful to her for reminding me - the former MA - that MAs still exist.

I am grateful to Susan - I am grateful to her for her faith and for her witness.  I am grateful for her prayers and for her example.  I am grateful for her help with my Prophets paper.

I am grateful to Dr. Jacobson - I am grateful to him for slowly, by example, teaching me what it means to live the life I've been given.

I am grateful to Dr. Koester - I am grateful to him for providing the inspiration for so many sermons I will preach.  I am grateful to him for asking the important questions.

I am grateful to Dr. (?) Fever - I am grateful to him for showing me what responsible, faithful Biblical scholarship looks like.  I am grateful that he provided a setting where I could learn to get along with St. Paul.

I am grateful to Dr. Malcolm - I am grateful that she taught me what it means to be free.  I am grateful that the Holy Spirit works so powerfully through her words.

I am grateful to Dr. Throntveit - I am grateful that he understands what it means to teach the Bible specifically to people who are becoming pastors.  I am grateful for his faith, and for his desire to build up the faith of his students.

I am grateful to Bishop Foss - I am grateful that he is kind and caring and loves Jesus so much.  I am grateful that he has accepted God's call to be exactly where he needs to be.

I am grateful to Mike - I am grateful that he pushed me towards this vocation, even when I didn't really want him to, and even when I thought he was wrong because of so many things I couldn't tell him.

I am grateful to my candidacy committee - I am grateful that even though they are crazy, they made me fight for my voice, and fight for my call.

I am grateful to God - I am grateful that he has stuck by me, his unworthy servant, despite my repeated attempts to not listen, my repeated instances of totally misinterpreting him, and my general failure every day to live as though I actually believe in him.  I am grateful that he still loves me. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Something Good

So...I was trying to think of something good to write about, when suddenly it came to me: I preached in chapel this past week.  And I absolutely loved it.  It felt really, really good to be in the pulpit again, proclaiming God's word to people who were craving it.  Frankly, I was surprised by how good it felt. 

At the beginning of this school year, they offered the seniors a chance to preach, if we wanted it.  At the time, I was in my crabby Elijah-like mode ("God, I'm the only one left!), and I knew that if I took the chance to preach it would be all wrong - it would be about proving a point and having an agenda, and that is SO not the reason to preach.  So right away, I decided that I wouldn't do it.  But over a couple weeks, my heart kind of softened and I started to pray about it.  As in, I had one of those internal nudges that says, "Maybe you should pray about it."  So I did.  And I basically just said, "Ok, God.  If you want me to preach, you need to give me the text, and you need to give me the topic, because if I do it, it's just going to screw it up."  And lo and behold, over the course of this year, a text and topic slowly came to me.  It sort of evolved and refined itself, impacted by so many different events and experiences this year, until it was all just there.  And I kept thinking to myself, "I should go down to the chapel office and offer to preach sometime."  But I kept not doing it. 

Until a couple months ago.  I was having dinner with a friend, and relaying the end of this process.  "So, I'm thinking about preaching in chapel....I don't know...I told God he'd have to pick the text and the topic...but I don't know."  His response was, "So, do you have a text?"  "Yes."  "Do you have a topic?" "Yes."  "What's keeping you from doing this?"  "Um, walking over to the office and signing up." 

Ok, fine, God.  I'll do it. 

So, I did it.  I ditched the lectionary, and dove right into Matthew 8:1-17.  This was a good sermon, and it felt good to preach.  I don't say it was good as "look how awesome I am" kind of comment, but as a "look how awesome God is, because I certainly am not this awesome" kind of comment.  And I really never ever mail/email/publish my sermons, because, I don't know, it feels sort of arrogant.  But this one felt good, and it felt good to do it, and so I'm going to post the text.  It's behind the jump, so if you think it's lacking humility for me to put it out there, don't click on it, and pray that I would be convicted of the sin.  I beg your and God's forgiveness.  It just seems right, right now.

Thoughts on the End of the School Year

Been feeling a little down lately (how come I never write when I'm "up"?  Am I one of those depressingly morose writers? Ick, I hope not)...

Anyway, I think it's the idea that all of this is coming to an end.  I'm almost done - graduation is in just a couple weeks, and then it's...who knows what?  I like school so much, and I wanted to get into grad school so badly, for a whole lot of reasons, and that didn't happen.  I don't know why, and I'm as confused as all the people who said, "What?  How did you not get in?"  I have no idea.

But apparently God wants me preaching in the ELCA, at least for the time being, so there we go.  That's what I'm doing, and I'll do it gladly.  Assignment is in June, and I guess we'll just see what happens.  Here we go, God.

I miss my friends, too.  I have lots of great friends here, they're wonderful.  But none of them are my best friend.  I have three people that I would consider my BFFs - all of them read this blog, and you know who you are.  I miss you guys like crazy, and I wish I lived to closer to any (all) of you so we could hang out and do the things that BFFs do.  It's hard to be single in a world made for couples, and it's hard to be friends with people who are best friends.  It's hard to go to a party when everyone there is "with" someone else - and know that I'm there "by myself" - no matter how much I'm friends with all of them.  At the end of the night, I'm going home alone and they're going home with their spouse or BFF to dish.  I don't begrudge anybody their relationships - their marriages or SOs or BFFs - I love mine too.  I just wish mine were around to hang with.  I need a bigger circle of friends, and I feel like every time I find one, they move or disappear or I end up being their "second" friend.  Meh.  It's time for me to get out of this place.

Speaking of friends, me and a couple of mine have been doing a Bible study on 1 Peter.  This past week we did 1 Peter 3, which starts with
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.  Do not let your adorning be external, - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.  And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.  Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."
 I know a lot of people think this isn't worth much in the modern age, that at best, it was nice back in 1st century Palestine when marriage was all women had going for them, but now, we've become so enlightened and blah blah blah.  But I don't know, it's in the canon, so as far as I'm concerned, we have to deal with it.  And the thing about dealing with it is, at least for me, I wish I was that person.  I wish that I had a hidden heart and an imperishably beautiful gentle and quiet spirit.  But I don't.  I don't do nearly enough good, and I fear lots of things that are frightening.  And I don't know how to not be that way.  Because when I'm being gentle and quiet, most of the thoughts in my head are really self-defeating: "Of course no one wants to listen to what you have to say.  Stop thinking you always need to be the center of attention.  Why don't you shut up for once?  No one wants to be around you."

I think that there are no men out there who - will ever - appreciate who I am.  I'm pretty sure they are all turned off by my brash loudness, or alternatively, don't understand and don't know how to support my desire to learn to be gentle and quiet in healthy ways.  All the liberated men don't understand why I want to learn to be Biblical, and all the conservative ones can see for themselves that I'm not.  Excellent.  I am a rock star.

Ugh.  Sorry to my four readers that this blog is like the All Depression, All the Time Channel.  Some of what I'm doing though, is just working through my own issues, and it helps to write them down and name them for myself.