Friday, July 20, 2012

Like I Said...

...there is just something evil about this whole deal.

Where do I begin?  Well, let's start here, because, even without a crazy evil shooter, are you freaking kidding me?
Officials with Children's Hospital Colorado said six victims, ages 6 to 31 years old, have arrived at the hospital. Updates on their conditions were not available.
Somebody brought a 6-year-old to this movie?  Seriously?  That right there is cause for Child Protective Services to get involved, as far as I'm concerned.  Congrats, your kid is going to be scarred for life.  Physically and emotionally and spiritually.

Second, and this is the real issue here: There is evil in this world and we ignore it at our peril.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.  ~ 1 Peter 5:8
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  ~ Ephesians 6:12
We saw this with The Dark Knight, and Heath Ledger's suicide.  We see it now, with the deaths of at least 14 people in Colorado.  To be clear: I don't think that the directors, producers, actors, etc of these movies are themselves evil, or possessed by demonic forces, or whatever.  But I think that the storyline they have created and they way they've chosen to portray it provides a foothold for Satan to work his evil.  Did the dude who shot up the theater have other problems?  No doubt.  Did Heath Ledger have a lot working against him?  Definitely.  But I think when you combine "normal problems" (i.e., the known generic effects of sin, death, and the power of the devil) with specific, intentional engagement of evil, the outcome is multiplied way beyond anything we expect.  And it's horrifying.

As Christians, our job is to engage the enemy when she picks a fight, and then do so only with the intent of conquering her with the Blood of the Lamb.  That is all.  No other times, no other reasons.  Yes, Jesus already won.  Without a doubt.  But that victory has yet to be fully executed in this world.  We have no business mucking around in the evil and darkness, simply for the sake of morbid curiosity.  The evil one does still have power, and it is real, and it is dangerous.  There are consequences to playing with it. 

But take heart, Christians!  "In this world you will have trouble."  But Christ has overcome the world!  We know who gets the last word, and it is not the Evil One.  Be sober, be vigilant, but know this:
...the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." 
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
And this is that victory:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  ~ Revelation 21:4
 Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

♪ He rules the world... ♪

...with truth and grace... ♪

The Hallmark Channel has been running some sort of Christmas in July thing, calling it a Christmas Classics weekend.  Don't go thinking it's all It's a Wonderful Life  and Miracle on 34th Street.  Not those kind of Christmas classics.  More like The Christmas Card  and Moonlight and Mistletoe. 

Now, this is actually perfect for me, because I love Christmas, and I love cheesy, predictable romantic movies, and these are all of that rolled into one.  Also, it's crazy hot out, and I'm really not all that into summer, and I'm ready for it to be winter and Christmas. 

So, yay, good weekend for me! 

Last night, though, one of the movies had "Joy to the World" in it, and it got me thinking.  He rules the world with truth and grace.  Truth, and grace.  Truth. And. Grace.  If that's how Christ rules, isn't that how we're supposed to rule, or live, as well?  With truth and grace?

It's such a hard balance.  Sometimes when we're busy proclaiming truth, we forget to do it with grace.  It's easy to stand on a mountaintop and get so worked up about what is right that we don't take care to find out what the people listening to us are actually hearing.  And sometimes, we're so eager to dispense grace that we take no care for the truth.  Sometimes, depending on what place people are at in life, truth can sting.  And when we try to offer grace with a guarantee that there's not sting involved, truth can get sacrificed.  I don't think anybody does either intentionally, but it happens. 

That's one of the reasons I really like Grace for the Good Girl - it gives me the truth I need to hear, but it does so with grace. There are parts that sting, but it's good for me, and it's followed immediately by grace.

Truth and grace is hard, but it's important.  I need to try to do a better job of it myself. 

He rules the world with truth and grace.  May we always remember that. 

Grace For the Good Girl

Something else that is changing my life is this book: Grace for the Good Girl, by Emily P. Freeman.  I've been meaning to get to this for a while, but then I loaned the book to a friend, and then I wanted to reread it, and then...  Nevertheless, here we are. 

Emily is a recovering "good girl" who spends this book exposing good girl syndrome for what it is - works righteousness - and then preaching the gospel to other "good girls" who so desperately need to hear it. 

I should start by noting that Emily has some theology going on that I'm not quite on board with (lots of "when you give your life to Jesus" and believer's baptism talk).  But I'm pretty well versed in working my way around that sort of stuff and taking what's good.  And there's a lot of good. 

I have so much of this book highlighted and underlined that I had to develop a system for marking the stuff that was good vs. the stuff that was really good.  For example, Freeman starts by noting the masks of fine/good/perfect/strong/responsible/busy/etc, and the way that we perform those roles. 
"I perform to prove my worth to you, to God, and to myself.  I perform because I don't know how not to.  When bad girls perform to get their needs met, they get in trouble.  When good girls perform to get the same thing, we get praise.  That is why the hiding is so easy for us.  We work hard, we do right, and we try not to ruffle feathers.  And even if we do all that by the strength of our own selves, we tell ourselves it's okay.  It seems to work, therefore it's acceptable.  So we keep right on with life, and our masks mix with our personality and circumstance.  Before we know it, we don't really know who we are, and nobody else does, either."
Part of the reason this book "works" is because it speaks to an experience, and to people, who don't often get spoken to. Because so often, the "good girls" are the ones who don't need the attention - it's the rebels, or the ones that manifestly do not have it all together who have books written for them.  And this is partly our fault.  Freeman notes that one of the hallmarks of a "good girl" is that we teach people that we have no needs - and then we secretly resent them for believing it.  So true.  And this book is incredible because it speaks from a place of "been there, done that", not from an outsider "I know some people struggle with this" perspective.
"I never seriously considered being a rebel.  There was that one time in high school when I was the only one not drinking at a party.  I looked around the room and briefly wondered why I felt so responsible to not be that way.  I wondered why I couldn't simply lighten up and have some fun.  But I just didn't have it in me.  There was too much at stake.  I had a good reputation to uphold, a sweetness to protect, an important list of rules to follow, and a long list of people to please.  This innate desire to be good indeed protected me from a lot of heartache and baggage.  It protected me from teenage pregnancy and bad grades and jail.  But it did not bring me any greater understanding of God.  It did not protect me from my own impossible expectations." 
The good girl reading this protests: "Well, true.  But this is how God wants us to be.  Somebody has to bear the burden of being good."  To which Emily responds,

"When we believe that God expects us to try hard to be who Jesus wants us to be, we will live in that blurry, frustrating land of Should Be rather than trust in The One Who Is.  We will do whatever we believe it takes to please God rather than receive the acceptance that has already been given.  We will perform to live up to what we believe his expectation is of us rather than expectantly wait on him....Our desire to be the good girl, the good Christian, the good wife, and the good mom becomes our number one priority, and Jesus isn't even in the room.  Our failures expose us and so we hide them.  We hide us.  We work hard to perform for acceptance, and most of the time we don't even realize we are doing it.  It has become the natural way of things, the only way we know how to live." 
Yup, that's me.  One of the reasons I loved reading this book is because, when you're a good girl like this, it's hard to even talk about because it sounds like bragging.  "Look how hard I try.  Look how much I do the right thing.  Look at me, look at me."  Because of the nature of our ailment, confession can sometimes feel (at least to us, on the confessing side of it) like showing off.  But Emily gets it.  She says it first, so that I can say, "OMG that's totally me."  Granted, the next part stings a little.  But the law always does.  (See, I'm such a good Lutheran.) 
"As a good girl, I formed my own definition of sin rather than understand God's.  Sin was the bad stuff people do, the heartache people cause, the poor decisions people make.  But my insatiable desire to be my own little god somehow didn't make the list of sin in my book.  My incessant need to be better than, to be important, to be liked and right and good on my own and by myself - those things pulsed just under the surface of my smiling exterior.  In Christian circles, we tend to call that self-righteousness.  And it is.  We could also call it self-dependence, and this gospel of self-sufficiency robs good girls of a life of freedom and victory."
 Well, damn.  But wait, what?  Aren't we supposed to be serving God?  Well, yes.  And Freeman exegetes the Mary vs. Martha story here.  Martha started from a good place, a place of wanting to serve Jesus and have him in her home. 
"Choosing to please God sounds right at first, but it so often leads to a performing life, a girl trying to become good, a lean-on-myself theology.  If I am trying to please God, it is difficult to trust God.  But when I trust God, pleasing him is automatic.  Anything we do to get life and identity outside of Christ is an idol, even service to Christ." (bolding mine)
Wow.  This one hit me right between the eyes.  When I read this, I was at a place in my life - and had been for 18 months - when I had most definitely been making an idol out of service to Christ.  I was trying so hard to serve him, in the way I thought he wanted me to serve him.  I was terrified of prayer, because I was convinced that everything I was trying to do still wasn't going to be enough, and I would "hear about it".  And then Emily's words just bowled me over.  Who would have thought?  Service to Christ can be an idol.  But she's right.  Yes, it was a measure of law - but the gospel followed almost immediately thereafter.  When I - mistakenly, even - make an idol out of the things that terrify me, because I think it's what God wants - hearing that I'm an idolator is freeing - because that can be forgiven, and there is Jesus on the other side. 

"As good girls, we are so used to hearing words like you ought to, you should, and you must.  With those same ears, we try to listen to Jesus and it sounds as though he speaks the same language.  But that is the language of the law.  It is time to say goodbye to fake, ought-to Jesus and meet the real one.."  She quotes Dudley Hall: "When you get miserable enough to die, you can be free.  Go ahead and live under the law - give it your best shot.  Ultimately the law will make you so miserable you'll want to die.  Then you will find that someone already died for you."

Hearing that was like a gigantic weight off my shoulder.  A breath of fresh air.  Somebody understands.  Somebody understands my weird, crazy self, and they have Jesus - real Jesus - to offer me in exchange.  "He is a generous, patient, compassionate God, and his expectations of us are not the same as our expectations of ourselves."

Seriously, this book just describes me to a T.  But not in a shaming way.  In a "Yes, it's terrible, go ahead and cry" kind of way.  To step out from behind our masks, to walk away from the "try-hard life", we're going to have to be vulnerable, we're going to have to get outside our comfort zone, we're going to have to believe that we're worth something. 

We're going to have to hear a little more law.  So let's dig into the Prodigal Son story. 

"Even though I know the Bible says I am not saved by my works but by faith, I still believe deep down that God is more accepting of those who perform well and do the right things than he is of those who do not.  And I believe that the bad girls shouldn't get the same rewards that the good girls get.  It's only fair...sometimes it doesn't feel fair that God seems to most powerfully use those who have chosen wrong and then come back again instead of those who did it right the first time.  Where is the celebration for us?"
But, she reminds us, this is not a good place to be: "my lack of common ground with the prodigal son has kept me from experiencing the limitless, compassionate love of Christ.  My unwillingness to admit my kinship with the prodigal, much like the older son, left me both right and lonely.  It caused me not only to be unwilling to receive forgiveness from my heavenly Father, but unable to freely offer it..."  The answer, of course, is that "He has always been with you, and all that is his is yours.  Are you willing to step into the celebration and receive the gifts of your inheritance, or are you hanging out with the servants outside the doors?"

How did we get here, outside the doors?  How did we fall into this weird sinful trap?  How did we come to believe that we had to do something, to be something?  Freeman takes a look at the story of the Fall.  Adam and Eve were made imago Dei, but Satan offered them the chance to be like God.  Wait, what?  "Satan was promising something to them that God had already graciously and lovingly provided.  Satan convinced them to forget God's gift and try to work for it instead....Satan had nothing new to give them that wasn't already theirs.  The only power he had was the power of the lie.  If he could trick them into forgetting that they were made in God's image, then he could get them to do crazy things, which is exactly what happened." 

This is what happens to us good girls.  Satan convinces us that we have to do crazy things to be accepted by God, and we fall for it over and over and over again.  "Where are you?  God asks, not because he doesn't know, but because he knows I have to come out of hiding in order to be found.  To be healed.  To be whole."

Which is precisely what this book is doing to me.  Dragging me out of hiding, where I can be healed. 

Part II to come. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Theology of Pedicures

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.   
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’  Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’  Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’  Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’  Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean.  And you are clean, though not all of you.’  For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’  
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.  ~ John 13:1-15
Well then.  I've really struggled with these verses for a long time.  Because on the one hand, Jesus is really clear here: Wash one another's feet.  I did it for you, you do it for others.  Hop to it.  And we don't have a whole lot of really specific commands from Christ.  Lots of "love one another" type stuff, but less "pick up a towel and a bowl of water and wash people's feet".  So, I feel like we should definitely take this seriously.

On the other hand, Jesus washing his disciples' feet had huge cultural connotations that I just think are really, really lost on people today.  In the first century, the task of foot-washing fell to either the individual in question, or a household servant/slave.  It was dirty and gross and disgusting (lots of walking around barefoot or in sandals on dusty, unpaved roads), and the whole thing reeked of what amounts to a caste system.  So, it wasn't just that Jesus was doing something sort of gross and personal for his disciples, he, Jesus - God incarnate - was taking on the job normally given to a slave.

Now, in modern (particularly Western) society, washing feet just doesn't make that kind of cultural statement.  If we insisted on washing someone's feet - taking care of their own personal hygiene for them - it would pretty much just be weird - not really culturally shocking or making some kind of grandiose "serve your neighbor" statement.  In this time and place, washing the feet of one's dinner guests would be meaningless at best.  At worst, it might turn others off to Christianity.  (If I become a Christian, do I have to let other people touch my feet all the time?)

Jesus said "do it".  But it's meaningless, and I don't think God tells us to do things just for the sake of doing them - the things we do serve a purpose.  But he did say "do it."  So now what?

Some traditions or congregations have adopted practices of doing "foot-washing displays" on Maundy Thursday.  Everyone can come up and have their feet washed in the Communion line, the same way we do ashes on Ash Wednesday.  Some recognize that people have personal space issues and so they set up "hand-washing stations" instead.  Some just have a few people (any number from a small family to 12, representing the disciples) go sit up at the chancel and have their feet washed while everybody else watches. To be perfectly frank, I find these to be worse than not doing it at all.  It reminds me of kids being ultra-good the week before Christmas in hopes that Santa will think they've been doing it all along.  No part of the Church views foot-washing as a "sacrament".  It strikes me that, if we're supposed to be doing it, we're supposed to be doing it for real, not just in an awkward showy way on Maundy Thursday. 

But how?  What are gross things we ask "the servants" to do, nowadays?  Laundry? Cleaning the bathroom?  Doing dishes?  Could we do them for one another?  Would it speak to those we love the same way Jesus' service spoke to his disciples?

Cue the Sister's Wedding. 

I had never had a pedicure until last month.  For a variety of reasons ranging from "I hate my weird, awkward feet" to "I'm cheap" to "this is so self-indulgent and there are children starving in Africa", I'd just never really gotten around to it.  Plus, I feel like it's one of those things that, after a certain point, everyone assumes you've done, and then when you go and you've never done it before, it's just weird and everyone wonders what's wrong with you.  But my sister wanted me and my mom to go with her and get our nails done for her wedding.  Since she asked me to do it (fine, I'll put aside my personal issues) and she was paying (yup), I did it.  Why not, right?

First off, my sis called and got them to do my pedicure for 50% off since, you know, there's only half to do. The "foot" I have on my prosthesis is basically painted with French tips and looks gorgeous, so there was no need to touch it. Still, I was worried it was going to be awkward.  But the lady doing it was totally chill about the whole thing.  She worked hard to make both feet match, and I didn't feel wierd at all.

As she started in on my foot (after it had soaked for a while, she hit it with a scrubby and file and I don't-know-what-all), I thought to myself, "I would never want to do this, especially for hundreds of random strangers all day long."  My mom must have had the same thought, because she asked: "What made you want to have a job like this?  It's so gross."  The woman doing my foot responded, "85-90% of women hate their feet.  I like this because it's something I can do to make them like their body a little more." 


Wow.  We're made in the image of God (and we can debate all day long about what part of  us particularly is the "image" - that's not the point here).  In a recent magazine article I read, 97% of women "say something mean to their body at least once a day".  We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we hate ourselves - our hips, our waist, our hair, our feet, our skin.  But God made us, and God loves us.  If we hate our bodies, aren't we hating what God made?  Maybe this pedicure lady has it right - maybe taking on weird, gross tasks to help people love themselves a little more is really a worthwhile endeavor.  So many of us need it. 

In this day and age, maybe "washing one another's feet" is less about providing cleanliness and hospitality, and more about showing love and approval and contentedness.  Maybe "love your neighbor as yourself" can be "love your neighbor so that she can love herself."  Maybe - at least for some people - something as simple as a pedicure is less about self-indulgence and more about learning to love ourselves in a healthy way, learning to see ourselves as God sees us. 


And if so, what are some ways that we can "wash one another's feet" if we're not professional pedicurists and it's not Maundy Thursday?

Feminist Rant

Dear Editor,

Recently while visiting my parents for a few weeks, I had the opportunity to watch my dad and sister play softball in the coed rec league that plays Sunday nights at Anneberg Park.  Although I enjoyed watching them play, I was dismayed to learn that in a coed league, women and men are required to bat using different sized softballs.  According to my dad, this is to prevent men from hitting the ball "too hard" or "too far" or some such thing, and thus avoid the men having any sort of competitive advantage over the women, who, apparently, are not able to field deeply hit balls.  There are several issues that come to mind with this situation: 1) Softball is a team sport.  It is not as though men are hitting balls to exclusively female fielders.  Further, the teams switch every half inning.  If the men on one team are sending hard-hit balls over the heads of female outfielders, the situation is likely to be reversed in the next inning, thus negating the competitive advantage that one team would have over another.  2) The very existence of a coed league says that men and women can play ball together.  It seems that the sense of competition and team camaraderie, as well as the argument that men and women are sufficiently equal to compete together, are destroyed when one half of the players require their talent and ability to be suppressed (or enhanced, depending on one's perspective).  If women are truly "equal" to men, then why do they require special accomodations?  3) Where are the feminists?  My understanding of feminism is that we women wish to be respected for who we are, and for the fact that we do indeed have just as much talent and ability as men, in any given field.  Ladies - do you not find it offensive that you are essentially being told that your natural talent prevents you from competing on an even field with men?  4) What is the point of even calling something a team, if each "team" is essentially two separate teams that play by different rules?  In this Olympic year, as we prepare to cheer on our athletes who compete only against others of their own gender, perhaps it is time to ask what we expect from coed team experiences and examine the implicit assumptions that this rec league policy makes regarding male and female athletic ability. 


Elizabeth of Hungary

Thoughts on the Passing Scene

or...How I Convinced Myself To Vote For Mitt Romney...

In the words of President Obama, "Allow me to be clear."  I'm no Mitt Romney fan.  Not at all.  I think he's a center or center-right politician who got into the game as part of the family business, who's willing to do or say whatever it takes to be President.  I think he's slimy and more concerned about himself and his ambitions than his commitments to other people.  I don't make these statments lightly, or from a place of uneducated guesswork based on watching him on TV or something. 

I've met The Mitt several times and I was working on a gubernatorial campaign when he was head of the Republican Governor's Association.  I've seen how he is in person, and I've seen how he runs organizations he's in charge of.  And I'm not super-impressed. 


Right now we have President Obama.  And he bothers me.  Look, I don't have to agree with all of the President's policy decisions.  We live in a democracy constitutional republic (as someone reminded me earlier this week).  You win some, you lose some.  I can be disappointed, I can disagree, but I can't claim that I deserve to have everything go my way.  But what bothers me most about President Obama is that he doesn't give me the one thing I - all of us - deserve: a competent President. 

My problem with Obama is that he is completely unqualified for the job of President, and does not appear to have engaged in any particular degree of on-the-job training over the past four years. He is totally incompetent, and time and time again demonstrates that he lacks the basic institutional knowledge and executive experience to successfully fulfill the role.

I am not a Romney fan. It is unlikely that I will make phone calls or knock on doors on his behalf. But I will vote for him, because I believe that he has the skills and background necessary to sucessfully execute the Office of President of the United States. Regardless of our policy differences and the fact that I think he’s slimy, this is clearly a step up from the current situation.

This is a democracy constitutional republic. Everybody votes, and the winner governs. Each of us doesn’t “deserve” to have our guy win, and nor do we “deserve” to have our policy preferences enacted at every turn.

What we do all deserve is a President with the skills, knowledge, and experience to execute the office faithfully. Obama clearly does not. I believe that Romney does.

Therefore, I vote for Mitt Romney.

Monday, July 9, 2012

In Which I Am Vindicated

I'm not crazy!
The lumbar plexus, a network of intersecting nerves and vessels, runs through the layers of the psoas muscle, so when the psoas is tight it can affect the pelvic floor, legs, low back, spine, abdomen, internal organs, it can even cause ovulation discomfort and nerve pain that runs down into the knee. The ovaries which can double in size during ovulation sit very close to the psoas especially when the uterus is tipped back and the psoas is already tight, this can affect the genitofemoral nerve causing pain in the thigh.
I knew these were related - I just didn't know how!!!  Excellent.  Back to the Constructive Rest Position.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises


Really really really?

Perhaps it's just that I have a much different personality and a much lower tolerance for the graphic portrayal of evil than lots of people, but why-oh-why would anyone want to go see The Dark Knight Rises?  The Dark Knight was so...well...dark.  Dark and evil and awful. 

A lot of that was due to the Joker.  I suppose a sophisticated film critic would say that Heath Ledger did a really good job of playing the Joker.  He certainly had me convinced that he was evil and hideous.  That same cute boy with the Australian accent from 10 Things I Hate About You was transformed into, well, dark.  Evil.  There's really no other word. 

And it took its toll.  How could it not?  How could playing that character, getting the evil mass-murdering mindset in one's head, not have consequences?  And Heath Ledger paid those consequences - with his life.  Of course, nobody really knows the ultimate reason for Ledger's suicide - he'd recently broken up with Michelle Williams, he was into drugs and sleeping pills, etc.  But he admitted himself that the role was causing him problems:  He apparently told reporters that he "slept an average of two hours a night" while playing "a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy ... "I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."

And now there's a sequel.  Four years ago, Hollywood produced a movie that drove one of the main actors to suicide, and somebody thought a sequel would be a good idea?  True, there is no Joker in this year's film.  But I'm not convinced that matters.  Darkness and evil are no joking matter, they aren't something to fool around with.  They are real, they are powerful, and there's no such thing as "just playing".  Even without a Joker, can we believe that The Dark Knight Rises will be any less dark?  Batman may well win - I don't know, and I don't intend to see the movie - and it will help to see good triumph over evil.  Nevertheless - why would anyone take the roles, and why would anyone go see the movie, knowing just how deeply it engages the darkness and evil?  Why open yourself up to those attacks from The Evil One? 

Heath Ledger, Rest In Peace. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The One

There's the one.

The one who knows nothing of your daily existence.  The one who doesn't know what time you get up (8-ish, unless you work, and then 6), or go to bed (~midnight).  The one who doesn't know what the weather is like where you live (hot), or what your work schedule is (a couple mornings a week), or about the quirky drink you had at your new favorite bar (the Vertigo).  The one who doesn't know whether you saw that new movie (no), or the books you're reading (Hebrews for Everyone and Latte Trouble), or your new favorite kind of frozen yogurt (Pink Lemonade with raspberries and almonds). 

There's the one.

The one who knows the big stuff.  The one who knows how much you gave, and how much you just couldn't do it anymore.  The one who knows how much it hurt when you lost your job.  The one who knows how excited you were when you finally sold your house.  The one who knows how unsure you were about grad school, and how pushed you felt to be someone you weren't.  The one who knows how scared you were but how awesome you are, even when you don't believe it yourself.  The one who knows how big your heart is and how loyal you are. 

There's the one.

The one you never talk to, but still tell everything to.  The one who never talks to you, but still tells you everything.  The one with whom you share the crises and the triumphs, the joys and tragedies. The one who shares their own with you.

There's the one.

The one for whom distance is practically a hallmark of your relationship.  The one with whom you conquered the odds of time and space.  The one who, when something important - really important - happens, is the one you want to call. 

I have this one.  I miss this one.

This one is the one I want to call.  There isn't a thing I wouldn't do for this one, and I think the inverse is true.  But right now it feels like time, space, and distance have won.  And my heart hurts.

Because I miss this one. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Constructive Rest Position

This is changing my life.  Literally.

For years, I have had super-tight psoas problems, particularly on my left side.  Sometimes it's worse than others (I actually think it's related to the endometriosis), but it's always bad.

So last week, I was googling around as I'm wont to do, looking for interesting alternative medicine stuff, when I came across this Constructive Rest Position.  Basically, lay on your back, knees bent (tie a belt or scarf or something around your mid-thigh so you can relax and not have to think about holding them "in place"), arms relaxed (at your side or resting on your tummy), and just lay there.  For 30 minutes.  Sometimes I have the TV on - keep your head flat (not on a pillow or anything) and turn it to the side to watch.  Sometimes I read a book - but having to hold your arms up in the air sort of defeats the purpose of "rest".  Sometimes I just lay there, eyes closed, listening to music or whatever. 

To be honest, it feels a little weird.  Especially the first couple of times you do it, when everything that is tight and out of whack starts to shift around to be where it's supposed to be, and you get the deep, deep stretch through your back and butt.  But just hang in there - let it feel weird - it gets better the more often you do it. 

In less than a week, doing this once or twice a day, my back feels tons better.  Tons.  I can actually bend over - the muscles are loose and relaxed and able to do what they're supposed to do.  I can sit cross-legged much, much more easily.   I'm standing with better posture.  My hamstrings and calf are not nearly as tight as they've been. And also, it's just relaxing. Try this first thing in the morning, or before you go to bed. (Or both!)

The first time or two I did it, 30 minutes was a long time.  There was definitely a stretch by the end of that 30 mins, and it was pretty sore.  Plus I was stiff from laying in one position for so long.  But the more I do that, the better it gets.  The soreness and stiffness has definitely decreased, and in fact, I laid like this for about an hour tonight while I watched a movie.  Just keep at it, and you'll fall in love with it, I guarantee! 

Bonus: How often do we really actually rest?  Take a half-hour for yourself, not doing anything, just resting - during the kids' naptime or whenever - and see how amazing you feel - you'll be more productive in the end!

On Boys and Men

Which, apparently I'm obsessed with, since I seem to blog about them so much...

Anywho, along with this shiny new vocation I've got (or so it seems), I've also got some new thoughts on the single life and the men that are (clearly not) in my life. 

I think what women want in a man changes over the course of their lives (one would hope, really, that "captain of the football team" is not the number one priority for a 30-year-old woman).  At least, I've noticed this in myself, and I'm pretty sure others have as well.  What I wanted when I was 15 or 20 or 25 and even 29 isn't, at least necessarily, what I want - and need - now.  And that means changes in the individuals I know that I'm attracted to.  Which is interesting to watch take place, as well. 

I realized all of this just a couple months ago, when a man I know started bragging on his pastor-wife.  Now, I've known plenty of women pastors in my day, a number of whom are married.  And I know some of the husbands.  But I have never heard anyone talk about his pastor-wife in this way.  "She is SO good at what she does.  She's a great preacher.  And an amazing writer.  The congregation is so blessed to have her." And on and on and on.  It didn't really hit me at the moment, but it's sort of come to me slowly - for all the talk of "women pastors scare men away", it seems like there's maybe a few out there who aren't afraid. 

And I want someone who, when I preach a rockstar sermon, or do something really cool at VBS, or lead some administrative awesomeness, will say, "Yeah, that's my wife."  And I want someone who, when I majorly screw something up, will say, "Yep.  So, how are you going to fix it?  And remember that grace is bigger than everything."  Yes, I want someone who will make me laugh, and force my introverted self to get out of the house and go be social, and is a good cuddler, and knows how to make coffee, and is just nerdy enough to "get" me, but not so nerdy that he can't tell me to stop using sermons as a tool for teaching Hebrew/Greek/Latin.  I want someone who will send me text messages just to tell me he's thinking about me, and someone who wants to spend time with me - even if it's just sitting on the couch together reading books.  But mostly I want someone who wants me to be and do what God wants me to be and do.  That's what I want.

And I don't have that person right now.  And that's okay.  Perhaps not permanently okay, but it's okay at this moment.  Because I have some newfound clarity on who I am, and what I'm looking for, and realizing that so much of my "list" from the past no longer applies. 

When I was home for my sister's wedding, she and my mom and I were all discussing...something.  I forget what, now.  Maybe something to do with the centerpieces at the reception?  Anyway, in the course of the conversation, I said something akin to, "Well, at my wedding, blah blah blah..."  To which my mom replied, "Yeah, so, hurry up and find someone so we can do all this for you."  I couldn't answer at the time - I think it would have hurt too much - but what I really wanted to say was, "No.  No.  I'm tired of trying to 'find someone.'  It's about damn time somebody tried to find me." 

And so that's where I'll leave it for now.  I know who I am, and what God has created me to be and do, at least in this moment, and I know what I'm looking for.  I'm looking for someone who's looking for me.