July 2011


I have been reading One Thousand Gifts – slowly; Ann Voskamp‘s writing is more like poetry than prose – and I highly recommend it. I tend to not like most “Christian living” books because they seem so trite, and they’re all basically the same, but this one is different. At least, it is different for me at this time. I can’t vouch for the theology/exposition but this book has been good for my heart. I read this yesterday:

Is that it? When it gets dark, it’s only because God has tucked me in a cleft of the rock and covered me, protected, with His hand? In the pitch, I feel like I’m falling, sense the bridge giving way, God long absent. In the dark, the bridge and my world shakes, cracking dreams. But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, I-beam supporting in earthquake. Then He will remove His hand. Then we will look.

Then we look back and see His back.

I really, really hope that’s true.

A few days ago we got some bad news. Something that I reallyreallyreally wanted to work out didn’t happen. I didn’t actually expect it to happen*, I just reallyreallyreally wanted it. At first there was a twinge of disappointment, but I quickly squashed it by reminding myself that I had known all along that it wouldn’t work out, that would just be too wonderful and perfect and easy. So then I tried to think of other things…but later that evening I found myself restless, rifling through cabinets that aren’t even mine** looking for chocolate, something, anything, I’ll know it when I see it. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for me I was at my parents’ house, where the two Procurers of Goodies are dieting so there was nothing to interest me. Instead I started flipping through a catalog, just wanting something to distract me from the colossal disappointment welling up inside. Disappointment and hopelessness and just feeling defeated and stuck. I feel like my whole life is stuck – stuck in a guest room, stuck inside because it’s SO FREAKING HOT, stuck at the house because I don’t have a car, stuck because we don’t have anywhere to go. And we’re not going anywhere.

I hate it. I hate being stuck. I think the church word for this is “waiting,” specifically “waiting on the Lord.” I don’t want to wait any more, I’m tired of waiting. I am ready to MOVE ON to whatever and wherever is next and I am so tired of hearing that it will just be “in His timing,” whatever THAT is supposed to mean. Right now it means that we are living in a guest room and mooching off friends and it frankly doesn’t appear that God is doing much if anything about it. We’re just stuck, waiting around and hoping He decides to show up.

*My TBN friends would say that THIS is the reason it didn’t happen: that I didn’t expect it. On one hand, maybe they’re right – maybe I don’t have enough faith. However, I would counter that if God’s ability to move is dependent on my faith, He’s not really all that powerful.

**I don’t have any cabinets of my own, that’s part of the problem!

I am always intrigued by the search terms used to find my blog. Recently someone wandered over here by googling “naked in the albergue on the camino,” which has now joined “fat guy in swimsuit” in my all-time favorite searches. (I googled the albergue one and sure enough, my blog pops up on page 6. Someone was very dedicated to unearthing all there is to be known about this condition.) (By the way, don’t try googling “fat guy in swimsuit,” my post doesn’t come up, at least not that I had the patience to find, and especially don’t do an image search because a lot of those images have nothing whatsoever to do with a swimsuit.)

Camino has been on my mind a lot lately, though. A mere few months ago I could not imagine ever wanting to do it again but something – my transient lifestyle, I suppose, or perhaps packing my Camino pack once again with the intention of living out of it – has made me think wistfully of the simple life of just walking. All your belongings fit into a backpack and your life’s worries consist of finding a place to sleep and acquiring food. I mean, I guess that is all you ever really need to worry about but on the Camino that is literally what you are doing. Your time is spent walking and talking and thinking and just being. (This is a romanticized version, of course. I just read back over my Camino posts, which I actually never finished, and was forcibly reminded of the interpersonal difficulties and PAIN ALL THE TIME and my recent musings have neglected those very important items.) Everything just seems so hard and directionless right now (no one told me coming home was the hard part!), the idea of walking and thinking and eating tortilla and following the yellow arrows seems so simple and appealing. There are no yellow arrows in real life.

Really?? This is kind of a dumb topic.

Drugs: Just say no! I even try to keep pharmaceuticals to a minimum; they are always saying “This is a miracle drug!” and then 5 years later it turns out it causes cancer so I err on the side of caution here.

Alcohol: don’t get drunk but other than a moderation guideline, who cares? I’m really can’t figure out why this can be such a big deal to some people.