dodgers.

what better way to spend a friday night off work than at dodger stadium, watching the dodgers take on the giants? i couldn’t think of one so when i knew i had off i immediately bought tickets. glad tony wanted to go or else i would have been sitting solo in the top deck.

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i like baseball but it was more than simply going to the game and seeing baseball being played in person.
it is the dodgers…
it is hearing tommy lasorda’s name being called out over the p.a. system (although i missed seeing him because i was looking to see which ant looked like him on the field instead of looking at the close-up on the screen)…
it is walking around the stadium, seeing what all it has to offer…
it is eating ballpark food (food i would usually not eat in real life) that never tasted so good until you are actually at a game…
it is waiting for the 7th inning just to stretch and sing “take me out to the ball game”…
it is anticipating the wave…
it is scanning the bench for barry bonds (whom i never saw…thinking maybe he was relaxing in the jacuzzi at the hotel)…
it is people-watching the crowd to see how both the die-hard and fair-weather fans respond to the game…
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and after enjoying all of this i could not care who won the game or what the final score was but was ready to go after the 2nd inning…but i had to stay around until the 7th (as stated earlier for the necessary stretch and song).
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glad i had the opportunity to add another LA outing to my list.

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wonders never cease.

auburn (who, yes, did get beat by mississippi state just a few weeks back) knocked off the 4th ranked undefeated-until-now florida gators…and in the swamp!
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can you believe it?

auburn finally showed up for a game…
glad to know that auburn is not going to have a completely washed out season this year…
way to pull it out when the game really matters, tigers! who needs games against south florida and new mexico state anyway? just practice games, right?
sure corso had that dumb gator head on this year as well. 2 years in a row…clearly corso did not get the memo.
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good to know that at least one alabama school came up with a W this week!

free.

DSCN5295…my favorite four letter word.

on my way to the so pass farmer’s market, i saw it. outside of a store selling vintage items, which could have been mistaken for a junk store by the unobtrusive eye, was a box marked, “please take.” i stopped, looked inside, and saw it…

a thermos.

not just any old thermos (though it is that), but an actual thermos brand…faded canary yellow cap, army green seal inside, stainless (or some shiny silver coating) inside, and a roughed-up used-to-be kelly green exterior accentuated with fake seam marks on the top and bottom.
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i took one look at it, one look at the word plastered to the cap, took it right out of the box, and placed it into my bag.

i need a thermos, or at least, i didn’t yet have one.

and the beauty of it all? it’s FREE.

the park.

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the feel of grass between my toes…
the warmth of the sun on my skin…
the gentle breeze that blows my hair across my face…
the way the sun peaks around the parallel palms…
the look of grass through my nalgene…
the futile attempt at studying…
the fruitful result of enjoying the beauty of nature…
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wounds.

5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
~proverbs 27.5-6, today’s new international version.

wounds from a friend…what are they?
are they truth spoken in love…truth simply spoken (harshly or otherwise inconsiderately)?
are they words spoken carelessly?
if the wounds are words, is it simply in the manner in which it was spoken, the actual words uttered, an untimely utterance of such words, or a combination of the three?
is it an act of betrayal, broken confidence, or simply lack of concern?
is it an action that seems inconsistent with that of a friend?

wounds from a friend…how can they be trusted?
should i just assume that every word spoken by a friend is a word i need to hear and take to heart?
do i rely on their rebuke, advice, encouragement, and challenges as truth?
must i assume that since i have been the one wounded, i am taking it personally or am just too sensitive?

and how does one go about trusting this friend again after being wounded?
is it always so easy as simply forgiving the one who has hurt us (and how do we just forgive–is it an act of the will to get over it, to forget it, to not allow the painful memory to flood our mind again?)?
do we resume the friendship as it was before the wound was inflicted…or do we take time, pull away somewhat, re-evaluate the friendship and the wounding experience?
must we go to that friend, explaining how we have been wounded and talk it through–or does this leave our wound too exposed?
do we close up or do we open ourselves up even more?
do we go on as nothing ever happened, almost masking the situation until we have dealt with (our emotions following our actions)?

such questions i have been ruminating over in my mind. many still left unanswered…most still plaguing me. i don’t know that there is simply one right answer, while the others are all wrong. i am not even sure there is even one best way, while the others are bad alternatives.

but today, i am presented with other questions…ones that hit close to home, ones that cause me to look at this situation somewhat differently…
what wounds have i inflicted upon my friends? could they always trust these wounds or were they insensitive on my part and not worthy of being trusted?
how have my friends moved from being wounded by me to trusting me again?

i am searching for how best to live in relationship. relationships involve challenges, rewards, tough situations, blessings, sacrifices, selflessness, making our needs known, and putting others above ourselves.

jesus offers implicit instructions on the way of forgiveness when peter poses the question to him:

21 “Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

i know i am to forgive others, those friends who have wounded me…just as they are to forgive me was well. this is the way of relationship–give and take, forgiving and accepting the forgiveness of others, extending grace and receiving it…
may i make an effort to put this wisdom into practice.

the light.

i have always heard the phrase “light at the end of the tunnel” but i cannot quite recall the context in which this phrase is uttered. somehow, though, i feel like it is applicable to my life at the present.

i am in a season of beginnings…or on the verge of beginnings. some of this naturally comes with the close of one season (namely, summer) and the beginning of another (in this case, fall). this has been the case for most of my life–ok, maybe all of my life save the one year i had a “normal” job where seasons weren’t a factor in my schedule. i am sure this is heightened by the nature of having a school schedule where endings and beginnings exhibit a rite of passage (entering into school, leaving school, a certain period of time that has transpired, or a period of time that one has left). whatever the nature, i feel like i am searching for the light at the end of the tunnel.

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the light that brings…
new friendships
reconnection with existing ones
answers to questions about my future
joy in the waiting
a sense of direction
a future destination
peace in the midst

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haters.

i had been in southern california for less than 48 hours when i first passed the church. attached to the sign was a message that proclaimed: “we support the right to marry”. yeah? so do i….i did not understand the big deal…why that proclamation? then, i realized it really meant “…the right to marry any gender.

interesting…
this was quite a new experience for me…quite a new theology for me…quite a culture shock (once again, causing me to realize that, like dorothy, “i am not in kansas anymore”). and this message, as well as the whole experience in general, continues to intrigue me. passing by this church nearly every day on my way to run at the rose bowl, the whole issue of gay marriage, and even homosexuality in general, is a subject with which i am confronted daily.

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about a week ago, on my way to run, i passed by and saw this message across the bushes surrounding the church. hate-free zone…what is that about? accompanying this message was about fifty or so cut out hearts fastened to the sign, all with hand-written messages on them. these heart messages were sure to catch the attention of passerby‚Äôs, sparking curiosity as to their individual messages. i had assumed the message to be communicated had something to do with gay marriage and the condemnation of those opposed…so one day i stopped to see if my assumptions were correct. they were….
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i almost felt like i was being sneaky, reading someone’s private messages…but they were displayed publicly for all to see. i was challenged by their message, their honesty, the hurt that was evident in some, the confusion in others. the messages were laden with truth–
truth of God’s love for humanity,
truth of love we should have for one another,
truth of acceptance and forgiveness,
truth of respect for all humanity.
these messages challenged me in another way, causing me to pose questions to both myself and the church at large:

how do we treat others who are different than ourselves?
how do we act towards those who have beliefs that stray from our own standard (or even what we deem as God’s) of right and wrong?
am i condescending, acting as if i am better than others because i perceive myself as abiding by God’s way of living?
am i coming across as a hater because i don’t condone the lifestyle of another?

as i wrestle with these questions, i know one thing for sure…
i desire to live in a hate-free zone in my attitude, my thoughts, my words, and my behavior.
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