the reality.

today was a first.
it was the first day of my last class in graduate school.
i don’t think the reality has sunk in.
i still haven’t grasped it all.
in just 10 weeks i will graduate.
seems so final.
ushers in a whole new world–or maybe decreases my world by half.
looming decisions.
endless possibilities.

too much to consider tonight, too much thought…especially after dealing with the inconvenienced customer that after hearing her rant for a good 20 minutes conveniently left me with a splitting headache.
the reality seems a bit much at the moment…the reality of my headache and tired body overtaking me.
think i will just lay down and look at the pictures in my new book. cultofipodtpb



this lady must be miserable is the only explanation i have.
i am not sure why she is so miserable, but she is.

she came into the store tonight to voice her complaint.
she is still mad that the store was closed during the day for inventory…2 months ago.
no kidding, it was 2 months ago and she is still mad.
she is mad because she, the customer, was inconvenienced. she was inconvenienced in the time she took off work, the money she spent in gas driving to the store, and her emotional trauma for not getting her way right a way (this was not one of her complaints but it could have been…or should have been).

she could not hide that this issue was clearly about her and how she was wronged, how she had been inconvenienced, and how this company no longer cared about her as a customer because of how she was treated (i.e., because she was told she was not allowed to shop at the exact moment she wanted…even though she was told she could return in a few hours when inventory would be over and the store would open). her conversation was full of me, my, and i language. i wonder if she had any other pronouns to use…or were those the only ones she knew? those were definitely her favorite, so it seemed.

how could someone still be so mad at an event that occurred 60 days ago (and not even an event where she was hurt, but a petty event–if you will…even though she wouldn’t see it as such)?
i just don’t understand.
maybe i am just not that miserable.
and maybe i am just not that narcissistic.
hopefully, not.

cheetos, a movie, and mom.

i clocked out at work, hungry and tired…contemplating how i was going to spend my evening.
baked-cheetos-crunchycheetos and a movie with mom sounded good to me…
except that mom is 2,800 miles and 2 time zones away.

and since i couldn’t have mom with me to share the cheetos, i gave up that desire as well…settling for just a movie.
wasn’t the same.
no cheetos.
no mom.
not as much fun.

missing home,
missing family,
missing the closeness we all share…
the closeness in physical proximity as well as the emotional bond that distance can’t sever but can weaken.

even though i love it here,
it’s not the same as home,
not the same as having family so close.

it’s good alright, but not the same.

life in a box.

ironic isn’t it? look at what we’ve done to the man who refused to conform his ideals to popular taste, who refused to compromise his integrity. we have put him in a tiny box and asked you to copy him. so the choice is yours ladies, you can conform to what other people expect or you… ~katherine watson in mona lisa smile, referencing the painter vincent van gogh.

funny that i didn’t think of van gogh when i heard this, i thought of jesus. couldn’t this be said of him?
didn’t jesus refuse to conform to the ideals of his culture, to the popularity of his time?
didn’t jesus refuse to compromise his integrity?
didn’t jesus stand by what he said?
didn’t jesus appear to be bigger than the tiny box the religious leaders of his day tried placing him in?

but we do the same. we place jesus in some little box…
a box that conforms to our ideals of who we’ve constructed jesus to be,
a box that ties in nicely with our religious views, of what we’ve deemed christianity to be,
a box that allows us to understand who jesus is,
a box that allows us to control this image of jesus,
a box that we can fit in as well.
and we ask others to comform to him.

i guess the question is yours, as well as mine:
will i conform to the image others have set of jesus or…
will i conform to the image others have set of me or…

will i allow jesus to be who he really is…and allow myself the same.

at the close of the movie mona lisa smile (from which the above quote is taken), betty (warren) jones says of her professor and mentor, katherine watson,

not all who wander are aimless, especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image.

i’m sure others thought of jesus as wandering, failing to be the messiah they had envisioned.
but he wasn’t wandering aimlessly.
jesus was, instead, seeking truth beyond tradition…and beyond the religious tradition of his day.
jesus was seeking truth beyond definition…not allowing others to define who he was, what he was about, and what he came to offer.
jesus was seeking truth beyond the image…the image of what others expected him to be.

…being true, instead, to who he was.

springing up.

as i unlocked the door to my apartment tonight, coming home from work, i thought of my friend christy. i had just noticed blooms on the tree outside my apartment, the one that fills the view from my window. i hadn’t noticed them before tonight, but tonight i couldn’t help but notice them. and as i looked at each bloom late appearing, i recalled the numerous times christy would remark at the first signs of spring…
the poppies evidencing themselves outside the parsons building,
the new buds appearing on the myrtles,
and the green leaves filling the trees lining walnut on the way to the rose bowl.

so as i stood with the key in the door, i paused.
i paused to reflect on the significance of those blooms…
on the significance of the season they usher in.

and this seems to come to mind in thinking about spring:

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. ~isaiah 43.18 and 19

god initiating a new thing…something much different than the past,
and in some way, somehow, surprising.

a little like the dogwoods i saw last week in my aunt and uncle’s backyard. as we drove through their neighborhood, i could not help but see the other dogwoods springing forth from the ground.
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god is doing a new thing. god is doing a new thing in all of creation…
and in my life.
i am eagerly awaiting the spring…and the newness that it will bring.

vacation #2.

today, i spent the day doing one of my favorite things. no surprise the location…the beach.
jena and antonia had never been to huntington beach; betsy had not been to the beach since moving to pasadena in the fall. felt it my duty to acquaint them with the beaches of orange county.
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little napping.
little snacking.
little reading.
little getting into the water.
little getting tanned.
little getting burned.
little putting on sunscreen.
little noticing what was going on around us.
little talking.
little watching the attempts at surfing…both on land and in the ocean.
little people watching.
little enjoying the creation.
little communing with god.
little vacation…following my vacation.

on the run.

yesterday morning, i finished my run through a nice neighborhood in montgomery (one in which i used to live nearby and would run similarly), got in my car (well, grandma’s car i was borrowing), and drove to alisa’s house. she was going with me to run some last minute errands before i had to head to birmingham to catch my flight. as i pulled into her neighborhood, i noticed a police car in the entrance to her neighborhood (this neighborhood that lies just across taylor road from the one in which i had been running). there were 3 policemen (one that had COPS montgomery on the back of his shirt) and another man standing around the front of the police car. it seemed they were all talking, smiling, and maybe even laughing. common enough scene…except the man who was not robed in police attire was standing facing the police car with his hands on the hood of the car. looks like a suspect to me, i thought to myself.

i picked up alisa and we made our way out of her neighborhood. that police car was just as i had seen it moments earlier. as i started to explain the scene to alisa, i noticed one of the policemen was putting handcuffs on the man with his hands on the hood of the car.
interesting…seems like this man was on the run. not sure where, not sure from whom.
but he had been caught here in the entrance to alisa’s nice neighboorhood…the one only 30 yards away from where i had just run.
he was on the run; i was on a run…and maybe, just maybe, only 30 yards separated us on our journey.