to die…in order to live.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. ~as spoken by jesus in john 12.23-26.

some thoughts from church on the passage above…
the central theme in john’s gospel is becoming a transformed person, presenting a new way of living personally, and the presentation of a new reality to live and become a part. and what this passage above is offering is an identity transplant–a change of self, and not in simplistic fashion, but a change deep within oneself.

it is an invitation to lose your life, and to find yourself…all at the same time. it is losing a certain part of yourself, while gaining yet another. it is self-discovery. it is journey to a new reality…the process, rather than the arrival.

it is giving up your self-protected life–offering up, or opening up, your life.
it is giving up your protected, encapsulated self and embracing–and fully living–the vulnerable, risk-taking life of one unprotected and unguarded seed…
wheat1
waiting to be made into flourishing wheat.

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contemplation resolved.

i have been contemplating the purchase of a chair that caught my eye at pottery barn a few weeks ago. and i like it. i like it a lot, actually. but i haven’t yet made the purchase. i thought i should go ahead and buy it before the tax increase on wednesday (so that leaves today or tomorrow), but i have decided against it. for me, it has been a bigger issue than simply buying a wanted–not necessarily needed–piece of furniture.

sure, i could justify it.
i don’t really have that much furniture.
it is an investment…and it is totally worth it.
i don’t ever want furniture or make big purchases like this.
i have the money.
i could just get it for my birthday.
it matches perfectly with the furniture i already have and would be a perfect addition.
…and i am sure i could go on…and on (especially since i am fond of this piece).

but there’s the rational side of me.
the rational side that looks at my money market.
the rational side that sees my paycheck.
the rational side that realizes i haven’t saved or invested money since moving to california…and can’t see myself doing so in the foreseeable future.
the rational side that realizes my car insurance will be due right after my birthday.
the rational side that realizes my rent is a lot of money.
the rational side that realizes the state of the economy, my present state, and the unknown future has to affect me sometime.
the rational side which realizes i need to make wise choices…or choices period (i simply cannot do it all).
the rational side which realizes that i have yet to see the affects of the economy (either by blessing or oblivion).
the rational side which would rather spend my extra money on a much-needed girls’ weekend.
the rational side which realizes that material possessions do not matter…and wantings will subside.
the rational side which sees that the 40 hours i currently work might possibly turn into 32…and isn’t so prepared for that.
the rational side which realizes i need nothing….

done.

done with being teacher for the day and separating the talkers.
done with justifying the projected sales, the payroll we planned not to make, and the subsequent cutting of hours that resulted from the previous two.
done with dealing with customers named peachy…who just aren’t.
done with the shady returns by girls barely out of their teens.
done with listening to an associate tell a customer just to use her broiler pan when asked the best way for her to cook steaks…really? what about trying to sell–or just mentioning–one of the 15+ products in our store designed to do just that? and you’re complaining about not having many hours? and you’re standing around talking to other associates as customers walk past? really?
done with cutting my own hours (which is why i’m already home)…and having to explain why to the associate mentioned above. payroll, maybe? maybe because it is myself or an associate who was already complaining earlier today about only having 1 shift next week. maybe it should be me.

i’m just done…
but it seems i’m scheduled for more of the same tomorrow.

what am i looking for?

i went to lunch with a few friends from work today. it was fun to spend time with one another outside of work…especially since we rarely see one another there anyway. i see them all (although the other 3 never/rarely work together anymore), but not in a capacity where we can actually get to know one another or catch up on life. at one point in our conversation, which happened to be focused on the other single lady and myself (also single), the question was posed:

what are you looking for in a man?

all eyes on me as i stammered around and came up with one brief answer, before eyes turned to the other single lady. she definitely had a better reply as i listened intently to her words, my own thoughts ruminating. i found it interesting because for awhile, i feel like i’ve known what i wanted. blame it on post-seminary deconstruction of life as known before (seems like a catch-all to me these days) or post-break-up or state of numb oblivion in which i seem to find myself lately. blame it on something rather than simply a loss of words, because that sure doesn’t seem like me.

“good question,” i thought to myself and even still think to myself.
maybe that’s why i haven’t made a commitment and settled down…
maybe that’s why others can’t decide about me either…
maybe that’s my defense mechanism…
or maybe that’s my reason.
maybe i don’t know.
maybe it’s not settled.
maybe i just don’t know what i am looking for.

i found it insightful that the other lady had specifics (and on-and-off i have as well)–both character-wise and physical traits. i simply found myself speechless.
maybe it’s because she’s older, more mature, and wiser than myself.
maybe it’s because she’s been married.
or maybe it’s simply because she knows what she wants.
i thought about different guys i’ve dated and none are similar–there is no “type,” there is no commonality (at least that i can find), there is no figuring out what i am looking for based on the men i have dated in the past (not that i can determine).

tonight as i was reading, i couldn’t escape the question…so i tried to formulate a list of my own. after some pondering, followed by scribbling a few things down, then looking back over my list (and finally abandoning it all together to write this blog instead) i realized that what i am looking for, according to my list, looks quite a bit like me. and that seems no fun. the men i have dated have not been like me (some more unlike me than others) so i am not sure why it seems like i want someone who is strong in the same areas i am…don’t i see that i need balancing out? so maybe i would be better served in coming up with a list of my weaknesses and pondering those characteristics and what that sort of man would look like. it’s not necessarily that i think i need a “list,” but i do think it would be helpful to determine what i want…
so i know when i’ve found it.

“hi. i’m lorenzo…”

don’t you just love the part of church where you turn around to the people sitting around you and shake hands with them? the church service i usually attend is a smaller crowd so you can work the room and actually talk to everyone gathered or have a more in-depth conversation with just a few. the one i went to this morning (the church i usually attend, just a different service since the nightly one i attend only meets once a month now, and today i was off so i could go in the a.m.), had more people so you could only turn to the people in your immediate proximity.

and let me clarify that i hate that part of the service, actually. it just feels so fake. like i ever remember the names of those around me…or ever talk to them again. until today….

i met the guy beside me, ron, then turned around to see this guy whom i had noticed when i was searching for a parking space (there’s a reason why he caught my eye). he was standing outside the church, actually by the street, looking a little out-of-place in his bikeresque gear, like he had just stepped off his harley. his somewhat deep voice greeted me,
“hi. i’m lorenzo…”
“of course you are” is all i could think as i mumbled my name…
lorenzo lamas, that is…sitting right behind me in church.

don’t think i’ll be forgetting him nor his name next time…

it’s just what i do.

i had an epiphany this morning. maybe it was waking up at 2am thinking about it, or maybe when i woke up for good before 6am still thinking about it, or maybe it’s because it’s what i always do. i always work on sundays…or i have all but about 3 times since our store opened in october. it’s what i do on sundays–good, bad, indifferent…it’s just one of those things. but as i woke up this morning–actually having the day off–i realized i like working on sundays.

i like the pressure of the last day of the week.
i like knowing where we’re at and knowing where we need to be.
i like being the closer…and closing the deal on the week.
i like the adrenaline…i feed off it, actually.
i like knowing where we are in the company before business and aiming for a certain goal to keep us there or move us up.
i like the position it puts me in for payroll–either there’s no way of even making it all, no matter how much i cut or it’s a possibility and i can actually do something about it, even if it is the last day.
i like printing out the email captures before the business day begins so we can see where we’re on the week and challenging everyone to finish strong.
i like to finish strong…despite $3000 days, huge bridal returns, and sunday lookers.
i like the control…even as i hate to admit it.

so any and all of these could explain why i’m up thinking about work on my day off.
especially today.
especially today since we are in the top 10 already–trying to hold our own there–and the actuality of making payroll if it is monitored well.
but i just can’t.
i can’t go in, i can’t just show up, i can’t, because i’m off…and because i’ve got to trust my team, i’ve got to have confidence that others can and will finish strong.
please finish strong….

clueless.

as i was ringing up these 2 gentlemen at the cash register, one asked me,
“who was that man who was just here at the register beside me?” i looked around somewhat dumbfounded, unsure of who we was talking about or why he might be interested in knowing. “i’m not sure. the guy with the pasta…why?” was my answer. as he laughed at me, he responded that the pasta guy was, in fact, an actor.

clueless.

i had helped the guy and talked to him earlier but i hadn’t a clue who he was.

kind of like i was clueless when i saw her yesterday, taking the lavender dish soap out of her hand…only knowing she was someone by the ‘razzis blocking the front entrance to our store. as i started toward the front door, i decided i would ask the paps who she was, but declined when i had to push one out of the way to even get out of the store. when i told him he couldn’t block the entrance to the store, he remarked, “miss, you have such beautiful eyes.” completely turned off, instead of his hopeful turn on, i brushed past him, telling him, “shut up…and get off our property.” but i digress….

kind of like i was clueless as i walked past her in the store today as well, only realizing who it was after steve gave me the heads up.

yeah, i live in LA…
and am still clueless apparently.