Monday, February 22, 2010

If only...

there were some kind of machine that could wash and dry all of my dishes for me.

Ah... wishful thinking.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My pastor is smart.

So I kinda had a breakdown today. I won't go into all the details behind it (though many of them are completely legitimate), but if you know me.. you know that my emotions aren't always on a perfectly even keel. One day I feel like I've got the world on a string and then the next I'm sitting on the grass in Seattle Center blubbering on the phone to my mom about how I'll probably die alone so she should give up on grandkids now. (Oh how I wish I were joking).

Basically, 2 years of making less than minimum wage coupled with the harsh realization that even the best in this field are barely scraping by most of the time.... it will drive a girl crazy. crying-to-mom-on-the-phone-in-a-public-place crazy.

When I got home tonight I saw that my pastor had updated his blog. "Breaking the Stress Barrier" is the title of this week's post. Perfect timing, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Blame it on the Baptist upbringing, but I've never really been one to practice the discipline of giving something up for lent.

But after making the realization that I spend about 70 percent of my waking hours in front of a computer screen, I've decided that this year it might be good for me to put away some distractions and focus in on Christ.

So I'm giving up Facebook, Hulu, and any other internet time sucks that I'd otherwise allow myself to veg out on (the blog doesn't count). My hope is that this will give me the opportunity to be more intentional in both my relationship with God and with my friends. No more can I rely on a status update or a passive wall post to forge connections with the people in my life. I may have to actually pick up the phone and call people to make plans or (gasp) send snail mail to tell someone I'm thinking about them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Choose Life

I'm well aware that my blogging habits lately have been sporadic at best.

It's not that there hasn't been anything to say. There has been too much. Too many thoughts swimming around in my brain that to sort them into any form of reflection has just seemed too large a task for me to even begin.

I guess one thing I can share is that I've decided to stay out here another year. Or until I run out of money/jobs. Whichever comes first, I guess. (Such is the life of an artist, I suppose). It's a terrifying thought, since I am unemployed as of June 5 (though there are a few prospects for summer work..). Not to mention the fact that I still miss so many people and places back east and have no immediate plans to return even for a visit. But I've now come to the point where I have a life here, too. And to leave this soon would be just as difficult as it is for me to stay.

As can be expected with such major life changes, my emotions are a roller coaster right now. When I moved here, I had great peace that though I was walking blindly, this was the next step I was supposed to take. Now I've been here almost half a year, and, in keeping with the Seattle weather, my heart is clouded with doubt. Why did I move here again? What exactly was your plan for this move, Lord? I'm insane for ever moving in the first place, aren't I? These questions keep playing over and over in my head-- turning me into a weepy, moody mess. But then every couple of days the sun pokes its way through the clouds and I just know that this is where I am and where I'm supposed to be for this (albeit rainy) season of my life.

So I'm doing my best to leave it at that and give any shreds of worry, isolation, and desperation to the only one who's got any control anyway. But that, of course, is always easier said than done.

This weekend UW put on one of my favorite plays, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The premise is basically this: Judas is on trial in purgatory, but as he has fallen into a catatonic state of depression and cannot speak for himself, various figures from biblical and church history sit as witnesses, testifying for or against him. Ultimately, Judas himself refuses grace, choosing indignation and self pity and blaming Jesus for ever allowing him to betray him in the first place. It's a pretty devastating conclusion, mostly because it rings so true about the nature of despair and denial in all of us.

One line in the play is a quote from Thomas Merton:

"Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of a damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that He is above us and that we are not capable of fulfilling our destiny ourselves."

Right now, living alone in a dark, damp city, It's too easy to slip into moments, days, weeks of despair.

I don't want to be Judas.

I don't want to wallow in my failures.
or hang onto my regrets.
I don't want despair.

I want grace.
I want hope, and joy, and love.
And life.
Abundant life.

But these things are far from my nature. My nature is to wallow.
To subsist.
I have to choose more than that.

I have to choose to live.

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So C H O O S E L I F E in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying his voice and by holding fast to Him for this is your life and the length of your days."

Deuteronomy 30:19-20