We’ll know in about 6 months.
We’ll know in about 6 months.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
I don’t know if your childhood was as surreal as mine; growing up as a pastor’s kid seems to set you up for a parade of odd characters to march through your life. And many of your recollections of the tender years have a curious, unreal quality. As I reflected on Isaiah’s words above, my mind drifted to one such recollection.
As a tot in Children’s Church, I was pretty convinced that God was real and Jesus loved me, etc. and many of my fellow church-going chums felt the same. The folks in charge, however, seemed to never truly feel confident that we understood their message. They suspected, I think, that we children nodded our heads and clapped our hands and gave clever answers in order to get candy. This wasn’t completely untrue. For whatever reason, church seemed to have mountains of the sweet stuff, generously dished out for good behavior or bright answers.
I see now that these pastors and teachers wanted us to know more than simple answers to get candy. They were trying to connect us to the loving God of the universe; a God with a personal and profound plan for our little lives. And that is why they invited huge men to come to our Children’s Church to break things.
Now, I wasn’t a large boy, and so these men with necks like oak trees and biceps like beach balls seemed to me like something from a nightmare. They simply marched in, muscles bulging, matching singlets glistening, and immediately started smashing things. Wood planks, cinderblocks, phonebooks, hot-water bottles…anything was fair game for these purveyors of mayhem. And one of them would get on the microphone and plead with us children to pray for these men as they did things our mothers would never let us do. I mean to say, if I were to come home from school one day, greet the family, pet the dog, and then begin mashing stacks of bricks with my elbows…my mother would have destroyed me.
But this was power of an untamed sort. These fellows wreaking havoc displayed strength in an exciting and Samson-esque way. Surely this was how that brawny man-of-old mowed down all those miserable Philistines? Certainly David showed a similar liveliness when he smote Goliath? Even Esther, slip of a girl though she may have been, must have had an intensity that could have inflated a hot-water bottle till it exploded?
When I reflect on Isaiah 40:29-31, my mind earnestly tries to consider it’s encouragements in an enlightened, grown-up way. The furrowed brow of a tough decision, the pious resolution to do the right thing…of course these everyday tests require God’s strength. But my mind continuously drifts to those mighty men and their wanton skills. Is it possible that God had something a little more robust in mind when He inspired these immortal words? Certainly the thought of attacking the enemy of our souls with similar ferocity, his lies broken into small gritty fragments under the crushing blow of God’s Word, holds a sort of charm?
Where I would stay:
What I would do:
But I wouldn’t wear a suit, that would just be silly. Right?
No, no…I would wear my wedding dress.
I am a bundle of contradictions. I want harmony but I find myself picking unnecessary fights. Why do I care if someone doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day or hates cats? I want to encourage people but I become judgmental and short. I want to have friends, see people, be social, but I make up excuses to not go out and stay home to hide. I call people back hoping I get their voicemail. I make plans and promises only to break them a couple days later. I admire people who are patient and soft spoken, like Marie from my C.R. group. She is long-suffering and I can’t imagine anyone really annoying her. I, on the other hand, am brash and easily tripped up. There are days where every living thing annoys me. Why do I care if a person has terrible taste in music or that some people pronounce libRary libarry?
Today in our staff meeting, we were talking about a family who is going through a really hard time. My heart was feeling only mercy for them, really wanting things to change for them, but somehow those feelings traveled to my mouth and came out as judgmental and almost mean. I don’t understand it. It’s like two people live inside me, one is sweet and tenderhearted, the other is rude and impatient. Watch out, because lately it’s a gamble at which one you’ll get.
In other news- my cat drinks out of the toilet. Look at this sicko.
Dustin and I were driving home the other day. When traffic is really bad on I-25 we take a back way that goes through a field and pass a golf course. We were driving with fields on both sides of us and saw a coyote on the side of the road, in the middle of the day, barking and howling with his nose straight up like some Santa Fe sculpture. We were surprised to see him sitting so close to the street with lots of cars passing and even some people walking by. We slowed down a little and rolled down the window to hear him howling. We turned the corner and saw across the field another coyote walking quickly toward the howling coyote. We noticed that the coyote coming from across the filed was limping badly and couldn’t wait to get to the howling friend. We watched them reunite, licking each others faces, and they headed off together down into a ravine.
There really isn’t a point to this story. I guess I could try and spiritualize it somehow, but it would make it even more cheesy. Actually, now that I think about it, this blog post kind of sucks. I guess you had to be there.
Each morning I wake up, sometimes shower, get dressed, and do my hair and make up. I look in our full length mirror and say to myself, “not great, but looks pretty good.” But, it does not fail, around 3 o’clock I catch a glimpse of myself in our office mirror and think, what the heck happened to me? Why am I wearing this stupid outfit and why does my hair look like this? How could I have possibly thought I looked good when I left my house this way? Is it that the lighting in our bathroom is so fantastic that it’s like wearing beer-goggles when I look in the mirror? Or is it that I am so tired in the morning that I don’t put much thought into what looks good or not? Whatever the reason I am sitting here in retarded jeans, a wrinkly shirt and stringy hair, having one of those days.
Dear Mr. President,
First off let me just say Congratulations on your historic nomination! I may or may not have voted for you, but it really doesn’t matter now, does it. I was thinking of ways to welcome you to your new role and to the White House, a plate-of-brownies-for-the-new-neighbor type of gesture. I personally enjoy receiving Mix CD’s from new friends, it helps to get to know them a little better. I decided I would create a Presidential Mix CD for you. It is quite eclectic, mixing a few things together. I’ve heard you really like “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, so I made sure to include that one for you, Mr. President. Overall it has a political feel, but it doesn’t take itself very seriously. Kind of like me!
Thanks for serving our country. Wishing you all the best!
P.S. check out my blog thatgirlkate.wordpress.com
My “Welcome President Obama” Mix:
When we were little girls, my sister and I would take our 2 very fat, very de-clawed, house cats (Midnight and Charger) out to the back yard. We would hook their collars into a long leash that was attached to a metal stake in the grass. Even though we thought it was great fun for the cats, in essence it was really torture. These poor cats would walk until the leash was about to snap, pulling hard as they traveled in circles around the yard.
There was one bright, sunny, summer day where I thought I would give these poor creatures a bit more freedom and unhooked the leash from the stake. The next thing I knew Midnight jumped over our fence right on top of the neighbors waiting dog, Rufus. It maybe was half a second, but it felt like I watched as the black cat came flying back. in slow motion, over the fence, legs a kimbo, tail a fluffy-puff like she had been electrocuted by the dog. Luckily she landed on top of me star-fish style on my head and all I had to do was pry her back nails out of my temples. I quickly brought her back into the safety of our house, the only real territory she had ever known.
You might wonder why I shared this quaint, cute little anecdote with you. Well for one I just remembered it today and it made me chuckle to myself a bit. But the real reason I share this is because I see myself so much in this story. I am the cat who looks out the window at all the places I have never been or experienced. I am the one who pulls tightly on the leash I have been put on and wander in circles wishing for more. I want to travel, I want to see, I want to experience. Every six months or so I find myself pulling on the leash, to be set free to wander. I find myself resenting the present, checking on flights and job openings, wondering what else may be out there for me and Dustin. I know that outside of God’s will I will end up in the figurative jaws of Rufus, which no one wants.
Just as God created cats to be curious, He created me too. He knows my desire to explore and experience. He made me to be the little adventurer that I am. And even though I don’t quite understand why I am on this particular leash, in this particular yard, with these particular people, I am ready to stop pulling against God and instead lay down in the cool, damp grass and enjoy myself.
People of Mars, you say we are brutes and savages. But let me tell you one thing: if I could get loose from this cage you have me in, I would tear you guys a new Martian a-hole. You say we are violent and barbaric, but has any one of you come up to my cage and extended his hand? Because, if he did, I would jerk it off and eat it right in front of him. “Mmm, that’s good Martian,” I would say.
You say your civilization is more advanced than ours. But who is really the more “civilized” one? You, standing there watching this cage? Or me, with my pants down, trying to urinate on you? You criticize our Earth religions, saying they have no relevance to the way we actually live. But think about this: if I could get my hands on that god of yours, I would grab his skinny neck and choke him until his big green head exploded.
We are a warlike species, you claim, and you show me films of Earth battles to prove it. But I have seen all the films about twenty times. Get some new films, or, so help me, if I ever get out of here I will empty my laser pistol into everyone I see, even pets.
Speaking of films, I could show you some films, films that portray a different, gentler side of Earth. And while you’re watching the films I’d sort of slip away, because guess what: the projector is actually a thing that shoots out spinning blades! And you fell for it! Well, maybe not now you wouldn’t.
You point to your long tradition of living peacefully with Earth. But you know what I point to? Your stupid heads.
You say there is much your civilization could teach ours. But perhaps there is something that I could teach you—namely, how to scream like a parrot when I put your big Martian head in a vise.
You claim there are other intelligent beings in the galaxy besides earthlings and Martians. Good, then we can attack them together. And after we’re through attacking them we’ll attack you.
I came here in peace, seeking gold and slaves. But you have treated me like an intruder. Maybe it is not me who is the intruder but you.
No, not me. You, stupid.
You keep my body imprisoned in this cage. But I am able to transport my mind to a place far away, a happier place, where I use Martian heads for batting practice.
I admit that sometimes I think we are not so different after all. When you see one of your old ones trip and fall down, do you not point and laugh, just as we on Earth do? And I think we can agree that nothing is more admired by the people of Earth and Mars alike than a fine, high-quality cigarette. For fun, we humans like to ski down mountains covered with snow; you like to “milk” bacteria off of scum hills and pack them into your gill slits. Are we so different? Of course we are, and you will be even more different if I ever finish my homemade flamethrower.
You may kill me, either on purpose or by not making sure that all the surfaces in my cage are safe to lick. But you can’t kill an idea. And that idea is: me chasing you with a big wooden mallet.
You say you will release me only if I sign a statement saying that I will not attack you. And I have agreed, the only condition being that I can sign with a long sharp pen. And still you keep me locked up.
True, you have allowed me reading material—not the “human reproduction” magazines I requested but the works of your greatest philosopher, Zandor or Zanax or whatever his name is. I would like to discuss his ideas with him—just me, him, and one of his big, heavy books.
If you will not free me, at least deliver a message to Earth. Send my love to my wife, and also to my girlfriend. And to my children, if I have any anyplace. Ask my wife to please send me a bazooka, which is a flower we have on Earth. If my so-called friend Don asks you where the money I owe him is, please anally probe him. Do that anyway.
If you keep me imprisoned long enough, eventually I will die. Because one thing you Martians do not understand is that we humans cannot live without our freedom. So, if you see me lying lifeless in my cage, come on in, because I’m dead. Really.
Maybe one day we will not be the enemies you make us out to be. Perhaps one day a little Earth child will sit down to play with a little Martian child, or larva, or whatever they are. But, after a while, guess what happens: the little Martian tries to eat the Earth child. But guess what the Earth child has? A gun. You weren’t expecting that, were you? And now the Martian child is running away, as fast as he can. Run, little Martian baby, run!
I would like to thank everyone for coming to my cage tonight to hear my speech. Donations will be gratefully accepted. (No Mars money, please.) ♦