Five Minute Friday: Anniversary

Anniversary

Gentle Reader,

I spent so much time on the phone today. Good conversations, but I’m really feeling the need to crawl up in my introvert ball.

Kate says: anniversary.

Go.

Tomorrow is the thirty-fourth anniversary of my birth. At 1:16 p.m. I will officially slide into the middle part of my third decade.

I’m supposed to dislike that. I’m supposed to feel bad about aging, the gray hairs and the fine lines. Men become “distinguished” with the passage of time. Women are rarely given that moniker. Instead, we are pressured to spend thousands of dollars attempting to make ourselves look as though we are, at most, twenty-one.

Dude. I don’t want to go back to twenty-one. I don’t want to go back to any year of my life. Why should I strive to appear as I did in one of those years?

I like getting older. With each passing day I learn, bit by bit, how to stand my ground when it matters and how to let it go when it doesn’t. I no longer feel too self-conscious to go out in public without makeup. I don’t believe myself to be “ugly” because I have curly hair. I read and grow and think.

I’m glad to celebrate another year because I know that God is with me. Nothing that will come my way in the next days will be anything that I face alone. He is present. Faithful. Good. Kind.

I am happy to be His daughter.

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Thirteen

Thirteen

Gentle Reader,

Slipped into the chat near the end because my laptop wasn’t turned on and I sort of forgot that it was Thursday. Because my husband has been gone all week and my dogs won’t let me sleep. I don’t know what they think they’re doing, staying up all night. I give them before-bed treats. Tuck them in. Let them know they are safe. They don’t care. Their world isn’t right and they will let me know that they don’t like it.

Kate says: thirteen.

Go.

Thirteen was twenty-one years ago (next Friday). I wonder what my newly-teen self would think of me as I slide into the mid-thirties?

I think she’d be very surprised that I’m not a journalist. There was no other career she dreamed of. She would be equally surprised that I still live in the town which she thought of leaving. Her goal at the time, which she shared with exactly nobody (that I can remember), was to head off to New York and attend the Columbia School of Journalism. Makes me laugh now because a) I hate crowds, so why did I ever think I could live in a big city? and b) I’m a huge homebody/family gal who would never move that far away, unless God said “go.”

She would be glad to see that my teeth are straight, because she got braces that year and her mouth hurt all the time. She would like that I let my hair do its own thing now, because she brushed and blow-dried it straight every single morning (which never really worked; usually by lunchtime she had waves and ringlets popping up). My two fat, neurotic dogs would delight her. She would be quite pleased with my book collection.

I think 13-year-old me would like 34-year-old me. And I like 13-year-old me. I didn’t back then. Everything was horrible because middle school is truly the worst time of life. Young me thought she was weird and stupid and ugly and awkward and that nobody would ever really like her. I see now that she was funny, highly intelligent and a loyal friend who just didn’t know how to choose the right people to be loyal to.

Gosh. Writing this hits a tender spot in my heart. Yes, young me, you are beautiful. Thirteen is hard, but it will pass. It really will.

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Way

Conversation

Gentle Reader,

Back at the chat tonight for the first time in over a month. How I have missed them. There’s an encouragement that only a writer can give to another writer. She gets it. He knows the struggle. Tonight this community of far-flung wordsmiths affirmed my abilities and told me to keep going. Because, you see, the temptation to quit is always there, but sometimes, on some days, it’s stronger. It’s been a mighty weight for awhile now. Just pack it all in. Fall silent.

I am so grateful for these people. They helped me push against that weight tonight.

Plus, where else can you talk about collecting spit and the joys of curly hair in humid weather?

Kate says: way.

Go.

Dang but do we live in a “my way or no way” culture. Which is odd, because we’re supposed to be all about tolerance and respect. Except the tolerance and respect really only extends to those inside the circle. Those who are the same. Somebody comes in as a challenger and forget it. The tongue-gloves come off. Verbal punches fly fast and thick.

No, this is not me claiming persecution. Christians in the United States haven’t the slightest idea what persecution is.

This is me stepping back and taking stock of the last month. I’ve written about touchy subjects. Spent hours thinking and talking about weighty issues. Reading – always reading – trying to find that place between being informed about current events and becoming utterly overwhelmed. All that, I don’t mind. I like it, in fact. Sign me up.

What I don’t like is hostility.

At this point I believe that all Americans, and especially Christians who live in America, should be made to take a logic and critical thinking class. This was one of the first courses I took during my first semester of college, way back during the time of the dinosaur. We spent hours learning the difference between modus ponens and modus tollens. Got into immediate trouble if we dared allow ad hominem to dance upon our tongues. Were introduced to the No True Scotsman and told to stay away from him. Our professor wrote sentences from news stories on the chalkboard and made us deconstruct them, forcing us to learn to appreciate a good argument or line of thinking, even if we ultimately disagreed with it.

Perhaps a political science class is in order as well. Preferably with a very cranky teacher who rarely gives anyone a grade higher than “B” and requires formal debates. No “because” in his class. You make a statement, you’d better be able to defend that statement, no emotional appeals allowed, and if you can site legal precedent, so much the better.

And definitely, absolutely, certainly theology classes. A lot of them. Staring with hermeneutics.

As I think about the events of the past weeks, I see that, above all, we have to remain teachable. Humble. Open to considering another point of view. Always remembering that none of us knows everything all the time.

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Done

Wait

Gentle Reader,

Kate says: done.

Go.

I feel done with life today. It seems as if there is never a break from the swirling chaos, both on a macro and micro level. Something weird is always going on. It wears on the soul. Enough to make me think that the Desert Fathers and Mothers had it right. Just go hang in a cave somewhere and pray. Put on a camel-hair dress and scream into the wind, “Dishonor! Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow!”

But then annoying Paul – yes, I call him annoying because he annoys me sometimes – tells me not to grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). And I wish he was here in front of me right now so I could pull his beard and tell him that he doesn’t understand. Because it’s hard. It’s hard to not throw off restrains of civility and kindness. Everyone else is doing it.

Then I read this:

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul.

– Psalm 66:16 (NKJV)

I wonder if the second wind I so often need to keep going is found in remembering what God has done for me.

The Thanksgiving Songs constitute the joyful reflex of the Prayer Songs, especially those for Deliverance From Accusation and Persecution, for here those cries have been heard. The terrible plights encountered in those prayers are now history. They surface here only to recount God’s faithful deliverance. Certain death and destruction (18:4-5), enemies and illness (30:1-2), a sense of forsakenness by God (22:1), sin and the terror of God’s anger (30:5; 32:3-4), and the scorn of it all (22:7-8) appear in testimony of the Lord’s saving answer. In every case he has made the day in which gladness appears (118:24). … The grand point of it all, as Psalm 52:9 puts it, is that these marvelous rescues are “what You [Yahweh] have done.”

Asbury Bible Commentary

He rescues me today by not allowing me to throw off the restrains of civility and kindness. I mean, I could. Free will and all. I really, really want to. I’d love to throw some verbal zingers. But it’s not what God wants. I can speak true words, strong words, but not hurtful words. No ad hominem for this lady.

So I sit and wait. It hurts. But He’s here.

Stop.

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