Reunion Time

I dreamt about my alma mater the other day. This wasn’t a dream set on campus where the real story is about the people or the events, this was a dream about my college, and the things that used to happen there. I haven’t missed college too much in the years since I’ve been out, but it’s reunion time, and I think I’ve started romanticizing. Even so, I can’t wait to head back, put a light on the Hill, and welcome the next generation of Jumbo alums into the big-wide-adult world.

I’ve been on a walk down memory lane these last few weeks as I start thinking about heading back to school. It’s hard to believe that it has been FIVE years since I last walked the Hill as a student. It’s hard to believe how much I have grown and changed since then. It’s hard to believe that at 22 I was considered mature enough to let out into the world. I was SO young. In hindsight, there are some things that have happened over the last few years that I have been incredibly grateful for. Here are just a few:

  • Living with my college roommate in our little apartment in an Orthodox Jewish family neighborhood our first year out of school. It was so safe, so quiet, and such a perfect way to ease into adult life. I drove through the neighborhood again today, and loved seeing the girls in their oxford shirts and long skirts running from house to house. It struck me that those girls were babies when I left.
  • My small group at Park Street Church nurtured me as I figured out how to follow Jesus outside of my college fellowship. It wasn’t always easy, but they gave me a safe place to figure things out, and when I had my feet underneath me and it was time to move on, they let me fly. I am so grateful for the friendships that have sustained past that time.
  • My small group and church community at Christ the King have helped me deepen my faith in ways I wouldn’t have considered before.
  • My cooperating teacher at the King Open School who shepherded me through that first year of intensity as I navigated the classroom experience for the first time.
  • That I have had a job ever since graduating from graduate school.
  • That I have learned how to live on very little, and that I don’t have to every day.
  • That I have learned the ingredients to living my happy life (most of the time), daily exercise, prayer and Scripture, whole foods, a dose of fresh air, regular time in the midst of nature, a little bit (or often a lot) of peace and quiet, and close friends.

It’s been quite the trip these last five years, and I’m eager to see what I’ll learn in the next five!

Vacation Clarity

I began the week dreadfully tired. Perhaps the result of too many cookies and caffeinated beverages meant to give me enough of a rush to get through the report card writing/parent-teacher conferences/annual fund dinner that would end my day. I slept eight hours Friday night only to be unable to keep my eyes open on Saturday morning. I spent three more hours sleeping on the couch before I was ready to tackle the day. By “tackle” the day, I mean take the dog out for his second walk and watch entirely too many episodes of terrible television shows.

It made me think though about what I put into my body, and what I expect my body to do for me. I mean really, if two meals each week are made up of preprocessed cheese, milk, and butter – even if the shells and cheese package is from Whole Foods – am I really to expect prime performance? If I’m “getting through” the end of the day (or the beginning of the day, who am I kidding?) by popping jelly beans, shouldn’t I expect the crash an hour or two later?

Anyway, I took advantage of the beautiful day yesterday to head to my favorite market in Watertown. I love how they display their food, how it’s almost entirely WHOLE foods, frutis, vegetables, dairy, meat, bread. Anything processed is displayed on bottom shelves, underneath the non-processed goodness. I bought plenty of fruits and veggies, some Stonyfield yogurt, a nice loaf of whole-wheat bread, and some chicken salad. Already, I feel my energy levels rising, and it’s amazing how a breakfast of toast, strawberries and a banana can be every bit as satisfying as something more decadent.

I’m heading out of the city today, with a picnic lunch, a hope to take advantage of another 70 degree day, and a question of how to incorporate this more relaxed, healthy lifestyle into my non-vacationing life.

Variations on a Theme

This story might require a little background. Perhaps someday I will write my whole story of faith, but today, we’ll go with just what you need to know to understand the story. I grew up in a non-Christian home, celebrating Christmas and Easter, but not knowing the significance of the Biblical narrative. I came to know Christ in college which meant that during the times when I was making some of the most important decisions of my life, I was relying on an immature faith. Now I’m not going to claim to have reached any pinnacles of spiritual enlightenment, but my faith has certainly deepened in the last few years, and this is just a small piece of that story.

Four years ago I spent many hours sitting on the same bed I am sitting on now, worrying about what the future would hold. I was graduating from graduate school, the reality of quickly encroaching student loans was settling upon me. I spent hours flipping through my Bible, hoping for a verse that would quell my fears. Now, I’ve never been particularly good at praying, or allowing my worry to cease, but I did find a verse that I clung to during those months of uncertainty. The verse came from Joshua, and it read:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

I took such comfort in that verse. I loved the certainty of knowing that wherever I ended up, God would go with me there and I took comfort in the fact that even if I made a wrong decision, in the end, it would be okay because God promised to be with me. Over the last few years, I have continued to find comfort in that verse. Knowing that God is with me has helped me through some difficult times, even when I have fear that I am somehow in the “wrong” place.

This fall was an amazing time of growing in my faith. I was regularly reading my Bible, and regularly trying to communicate with God in prayer even if I still failed to turn over my worry. I yearned for that time with the Lord, and I loved the certainty of knowing I could turn to Him all day every day. Of course though, as my journey of faith has often gone, I fell away all too quickly, and returned to feeling too busy to check in with God each day.

Recently though, as life begins to get more uncertain, and I find myself struggling to make decisions that could affect the next few years of my life, I felt that yearning to spend time with Jesus again. Today, I finally answered that call and turned to my One Year Bible, which I hadn’t read since March 7, to find the Bible reading for the day. I didn’t get more than half a page into it though because I quickly stumbled upon that all too familiar verse.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I took new comfort in that verse this morning, and thought of what a sweet gift that was that this morning, I would turn to that Bible and seemingly by chance find that verse. I needed to hear that reminder, and I’ve been longing to know that I can’t screw up this decision forever because in truth, no matter where I am, God is there and if I am rooting my life in Him, I will be okay.

A Final Push…

I’ve been remiss in posting this week. The truth is that it’s the last sprint until April vacation, and I am longing to go from the craziness of everyday life, back to this.I love that vantage point. The reflection of the sun just before it hits the water, the colors painted over the sky, different every time, the relative silence of the world. I wish that I could exist forever in that moment, alone with my thoughts and with the beauty of creation. When I was little, my parents say I would refuse to go to bed when we were on the Cape, until I had seen the sunset. Even today, when I cannot see the sun set behind the trees, or into the sea, I find it hard to believe that the day is done, hard to quiet my mind and pass into sleep.

We’re in the final push now to the end of the year. Just 45 more school days remain before the end of the year. That’s 9 weeks, which in the grand scheme of the end of the year, is really not very much. Still, the idea that 9 weeks separates me from the complete freedom of summer feels like an eternity, and I’m longing for a change.

Good Friday

We had the day off today to celebrate (remember?) Good Friday. It’s always hard to know what the appropriate attitude is for the day. Do I dress in dark colors? Sit and brood all day? Try to be pensive?

In the past, I have approached the day as if I were going to a funeral service for my friend. And, in a way, that’s appropriate, because I am. But here’s the thing, I always kind of feel like I’m faking it because I know the end of the story. I’m grateful that the story of Christ didn’t end with Good Friday and his death on the cross. I’m grateful that even as I remember the sacrifice Christ made as he took the punishment for my sins, that we can look ahead with anticipation to the third day. It seems crazy to believe in a resurrection, and in my weaker moments, I confess that I find it difficult. But the fact that remains for me is that I have encountered Jesus in all too real a way to ever let those seeds of doubt take root in my soul. I am grateful for Jesus’ death on the cross. I am grateful that since the beginning of time there was a plan for human salvation. I am grateful that even being fully man, Jesus did not shy from the mission for which he was called to earth. And as I head to church for the Good Friday service, I am grateful that while we may sit in darkness for a few days, the story continues to the Resurrection.