Thursday, January 27, 2011

everyday rhythms

I was just rereading my Spain blog. So good. And it's so WEIRD (and, yet, surprisingly NORMAL) to have been in one place for so long. I even have... a routine? We had our first full week of school this week since the first week of January and it's good. It's good for the kids, good for the teachers, good for paychex (yeah, that just happened).

It occurs to me that I do not know how to blog about ordinary life, especially because really good conversations just keep catching me by surprise. And when I have conversations, I feel less of a need to type about it.

Nonetheless, here are some highlights from this week:

A certain first grader compliments me every day on how I dress. I totally think about her when I get dressed in the morning.
I like being alone!
I went to Holy Land Café with my good amiga Kate and we ate Middle Eastern goodness.
For all of my angst in Spain about not knowing how to be a teacher, I'm starting to get a grasp on it and like it a lot.
A NATIVE SPANISH SPEAKER TOLD ME MY SPANISH WAS GOOD! Just when I was feeling like I was losing it too!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

everything i've ever wanted i've found in you ?

I just want to do something hard. What?
I don't know. I don't know what that means.

This is what I know. I am deeply loved by Christ. I have fallen among a really beautiful group of friends. And I keep having these strange urges to not buy any clothes for a year or give away half of everything I own (including my bed to someone who needs it) or to go find hungry kids and feed them, or to move into a neighborhood that is not so nice and clean and is definitely not in the burbs.

But I don't. Or at least, I haven't. I thought I didn't know where to start, but maybe I should start with that paragraph above this one. (I might keep my bed. For now)

This alternatively makes my entire body tight with tension, nervousness, anticipation and softens my abdomen, letting me relax into knowing that life does not get worse if you only have two pairs of boots.

Do you experience this?

Monday, January 17, 2011

becoming known.

This blog has absolutely nothing to do with what I've been up to the last month or so.

And it has everything to do with it.

You see, the events of the past month, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, "the Sundays after Epiphany" have been intense times of solitude + community, late, late night conversations, early mornings alone, phone calls, emails, no fewer than 5 letters and 6 emails from different people from my time in Spain, transitions at work, new friendships, and reconnecting.
Last week I had two snow days, one 12 hour day, and then a day where I planned a spontaneous road trip to Memphis with two guy friends. Why not? This weekend, we drove about 16 hours round trip, learned more about each other, talked about everything from Elvis to civil rights to Jesus (and maybe combined all of them in an adult-sized onesie), arrived in time for Sunday night church and Po's Dumpling Bar (and a "Love Potion: Management not responsible" drink). Then my parents picked me up (cute!), I recounted our Memphis adventures for the... seventh time, we went home and I heard about their weekend party, putting away the Christmas ornaments, and how our van - which we took in Friday at 7:30am - was still in the shop.

It's no wonder that today, Monday, I am having a hard time sitting still and being alone. A person gets used to momentum, and even though I sorely needed some "blank space", me cuesta acostumbrarme al silencio.

So now I'm sitting cross-legged on my floor, bent over my Mac-mac. Typing to think. Writing a blog as a means of creating space in my own life and as tracing over all this activity to connect the dots in a pattern I think I see forming. I think I need bullet points. But not bullets.
  • It takes a long time to develop relationships with people. And if God is relational, how much longer does it take to develop relationships with God? And like any friendship that has been through the rocks, survived, and grows with time, how much more beautiful does our relationship with this creator become over time?
  • I've logged a lot of hours with new friends this past month. A lot of life together. A lot of shared experiences. It was beautiful... And yet, I'm constantly reminded, sometimes painfully, of how much more life I've spend outside the context of those relationships. Sometimes it feels like Spain is this year that no one can really comprehend... and part of it is that a lot of things happened during those nine months that I'm only beginning to express. I NEED to talk about it. I want to share it. So many good stories, characters, painful experiences, raw beauty, and lots of emotion. A place that is so different from this, my native landscape, and is yet somehow my home? It's still a bit incomprehensible. I want to go back. I don't want to go back. I don't know. I think I need to talk about it more.
  • My car is broken somehow. It is the classic story of taking it in for an oil change and there is some part that takes in air on the engine (I don't remember it because mechanical vocabulary does not stick in my brain.) that doesn't work quite right and costs $1200 to fix... One hour later we found out that the minivan also is flawed in some way that, coincidentally also costs $1200 to fix. It's a tense day in my house. Neither vehicle is going to get completely fixed. This is not really related, but it's stressing me out and I wanted to add it to the post.
As life continues, as I develop these relationships, enjoy time with others, it is contrasted with this idea that my friend Katherine keeps telling me, "Schmellen, there are so many stories you don't know about me yet!!"
Every time Katherine (who I really want to call "Schmatherine" and probably will in the future) says this, I think "YEAH! There are so many stories you [collectively] don't know about me!!!"

And I wonder if this is how life is... we keep loving each other, creation, God and entering deeper into life together, sharing stories, adventures and becoming known... forever and ever. I hope so. Becoming known is not easy; but it is beautiful. Let's keep after it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rima IV

One of my favorite pieces of Spanish poetry.

No digáis que, agotado su tesoro,
de asuntos falta, enmudeció la lira;
podrá no haber poetas; pero siempre
habrá poesía.

Mientras las ondas de la luz al beso
palpiten encendidas,
mientras el sol las desgarradas nubes
de fuego y oro vista,
mientras el aire en su regazo lleve
perfumes y armonías,
mientras haya en el mundo primavera,
¡habrá poesía!

Mientras la ciencia a descubrir no alcance
las fuentes de la vida,
y en el mar o en el cielo haya un abismo
que al cálculo resista,
mientras la humanidad siempre avanzando
no sepa a dó camina,
mientras haya un misterio para el hombre,
¡habrá poesía!

Mientras se sienta que se ríe el alma,
sin que los labios rían;
mientras se llore, sin que el llanto acuda
a nublar la pupila;
mientras el corazón y la cabeza
batallando prosigan,
mientras haya esperanzas y recuerdos,
¡habrá poesía!

Mientras haya unos ojos que reflejen
los ojos que los miran,
mientras responda el labio suspirando
al labio que suspira,
mientras sentirse puedan en un beso
dos almas confundidas,
mientras exista una mujer hermosa,
¡habrá poesía!


Friday, January 7, 2011

New year

A quote from

The greatest sale of self-help books takes place every year around the end of December and beginning of January. We see the new year as a time to turn over a new leaf, to make a new beginning. Our best intentions, and the books we buy, can easily become something of a reproach as the year progresses and we see ourselves making little progress. Perhaps we need to be careful about the scale against which we measure ourselves. Growing in patience, self-awareness and in proper love of oneself are tasks that deserve time – even if we cannot always measure or prove our progress. Allowing ourselves to be open to the work of God within us will remain a call to all of us during 2011. God won’t give up but waits for us to awaken to the wonder and joy of knowing ourselves to be always in the presence of God.