Half-hearted Creatures

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

 

>C. S. Lewis

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana

I’m tempted to consider 2013 as somewhat unremarkable. I lived day by day, and all those days steadily turned into more considerable measurements, like weeks and months. Sometimes I stop and have to force myself to remember some of my adventures:

  • I became a full time nanny for two girls. The job was never difficult, but there was no margin for error. I would often listen to them both crooning along with my music in the backseat of the car, and I would be overwhelmed with both the privilege and the weight of the amenability placed upon me. I was also paid to do things like paint toenails and go swimming.

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  • I traveled to Las Vegas, and hit up a few of the famous attractions, like Ceasar’s Palace. My Uncle treated me to a fantastic little upscale gem of a restaurant called Noodles, with authentic Asian food/soups that tasted perfectly balanced and divine. I sampled my first ever shrimp in my perfect bowl of pho, and yes, I liked it. I drove two hours south and made it to my old roommate’s wedding, meeting up with another roommate, Nicole, in Kingman, AZ, and it was absolutely perfect. Her mother had died of cancer only a few years before, so Jessica paid the perfect tribute by having her mom’s dress altered to wear down the isle. It was almost as flawless as her.

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  • I visited the Grand Canyon. It’s so vast you lost depth perception (woah, I sense a powerful metaphor there…). And yes. I wore a dress and sandals to the Canyon. The only think I anticipated traversing were well maintained cement paths. I packed for Vegas and a wedding. You can imagine my shame as my uncle helped me down cliffs and rocks because, you know, IT’S THE GRAND CANYON. THERE WAS HIKING. GO FIGURE. But I’m not upset about it. Not at all. I could only stare wistfully as a group of backpackers we had sat by on an overlook continued their descent into the canyon. Some day, my friends. Some day.

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Canyon Pointers. #grandcanyon #arizona

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  • While I was Vegas, I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird. All credit goes to my friend Emily for insisting upon applying myself in succumbing to this famous work of literature. After I finished, I had to take some time and process the whole thing. It was such a delicious book.

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  • I actually got out of the house and enjoyed some of the attractions Seattle has to offer. I took roommate number 3, Rebekah, downtown. First photo is the first Starbucks, and second is the Chihuly glass museum. I was prepared to be unimpressed, but the sculptures were staggering. I was completely won over. Next time you find yourself in the Emerald City, stop and take a look.

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  • Oh yeah, and I totaled my first car. I won’t show you a picture of the metal heap that was once my primary mode of transportation. Instead, I’ll share a photo of the license and registration I purchased a mere three days before. I had been driving with Oregon plates illegally for a year. I finally drag my but into the licensing agency, and whammy.

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  • Remember me telling you about the car accident? Will that occurred 2 days before my little sister’s wedding. While driving to it, actually. I was the Maid of Honor, and it was awesome.

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  • I assisted in teaching Sunday school for the moth of August at my church. Not only did we read out of my favorite book (the Bible) and partake in my favorite snack (goldfish), we made some pretty sweet crafts, too. I give you Goliath:

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  • And speaking of church- I attended my first ever Women’s Retreat. I almost wussed out, but two ladies from my church agreed that we should request each other as roommates, so it was settled. It was good for me to be immersed in so much feminine company. The lovely lady sitting beside me is none other than Emily, the same woman who convinced me to read To Kill a Mockingbird.

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  •  Weddings, weddings, weddings. I think I’ll go hide under a table until everyone is done getting married. And if that savored strongly of bitterness, it’s all for show. I love weddings, and I would rather splurge on a ticket to be a part of a friend’s happiest day than to wander alone on some tropical beach. And that’s what I did. Seattle to Orlando took all night, I felt like death warmed over, but it was all worth it when Christi hugged me, warmed up a bowl of delicious soup her fiance, Mikey, had whipped up, and sat and chatted as he steeped me a much needed cup of tea. It was worth it to hold onto more Ecola friends who had only just moved to Georgia, and who’s wedding Christi and I had been in the year before. It was worth it, all of it, just for these moments:

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  • And while I was in Florida, I ate my very first Chick-Fil-A! And now I experiencing a piercing and constant dissatisfaction in the chick-Fil-A-less land which is the Pacific Northwest.

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  • I went to my first ever baseball game with Sydney, and the Mariners lost. But that hardly mattered; to me, it was all about the experience. I ate an overpriced hotdog (denied myself a beer), sat on uncomfortable metal benches, and inquired incessantly about the rules. I think I’d like to do it all over again, too.

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  •  Someone handed me this while walking to the bank one day. I think it speaks for itself. I still have the dollar, too, and I don’t think I’ll ever spend it.

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  • I wore this trusty companion out this summer. I’m currently searching for a replacement. We’ve come far together, through thick and thin, the highs and lows. It rested so comfortably in my hands that just holding it open before me served as an anchor, it’s weight and texture was so reassuringly familiar.

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  • I learned how to milk goats. That pail of milk down there? That’s mine. Well it was the goat’s and mine. I feel like gaining a skill such as this one is significant.

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  • I made some quality friends. The best, really. We met for a walk around Greenlake, and I parked on the wrong end. I figured I’d just walk to meet them, being ignorant of the fact that the trail is almost 3 miles around, which meant I ended up walking a mile and a half before I reached them. And, get this, I was wearing The Sandals. You know, the very same ones I wore to the Canyon. In this picture I was smiling to keep myself from crying. Seriously though, I love these ladies. Left to right: Jen, Hilary, Myself, Emily.

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  • I took many selfies with cats.

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  • I hung out a lot with these goobers. My sister and her husband have provided me with many adventures.

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  • And I said goodbyes:

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The patience to wait

“Who said,” lashed out Isaac Penn, “that you,  a man, can always perceive justice? Who said that that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand– until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far more above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence.

“No choreographer, no architect, engineer, or painter could plan more thoroughly and subtly. Every action and every scene has its purpose And the less power one has, the closer he is to the great waves that sweep through all tings, patiently preparing them for the approach of the future signified not by simple human equity (a child could think of that), but by luminous and surprising connections that we have not imagined, by illustrations terrifying and benevolent– a golden age that will show not what we wish, but some bare awkward truth upon which rests everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. There is justice in the world, Peter Lake, but it cannot be had without mystery. We try to bring it about without knowing exactly what it is, and only touch upon it. No matter, for all the flames and sparks of justice throughout all time reach to invigorate unseen epochs– like engines whose power glides on hidden lines to upwell against the dark in distant cities unaware.”

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I am not addressing ultimate justice; what happens when we die, to those who’ve been good or done ill. Only the things of life that sweep us up. Why do cruel people rise to the top, and why are the honest not always rewarded? Why was my heart allowed to break? Why did a child’s heartbeat cease to reverberate in it’s mother’s womb? Why?

And to claim injustice is to proclaim the knowledge of a universe I’ve only begun to glimpse with weakened eyes. To point my finger at God and cry out against Him would be to attempt grasping the past, present and future all at once, and to sing a melody of a song that has yet to finish, one who’s ending I have never heard. It would be to know the heart, path and design of every man under the sun.

I am in the center of a map of cosmic proportions, a traveler like yourself, and my story is being told by One who know knows the end of all things. Although the fruits of justice are not always made clear, I feel it’s presence. And it gives me the patience to wait, and have faith.

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Day 19 (The Batwa Dance)

Do you remember what I wrote last night? While I was in my post-work stupor, feeling sentimental and wistful? I said I wanted to write beautiful things. I wanted my writing to point to beautiful things. I want to write little Batwa boys dressed in oversized, violet blue sweaters in Africa, dancing to the music of his tribe. If I could choose to write something, I would write this. But things like this can hardly be written. It makes my heart skip a beat to fathom all this entails.

Music, God created that. And He created family, and made our bodies capable of dancing, and made our hearts glad at the prospect of doing all of it together at once. He made the desire to know other peoples, the desire that provoked that man to travel across the ocean and film a remote pigmy tribe in Africa.

He made Africans, and He loves them, and I love Him and them.

And every time I think I’m over it, that I’m finally done with the heartache, I discover a rock. So I turn it over and find things underneath. Like this: