Sunday, August 29, 2010


there is nothing more satisfying than the pound-pound, pound-pound of your sneakers against the pavement after you've managed to pull yourself out of bed for a morning run. the steady rhythm of running is unchanging and solid, no matter the pace, even as your breath skips and drags in syncopated time.

these little rhythms of life are everywhere. i love finding them, hidden, and discovering a new musicality in the everyday and the mundane. it's like some great symphony that we ourselves are playing, only so rarely do we realize it. 

i was babysitting on friday and we spent the whole morning snuggled up in blankets reading and singing together. em had picked out several dr. seuss books. it took me a minute to get back into the swing of reading his rhymes. i tripped over my own tongue more than once before finally finding the rhythm of the words. and as the poetry began to feel like singing, i read faster and with greater pizazz, emphasizing just the right syllables, so that the girls would be lulled by the rhyming lines, able to truly experience the beautiful chaos of dr. seuss. 

and then we really did sing. thank goodness i have a repertoire of Disney princess songs in my arsenal of audition pieces. i can be Belle or Sleeping Beauty or Ariel on command (and with the red tint to my hair,i can just about fancy myself to be Ariel). i'm also starting to introduce them to my other favorite princesses: Eliza and Eponine and Laurie. 

but more beautiful than all of that is one-year-old Sydney's budding version of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

rhythms of sound and lyric are not, of course, the only ones. more important are the rhythms of people, of lives. as the opening of the semester approaches, those familiar patterns and routines of graduate student life creep in: alarms are set, books purchased, lunches packed, highlighters made ready. the manic pace of the past week has foreshadowed the coming onslaught of syllabi, papers, unending pages to read, deadlines to meet, (not to mention) relationships to upkeep, exercise to squeeze in, sleep. it's hectic and insane, and somehow it feels normal and manageable--despite the seeming lack of control, i am still in control. i am the one juggling, the one smoothing the harmony of the different components: class and school work, church internship, student government, babysitting, another potential job on campus, time for me and time for my friends. i'd also love to serve on a worship planning committee for chapel services and get involved with two other school organizations: Sacred Worth and Social Concerns Network. maybe the creation care keepers, too. my approach looks to be: go until you hit tilt. 

but coming back to school doesn't just mean a return to chaos. it also means a return to friends. i love the simple rhythm of an afternoon spent with my girlfriends, conversation easy and light, laughing and singing along to the radio. i love knowing people and trusting them, being myself and sharing life. these are the rhythms, the ones of people, that change so often, that come and go, but run throughout life like a sturdy bass line. these are the rhythms that keep us singing even when we've had a rough week, that come back to us after a long time quiet, that can fill the emptiness and the silence--or rather, remind us of the great beauty that is life. for there is Another to whose beat we dance. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

for each other

truth: breaking up sucks, no matter how amiable it is.

(want to know what else sucks? having another guy, whom one BARELY knows and has no interest in, approach said ex for advice on how to best approach freshly single self, because all previous attempts at interaction via FACEBOOK have been duly ignored. bah. )

BUT, this post aims to be about the incredible value of relationships. and you know what good relationships require? vulnerability. and what does vulnerability risk? hurt.

(this feels vaguely like some para-biblical version of Romans 5:4. i'm channeling paul, i never can help it.)

i'm wallowing in a bit of hurt right now, but have also been marinating in it for the last 3 months of my summer. and those three months, we both think, is what saved our friendship, though our opinions about being morethanfriends have come to differ. i would rather have a friendship with someone whom i care about deeply and who has not-so-intentionally hurt me than to push him away and lose not only a dating relationship but a really good friendship, too.

but it still sucks. for a little while, it will suck. end of story.

i've been doing a lot of thinking about relationships--about how we are deeply relational people. this fact has been thrown into distinctive relief by my return to atlanta. despite the community that i built during my time in DC, it feels so good to be home and among the people whose lives with mine are now interwoven. i spent friday evening with several good friends, and all night long, we just sat around, first on the porch, then in the living room, talking for hours. that's not always the definition of a party or a get-together--sometimes there's more, but there's never less than that. we spend time with people because we want to be with them. the simplicity of this gathering reminded me of that.

we also had a German exchange student join us for the evening. i wondered, as he sat with us, whether this was weird for him, granted, it was likely a bit awkward because we've all known one another for at least a year, and he is just beginning to make friends here, but i wondered more so whether this was a cultural thing or not. did he think we, young, fun-loving twentysomething Americans, would more likely be spending friday night out at a club or bar, where talking still happens but not quite as organically or intimately? or perhaps it was a glimpse into the closeness of our community, a promise of great relationships to come for him. i hope he felt welcomed into it all.

i also love all the new people i've been meeting--just 2 full weeks of being back, and i've already met and started to know more Candler peers--in my polity class and in the C3 (student government) events that i've been attending. and now, starting tomorrow, i'll be volunteering at Candler's new student orientation and meeting a whole class of new people. expanding the community is exciting and promising. what a neat phase of life, to be meeting so many people of such diverse backgrounds. hopefully, working in the church, this constant renewal of community will continue, with no less the degree of tight-knit-ness than we have among school colleagues.

renewal brings freshness,yes, but it also requires work. it demands change, a shedding of one skin to grow another.

all this to say, thank God for relationships. for the people who come into our lives for only a season and are gone all too soon; for those who hurt us and yet remind us of the need for forgiveness and of the incredible ability for healing; for lifelong friends; for "small-world" moments and connections; for roommates, for family. for messiness and brokenness and wholeness and beauty. for each other.

Friday, August 13, 2010

roach's last stand, etc.

i've been back in Atlanta nearly a week now, and my experience has been a perfect mix of newness and familiarity.

my new apartment is fabulous. FAB.U.LOUS...despite the two larger-than-average bugs i've had to squash. one left me with a jammed finger (roaches, i believe, may survive the apocalypse. i had to give him an extra good whack). the other was such a satisfying smash that amanda had to get out the wet wipes to clean up the scene of the attack. pesky bugs aside, we're feeling much more settled. not everything is assembled, hung up, or even purchased yet, but it's becoming home. my room is light and airy and spacious. for the first time in my nearly 25 years, i have a walk-in closet and my own bathroom. these things certainly aren't necessities, but it's rather nice to spread out a bit. yesterday we had our basic cable and internet installed, we found our mailbox, and i've finally figured out the right combination of buttons to press to open the front gate to our complex. home sweet home, indeed.

i think what makes the apartment extra-fab is my roommate. sure, it's only our first week together (and fall semester hasn't yet begun), but it feels like a perpetual slumber party :) talking and laughing nonstop; watching gilmore girls, grocery shopping and cooking together; decorating our space.

one week of class down now, too. it feels really good to be back at Candler--very natural and comfortable. it feels good to be with my peers and colleagues, to learn, maybe even to crack the books again. UMC polity is alternately encouraging and overwhelming, but we have a very knowledgeable and kind instructor, and despite the 8am start time, i'm glad to be taking it.

only bad thing about the week so far--got stopped for speeding yesterday. thankfully, it was only a warning. 10 over. going down a hill. these cops were sitting at the bottom of the hill, around a corner, and just pulling over car after car that came by. there were literally 3 other cars lined up on the side of the road that i pulled behind.  i suppose i am thankful for the lesson that this road i will be driving down frequently is, in fact, a 35mph zone. it's still an icky feeling. but i certainly don't need to be paying for a ticket when there are a hundred other expenses involved with moving into a new place and starting a new semester.

also, still looking forward to a lot of my closest friends moving back to town. but all in all, a good week one back home in ATL. celebrating with lunch at the Flying Biscuit this afternoon :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

small, small world

though i should be reading about United Methodist polity right now, i wanted to give a brief update: i'm back in Atlanta and (partially) settled into my new apartment! we are still waiting for an installation appointment for our internet, so i may be a bit out of touch between times spent at various wi-fi hotspots. but i am having a blast living with Amanda already, our apartment is cute even though half of our stuff is scattered in boxes and piles, and i survived my polity class at 8am this morning!

CRAZY story i have to share: today at the post office i was standing behind a woman who looked very familiar. i finally recognized her as the mother of an INFANT i babysat in high school. little abby, who was 6 months old when i first started watching her, is NINE and started the fourth grade today. i feel old. i didn't get to see abby, but met her youngest sister, who was born after i left for college and stopped sitting for this family. but now, we're neighbors again--they just moved into the morningside neighborhood a week ago, which is right up the road from my new place. we traded phone numbers and i hope i can spend some time babysitting for them all over again! i LOVE moments that make the world feel this small.

okay, i really need to start this polity reading. but i'm so excited to be back in atlanta, back at candler, and back with my wonderful community of friends!