Monday, October 31, 2005

This weekend I went home to celebrate my 22nd birthday with my family. A friend decided to come home with me Friday night for some outlet mall shopping and a visit to suburban life. Just before 9pm I received a call on my cell from my roommate from Calvin boyfriend. It is not unusual for us to talk and hang out a lot but it was unusual for him to call me to chat. After a few minutes he instructed me to go open my front door. After a few “no ways” from me I was delighted to find my roomie and her boyfriend standing in my driveway. I screamed actually upon finding them there. She is one of my best friends. We talk a lot. We are very much alike in temperament and living style. It was the best birthday surprise I could ask for.
The next day they attended my family birthday get-together. My wise friend from this summer was also there. I think I will now refer to her as my spiritual guru. After just about everyone but my grandparents left we got a chance to sit down and talk. It was a good conversation but a painful one. I recognize her amazing faith, experience, knowledge and understanding not to mention wisdom, but…well I also recognize the fact that there is no middle ground with her. She tells you what’s what and that’s the end basically. All the things she had to say to me and actions she advised me on were all well received but hard to take in. There were tears shed by us both. I want to and will defiantly make an effort to follow through on her advice but it will be a huge undertaking and challenge to me. Of course if this is God’s will I should expect nothing less- right. I’ve learned not to pray for things unless you are prepared for what they entail. Do not pray for patients unless you are ready and willing for someone or something to be introduced into your life that will try your patients. When you pray for someone to come to Christ, be ready for it to be you who leads them because that is a real possibility.
Upon returning back to my apartment in the city I received an email I was totally unprepared for. Although I was not totally surprised to read the message left as it only affirmed my suspicions I was not ready to deal with it just then. I called my Calvin roommate who laughed and shared my news with her boyfriend instead of giving condolences.
All in all the weekend was fun filled and memorable. I am exhausted despite the hour we gained in the time change Saturday. The whole weekend was constantly full of people. Which I enjoyed and was thankful for but I am defiantly one of those people who regularly need alone time. I got a little of that Saturday night when I watched a movie and dyed my hair. Which by the way felt great to do! I haven’t dyed my hair since April- too long. I crave the change that dying my hair brings. This alone time was just as exhausting as constantly being around people though because although I choose a great movie to watch it made me cry my eyes out thus perpetuating the drained feeling. Hopefully the coming week will bring along time opportunities, clarity, inner peace and reflection.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

So, to tell the full story of today I really need to start last Tuesday. Last Tuesday I lost my U-pass. This pass allows me to go on any bus and or train anywhere in the city as much as I want for the semester. this pass is very useful and very important-so of course I lost it. A week ago today I went downtown early before work to get it replaced. I paid my $35 replacement fee, was told it would be mailed to my school in 5 to 7 days. Fine, then of course I ask what I do in the mean time to get around the city. I then learned I would be paying out of pocket to get around until my new U-pass arrived. Well that sucks but whatever ill just have to deal. I buy a 7 day pass for $20. Today that pass ran out. I make sure to buy yet another pass, a 2 day pass for $9 today. I go to work. I was supposed to leave work at 1045 in order to get a client and take her to her doctor’s appointment. As usual things went awry. Chaos ensued. I was asked to make approximately 345.7 and a half photocopies while being asked questions and getting the usual teasing from the Congolese brothers. Finally get out of the office, go to pick up the client only to find we her husband has yet to return home and we have to take her 18-month-old son with us. It was on the way to the hospital with her that I discovered the 2-day pass I paid for was in fact a one-way pass.

Her appointment was at 1pm; an hour later she went in to see the doctor. At this point her adorable son decided to have separation anxiety. He cried on and off for two hours then slept for an hour. When he wasn’t crying he was only kept at a whimper by constant movement. Which was only sufficient if I was standing. Any time I tried to sit down the crying immediately ensued. We finally left the place just before 5. The next fun thing to happen to me was when my wallet was almost stolen. Just after reaching in my bag to grab a notebook to write directions for the client I felt my bag move. I turn around to see a man with a scarf draped over his arm and his hand in my bag. I being a patient and rational person preceded to yell at him. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GRABBING IN THERE?!! Of course this was all happening as the client was asking if the train about to leave from the platform was the one she wanted and where she was to get off and…it was the first mini panic attack of the evening.

My next panic attack happened when I arrived at the CS office to pick up my U-pass which I had called early that day to make sure it had arrived. Upon arrival I found the office locked. I should also mention I had been drinking a lot of water today and had yet to pee. About 10 minutes later someone arrived to open the office at which point the frantic search for the U-pass began. It was frantic because I had a friend coming in on the train and was to meet him at 615. After a few phone calls and an extensive search of all the offices on the floor the U-pass was found.

Had dinner with your friend and mine the worship leader from Houston, Texas (with the great personality). It was a good time to wined down from the stress of the day. As usual we talked of deeply and laughed a lot. Our topics ranged from compassion overload, denial dating, birth control, Bollywood films and much more.

Tomorrow I turn 22. Holy Cow.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Random Acts of Kindness.
This term does not always have the greatest conotations for me. I often associate it with a kind of 'Halmark kindness' or a term learned in one of those Chicken soup for the soul books that were grossly over popular back in the day. A term that brought about an "aawww" but with no real substanant action taken in return.

This afternoon I walked into CVS to buy some film. Upon approaching the door a homeless man asked for change. Living in Chicago one developes tatics to avioid this sort of constant charity. Whether it is apologiesing for not haivng change, responding with the not today or the most often chosen, simply ignoring the request altogher. Upon leaving I walked up to him, holding all the grociers I had just bougth in Jewel and said I dont have any cash but would you like an apple. Not extremely heroic and I dont mention it to bring some sort of attention to my amazing kindness. It was a simple jesture and I feel he greatly appreciated it. Yet as I crossed the street to my apartment building I thought of how many missed opportunities there have been to share a random act of kindness. And an act of kindness could be interpretted in so many ways. Clearing a table afer a meal with friends or family, giving an apple to homeless person, anything unexpected, not requested and showing there is a sense of humanity yet left in us.

On a side note. Ive gotten now three comments from...people, on my blog. I at first thought this very strange. I personally do not read other peoples' blogs that I do not know. Yet aparently others do. I read blogs to find out how those I know are doing, what issues they are dealing with and what new experiences they have had. I thought it strange that one would read a total stangers blog. But upong getting three random comments one of which was very positive, I have decided that I am flattered. So thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.
Went to see Merchant of Venice tonight at the Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier tonight. Was so much fun to go out, dress nice and watch Shakespeare. Unfortunately I had been wearing my oh so cute shoes which is only unfortunate after eight hours, at which point each step brings sensations of ache and pain evenly dispersed throughout your foot.

To move on to more intellectual and heartfelt topics...I received an email from a family member this week that brought tears of joy to my eyes. This person and I have not always had the best relationship. In fact it is really only in the past three or so years that we have been able to not fight really and begun the slow process of 'getting closer'. In the email they quoted Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things"

This coming from a person newly emerging from a deep, and very denied, depression. I was touched that such clarity came through to them. I was also thankful for the reminder myself. Upon reading this I emailed them with a simple but heartfelt acknowledgement of thankfulness and love. I was also saddended upon receiving it though. Not for what it said but because of my inability to freely express all that I wanted to. I hesitate to say all that is on my mind and on my heart. I wanted to say, that I am so thankful that you have finally realized what joy life can hold, I really wanted to talk of my own spiritual journey, of its ups and downs, I really wanted to ask questions of past experiences of resent realizations of current inspirations and of future recover and growth. But Im concerned and really feel that I will never really be able to say all that. Well... I should say I will never really have the courage to say all that, at least not in person. As much as I love this person so much I am greatly intimidated by them, I recoil from confronting them, unless extremely annoyed and suddenly provoked of course. But for the most part I try to simple stay in contact with them. I have such a 'sort past' as the brits might put it, with this person. I have let go off a lot of bitterness and hurt, a great deal of which invovled them. And although I have let go of it, it still lurks there in my past seeming to prevent some part of my future from truly flourishing into a cherished relationship with this person. Is it my own insecurity that prevents me from bounding forward to connect on this new spiritual and deeper level or an invisible barrier never to be described or acknowledge by either party? We have had rare but treasured moments of pure acknowledgement of truth, love and appreciation. But they were short and painful in the sense that words were hard to come by for both of us. We just have trouble talking deep feelings with each other. This stemming from a long history of not talking about what matters. But I must have hope for the future and not let the past prevent what great possibilities lie ahead for us...or so Im told.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

So this is just going to be random. Thoughts from throughout the week. First I want to share what I can only describe as a 'zen' moment. I had just left a clients apartment and was standing on the platform at Morse eating a three musketeers bar. The sun was shining, and i was listening to what seemed to be song after song of a perfect soundtrack to go along for my life. It was in that moment that I was content, happy, and doing something about a chocolate craving I had been having for days.

Went back to school this weekend. As I drove into the city it was like driving home again. IT felt right, safe. On Saterday my roomate and I participated in the Grand Rapids Aids walk. Seventy to eighty percent of the particpants were from my church there, Mars Hill, who also was one of the sponsers. Talked with my roomie and her boyfriend on the walk. The topic was mostly of our post-college plans. Seems we are coming up with new ideas, plans and paths from week to week as to what we are going to be doing as our first steps into becoming a productive member of society. One week its Seattle, another it go back home and then its Florida. For me it changes between Chicago, London and East Africa. However after a long and wonderful conversation with a great friend I have now also added staying in Grand Rapids for a year or so. It would be a cowardess move on my part to stay in a place i have friends in for another year and a place i know well. But the idea of living with two of my closest friends for another year in a place that has been my home and holds such fond memories for me is very appealing.

While in GRR I got to talk to talk to one of these closest friends. We talked about a topic that has come up more than once between the two of us- justice. What is justice, how can it be defined both bibically and in todays world and is it relative? She was looking for an answer as to how to change things. I comend her for her coragous attempt to solve the problems of the world in one swoop but it simple can not be done. She has stopped shopping at Old Navy, Gap and Banana Repubic because of the sweatshops she's seen in Cambodia. Like me she also refuses to shop at Walmart. Poverty, injustice and w