Wednesday, December 27, 2006

We are worth so much more.

"Writers don't make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don't work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck's book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man's stupid words. And for this, as I said before, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more."

—Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The birthday girls . . . on ice

I'm 24 today. And Laura's 25.

And so we celebrated.

Celebration isn't something I feel I'm naturally good at. I have this Anabaptist work ethic that tends to keep me from celebratory actions--after all, there's always something "better" to do.

But is there? I don't know about that.

To mark our mid-twenties, the three of us went out for a lovely Italian meal (which I now have the task of bleaching out of my white shirt!) followed by some particularly graceful laps around the local ice rink. It was Mr. Incredible's first time on skates (which the rental guy assured him were razor-sharp!) and he did wonderfully, even making friends with another first-timer, who was about 7 years old, and kept him updated on her spectacular wipe-outs. Laura and I did our best to recall the mad skating skills we'd learned years before, in the process bruising our feet in places that we don't even know what they're called. (Is there such a thing as an ankula?)

We topped off the evening with fribbleccinos, and sundaes at Friendly's, and drove home, rocking out to Van Morrison in the Element. Good times.

It's been a weird year . . . so many changes. I guess I'm a grownup now--a career woman, too--and I'm not always sure what I think about that. But I am thankful for another year spent on this earth, learning more about God and the world around me in my bumbling way. Here's to more learning--and less bumbling--in the year to come.

The leaping hound

Enjoying my birthday gift!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blogging the blues [part one]

Well, I have been a little blue for a couple of days, but that's not what I mean. To be really accurate about my moods, I guess I'd say I've been purple or orange or something with a little more aggression than blue. But that's not what I'm blogging about.

I'm about three years behind in this endeavor, but I'm finally reading Blue Like Jazz. Mr. Incredible reminds me that it's a collegey book (and I am sooo past that, right?) . . . but frankly I'm feeling like I might have skipped some of the developmental stages that the average Christian college student goes through, so I've got some things to catch up on.

First off, any non-fundamentalist who begins a book talking about the depravity of humankind is going to get my attention. That's just the way it is.*

The genius of Don's opening chapters--and indeed, his own experience of coming to faith--is that he identified a problem (human depravity, the broken state of things here on Earth), and it was working from this problem that he found a solution.

Some old Brethren in Christ people would probably be very pleasantly surprised by Don's talk about sin and depravity--the kinds of things, my boss mentioned recently, "that aren't preached anymore." Well, I don't know about that. The word "sin" is in little danger of going extinct at Dillsburg, but according to her this concept that we're fallen--that "what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing"--is falling out of favor with Evangelicals.

What really struck me as I read was that I've read so many people say they discovered God in nature--something I resonate with, as it's always been particularly easy for me to see Him in His creation--but I've never really heard anyone detail their natural discovery of coming to understand what sin and brokenness are by looking at the world around them. Don writes,

. . . I knew, because of my own feelings, there was something wrong with me, and I knew it wasn't only me. I knew it was everybody. It wasn't on the skin; it was on the soul. . . . It was as if we were broken, I thought, as if we were never supposed to feel these sticky emotions. It was as if we were cracked, couldn't love right, couldn't feel good things for very long without screwing it all up.

And if we don't realize this, what will God and His grace mean to us? If there is no question; no problem, there is no need for an answer; a solution.

*For all I know, Miller--no, I think I'll call him "Don" to match the casual tone of his book--might go on to completely undermine the foundation he's built in these opening chapters. But I'll just have to wait to find out.
**Edited for clarity 12.06.06 8:50 a.m.