Friday, January 28, 2011

QT Thought - King David


"Covering up our faults and failures is an involuntary reflex" -Nancy DeMoss from Seeking Him

Our sins and failures can also be an involuntary reflex, a habit of sort, a bad one.  Do you ever have that one thing that you hate to do and you keep doing it? You don't even WANT to do it any more, but it calls to you.  You're compelled...and then you do it. Again. Then you wanna cover it up.

King David covered up his sin, then led to many other ones.  He writes of how his bones wasted away, God's hand was heavy upon him, and his strength was dried up.  He deteriorated physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I know this feeling...where walking around in your own body seems too heavy, too burdensome.  This makes me think, my bones feel sore, my shoulder's feel heavy and my strength dried up because I also have sins covered up.  Ones I fear to even admit to myself....or even begin to know what they are.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Perfect.

This winter, the annual battle royale of the sexes at the Crossing Borders Retreat commenced yet again, and as the girls huddled around H to write down our guy stumping questions, she made a mistake, turned over the page and says, "I have to start over because I'm a perfectionist." To that, I have to say, I understand her. I imagine H as a little girl who begins to draw and suddenly crumples up her paper and states, " I messed up." I can immediately tell that she's a perfectionist by trade and business is good. It's cute at the time, but then they grow up to be girls like Nina from the movie Black Swan, but after watching this girl self destruct and come undone by her devastating desire to be perfect for 2 hours, I walked out of the theater not disturbed like most others, but saying to myself, "I understand her."

I want to be perfect. In my work, in my body, I want a perfect soul, and I want to treat you will the most utmost perfect kindness and love. (I might have to start singing Radiohead's Creep). Although it seems my own crazy standards I have held up for myself would only hurt me, myself and I, it hurts others as well. It's amazing to me how much circumstantial hardship I can endure, how much physical pain I can tolerate, but when it comes to small mistakes in relationships, I am ruined in devastation. To ward off any continuing pain, I've programmed myself to crumple up the mistake I made and start with a fresh one, a fresh friend, a fresh place, a fresh new piece of paper. I'm learning more though that it's ok to make mistakes in friendships and relationships, that it can be salvaged. I must know that I can continue on with a project, a task, a relationship, without achieving my utmost perfection in every area and that even if I make mistakes along the way, it's ok. If  I happen to color outside of my lines, I will be more "interesting."

The most innovative and interesting art work I've seen from my students are the ones that have a little bit of color outside of it's lines and bleeding and blending with the colors of the background. It started out as  a mistake, but I can see she tried to work with it, to blend with it. Sure, that perfectly constructed art work done by that perfectly behaved child is neat, where the faces of the people are it's natural hue, the trees green, the dogs brown and the sky blue. perfect. But I can see it in pressure, suffocation, an eerie tidy-ness that is unlike what's real life. I've been reading a  book on Mother Teresa and all this time I thought she was this solid woman without faltering in her faith or love, but I learned that she was  a deeply sensitive woman who got wounded easily and discouraged often. In all of that book, I found that her imperfection is what makes me more inspired than if she were a perfect lover and servant.

So I say this to you, self (this is when you imagine Nina looking in the mirror and sees her black swan alternate ego), I will let you free but you will not take over all of me with it's licentious ways, nor will I allow my perfectionist snow queen and her puritan ways to whip me every time I think I've stepped out of line. I, Susie, Grey swan, will be who I am created to be, and despite my mistakes I will know I am loved, and despite the mistakes of others, I will love them too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A lesson from a fellow blogger

My quest to love without expectation of return has been a battle and it's been an uphill one at that. Just when I feel that I am equip with the everlasting and unfailing love of Christ and I can love on, I am just as I was before I left for Jordon. I know that sometimes, there will be dips, but those dips will be more and more shallow and I won't be hitting rock bottom again to meet my shameful selfishness to self preserve, but I will see the dips never the less. I can't expect perfection from myself as I normally do, having perfect attendance at the school of love and receive perfect marks at every session because learning to love like this is not like your extra curricular classes like yoga or music appreciation. It's more like that graduate level class called Harlem Renaissance with a professor who received his Ph.D from Harvard that you take the last semester of your senior year to challenge yourself. It's that difficult, and although you know you will struggle through that class first, because you don't even know what Harlem Renaissance means or the struggle a black man would have faced in those times, and second because there's 8 other classes that demand your attention, you bite the bullet to open yourself to a world you would never enter into if it's not now or like this.

Lately, due to a worsening bout of insomnia, every day is a struggle just to make it through the haze and I am battling apathy and irritability all the day long. There's no elevation of moral code or being kind, let alone being loving without the expectation of being loved in return because right now, all I want to do is to cut all ties and shut myself in a cocoon of warm blankets and be snuggled by a pair of huge loving arms no matter who they belong to, all the while I consuming a large amount of cupcakes and chocolates, then fall asleep in a deep coma for about 30 hours. I know I need to learn how to let go of small mistakes people make or I make in relationships and not expect the perfection, because soon, I become completely undone, spiraling into the other extreme...apathy. Today, was such a day when I found this while scrolling through blogs I subscribe to and it's just as God speaks to me, it's typical...out of the blue.

I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn't just hold - that's ego. Love liberates. It doesn't bind. Love says..."I love you. I love you if you're in China. I love you if you're across town. I love you if you're in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I'd like to have your arms around me. I'd like to hear your voice in my ear. But that's not possible now, so I love you. Go." - Maya Angelou


Friday, January 21, 2011

Really?









A random little boy waves to you in Starbucks...sweet.
A random man waves to you from his car....creepy.

A little girl tell you it's her birthday today...sweet.
A grown man comes near you and tells you it's his birthday today...creepy.

A little girl in a tutu, sweater and some boots...CUTE
A "girl" nearing her 40's in a tutu, sweater and some uggs...are you homeless?

A lady falling into a fountain while texting...it can happen to the best of us
A lady falling into a fountain gets on youtube and becomes viral....embarrassing!
A lady falling into a fountain and then suing the mall...you're making it worse.

A family includes their cat in their family census...wacky Americans
The courts calling the cat into jury duty and denying exemption because she's a cat...let's move to Canada.

Friday, January 14, 2011

More than what they say

My work place is a particular kind of place that requires personal and spiritual development and flourishing in these areas actually benefit the "company." For a recent assignment, we were told to ask several people that you trust would tell you the truth in love one question: "What do I look like to you lately?" It was important that the people I ask were people that knew me well, because I realize I can look a whole lot different to people from a far. It's tricky because you may want to know in general how people perceive you because it's partially what is overflowing from your personal life and inner workings, but at the same time, it's also how others mistakenly prejudge you purely on how you look in appearance.

The response in criticisms...or challenges to me weren't any thing new and I can clearly see those things in myself and thus, other people can see it too. I was tempted to explain why I was behaving that way, but that wouldn't justify my actions, it would just explain where it came from and that doesn't solve anything or benefit anyone. The encouragements were....encouraging because my personal growth has been showing on my countenance and that amazed me  the most. All this time I thought you really couldn't judge a book by it's cover, but to certain extent you can. If there's a half clad woman in the steamy embrace of a muscle bound man on the outside cover, and the title is "The Tawny Gold Man" you'll know it's a trashy romance novel on the inside.

But on the flip side, it seems what we look like physically on the outside has a lot to hinder or promote one's intentions. The other day, I had lunch with an old youth group leader who had known me from Junior high through high school and he was recalling how, "Susie was the sweetest girl in high school." He said it without smiling or trying to flatter me or disprove anyone else, it was just what he recalls. It was nice to be with someone that knew you and it was important for me to hear that because I've been called princess, mean girl, party girl, and even accused of being a cheerleader when I was none of those things. These are impressions from a far and although they seem like petty misconceptions of me, after a while, you start to believe those things because you're tired of proving yourself not.

Whether I am or I am not what people say I appear to be, I want to be grounded firmly in the mantra that God has made me more than the labels put on to me by myself and by others. Not because I don't care what you say or value your opinion or give a damn about what affect I have on others, but because if I answer to the noise of this world, I will be confused and think those words are what matters; making me waver here and there.

What are some misconceptions/labels people have of you?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dear Diary

Do you remember when you were 14 and everything that happened to you in school, at church and at home had to be registered under the all knowing Diary? That pink Precious Moments Diary with a lock and a key with two divots in it? I don't know why we bothered locking the diary, because you can probably pick that lock with a wet noodle (or if you pull on the lock too hard, it can actually just pull off). What goes in that diary was so secret, it had to be hidden under the most safest place you can ever think of and the most secret place no one can ever predict...under your pillow. Then you're completely surprised when your brother is sitting on top of your bed reading through the pandora of your thoughts and secrets, the precious moments you shared with that boy from your history class and what you really think of Kim Gilmore's new perm. You can always know who you had a crush on at certain months of the year by looking at the bottom of each entry for as long as that crush exists, "ps. I love Jason Shafer." Then several pages later, "Jason is going out with Kim, I hate her and her perm too. ps. I love Zach Pallock."

Now a days...it's difficult to write a entry quite like this because my all knowing diary now is this blog and I don't always want that little brother sitting up on my bed and reading all my precious moments with Jason in History class. However, while talking about a day I had this past Saturday with June, she says to me, "Saturday was a Dear Diary kind of day." And it's true! It's exactly the kind of thing I would have written in my Precious Moment's Diary with the weak lock, saying things like, "June and I got manicures, sipped champagne mixed with St.Germain and went shopping at a cute downtown Glen Ellyn Boutique. June got a shirt, and I got two shirts and purse. It was the best day. Ps. I love June."

In hind sight and with eyes of a wise sage in her decade of beauty and brains, I see that those Dear Diary moments should be recorded somewhere. The Precious moments, some are too secret to tell, but most are readily available here to share...with my "little brothers" reading this blog.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lead me by the hand

Since my Jordon trip, things have turned around a bit... or to describe better how I feel, it feels as though there was a proverbial constipation of everything in my life and now there's a release. I know that's not the most beautiful analogy or imagery for your mind's eye, but that's exactly the feeling. Maybe it's more like a pregnant mother giving birth, pushing and pushing but nothing happens for what it feels like days on end until that one pivotal moment when all the muscles give out, and the baby glides out of her. Maybe I can't relate with the second because I've not really had the experience.

Whatever the case, since I've come back to the States, there have been too many "coincidences" of learning and teaching to even call it a coincidence. When I first returned from the Middle East, I had told anyone who would hear me about the hospitality of the Arabs. "They truly know how to love." Then the first Sunday I'm back, PD gives a sermon about "The value of Hospitality." Then I buy this book called "Where there is love, there is God," a compilation of Mother Teresa's letters to the Sisters in her Ministry, teaching and encouraging them, mostly to love. The first Sunday after that purchase, PD speaks about "The word became Flesh" that Monday, I read about "The Word became Flesh" in Mother T's book. The next Sunday, PD speaks about "Repentance and confession," yes, you guessed it, that Monday, The chapter in Mother T's book is on "Confession." Mother Teresa defines confession as "an expression of our need for forgiveness not discouragement."

Another weird coincidence is when I asked my dad when he spent a year in Amman Jordon, he tells me he was there at the age of 32, just the age I am now. I see that in these tiny forms God is speaking to me and guiding me by the hand.....somewhere. And it seems that my initial conviction to love people and what he's been teaching me these pass weeks is so disconnected, but I realized one day that it's a process. Love doesn't happen just by all the conventional definitions of love and by will alone, but we are hindered in so many ways because of our pride and jealousy we have to learn to love, become love. When I was in college, I was open, vulnerable and willing to love but had not a clue as to what loving really meant. Now that I'm beginning to know, I am fearful, guarded and a bit jaded, it's a lot difficult now. But for some reason, I'm being prepared for something, maybe motherhood as my adoption match is nearing or maybe it just took all this time for me to know.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Counting Sheep

I can't sleep these days...and I always had trouble sleeping, even as a teenager, staring up at the white ceiling conjuring up what ifs and what nots, but these days, it's not so much getting to sleep that troubles me. I am so tired during the day, my eye will twitch for it's rest and I will fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time. I stay asleep yes, but I can't get deeper than the shallow shut eye and my restless body tosses, turns and rebels against my rest. If my sleep patterns were charted on a graph, it would dance around the upper part of the graph and never making it down to R.E.M., while some friends I know are such deep sleepers, its like they die for the night and rise again in the morning like Lazarus out of his grave. The gift of sleep is truly a gift and there's nothing you can do to help it... no amount of relaxing baths, reading in bed instead of going to bed straight from watching T.V., warm milk, melatonin, glass of wine not too close to bed and not too early. A friend of mine suggested I do all the wrong things like eat hot wings at 8:30 pm, drink coffee at 9:30 pm and I said I would top it off with a violent video game in bed right before I hit the pillow.

There's not much I can do now when I'm doing all the right things and wringing my hands over bed time is only making it worse. I can't wish away this problem and nor can I dream it away, because in order to dream you would have to sleep deeply!!! I've even reluctantly cut my 4 shot latte to 2 and I'm barely hanging onto my 2 shots because it's the last bit help I can hang on to before I fall asleep driving in the middle of the day. It's a vicious cycle I know and oh how vicious it is to not get any sleep from the only thing that keeps you awake during the day. I even thought of confessing all of my sins to God and someone, just someone that would listen, but then again, there are plenty of criminal offenders out there that sleep like a baby, so there's no use in humiliating myself that way...so I voted against that one.

I know sleep is a gift when that once in a blue moon when all the planets align, the winds blow east at the right speed and I get a good night's rest, the world is so different. Blue birds fly into through my window and wake me gently as they hover and sing over my resting head, I leap out of bed gracefully in my white linen night gown and I end world hunger, bring world peace, and get that Jimmy John's ordered for the Board Meeting, all the while having the best complexion and hair day ever.

Someone help!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New year! or Happy Fourth day of the New year

When I was a kid, I never really thought much about the past or things I did that was so unsightly that I felt I needed to create a new version of myself in my head and try to morph into that ME 2.0 throughout the new year. I wasn't that self aware or self consumed as a child, and I guess no little girl really is that introspective as to self analyse and set goals for herself. Young girls are just happy the way they are.  As new years have become last years, years past, and eventually become years of yore, I begin to realize that I wanted to set goals for myself, maybe because when you've become a introspective young lady, you're listening to more of the negative things.

In recent years as an adult, I stopped making resolutions all together, partially because, I'm a perfectionist and I don't want to fail, and partially because my resolution would always be to become more...resolute. When the sun's gone down on this thought, I really think that through the years, God hasn't put a stamp mark of due dates or expiration dates, but begins seasons in my life that has nothing to do with the calendar. It's an on going change and a continual lesson I'm learning, mostly to love, and some other's in between because setting myself up for frustrations and failure isn't doing me much good.