1. Title courtesy of the Beyonce song, of course, but specifically from this excellent cover (HT: Teacher Dave):
2. There’s something coming soon. I don’t know what it is, but it just seems like a lot of people in my world have their ears perked up listening for it. There’s this general feeling of anticipation of something. Like I told a friend today, it’s like Easter; Jesus keeps showing up in odd places, and I’m in the upper room waiting for Him to do whatever it is He’s going to do next.
3. So, since my last post I have come to the conclusion that maybe I’m tired of running away from stuff. Maybe it’s time to slay some dragons instead of relocating every time they breathe a little fire at me. And maybe that’s the beginning of something. But who knows.
4. I just got the new Sufjan album. It is fun. It’s a lot like his old weird A Sun Came days, only without being quite as weird. (There are no songs about rice pudding, for example.) I love what he does with his voice on this album, too. However, I can anticipate that this is going to be one of those things I’m going to have to be in a very specific mood for.
5. Convicting exchange in an article on Boundless.org:
“First, have more charity. About those schlocky little pictures in the bulletin: Art too can serve God, and I’m all for good taste. Even so, good taste isn’t one of the spiritual virtues. There must be many holy people who have bad taste. Surely you don’t imagine that those ladies in the church office who put together the bulletin are your spiritual inferiors.”
Peter looked uncomfortable.
“Peter! Have you been imagining —?”
“Um,” he said.
“Never mind; you get my point.”
“Yes,” he confessed.
6. Well. That being said, here’s this:
7. Okay, good night!
I have a love-hate relationship with this city.
Love, in that I have a lot of good memories here, and it’s where my family is, where I grew up. Love, in that this is a pretty decent place and I have a good church here.
Hate, in that every time I come back here after I’ve been away, it feels less and less like home and more and more like a place I live on the edges of. Hate, in that I also have a lot of terrible memories here. Hate, because, as in the words of The Normals, “Life, it just goes on when the traveler’s gone, and that’s the hardest part.” I feel like I revert to awkward, lazy, high-school me when I come back here, and it’s hard for me to weave back through the warp and woof of lives that have kept on without me.
There’s so much of me that wants to leave it all behind, to get out and start over like I’ve managed to do frequently in the past eight years. But there’s also a small part that asks, should I stay and let Houston be redeemed for me, and me for it?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that regardless of what the answer is, something in me needs to be healed somehow. I’ve been wrestling for a while with how that might look.
The reason I’m writing about this is that I might be staying here for a while after all (emphasis on the “might”–very embryonic stage at this point), and I’m feeling rather ambiguous about it. I could use some wisdom, clearly. So, if you pray, there’s my prayer request. And if you’re a wise person (which many of you are), feel free to pass some of that along.
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck
I sink in deep mire where there is no foothold
I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me
I am weary with my crying out
my throat is parched
My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God
I wasn’t there to watch you drown in the sea
of darkness, to hear you as you cried out
wondering why you’d been left to die the death
of a hardened rebel, you who had only ever kept
It’s so easy for me to hold you out at arms’ length;
that was millennia ago, and what do I really know
of you, anyway?
For zeal for your house has consumed me
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me
Reproaches have broken my heart
so that I am in despair
I looked for pity but there was none
and for comforters but I found none
They gave me poison for food
and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink
I wasn’t there, but I can hear my voice shouting
both for your death and for your salvation,
supplication and curse pouring from the same lips;
I can feel the shaking of your dying breath
and the river of your blood,
and the darkness covering the whole earth
because how in the world could the world
be right while the word that created it falls silent?
Let heaven and earth praise him
the seas and everything that moves in them
For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah
and people shall dwell there and possess it
the offspring of his servants shall inherit it
and those who love his name shall dwell in it
I wasn’t there. And so much of you remains
mystery to me. But at the day when you died,
I died, too, and I know all I need to know of you–
how much you would give to destroy your enemies,
and how much you would give to love them.
From a T13 I put up six years ago here:
This week: 13 places where you’d like to live.
1. Seattle, WA.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
3. New York, NY.
4. Portland, OR.
5. Honolulu, HI.
6. Boston, MA.
7. Austin, TX.
8. San Diego, CA.
9. Sydney, Australia.
10. Chicago, IL.
11. Denver, CO.
12. Washington, DC.
13. London, England, UK.
And since then I’ve had addresses in three of those places. Here’s to tackling the other ten… 😉
1. I just got back to Houston after spending a week in Austin. I went up for the Texas Library Association’s annual shindig, which was a lot like the proverbial drink from a firehose. Lots of information (…of course), lots of people met and reconnected with, lots of coffee. And I also got to see some friends, friends that at this point feel a lot like family, and it made me miss them even more than I had. So if you Austin folk are reading, thanks again for all the long chats and hugs.
2. Lots of things going on–a friend just had neurosurgery last week while I was gone, which went well, thankfully. One of my old college roommates just announced that she’s pregnant and due in October. Another friend has an interview on Tuesday for a good job here in Houston. Lots of transitions, lots of people dancing in and out of different spaces. It feels good, even though it can be frustrating.
3. One more thing: This week has been a good kick in the pants to get me to move to action. I’d gotten kind of stagnant for a bit, so a kick in the pants is what I needed, for sure. It’s kind of healing, actually. So there you go.
4. Now, this upcoming week, the week we reflect on what is literally the crux of history, it’s time to enter in to the story. Hear the crowds, hear the cry of a dying man, hear your own voice shout for salvation, call for His death, weep for His seeming tragedy. And then walk with Him away from the city and feel your heart catch fire.
If you should love me as a wife
And for my wedding gift your life
Will that be all I’ll ever need
Or is there more I’m searching for
How easy is it for me to go chasing after
dreams, dreams I believe I was made to
fulfill, and forget that they are winds
meant to carry this ship into harbor.
Too often I want to steer against them;
too often you have to whisk them into
hurricanes to get me back on course.
And should I read between the lines
And look for blessings in disguise
To make me handsome, rich, and wise
Is that really what you want?
It’s not as though you want me to
just drift, but rather that the wind will
go where it wants to go, hovering
over the face of these waters like
a mother bird sheltering a baby that
cannot fly, cannot help herself.
I am a whore, I do confess
But I put you on just like a wedding dress
And I run down the aisle, run down the aisle
I’m a prodigal with no way home
But I put you on just like a ring of gold
And I run down the aisle, run down the aisle
And when I raise my sails when I should
be still, or when I drop anchor when I ought
to be moving forward, help me see
that all the wind I’m chasing after
has been chasing after me all this time.
1. I want to work with and love college students, especially graduate students and students working in the arts, because I don’t feel like those two groups get a lot of love.
2. I want to own a neighborhood bookstore.
It’s National Poetry Month. I am of the mind that poetry is best heard, so here you go:
1. Edwin Morgan, “The Loch Ness Monster’s Song” [Hnwhuffl!]
2. Sarah Kay, “B” [I love this so much]
3. Galway Kinnell, “The Waking” [recited by one Taylor Mali]
4. e.e. cummings, “little tree”
5. Karsten Piper, “To the Future Husband of my Wife”
6. Elizabeth Bishop, “Roosters” [read by the poet]
7. Billy Collins, “Litany” [recited by a toddler!]
8. Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky” […this one has Muppets]
9. Pablo Neruda, “Love Sonnet 17” [previously featured at this blog]
10. William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 29”
We need some light
First of all, we need some light
I have a lot of secrets that I am trying to keep
buried in my chest of earth, and am simultaneously
handing out keys and burning my maps.
I wish someone would come out with their
headlamps and come excavate all my
shame and sorrow, but at the same time
I feel like it’s up to me to take out the shovel
You can’t sit here in the dark
And all alone, it’s a sorry sight
Dust we all are, and to dust we shall return,
but I want to be made of iron, impenetrable
and bulletproof. But I am clay, and can crumble
into sharp edges, and I fear cutting the ones
who would pick me up to put me back together;
I fear them breaking me even more.
The price of love is loss
But still we pay
We love anyway
You were bought for the price of a field,
great treasure, so you could dig me up from
my earthen grave and crack me open,
turn my ashes into glory,
and turn on my sight to see my sisters
see my brothers
all your pearls of great price
and give all I have for them, too.
…so this is only the best thing ever:
update: Rats, it’s gone! If you missed it, this was Paul Simon playing “Cecilia” with Jimmy Fallon and the cast of Stomp on The Late Night Show.