the living room recommends

Making announcements via Twitter
Near-instantaneous feedback is NICE.

Dinner: A Love Story
I dig this site a lot because it looks immensely practical and the recipes look easy and delicious, but I’ll bet all you moms and dads in the audience will probably like it a lot more. (There is also a book, which I’ve flipped through.)

C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces
Killer, killer retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth, in such a way that it’s actually about Christian conversion. I just finished this and I’m still kind of reeling from it.

Accidentally falling asleep
There aren’t a lot of spaces in my room to sit somewhere and read, so I usually end up sprawled out on my bed–and falling asleep at really weird times. Doing this in the middle of a really intense chapter occasionally leads to bizarre dreams.

Avoiding political conversations on the Internet
Because REALLY. If you don’t know how to do this by now, God help you.

the living room recommends

if i should lose my mind

If I should ever lose my mind–
I mean actually lose it, not
like I semi-jokingly say I do, when
really I’m just worried or stressed out
or just forgetful–

if I should actually lose it,
like a misplaced key,
or worse, like a house in flames,
if the patches of my memory
start loosening their stitches
and unraveling to strings,

what I need you to do,
even though it might not work,
is this:

hold me close to you, even though
at that point you might be
a stranger or an enemy as far as I’m concerned;
hold me and bend your voice close to my
shattered ears and whisper,
“you are still loved”
as many times as it takes to bring me back,
even if it never does.

One day, it will.

if i should lose my mind

“so bid your troubled heart be stilled…”

To get full context for what I’m about to tell you, we have to go back about 13 years.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist megachurch, as many of you well know, and the summer after (I think) my eighth grade year some of us from my youth group went to a conference of Baptist teenagers from around the world–people from Mexico and South Korea and Ethiopia and everywhere in between. On the last day of the conference, I went forward for prayer, because I was called to some sort of ministry.

Now, if you’re not a Christian, or if you’re not a Christian in a tradition that necessarily encourages this kind of phenomenon, sentences like “The Lord spoke to me” probably strikes you as a bit silly at best and outright loony and possibly dangerous at worst. But–and even as I type this I feel really silly saying it myself–I can count a few times in my life when I’ve definitively known that God was telling me something, and I needed to take heed. Not anything for revelation to the whole church–nothing to be added to the canon–but definitely for me, and occasionally for the community I was in.

Thirteen years ago was one of them; two weeks ago was another.

Since my senior year of college, I’d been pondering going to seminary, getting a counseling degree, but I’d put it off, said “Maybe sometime later in my life,” and went to library school instead. It’s been two years since I graduated for UT, and I’ve had a couple of jobs since then, but not in my field.

So I was in the back seat of my friend’s Matrix, literally pulling out of my other friend’s driveway on the way to New Braunfels, when I got yet another call telling me, sorry, we’ve decided to go with someone else. And then this went on my head:

“What am I doing wrong? Why am I not getting a job?”

Because this isn’t what you’re supposed to be doing, and you know it. Stop running.

“But…”

Stop running. It’s okay.

It didn’t go any further than that during the actual drive up there, but I found a few quiet moments during the weekend, and finally: “Yes. Okay. I give up. Now what?”

So that’s it: I’m researching seminaries to go get a degree so I can be a counselor, and it’s freaking me out, because a) I don’t know when (although it’s looking increasingly like next fall), b) I don’t know where I’m going, c) I don’t know how I’m going to pay for this, d) it means I may have to leave Houston, and that makes me increasingly sadder every time I think about it, and e) I’m so scared that I’m going to screw it up, because what right do I have doing this when I’m such a train wreck myself?

But that’s where I’m headed, God willing. And wherever I go, He goes with me, and He will provide everything I need, and He’s already done plenty to redeem the time I’ve spent avoiding it.

I’ve mentioned before the feeling like Abraham, how I don’t know where I’m going, but I know it’ll be good. Never more so than now.

So if you pray, I guess this is a call for prayer for wisdom (because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing) and for faith (also because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing).

Thanks, friends.

“so bid your troubled heart be stilled…”

BLACK COFFEE*


I keep meaning to write about last weekend. Here goes.

So a bunch of us at church have taken to taking three-day weekends and escaping the city for a little while together. Back in April we went camping (my first time); last weekend we rented a super-nice vacation house by the Guadalupe River outside of Gruene (central Texas, for those unfamiliar).

There was the road trip, of course, and being squished in the back seat of my friend’s Matrix, and about eight thousand stops.

And there was awe at the house, and then a night out on the town, such as it was: Dinner at this fine establishment and some two-stepping. Some of us stayed up until about 1 in the morning back at the house, sitting out on the porch and talking under the stars and getting eaten by mosquitoes.

the view from the porch

And there was floating down the river in inner tubes, and getting sunburned in strange places; there was lying around afterwards; there were Bananagrams and Yahtzee and spoons with packets of creamer that threatened to explode all over the carpet; there was prep for dinner, and there was dancing through the kitchen.

 

yepAnd there was music, always music, always the singing or the CD player on in the background.

And there was the body of Christ, living and breathing together, loving each other, saving each other’s lives in a thousand small ways–a conversation, a dance, a song, a silent presence, a chopping of veggies, a lying down in the driveway and watching for meteors.

We visited a small church on Sunday, and we sang this together. Yes, Lord, we are thankful. We are free.

(*The title comes from this ridiculous thing that we listened to on the way there.)

Image

sometimes

This is what happens sometimes to me:

Sometimes, I’ll be plugging along, and all the emotions and scary things I’ve been ignoring in my life will come bobbing to the surface all along. They’re sharp, you know, and so they punch through the carefully-crafted skin I’ve built for myself, and now everything’s leaking all over the place. It gets messy.

Sometimes, like last weekend, I’ll be reminded how I’m not alone, how we’re all covered in holes together and part of the work we’ve been given is sewing each other back up.

Sometimes, like last night, I feel like I’m beyond repair, like I’m so damaged that no one even wants to touch me, much less fix me.

And sometimes, every time, like this morning, I wake up to find that the Maker has been holding me together all along, because He loves me deepest when I’m being crushed by all the things that make me scared and sad and angry (which are more than I would like to admit), and in the middle of my night He has started patching me together again.

Lots of things stewing these days, not least of all my learning how to fight again, and how to rest rightly again. More soon.

sometimes