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January

•January 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So, I made this semi-new year’s resolution to blog at least a month, so this is my attempt at following through with that. Since it’s getting to be toward the end of the month, I thought I’d better get on it!

I’m really interested to see where 2011 takes me. There’s a lot of unknowns out there right now, mostly financially and professionally, and I feel like one of these days there will be more clarity. I know for now I’m supposed to stay put and keep on keeping on, and that’s about all I know. Some days, this is an easy perspective to have, other days when I’m looking at bills and small paychecks and a lot of time on my hands from limited hours but no place to go that doesn’t cost money, it’s a lot harder.

I’m also trying out this thing where I try to live life without expectations. I’ve been trying to do that especially when it comes to finding a new or improved job, but it’s been translating pretty well into relationships as well. One of these days, things will be different (and I’ll be looking at a whole new set of challenges). One of these days, the thing(s) that God has been preparing me for will come out of the place I was least expecting it. And it will be good. I’ll keep in touch with people, but if their schedule is a lot busier than mine because they have things like full-time jobs and internships and school and family stuff and boyfriends going on, that’s ok. I’ll talk to them soon, and it will be good.

I know it sounds a bit like I’m just letting life pass me by and not trying to set goals and achieve things, figure out the things I want in life and make it happen. And I am, to a point. If short term opportunities come up to make money or do awesome things because I have the time to, I’m jumping on it. But long term stuff, I’m reconciled to the fact that this where and what I’m supposed to be at the moment. In the meantime, I’m getting all kinds of stuff done around the house, having some cooking adventures, and enjoying this crazy sunshine that’s going on lately. I know it also sounds like this is just something I decided to do one day, and that it was easy. It was not. This period of life has a lot of history behind it, of worry and stress and wanting to control and applying for jobs just to have a job and of being frustrated and even sometimes angry at other people because they did not live up to said expectations. And I’d learn my lesson, then after a week or two just end up in the same place again of frustration and worry. So no, it wasn’t an easy road, but what a peaceful place to be in now… I’m enjoying every stress-free minute of it.

I know my last post was all quotes, but I wanted to finish this out by passing on one more from Wendell Berry in Hannah Coulter that I found when reading back through the quotes from before, and another that I just saw today.

“Living without expectations is hard but, when you can do it, good. Living without hope is harder, and that is bad. You have got to have hope, and you mustn’t shirk it. Love, after all, ‘hopeth all things’. But maybe you must learn, and it is hard learning, not to hope out loud, especially for other people. You must not let your hope turn into expectation. But whatever you hope, you will find out that you can’t bargain with your life on your own terms. It is always going to be proving itself worse or better than you had hoped.”

“One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”

quotes from “Hannah Coulter”

•November 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I ran across some quotes from Hannah Coulter that I wrote down a couple years ago, thought I’d share:

pg. 61 “We know that every night, war or no war, there are people lying awake grieving, and every morning there are people waking up to absences that will never be filled. But we shut our mouths and go ahead. How we are is ‘Fine’. There are always a few who will recite their complaints, but the proper answer to ‘How are you?’ is ‘Fine’.

The thing you have most dreaded has happened at last. The worst thing you might have expected has happened, and you didn’t expect it. You have grown old and ill, and most of those you have loved are dead or gone away. Even so: ‘How’re you?’  ‘Fine. How’re you?’  ‘Fine’.

There is always some shame and fear in this, I think, shame for the terrible selfishness and loneliness of grief, and fear of the difference between your grief and anyone else’s. But this is a kind of courtesy too and a kind of honesty, an unwillingness to act as if loss and grief and suffering are extraordinary. And there is something else: an honoring solitude in which the grief you have to bear will have to be borne. Should you fall on your neighbor’s shoulder and weep in the midst of work? Should you go to the store with tears on your face? No. You are fine.

And yet the comfort somehow gets passed around: a few words that are never forgotten, a note in the mail, a look, a touch, a pat, a hug, a kind of waiting with, a kind of standing by, to the end. Once in awhile we hear it sung out in a hymn, when every throat seems suddenly widened with love and a common longing: ‘In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.’ We all know what that beautiful shore is.”

pg 147 “You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light. Under the bare trees the wildflowers bloom so thick you can’t walk without on them. The pastures turn green and the leaves come. You look around presently, and it is summer. It has been dry a while, maybe, and now it has rained. The world is so full and abundant it is like a pregnant woman carrying a child in one arm and leading another by the hand. Every puddle in the lane is ringed with supping butterflies that fly up in a flutter when you walk past in the late morning on your way to get the mail.

And then it is fall and the cornfields are ripe and the calves are fat and shiny and the wooded valley sides are beautiful with color. The sun is bright, the air clear, and the shadows dark. There is the feeling of completion and storing up and getting ready.

You have consented to time and it is winter. The country seems bigger, for you can see through the bare trees. There are times when the woods is absolutely quiet and still. The house holds warmth. A wet snow comes in the night and covers the ground and clings to the trees, making the whole world white. For a while in the morning the world is perfect and beautiful. You think you will never forget. You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can only return by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind.

And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.

But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remembered now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.”

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fave song of the week

•February 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Happiness – The Fray

Happiness is just outside my window
Would it crash blowing 80-miles an hour?
Or is happiness a little more like knocking
On your door, and you just let it in?

Happiness feels a lot like sorrow
Let it be, you can’t make it come or go
But you are gone- not for good but for now
Gone for now feels a lot like gone for good

Happiness is a firecracker sitting on my headboard
Happiness was never mine to hold
Careful child, light the fuse and get away
‘Cause happiness throws a shower of sparks

Happiness damn near destroys you
Breaks your faith to pieces on the floor
So you tell yourself, that’s probably enough for now
Happiness has a violent roar

Happiness is like the old man told me
Look for it, but you’ll never find it all
But let it go, live your life and leave it
Then one day, wake up and she’ll be home
Home, home, home