Basically, it's my last week of work. I have seven more days left, after today, and I said so to the ladies who make employee's sandwiches at the campstore. "Oh! Are you going back to school?" Katie asked. Her name is not really Katie, but I don't know if it's against the rules to blog about someone without their permission and use their actual name. "Yeah! Yeah, I'm pretty excited." "Where are you going again?" This was Faye, but again that's not her real name. "Lincoln Christian Illinois." Quizzical looks. "Oh! I meant Lincoln Christian University IN Illinois." "Ohhhh." They all smiled at me, as do most elderly people when they find out that a teenager has chosen a Christian college. "Tha'tll be good." "Yeah. Yeah, I can't wait. I love it." "Are you anxious about being so far from home?" asked Katie. "You know.... not really. I think a lot of that comes from thinking about it so much, so I'm just not going to think about it." "That's good," she replied. "That's why I didn't go to college." "Oh, yeah?" "Yeah, I wasn't very... liberal? I was conservative. I thought about going to WKU, but Freshmen were required to live on campus, and I just didn't want to do that." So, we talked about WKU and how it's gotten and what campus life was like. Then Katie said... "I wish I had gone though." "Well, I've thought about staying home," I replied. "It's a good idea, but you know..." I shrugged. "I'm going." "Do it while you're young! You know, I'm 47, and I never... well, I just lived at home." "That can be good though." "Yeah, and my daddy died... so I had those years with him." "Oh, wow, yeah! That's really good. That's worth it." "Yeah... I just think about what I didn't get to do." "But you've got family. If you had done that, maybe you wouldn't. Not a lot of people have family." "Yeah, and I cleaned for twenty years so I could stay home with my family. And they love me." "That's a blesssing." She told me about her twenty-something son who lives in Louisville but visits her every weekend, and I pointed out that most children don't do that. Most children also don't love their parents. "You're right. Thank you for showing me that, I needed to see that. I think so often about what I don't have that I forget." "Yeah, there's always going to be stuff you didn't do, and those who did do it are now missing out on all that you have. We can easily see what we don't have and miss what's been with us all along." "Yes, thank you. I've been blessed." I smiled, nodded, and walked out the door saying, "I'll see you later!" But I probably won't.
When I begin to miss something from my childhood is when I feel like blogging. Because I blogged when I was younger? Probably because it’s a way to immortalize my past. And by “immortalize,” I mean, log it for future reference. At this time, the only thing I’m really missing (aside from various old friends whose mysterious silence or absence are making me curious) is my old bed. Yes, I am attached to too many inanimate objects. But a bed is a place of a safety and ultimate rest. I’ve been my most vulnerable in my old bed. Not just physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Oh, well. Now I sleep atop a bunk bed, that much closer to Heaven.
I’m a less confident driver after a brush with a brand new Tacoma. In the typical ignorance of a teenager, I considered myself invincible. Like wrecks just “don’t happen to me.” There’s a girl at my brother’s old Bible college who drove like a maniac. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so worried driving with someone else before. Apparently, she’d never had consequences for it though (other than, I’m sure, gas prices and that supposed hole in the ozone), and she said, “It’s just because I’m so cute!”
I guess I’m not cute enough, then, to avoid reality.
Each sophomore I know has warned me to keep in touch with old friends when you leave for college. But it’s usually from sophomores who don’t really keep in touch with old friends. So, I’m confused.
Do I really want a doctorate in psychology? I feel that, of all sciences, it’s most important. To understand fellow humans is an invaluable tool. Experts in psychology (according to the shows I watch, in any case…) find very little surprises when dealing with patients and even friends. When I encounter a new individual, I feel an immediate desire to touch their heart with mine. I want to reach the bottom of their soul’s mystery and together find Christ to fill all the holes. Then what a glorious moment would occur when we loved each other and Christ at the same time. While a greater knowledge of the pathway to a heart would aid my quests, do I want to turn people into animals of reactions?
Perhaps Heaven’s a little like being underwater. Weightless flying. And that would explain why we don’t have gills, because we all know God’s a tease with His secrets. Heaven’s a pool party.
It’s easy to talk about accepting the results of our mistakes, but it’s totally different when you’ve made the mistakes yourself and you realize that some more money thrown at America’s failing economy would minimize the consequences.
Tragedy struck home recently. Not my home, not yet. My life’s been pretty blissful (more of that avoiding reality because I’m cute, maybe). But a friend whom I love dearly has lost her child. Already agnostic, she’s now driven to demand either solid truth from followers of the Truth or silence and respect as she grieves. My mom had my brother and I take this class my junior year called “Understand the Times.” We didn’t actually get to finish the book, yet I still feel closer to the Solid Rock of my faith. Of course, the main question that every religion we studied had to answer and each individual cries in their heart a thousand times in one life is, “What is the cause of pain and suffering?” A more colloquial version would be, “Why do such awful things happen?” The textbook we used offered, actually, a couple reasons (sin, punishment, free will, God testing us, etc.) I suppose each evil and pain is different from the last, so can there be one reason? Now that a real dark pain has shaken those around me, I can’t repeat the textbook’s answers. I think it’s an insult to someone hurting to quote someone else’s opinion and response to such a pain. In fact, if you’ve never experienced such devastation, is fair to say anything at all without much prayer and study? So, I turned to the Bible. I feel like my answers would never satisfy them. Atheists tend to see themselves as gods, so how could they grasp the idea of a God so mighty that questioning Him is not only dangerous but foolish? And how do you telling a grieving mother that sin, not God, killed her child? How do you do anything but love the shaken? Maybe I really do need a doctorate in psychology.
Stability has always been present in my small, blessed life. Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve taken it for granted. I thank God for it. I understand how important it is, and I’m going to strive to offer it to my children when I have some. … I mean, IF I have some. Ahem. But I lament those I see who barely understand the word “normal,” let alone “stable.” Divorces, moving, amorality, adultery disguised as “being yourself,” Santa, hypocritical Christians, celebrities proving once again that publicity is damaging to the psyche, fashions and fads fading into material for Goodwill, TV shows broken up by lying commercials which break concentration and attention and any personal commitment to purity, kids pledged to purity falling in step with culture… No wonder we have commitment issues.
Today’s my Sunday, tomorrow’s my Monday.
I’ve learned a few things about guys at my job.
1) Being good-looking means nothing. 2) Intelligence is more important than muscles. 3) Male pursuit of a relationship with me is not flattering, just annoying. 4) It’s okay to be cold to a guy who thinks friendly is the same thing as flirty. I’m just glad I learned all this before college.
After maturing out of that horrid teenage state of finding my family horribly obnoxious and embarrassing, I not only enjoy spending lots of time with them, but I realized how alike we all are. (Maybe not me and my sister though. In fact, she might have been adopted… I’m still working on how they faked that.) I always thought I was the opposite of my mother in every way. It seemed my father understood me most, we acted alike and found the same things fun or exciting. The older I get, however, I see that I’m half my mother. While my father and I share the same character, my mother and I share a spirit. We both love the smell of old books, the sound of Shakespeare, movies advocating purity and wholesomeness, and spending early morning hours studying the Bible, reading devotionals, and praising God. And maybe it has more to do with us both being women and with women being more heart-centered. But I still say I’ve got my momma’s heart.
Inflation is not my favorite word.
It’s very obvious that grown, single, adult women in their midlife cling to hobbies or inanimate objects when women would normally be clinging to their maturing child or a husband. I think women are made to care for children and families. I also think dolls and horses are poor replacements for family. Why not invest in charity work or the poor kids around the neighborhood? But also, why aren’t we investing in them? God says to take care of the widows. The government has done its best to replace the needs for Christians to do this, but we’ve very possibly neglected their emotional state. They’re lonely. We had a widow call to make a reservation at the hotel. All the computers were occupied, so my supervisor explained that we’d have to put her on hold. The woman said she’d rather just talk. And she did. For maybe a half-hour. When my supervisor was finally able to hand over the call to an employee, the elderly woman chatted off the ear of the employee for another half-hour. It would be so easy to show Christ’s love to by merely listening and caring about what she has to say. Why don’t we do that?
No pictures today. I haven't uploaded any lately, my camera's already in my room, and I'm tired. I haven't even taken today's picture yet.
I just wanted to say that I haven't really updated because I only think of the same thing. Over and over again. How many times can you blog about changes and a checkpoint in the race of life? But here I go again.
Nothing is the same right now. Well, perhaps that's a bit absolute. I'm blessed to have a stable family and a puppy who always loves me. But suddenly everything else is different. It's summer, and instead of shoving plans with friends into every free minute, I'm scheduling my life around a job. Sometimes it doesn't seem worth it to feel so totally isolated for money, but I know I'll need to survive in college. And it's not like I don't get out at all. I just miss everything. I miss my old phone. The broken flip one. And I miss tentatively and hopefully attempting new friendships all the time, which have now faded. I miss sleeping in. Oh, and I miss my old bed. This bunkbed's great, but my old bed felt a bit like a blankie sometimes. I miss the bottom board falling off and the creeks and the obnoxious spring in my back. I know things are supposed to be this way. Before, I've even prayed for changes and tests to stretch me for God. Of course, I am learning a lot right now. I just miss... time and times. I don't even feel like I've had time for photography lately, and I haven't heard from some of my friends in what feels like weeks.
It would just be easier, I suppose, if I knew that at some point, it would all go back to how it was. But I start college August 18th, and then things will really change. This is just practice exercises for August 18th.
But I couldn't really end this without mentioning the one thing, other than family and close friends, that hasn't changed. And that would be God's constant grace. He's like this unending ray of goodness that I can grasp each morning. It's a blessing to have such a beautiful drive to work, so I can leave early, pull over, and read His Word which soothes my soul. And I'm grateful for a quiet break room where I can take fifteen minutes to read it some more. I'm blessed for this strand of sanity, keeping all my current worries at bay and collecting all my thoughts for healthy organization. Yes, God is constant, and I see that very clearly right now. I will always have Him to cling to.
I really have been busy. With school finishing, a job, and friends being in town, I haven't had the time to sit down and edit all my pictures until last night. Now that I have some free time in a cafe with internet, I'll finally get these up here. Here's May 8-18.
May 8. The Renaissance Festival! I liked my Robin Hood best of all the things I tried on. Maybe.... the chain mail was cool too.
May 9. Mother's Day. Since Mom wouldn't let me take a picture of her.... I went with our hands with matching charm bracelets.
May 9. Final physics class. It was a lab at a high school, and we got our final grades. WOOT.
May 11. Tiff spent the night.
May 12. Last day of co-op. (I did not label this math. That would be the Magical Mr. Kerrick.)
May 13. MY PANDA CAME HOME. We got to spend the whole day together, and it was the best thing ever.
May 14. First day of work. I absolutely love my job.
May 15. Second day of work. Jeanna went to prom, and I didn't get to take her pictures. I did get to see her afterwards. So pretty!
May 16. I didn't get to go to church this morning, because I was working. To add to the frustration, it was graduation Sunday. I still got my new NIV Study Bible, but I would have like to have gone in the morning. At least I got to go at night. Also, it was my baptism birthday, and I asked for bubble gum.
May 17. I love the drive to work.
May 18. Jeanna earned two tickets to a Reds game. She took me! The Reds won in a very exciting game with an end that had me standing and screaming. We had fun afterwards taking weird pictures of Cincinnati.
I suppose summer has begun for me. High school's over. Let me say it again. High school's over. Forever. Those four years of developmentally important and dramatic years are behind me. Up ahead is four more years of school, but hopefully, these will be exceedingly more pleasant. Not that high school was miserable. (Makes me think of that song... Yes, that one.) I'll look back with mixed feelings and hopefully no regrets. College is really exciting me, but I think more so because I haven't fully grasped the finality of graduation. Maybe if I went to a public school, eh?
There's a chance that today was my last day of homeschool co-op as a student.
I absolutely love doing school with the Moore family. Mrs. Moore is someone I'll always look up to, and the boys feel like family, like brothers. They toss a tease or jest my way every chance they get ("You're a pearl, Tori." "AWW!" "Do you know how pearls are made?" "....." "Constant irritation."), and I definitely attack them with hugs around the waist or smiley faces on their homework. I know each of them so well by now. Wednesdays will be so different without getting see them every morning at the crack of seven.
Confession: I didn't actually take a picture Monday. I know, I know! But I was job hunting all day, then mowing, and I just didn't think about pictures. And then yesterday... this was apparently the only picture I took. (I have recently discovered the joy of blowing bubbles with my gum and occasionally take pictures of my bubbles to see how big I can get them. Obviously, this wasn't my biggest bubble.)
Today, I felt a little troubled when reading St. Augustine's "Confessions." His soul is so disturbed when, even though he believes in the power of Jesus, he hasn't turned over his will and his career and his desires. I think that's hardly the message taught today. We confess Jesus with our lips, but our hearts are far from His. When do we assume that a call to Jesus requires giving up everything we want? Jesus' will is rarely compatible with ours, especially when we still follow the will we had before we met Him. Even Christians barely make Him a priority. Our first task in the morning is not to drop to our knees and die to ourselves, but we check our Facebook, fix breakfast, catch up on news, shower, etc. We see the pearl in the field and consider knowledge of its location enough to earn it.
Of course, I should mention that I'm not perfect. I know that you know that, but it's necessary that I say so. Yes, I sometimes sound preachy, but honestly, half the time, I'm trying to rally my own spirit to move. What have I ever given up for Christ? Do I think fasting from technology now and then, going thirty hours without food, and choosing a Christian college is really something to brag about to the Christ who called His disciples to poverty and persecution? I have done nothing worth recommending me to the Hall of Faith.
Not that I'm acting to be recognized by human praise. I want to hear "Well, done, my good and faithful servant," and that's all I need. These meager sacrifices are nothing more than an effort to develop the habit of giving up my wants for Him. I'd give up anything if I knew it would bring me that much closer to Christ. We're so far from Heaven.
I've always loved rain. I understand that it's damaging sometimes, but imbalance will almost always be a curse. Rain, I believe as it was meant to be, is a perfect testimony of God's providence. Honestly, how can the necessary water we need just falling from the sky seem anything but divine? And the dark clouds and lightning are even more humbling. We think we're in danger in a storm, but Psalm 121:5 says, "The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands stands beside you as your protective shade." The Creator is surely not threatened by His own storms. He's watching over us even when there are no storms, protecting us from a million dangers we can't see or know. Lightning and thunder are more examples of his brilliant power than a frightening menace.
Too much Jeanna? No way. This girl's really become like a sister. She lives like two miles from me. For someone whose best friends have always lived at least a half-hour to an hour away, this is a big deal. I'm surprised she and I didn't meet until recently, but I trust God's timing.