March 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
“I thought you were dead,” my friend said, “You haven’t blogged in a week.”
I have not blogged in a week. And no, I am not dead. And I will probably not be posting every day anymore.
I don’t have time every day to devote to thoughtful posts. If you’ve been reading – you know this is true.
I said I would try to write 100 words a day for 100 days. I wanted to get back into the habit of writing things fit for human consumption, and I did. My love for writing has been reignited, so my personal purpose for the challenge has been met.
I am definitely not going to disappear. Expect at least a couple posts a week. My draft folder is starting to fill up with ideas that just need some time to be brought to life. I’m excited to keep writing.
I made it roughly 63 days. Pretty decent, I think.
Well – see you soon!
February 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
Les Miserables is one of my favorite books. It’s definitely in my top 10, maybe even in the top 5. I love the musical, too. While it fails to encompass the depth and breadth of the novel, I think it does justice in capturing its spirit. And it’s exciting and the music is fantastic!
I’m sure innumerable essays have been written by college English majors on symbolism in Les Mis, so I don’t expect to be breaking any fresh ground with this, but I was thinking about Jean Valjean’s character earlier as I blasted the Les Mis soundtrack on my way to work.
I thought, he isn’t a Christ character, he’s an us character. He’s arrested for crime – he committed it for the sake of his sister’s family, so we think, hey, he’s not that bad. But after he’s released from prison, he’s so embittered and corrupted by his time in the galleys and society’s refusal to reintegrate him that he takes advantage of the only people who’ve shown him kindness and steals their only items of value (their state of relative poverty isn’t really known in the musical/movie but it is in the book). When Valjean is caught with the stolen silver, the priest from whom he stole it lies to the police and gives Valjean the silver in order to save him from returning the galleys.
He tells Valjean to use the silver to establish himself honestly. In the musical, he says, “I have bought your soul for God.”
Valjean is dumbfounded in the face of such love, for him, a convict, who stole from the man! Again, in the musical he sings, “He said I had a soul – how did he know?” (I’d make references from the book except I don’t know where my copy is…the musical will have to do.)
As we know, Valjean takes the priest’s gift, gives up his old identity and begins living his life in the service of others. In the book, he begins to uphold the priest in his mind as his standard of love and goodness, a standard he wants to emulate.
The priest is the Christ-figure, and Valjean, like us, becomes Christlike when someone makes the sacrifice to redeem him. He even goes so far as to turn himself into the authorities when they arrest a man they think is Valjean, sacrificing himself in order to save the wrongly accused. Valjean still has some selfish patterns, but he repeatedly shows sacrificial love and grows more selfless. He cares for the people cast aside, the prostitutes, the orphans, the poor, he even spares the life of the man who’s hunted him for years.
Just some hastily written thoughts. If you like reading, and you’re a determined reader, not to be put off by 30-page descriptions of the battle of Waterloo (I skimmed that part), you should definitely read Les Miserables.
February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
“…Jesus appeals to the soul as light appeals to the eye, as truth fits the conscience, as beauty speaks to the aesthetic nature. For Christ and the soul are made for one another, and when they are brought together deep speaks to deep and wounds answer wounds.” – E. Stanley Jones
I’m reading a book called Christ of the Indian Road. It was written in 1925. This small book, my copy of which was published in Lucknow, India, is full of beautiful truths about Jesus (at least so far…I’m only on chapter 3). The main truth so far is one that has been so widely missed, misinterpreted, lost, ignored, and neglected that it truly makes me grieve. That truth is this: Christ is not nationalistic, he doesn’t belong to a culture. Jesus isn’t Western, he’s not American, he’s not European.
Past (and current) efforts to take “Christianity” to places that have never heard of Jesus do those people, the church, and Jesus himself a disservice, and can even eclipse the good news. Jesus never preached Christianity. He said he himself is the way, the truth, the life. He said man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God. He never said we needed church buildings or liturgies or a creed. Those things are’t bad, they’re just western, and they don’t save. Jesus saves. He’s the way, he’s the answer.
What’s more, Jesus appeals. We were made for him, and his kind, loving nature and sacrifice appeals. He’s beautiful and good. A friend said to me earlier: “I’ve never met anybody who didn’t like Jesus, once they really knew who he was,” and I haven’t either.
Maybe we should resolve, as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.”
February 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
“I’m actually older than I look.”
Words which have escaped my mouth both as a reaction and as a preemptive action, on too many occasions to count or keep track of. I look young. When I was a junior in high school, someone assumed I was in 6th grade. Just yesterday, someone said they thought I was 19. The week before, someone else assumed I was in high school.
“I graduated from university 2 1/2 years ago.”
“What?! I thought you were in high school. You look so young.”
“I have a master’s degree!”
“How old are you?!”
Twenty-four. I am twenty-four. I’m not old, but I pay my own rent and taxes and health insurance. I’ve been to college. I’ve been to grad school. I am, quite technically, an adult.
And yet, on a consistent basis, people think I’m on average 5 years younger than I actually am. Maybe this is because I don’t walk around in high heels and power suits. But I do try not to dress like a high schooler. When I shop for clothes, I think, “Would one of my students wear this?” If the answer is yes, put it back on the rack!
What’s more, WITHOUT fail, people tell me, “Be happy you look so young! You should be so grateful! Just imagine when you’re older and you still look young!”
I get it – when I’m 34 I’ll look 29 and feel smokin’ hot. Well, when I’m 34 I’ll be thankful for that. Right now, looking 5 years younger is the opposite of fun or convenient.
For one, it’s not convenient to look the same age as your students. People tend to assume you are a student, and then things get awkward.
Think of how you would carry on a conversation with a teenager versus someone in their mid-twenties. (I’m not disparaging teenagers; it’s just a different stage of life.) You’d talk differently to the teenager, regard them differently, expect something different from them.
Until recently, I thought the lowball estimation of my age was dispelled once people started talking to me, but recently people have been expressing disbelief after we’ve been talking. It leaves me wondering, what is it about how I look, act, and talk that makes people think I’m so young? (Besides the fact that I’m short.)
I think this is such a sore spot with me because I was the youngest child in a family/extended family of intellectual people and few children. I wanted desperately to be taken seriously!
I have a visceral reaction to the idea of trying to change myself in order to be perceived differently, with the exception of being conscious that my behavior should be a reflection of Christ. So I’m not really into making a great effort to be perceived as my real age. A small effort, maybe. Mostly I’m just frustrated, and I’m asking you, dear reader, not to tell me to be grateful for what is actually unhelpful to me right now.
But if you do have any ideas on how to seem older…
February 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. I just haven’t taken the time to write. So I missed two days of writing. I promise, I will give you those 200 words and more…later.
There’s a good post brewing. It’s just still in my head. Steeping.
After almost a whole week off due to Snowpocalypse and a second week off (a scheduled winter break), I am not ready to go back to a normal schedule. I’m not crazy about routine. I like having things to do, being busy, etc, but routine is tough for me to get into, especially when I’ve been out of it.
Well folks that’s my minimum 100, so stay tuned daily for more disordered soliloquy, and keep an eye out for those promised 200 words.
February 18, 2014 § 1 Comment
I promise that, one day soon, I’ll write something thought-out and deliberate.
But right now I’m busy. Busy Vacating.
I really love people-watching. People watching in D.C. is great. The nations are in D.C.
Different demographics, people groups, ages, different reasons for being in the district or for taking public transportation or for walking down the mall.
I love to speculate about the people I watch. (Am I creepy?)
I wonder what their jobs are, where they’re from, what brought them to D.C., what they’re doing today, etc. Are they an introvert or extrovert? Driven or laid-back? What’s their family like? What do they dream of doing?
I want to know who they are. I may not be a “people person” but I love to know people. Small-talk takes you nowhere: I want to get to the significant stuff.
But I don’t ask. I just wonder. I don’t strike up a conversation with a stranger on the train. I wish I did. Maybe I will.
February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Over the last few years, my parents have been almost as migratory as me. Thus, their home is not my childhood home; it’s not even the home I lived in with them a year ago, though it’s not far from there. Some of the furniture is new, but there are some classics. Like the twin & trundle my grandfather built for my mom when she was young, which was passed on to me in my early childhood. Ikea could take notes from its sturdiness and simple reassembly.
I don’t really say “go home” anymore in reference to visiting my parents, since their house is new and unfamiliar. But visiting them, wherever they are, is a kind of going-home. My mom still makes the best chicken soup in the world. We still watch movies together. The dinner table is still a place where we eat together and talk.
At 9:30 PM tonight, which was really 8:30 PM for me due to the different time zone, I conked out on the couch while we watched “Sherlock.” I woke up and the end and expressed bewilderment that I was so tired. My trip was not that difficult.
“You always sleep a lot when you come home,” my mom said, “you and your sister both do that; you just come home and sleep a lot.”
My best guess is, on a deep level my body knows we’re in a good place for a break.