Thursday, March 25, 2010

Leave a space

Senior year of college was challenging. I felt like I was dealing with the stress of being pulled in so many directions that I let that overwhelm me at times, and failed to probe the full wealth of opportunity in my various responsibilities, or pursue all the potential in many friendships.

While I still believe nothing is wasted, this fear of stress is puzzling at times. After college I feel like I almost went in the opposite direction for a bit - not putting enough on my plate, and just kind of hoping that it would find me instead.

But now I believe I'm finding a better balance. Especially with the upcoming challenges of the summer (which I shall perhaps go into detail on at a later date), I feel like I have enough without too much. Something I can throw myself into without dwelling on the effects.

I've read that stress is like spice. Without it, the dish will be bland. Too much, and you choke. I've come up with another metaphor that I feel is also rather apt:

As a kid, I used to play sports, such as softball for fun (I wasn't very good, but that's a different story). We would always bring water with us to the games - that was a necessity - and after a while we got into the habit of freezing the water bottles the day of the game, so that the ice would melt during the evening and keep the water cold the whole time.

It's a great idea, but I think most kids at some point learn the hard way that if you're going to freeze a water bottle, you can't fill it up to the brim. Water expands as it freezes, and if the container is full to the top, the ice will burst out of it and crack the container. On the other hand, if you only fill it up halfway, you won't have enough water, and will be thirsty by the end of the game. We learned at a young age to "leave a space" when filling up our bottles, so we'd have enough to drink, but not burst the bottle in the process.

In my life, I'm still wrestling with the idea of "leaving a space" - of planning enough activities/events to stay busy and productive, but also leaving enough time to throw some last-minute things in there if needed. If the time doesn't get used, I end up with some "me time", which is fine, but if it does get used, I won't feel like I'm bursting the brim by adding in another activity I really wanted to do, or feel guilty about saying "no" all the time because I'm just too full.

I don't have it down yet... sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough, or letting some things/people slide. Other times I feel like I'm not leaving enough time to do "little" things like basic chores. But I'm trying to learn to always "leave a space" - and to always be open to what may need to fill it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Sometimes you say things you don't feel. Sometimes you feel something but don't say it. But sometimes, you know that something is true whether anyone says it or feels it, or not. I know that I'm loved in ways that run so much deeper than human love ever could, even though it doesn't always feel that way. I'm not even capable of understanding just how much I don't deserve this.

Human love of any kind is no replacement for God's love. Neither is it wise to chase after the one at the expense of the other (not that we can lose His love, but the fellowship it brings about is not worth losing).

I am aiming to learn to be content in all things. Not content as in simply passive - that can be a problem when it comes to being too comfortable in my life. But contentment is a gift. If I allow bitterness, resentment, and discontentment to become my friends, they will start to change who I am on the inside. And that's not something that money, fame, or marriage would ever change. If I'm content with my life now, I am much more likely to continue being content when and if things ever change.

I'm still learning about love, and while human love is a wonderful thing, it alone cannot "fix" me, or save me from anything. I would be let down and discouraged if I depended on it to that extent.

This time of my life is wonderful... the freedom, the friends, the choices and adventure... Help me to appreciate it the way I should :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm okay

At times I come to realize a taste of the true privilege of owning a vehicle - just coming home in the evening and leaving it down there in the lot - this monster of mechanics and metal that is worth over a thousand dollars (I think), and yet is fully mine, and gets me safely where I want to go. And when I come down in the morning, it's right there. I turn a key, get inside, and can go anywhere I want to. Well, I go to work. But theoretically, ya know.

And yet how quick I am to complain that "Oh, it's cold! The heater takes so long to warm up! Ugh, I have to spend two minutes of my life scraping ice off the windshield! Sheesh, my rear window is so dirty - why can't I have a functioning rear windshield wiper?" I'm such a spoiled brat. Really. And I should be able to realize this more often than just when a major disaster hits an impoverished country.

I am incredibly blessed. And too often I find it enough to just say that and be glad with it, but really, what's the point of a blessing if not to pass it along? Does God bless me because he just wants me to have a sheltered, quiet life, without too much danger, because I'm somehow more special than the people who don't live a life of such high privilege? No!

I would like to be able to do more than just pray and donate some cash - but I'm sure many others would too. I would really like to keep my heart open for more opportunities after this summer wraps up. I'm praying that my sponsored girls in Haiti are okay.

I remember reading a book called "Where we stand: class matters" in philosophy class, and the author talked about the ways people can rationalize not giving to the poor. Because, believe it or not, even people that you see as "rich" have people that they consider even richer than themselves. And the author contended that as long as we have people who we think make us "inferior" financially, we don't feel compelled to give much, because we feel that they should be doing it.

Comparison for the sake of rationalization, or shirking of responsibilities, is a bad thing. But comparison is kinda necessary sometimes, when I find myself getting too content with the wonderful life that I have.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Every day is New Year's Day

It is now the fourth day of this new decade, and I have yet to produce any kind of obligatory "New Year's" entry. Considering my penchant in the past for exhaustive year-end reviews, it seems strange that I have waited so long to write anything, especially since we had a 3-day snowstorm over the weekend, and before going to work today, I hadn't been out of the apartment since getting groceries on Saturday.

Well. I suppose it's becoming clearer in which direction my paltry New Year's resolutions shall (or should) lie. Perhaps in minimizing distractions?

Really though, this time spent snowed in has helped me realize how much I miss the society of others, and this is perhaps the area in which I need the most work. I'm not the person who always knows what to say at the right time - in fact, my silence is more often due to the fact that I usually do the opposite, rather than genuinely having nothing to say. I rarely, if ever, initiate things. Not because I don't want it, but don't know if it will work. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing if I'm helping or hurting. Perhaps it's worth it to try anyway?

Enough of that. I've decided I'm going to try more. (I really should quit with these increasingly vague Resolutions). This short year has proven beyond a doubt that waiting until some grand new "start" (like the beginning of a decade) is not enough motivation to make me change. If I want to change, I just have to resolve to do it, instead of waiting for something. Because there will never be enough motivation out there if I look at it that way.

I know I wasn't the only Mainer who spent a rather lazy weekend at home, out of necessity and safety rather than desire. But it's not okay to be comfortable with that on a regular basis. I'm already making plans for the summer that will take me out of my comfort zone in more ways than one, and I pray that God will use me to impact others instead of just others impacting me this time.

I also resolve to use less "I" in this blog, even though it is mine.