wearing sunshine

I will not wait until Spring for Winter to melt away.
Nope. Not gonna wait.

If Spring refuses to come, I will wear it instead.
wearing sunshine
wearing sunshine on a school day

Sure, these days are cluttered and cumbersome. But, if I read back over my recent blogs, it sounds like I’m constantly fighting for freedom instead of enjoying the freedom already won on my behalf. And, it’s true – it is a fight, but maybe I am only honest about the fighting part.

Let me ease your mind.

Laughter is still happening. It sounds like giggles when I pry the doors open of the subway and realize I’m on the wrong train. It sounds like cheesy jokes at a fancy restaurant on Broadway and 28th Street when I’m dressed like a country bumpkin. It sounds like loopy laughs when the card game Jungle Speed lasts until 2 am.

I wanted to make sure, lovely reader(s), that you knew about the way I got to watch all the colors of dawn wake up from the window of the J train last week. I really hope you know that I saw smokestack clouds forming lazily above buildings in early evening pink hues. I mostly hope you hear, in my forever winter tone, that I do believe Spring will come.

Let the winter come. For it is the only path to Spring.” – N.D. Wilson in Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl

tuesday

Every once in a awhile, I’ll have a Tuesday where it seems like Sarah Masen was telling my story when she wrote, “Tuesday.”

tuesday after a reckless and used day
i was running and running without a chance
to stop and chat at the sky

finally i stopped for a breath in the evening 
suddenly. i was caught by the scenery 
painting a picture of You

day set, scatters of clouds in the distance
they whitewash the backdrop of secrets
whispering shadows of blue
in more delicate hues

“Reckless and used” couldn’t better describe yesterday’s pace. Maybe it was more that my running and running felt ineffective and unreliable. I wouldn’t say Excel spreadsheets or organizing registrations give me energy or joy – ever. Though I’m the first to laugh at myself and all my secretarial screw-ups, I don’t enjoy feeling ignorant or getting things wrong (does anyone?). Menial tasks that make perfect sense to a more secretarial sister read like Greek to me and the added stress only multiplies frustration. Several times, a boss stepped inside my office to say I was doing a good job and that this is just a season. Running, running, running. 

I left job one for job two and set my eyes on stealing back my joy from the schemer. Sadness is failure when it comes from self-pity – and that’s exactly what the schemer had convinced me was a worthy adversary to Tuesday’s stress. I stopped to get coffee (every midday resolve needs a little caffeine boost) and the nice young man behind the counter asked, “How’re you doin’ today?” after I ordered the strongest thing that comes in 16 oz. I muttered around a response until I ended with, “Well, I… am doing okay.”

He nodded like he’d heard that before.

I couldn’t let him think that I was like every other caffeine-crazed customer, so I added, “I’m not about to let this day steal my joy.” He smiled. We talked about his tattoo that took 4 1/2 years to finish. I picked up my coffee at the counter, where the owner had upped the size and made it fancy, in support of my joy resolve.

So, I walked into job #2 with a bounce in my step. With some amount of surprise, I responded to, “How is your day?” with “Actually, really great.”

I had turned a corner. Tuesday didn’t seem so terrible anymore. I was even 3 minutes early. Then, as I surveyed the scene, I realized the longest part of Tuesday was only beginning. Between the “priority” print orders and the room full of design students meeting a deadline, I barely stopped moving long enough to go to the restroom.

Then he walked in and I didn’t recognize him at first in his plaid shirt and khaki shorts. When he stopped first at the popcorn machine and looked at me disapprovingly, I knew it was the mailman. He comes in on Saturdays and I always have the popcorn fresh. We banter back and forth once a week but this Tuesday appearance was unexpected. The computers were on the fritz, so I helped him print off the study on Isaiah 49-52.

We zipped around the store like a mini-factory – loading paper, cutting cardstock, replacing toner, gritting teeth – Mike and Derek and me. Those two guys are part of what make the mini-factory on Tuesdays a joy. We laugh… a lot. We fume and joke and tease and laugh… a lot. When one of us throws up our hands in exasperated surrender, another picks it up and carries it through. And there was a lot of exasperation last night and a lot more of that I’m-not-naturally-good-at-this feeling.

An hour and a half after I was supposed to get off, I walked out and the mini-factory was still swirling with activity. Walking out to my car, I tripped over a crack in the pavement and cursed behind my teeth. Really? Even the ground couldn’t resist being a part of my “reckless and used” day?

Before I headed home, I saw a text from Derek, “I just want you to know that I love working with you and Mike. I wasn’t in the best mood when I came in, but you both made it a lot better. I look forward to Tuesday nights every week!”

Hm. As I pulled away towards home, I thought about all the ways God had painted my Tuesday scenery – in the form of co-worker encouragement, laughter, extra coffee with conversation, the mailman, co-workers, laughter, and the way the rain smelled when I left at 11:30 from the printing place.

Sigh. Even reckless and used Tuesdays are canvas for the Lord’s scenery.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

does God giggle?

Apparently, Iowa has a high tolerance for awkward as well.
My state made caucus a verb (it was a strange enough noun).

Yesterday, after my very gauche post, my best friend from college sent me an email with this little inspired nugget to capture the lengthier explanation. I love it.

Oh, goodness. I love how a friend can still know you so well, but live so far.

Today I laughed with gumption and it felt spectacular. I’m not sure what to hold responsible, but if I figure it out I’m going back to say thank you. In fact, I wouldn’t mind doing some gratitude back-tracking right now before hitting the books and my sweet pillow.

here’s some blessings as I counted them today:

the early morning moments when I sit with my coffee and my 3650 Challenge, soaking deep in Truth.
the acoustic guitar in the office singing bon iver, adele, and hanson.
dreaming about an office space where inspiration happens and stories unfold.
the office printer, when it does and doesn’t work, is a magical machine.
check marks – oh heavens! I am ever-so-thankful for checkmarks in even slightly important places to make me feel legitimate and productive.
finding a remote control car in a co-worker’s office; laughing like a child.
forgetting my lunch and then getting invited to hang with the cool kids.
wearing my thrifted boots (thanks, Dad) that make my feet feel like snuggly eskimos.
chasing around my cousins and hearing their laughter unleashed.
the balance of cousin cate, who loves make believe and cousin charlie, who loves to cuddle.

mischief.

I know it sounds weird, but I can get riled up (in a good way) about some good-old fashioned mischief, the same way I get excited about mystery. I kind of think they are related. And, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I think both are, um… holy.

If you’ve read Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, then you’ve at least thought about how God must have a perfect sense of humor and maybe you’ve wondered (with me) a little bit about what that humor looks like.

I mean, have you ever wondered why we have armpits or why every blade of grass is distinct or why things like treehouses are places where children play, but where insects probably reign?

Do you wonder what His laughter sounds like? I often do.

What did God think of the caucuses in Iowa tonight? Does He giggle at that funny word?

I don’t know, but I’m sure excited to find out one day.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

my very gauche life

I have a high tolerance for awkward.

If I could knit some of my awkward stories together, you wouldn’t believe the knotted mess of yarn I’d end up with – some very fantastical adventures, to be sure. My sister (who has a low tolerance for awkward) sometimes interrupts me mid-story because she doesn’t even want to imagine the situations I find myself in.

I finally found a word for it: gauche. It means, “lacking social experience or grace.”

In high school, I once pronounced genre, “jenner.” Yep, I did.

You might think the only way is up from there, but I’ve fought hard to stay gauche. It hasn’t always been intentional, but the results bring laughter and I’m glad to throw in some deep-hearted bellows to the joyful mix.

The other day, I couldn’t even finish my sentence in a conversation with my boss that started out, “Earlier when I was trying to see how high I could high kick–”
(laughter)
“What? Is that weird?”

I have believed for a long time the power such acts possess is unparalleled. Forget about the pressure of memorizing social cues. Trying to “say the right thing” always landed me far from the target, but with more embarrassment and less laughter. If I’m willing to be the most awkward in the room – to rediscover that childlike freedom, there’s a good chance everyone else feels good about who they are and I get to laugh, too.

I remember hanging out with my friend Sarah in Honduras and talking about how God can sanctify our personalities. We were wondering if, as we become more like Christ, our personalities would be less…. well, weird. I was mostly wondering if I would ever have less gaucheries in my days. If I would ever, you know, be less awkward.

I was doing some acrobatics in her kitchen as we thought things through and while she endured my spider webs of words. Then, all of a sudden, I wondered if I could do the splits. Without any explanation, I disappeared behind her countertop. When I came back up, Sarah was full of giggles.
“I just wondered if I could still do the splits,” I said with a blank face.

Through her giggles and gasps, she said, “I think your sanctified personality should have more splits, for sure!”

And I think that’s when I decided my very gauche life is quite alright. I’m thankful for those moments when I can see joy tugging at the corner of someone’s mouth or when I see laughter dancing in the light of someone’s eyes.

I’m thankful for opportunities to throw life’s glitter up in the air and see where it lands. That sounds very shiny and cute, like Lisa Frank stickers. But, I’m serious.

Last night, my family shared around the dinner table, “a hope for this year.”

My hope was to get serious about joy.
I’m ’bout to figure out what makes brown horizons and dark corners and sad eyes shine.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy