Wednesday, July 31, 2002

recent discovery: 64 west just outside of short pump, va smells like country ham after 10 pm

last night i went to visit a friend i haven't seen in about a year. he's settled himself into a nice little apartment in charlottesville, virginia, and is about to start on his, like, 100th graduate degree (ok, clearly i'm exaggerating, but i'm telling you - THIS guy is an academic of the truest form!). it was good to see him -- better, still, to get away for awhile. i'm finding this time in richmond to be a bit intense. i had a conversation with my mom the other night that unsettled me, frankly, and i'm still not 100% sure what to do about it. i guess i'm just frustrated when i feel that i'm not being taken seriously. that was one of my big 'issues' as a kid -- i often felt like my feelings were looked at as being evidence of melodrama (this was a word thrown around in my family quite often, in fact). so what did i do? i learned to build walls....perhaps i should apply for a job as a bricklayer. i certainly know how to do that -- at least when it comes to laying down foundations of emotional baggage.

a long time ago, i vowed that when i have children, i'm going to listen to them; i want to be a parent who is interested in who the little people are that live in my house -- in what they think, in what makes them smile or cry or scared or angry....i want them to understand that they are KNOWN.

hear me: i'm not saying this purely out of complaint, but at the same time, i cannot ignore what happens (and has happened) in front of my face. memo to the world: i cannot and will not be put into a box. so if you're contemplating trying to put me into one, please refrain. or, at the least, if you are unable to cease and desist such narrowing behavior, please do not attempt to befriend me in any way. i don't care what you think of me, but please keep it to yourself.

okay, i'm done with the soapbox. please forgive me, reader. sometimes i have moments of lecturing that fly out of my face without warning. i will try to be more careful in the future:). i am certain, however, that anyone reading this knows how frustrating and completely undermining it is to have people disregard your feelings/actions/very essence of who you are as being somehow invalid, silly, or 'wrong'. we've all been labeled. go on....peel yours off and throw it away. i only want to be associated with one thing, anyway....with one person. the only One who matters.

the One who knows me and created me -- feelings and all. somehow i think that He, of all people, knows what it's like to be misunderstood, scorned, and rejected....and really, He's the only One who can fix this whole mess that is my life....and above all, He, and only He, has the right to mark me in any way. but even in His labeling, it's all for my good and for God's honor....

here's a pen, Lord. write what You will....

Sunday, July 28, 2002

the wandering life

so here i am in richmond. it only took me 4 1/2 hours to drive what is normally a 2-hour trip from monty county. and let me not even bother to mention (although here i go!) that it was just SO hot outside. the sun beat its way through my windows and even with the a/c on, it was still pretty warm. as i approached the city, a large tanker truck driving north on 95 was spewing some huge billowing clouds of smoke/chemicals/something and completely covered both sides of the highway. it was pretty frightening, and on a day as hot as hot as today (especially), chemical spills are particularly dangerous business....

i've already established in my own mind that this is a vacation for me - a chance to have a few days' respite...do some free laundry...chill with the 'rents...a change of scenery for my mind and heart. i'll be interested to see what, if anything, this time unearths....

church was really good this morning. it's amazing how something can feel like home to you, even the first time you experience it. i felt very comforted my first sunday at rock creek...it was a comfort i have not felt for quite some time. and my pastor is just a stellar guy...totally down to earth, kind, and compassionate -- much needed in my life right now -- and he's totally accessible in a way that makes you know that you can be his friend (as opposed to just someone he 'pastors'). sometimes subtle elements are the most important....

those are my thoughts at this hour, 11:30ish, sunday evening. through the wall, my parents are already sleeping. i am about to go and watch some cable while i lounge in bed with the fan on full blast. sammie joy is most assuredly sleeping peacefully in a room all to herself tonight (a new thing for her of late, since we are now full-on ROOMmates) in that place i now call 'home'....

the transient life sure does have its advantages....but if i'm being honest here, i look forward to the day when i will once again have a place to hang my hat, where the mail in the box arrives for me, where my heart knows its place and the pictures in the frames are mine.

someday....

Saturday, July 27, 2002

virginia is for lovers

later on today, i will be leaving 'the city that reads' and traveling south to spend a bit of time with my parents. it will be strange to leave this new 'home' and go to the town where i did much of my 'growing up'...and yet the house in which my parents now live has no connection to anything, or anyone, that i used to be. perhaps this is a good thing....i don't know that i'm really in the market for bombarding reminders of my teen and young adult angst.

hopefully, i will be able to reconnect with a few old friends while i am there. out of all the people i have come to know in my life, it is, ironically, my friends from high school that have, for the most part, best kept in touch with me. and being with them is like getting to relive my teen years without all the negative memories. it's all english class adventures, sleepovers and french club fieldtrips - none of the petty fights and feeling inadequate. some things are worth filtering out of our recollections.

so i will drive down the roads that used to seem so wide and see the coffee shops and bookstores where i spent many a summer night talking about the meaning of life and love and exploring the mysteries of the universe over iced raspberry mochas. and i will remember who i was all over again....and i will give thanks that i have changed since the day i packed up my stuff and dragged it to baltimore. for a brief flash of a moment, part of me will yearn for what was, but then i will come to my senses and the rest of me will breathe a sigh of relief that, at the end of the day, i'm a grown-up now and the pressures and social cliques of high school no longer apply to my life.

maybe you can't go 'home' again....but to me, richmond is my past and, like the scars of old boyfriends and middle school dances, it must be examined and revisited every once in awhile....evaluated for what, if any, hold it still has on me....

and anyway, sometimes it's actually nice to be reminded that i'm still someone's kid, even if i am 27 years old.....besides, i'm broke and i've got laundry to do:)

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

'the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul....'

today i watched a movie about a woman with schizophrenia. it got me thinking about how the mind deals with the things that happen in life. some people, as a result of trauma, break apart into so many different individuals, it becomes hard to keep track of them. others argue with the voices in their heads. some become habitual liars, thieves, alcoholics, sex addicts, wife beaters, compulsive house-cleaners, nit-pickers...the list goes on and on. and we've all got our own little 'things' that we do to deal with whatever's going on inside us. all the roles we play, all the avoidance tactics we employ so that no one else will know how we really feel, what scares us, what hurts us at the core....we attempt to hide not just from ourselves, but from God....a futile effort to escape the revealing light of Christ unto the world...the light that broke into the darkness that is ourselves.....but in that revelation - at the foot of the Cross of Christ - all the crap we walk around carrying falls to the ground...because one cannot come to truly partake of God's wondrous gift while weighed down with human baggage.....practically speaking, how can i even begin to receive if my hands are already full?

'the statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple....'

a year ago, i made a difficult decision to leave the church i had been attending. it was truly heart-breaking for me...i felt as though i had left a relationship. and it took me a long time - almost a year - until i found another church about which i felt 'right'. part of the reason that the process was so slow for me was that i had realized how truly bogged down i had gotten in surface living. i was desperately trying so hard to keep everything afloat that it felt like work to worship God...and i was constantly under pressure to 'perform' my Christianity out of fear of being recognized for falling behind. it became too much. i felt as though i had added a few heavy carry-ons filled with useless items....and i didn't have anyone to help me lug all of my baggage around. my hands were not open; i had stopped expecting anything from God anymore.

'the precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart....'

but God, in His mercy, helped me through that hard decision and the winds slowly began to change. after awhile, it became easier to explain my situation to others....i began to hear God's voice again in my life....began to pray out of a desire to meet with Him rather than some kind of guilt-driven obligation....began once more to receive from His word in a way that spoke to the depths of me....began to feel my loosening grasp on my emotional suitcases and other weighing-me-down kind of items.....and i made a silent pledge to God one night that i didn't want to live any longer under the dictatorship of modern Christian culture but instead wanted to live a more authentic life - one characterized by saying what i think, dealing with my actual emotions instead of what i 'could', 'should' and 'ought to' be feeling, and letting God take the lead and steer my life where He wanted it to go.

'the commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes....'

where did this lead me? down a road i never thought i'd travel....a path blocked off by signs i erected so many years ago....a trail that had long-since become obscured and grown-over with weeds, gnarls, and generally uninviting vegetation. it is the hardest and narrowest road...and the most frightening...but it is the only path that will lead to freedom from myself. and along the way, God has graciously planted houses whose lights are left on for me at night - places i can come in and rest and be myself for awhile....where i find friends who have helped me unpack my bags and even sometimes leave them behind. and i am learning, day by day, to shed my defenses, admit and face my fears, cease from hiding behind my former tendencies and the walls that i had built in my childhood. a lot of people would look at the things i'm doing and think that i must have a lot of inner strength. please hear my emphatic, 'NO!' that's not it....it's not ME who's strong - it's the One who inhabits me, He who is greater than any in all of creation.

'the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever....'

the day to day life i lead is not easy right now. but my desire is to see God reflected in all of the things that i do...in all of the ways that i am changing. in my times of solitude, i often find myself praying and singing an old hymn that i've known for years and years:

God, be in my head, and in my understanding;
God, be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God, be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God, be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God, be at mine end and at my departing.

(words: Sarum Primer, 1538)


Lord, thank You for being strong in me, one who is so weak. there's simply no way down this road without You leading me. thank You that i don't have to hide behind man-made defenses, but that You are my defender and the stronghold of my life. thank You for keeping my mind from going haywire. thank You that my heart is still pierced by Your truth and beauty, even though it's hard to feel anything sometimes. You deserve all the honor because You alone have sustained my very life. my prayer today, and always, is this, dear God:

'may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.'
(ps. 19:14 & vs. 7-9 throughout)

Monday, July 22, 2002

cleaning out my mind's closet

somewhere outside in the heat of the mid-day, there is a baby wailing. and as i was sitting here listening to the child cry, a siren from a police cruiser screamed up the street. for one brief moment, the two became one...almost as if, somehow, the siren was helping the child out...echoing the message, 'hear me.'

to know that there is another whose voice rises along with yours as you scream out into the silence: this makes the road a little less weary, more manageable somehow. it means that your throat will not always have to be sore and dried out; your burden is halved, as is your sorrow.

last night, i dreamed that i hadn't packed all of my things from my old apartment (the apartment i lived in 4 years ago, before i ever left baltimore) and had to go back to retrieve the items i had left behind. i took sammie joy's co-worker aileen along with me and was embarrassed to find that i still had a lot of packing to do - not just of my own belongings, but of things that were both historic and valuable and belonged to my grandmother. later on, my parents and grandmother showed up and announced that ANOTHER truck would have to be rented, but that at least i had gotten something done. my grandmother commented to me, 'well, this is WAY more than i had expected from you...' i said nothing to her in response. i figured it was easier to remain quiet and instead set out to try and fix the refrigerator, which was tipped dangerously toward the wall.

if there is one thing i have learned it is this: in the long run, it is NOT easier (for anyone involved) to remain quiet....not when the stakes are high and you're betting with pieces of your own heart and soul. my advice: YELL as loud as you can. and don't stop until someone else...a whole army, even...joins their voices with yours.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

'i will not take these things for granted....'

i'm exhausted. and i feel like the grime of the earth is all over me. some days just leave you feeling gritty.

it's not even that i did anything particularly 'outside'....just more that it's hot and i feel like all i did was sweat....i simply dislike perspiring (not that i think anyone really loves it, mind you....) but i'm one of those stubborn types who has to feel like she really got DIRTY in order to justify showering twice in one day. ah well. morning will be here soon enough, and then the process of collecting grime will begin again....

other than the status of my personal hygiene, i'm going to refrain from expressing my thoughts on life and all of the things i've been processing today. sometimes it's just nice to hold the cards close to your chest and keep your heart from creeping its way out to your sleeve.

i will say this: driving in the darkness with music blaring on the stereo (chris rice was tonight's soundtrack), sitting next to someone who knows what you look like when completely unraveled, not needing to say anything that would cloud a moment....those are simple pleasures that, for so many reasons, i do not take lightly. not now....not even for one breath....

Friday, July 19, 2002

'pork fat RULEZ!'

i've been debating all day whether or not to post on the blog today. after much deliberation, i've clearly given in....

so, i just ate a very salty tuna fish sandwich. i'm sure you're wondering, 'why, oh why (please tell me WHY!), was it salty??' okay, well, being the genius that i am, i decided to fill up the salt and pepper shakers but, in the process, managed to fill them backwards (in other words, i put salt in the pepper and vice versa). then, not realizing i had done this, i gave a huge shake of what i thought would be pepper and was at first perplexed that it didn't seem to be coming out (it was, in fact, coming out - as SALT!). oy vey. needless to say, i had to cut that salt action with a hearty shake of vinegar (gotta love that acid). it all worked out okay in the end, but it certainly wasn't an ideal situation:(.

the one good bit of news i have to report for the day is that sammie joy got cable and i have the food network and learning channel back again (yay!!) not that i watch a ton of TV these days, but those 3 channels (2 of which didn't really work well) were really starting to wear out their welcome....now i can sit and salivate over people re-decorating their homes, or their lives, or have a chance of hearing emeril coo, 'oh yeah, baby...' once in awhile....

ah yes...the 'finer' things in life....

Thursday, July 18, 2002

confession:

i’ve gotten into watching that show, ‘american idol’, on tv. i know. i know. i KNOW what you’re thinking. this is not quality programming. allow me to defend myself. there are 4 reasons:

1. we only get 3 stations, the best of which is fox (the network that carries the aforementioned show).
2. i actually quite enjoy competitions that require vocal performance; this was the reason for my affinity for ‘star search’ as a younger person. fairly annoying stuff (ed mcmahon=not a family favorite), but it was all about the children and adult vocalists.
3. it’s pretty much the only show i watch (and it’s only on 2 times per week), so i’m feeling like at least i’m not vegging out in front of the television on a daily basis.
4. there’s this one guy on it who can REALLY sing, and each time, i look forward to his rendition of some older song (often by stevie wonder). he’s got a good vibe and a good concept of nuance. i’m ALL about nuance.

as you can see, i’m perfectly rational in every way about this show:).

in other news, the transvestites in this neighborhood are LOUD. salimah did a bang-up job reporting on the spiritual and emotional implications of such a chosen lifestyle in her blog, so i will refrain from beating a proverbially dead horse. i must say, however, that it is highly inappropriate and annoying to have a group of ‘ladies’ walking down the street at night, yelling loudly and making quite a commotion, regardless of their affiliation or persuasion.

there are just some things in this life that i will simply never understand....

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

'nice work if you can get it....'

i had hot dogs for dinner:P. now i feel gross. it's all about cheap, leftover food....gotta love that. hey, i'm not complaining. at least we HAD dinner. there are so many people in this world who go without so much of the time....(God, thank you for my unbelievably provided-for life. may i never take this for granted.)

i'm going through the motions so i can collect unemployment. it's been a few months, but i can't hold off anymore. i'm running out of money fast. so, i have to start applying for jobs right about now. reading the want ads is a lesson in pointlessness. there are really no decent jobs out there....and yet i have to apply for 2 of them per week. i'm thinking about sending my resume for ridiculously high-paying jobs in management or something of that nature...something for which i have absolutely no qualifications....with my luck, i'll get hired:)....i'm sure they'd be oh-so-impressed with me in my blue jeans and button-down casual shirts....corporate world, here i come!

but i digress....

i'm still not wholly unconvinced that i'm going to find myself a benefactor one of these days. you know - someone brilliant and wealthy who wants to pay me to live a creative, interesting life, for nothing in return - someone who is simply impressed with my mind, my artistic sensibilities, and my culinary tendencies....someone who just wants to see me succeed in life. someone who can't stand to see me working the 9-to-5 grind another day! i am way too grounded in reality....this, of course, will never happen....i cannot even fool myself into thinking it so.

so...as i wait for the plan to unfold, i'm gonna cruise the baltimore sun and see what i can see. anyone need a live-in chef? house-sitter? personal shopper? call me. i'm available immediately....:)

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

last night, i met my former self. i was an intern at this elementary school and was working with the nursery school or pre-school class (i'm not sure which). i didn't know that 'i' would show up in this class, but at one point i was talking to this little blonde-haired girl and suddenly, i really took a good LOOK at her. it was me. head to toe - me. even had on an outfit i used to wear. one difference: she had very straight, adult-looking teeth. the younger me was not particularly plussed by the adult me. in fact, she didn't appear to like me at all. i felt an odd rejection in that moment...realized that there was no way i would be able to change her mind. but, oh...how i wanted to prove myself...prove that i wouldn't be like everyone else she'd ever know. she talked down to me, belittling and pitying me.

yeah, that was me, all right. that's pretty much the way i talk to myself inside my own head. i guess there's no hiding it now....

it's too bad i couldn't have reassured that little girl of how much someone else cared for her; maybe she wouldn't have been so unkind to me. maybe i wouldn't be so unkind to me.

Monday, July 15, 2002

'i love You....i need you....though my world may fall, i'll never let you go....'

i've been having one of those days where i feel like i'm hanging on by a very thin thread. nothing in particular happened...just life stepping in and rearing its ugly head. i found myself crying today...and in front of someone, no less....this is not something i do easily, at least not on my own behalf. but sometimes one's misery cannot help but spill out and fall to the floor in droplets.

sometimes, i wish i were one of those shiny, happy bloggers... you know the type - they always have really upbeat and/or exciting things to report - dates they've been on, hotspots they've frequented, vacations they've taken with co-workers or friends. not me. i've got my baggage and 'issues'....and my continuous wrestling match with myself.... but a small bright light shone down upon my evening. a friend sent me an encouraging e-mail today that touched me so much, i felt those tears burning my cheeks once again. she said that she sees God working in my life. even though i know this MUST be true (because of God's character alone), it's an incredibly difficult truth for me to comprehend sometimes....i spend most of my days feeling like a colossal loser - for all the mistakes i've made, for all the things i haven't done, all the things i could/should/ought to be doing. but still, even despite all of that, the hope that someone could possibly see God through me makes that thread to which i cling a little less tenuous.

with God's help, i'm going to hang in another day....

Sunday, July 14, 2002

'i'm going to carolina in my mind....'

tonight i made some truly disappointing chicken and rice for dinner. it's all about canned goods and not much in the way of ingredients to throw together. ah well. being poor is still kind of fun in some ways. give me a minute, and i'll think of a few....

the coming week is shaping up to be a busy one. i'll be going to church and then a recital that michael's brass quintet is giving in g'burg. then, later in the week i have some appointments, a few social engagements, and next weekend i'll be seeing my parents for the afternoon on saturday and then visiting with an old friend on sunday evening. i like having people to see....places to go....it makes me feel a bit more calm - to have a schedule. don't get me wrong - i'm not a buttoned-down, 9 to 5 type. i'm probably just the opposite, in fact. but i can still respect timetables, lists of things to do, deadlines. they help rein in the wandering soul....

this morning's blog posting has been on my mind a lot (as has a newly found friend who doesn't have her dad with her anymore). one of the things i've always been thankful for is that my father and i share a love for music....our tastes are markedly divergent, but we meet up here and there....james taylor being a particular favorite of ours (we've been to see him twice in concert together). i remember the time that my dad and i drove to hampton roads, va to see j.t. for the first time. we spent the entire trip down singing along to his greatest hits, and even after a 3-hour concert, my dad was still totally game to listen to (and sing along with) more of the same songs all the way back home. and every time he picked me up from college for the holidays, he would endure whatever it was that i wanted to hear (mostly Christian music - steven curtis chapman, glad, or jars of clay) during the three-hour car ride. after enough trips back and forth to baltimore, he started to learn the songs and would join in - harmonies and all. those moments always brought me such pleasure.

a few weeks back, when my parents came up to help me move, dad and i broke out into a few lines of '50 ways to leave your lover' by paul simon in this totally random moment in the car. sometimes my father and i don't have the easiest time talking, but we have always been able to sing together. i'm thankful that there are still moments like that to be had...hmm....maybe i should look into james taylor's concert schedule:)....

Saturday, July 13, 2002

'BELVUHDEAH, come HEEYUH BOY!! (spelled phoenetically for your verbal enjoyment)**

i love saturday mornings....being the first one awake and enjoying the quiet of the un-stirred apartment. what a picture i am - hair disheveled, eyes still fighting to fully open, old PJ bottoms and t-shirt. soon, i will make pancakes and maple sausage. put some coffee on for sammie joy, who will eventually stumble out of the bedroom where she now sleeps soundly, a bewildered look on her face, hair even more disheveled than mine, eyes more sleepy (but her pjs are snazzy flannels from l.l. bean, so she's got one up on me!). we will eat together, breaking the fast of the night, sighing contentedly......because everyone knows that unstructured saturdays (like sunday afternoon naps) are the some of the best things in life. the possibilities seem endless....listening to some jazzy vibes, perhaps doing a bit of cleaning (nothing too strenuous), rearranging some furniture, maybe renting a movie, grabbing coffee out....the utterly mundane yet totally satisfying.

when i was little, we had a ritual in my family - bugs bunny on saturday morning. my sister and i would plant ourselves in front of the t.v., and call upstairs to my father, telling him to hurry...giving him a countdown of the moments until the music started. and i remember my father rushing down the stairs as he heard the opening strains of that looney toons theme song. that hour or so each week was one of the only times we scheduled to spend together as a family. i can still hear my dad's laughter, full and loud....little did i realize at the age of 3 that bugs bunny and all his cohorts were actually quite adult (sometimes even esoteric) in their humor. at the time, i just thought my dad still had a bit of kid left in him. maybe he did, but whatever the reason, i didn't care. i felt part of something special in those moments. to this day, we still laugh over bugs's rendition of the barber of seville....still occasionally sing the opening lines of 'kill the wabbit'....still think that daffy duck doing the scarlet pumpernickel is one of the funniest bits in cartoon history.... looney toons. these are the ties that bind.

even though i don't watch bugs bunny anymore, i still carry a bit of that whimsy with me and attach it to saturday mornings....now, the loud and triumphant music has been replaced with ella fitzgerald or mel torme, a light swoon to coax me into consciousness. and, to be honest, i prefer things a bit more subdued. it's the calm that excites me now. the promise of things slowing down for a few moments - long enough for me to catch my breath and enjoy where i am right this second.

if i had to do it over, i wouldn't change a thing about those saturday mornings back in the late 70s...except maybe that i would have crawled into my dad's lap more often - would have realized what a gift i was being given in those moments....would have let myself stay a child just a little bit longer to have the chance to spend one more saturday hearing my father's laughter echoing through the house.

now, silence is all i hear....

**if you watched looney toons with any regularity, you will recall the southern gentleman who had this large dog, belvedere, that he was constantly summoning. this is one of my family's personal favorites....
'words in my head like misfits after midnight begging for a light....'

tonight, as i was leaving the loco hombre, where michael and i went to dinner, these individuals in a sedan drove by and squirted me all over my side with some wet substance (that turned out to be water, but i was horrified nevertheless). this happened after quite an unfavorable experience with an extremely inattentive waiter and an incompetent manager who acted as though the lacking service was somehow excusable because the waiter had been there awhile. whatever. bad service is bad service. that whole scene left me with an unsavory taste in my mouth, and then with the squirting incident, i was definitely rattled....

the one upshot of the evening was that i got to spend it with michael. after dinner, we came home and watched the second half of 'the other sister', which he had never seen. that movie is so sweet, so heart-warming, so endearing. there is one scene that gets to me every time, when the lead character (who is juliette lewis playing a mentally handicapped girl) gets extremely worked up over some people laughing at what she perceives to be her expense. she begins to scream at this whole crowd of people at her parents' country club - telling them over and over to stop mocking her. i loved the complete freedom that she had to let loose....to yell until her veins bulged in her head....to get as loud as she could in order to be heard. how many times in my life i have wanted to yell like that...so many, many times.....

the whole concept of vulnerability - that child-like vulnerability that she had - is one of the most admirable qualities a person can possess, and yet the people who seem to make themselves the most vulnerable are also often the ones of whom people freely take advantage. the trick is to ride the line between being vulnerable and being discerning about letting people in. it's hard to really love and let others love you if you're never willing to at least open the door to the room in which your heart resides.

and then there's that freedom - that beautiful, liberating, yet often unattainable thing that allows some people to say what they mean and not be concerned with what other people might think of them for having said it. i do NOT often have this freedom. i absolutely abhor drawing attention to myself unless it's a setting in which i feel completely comfortable doing so. i've been told by several friends that i can tell stories with the best of them, and yet unless i have some indication that people won't think i'm a fool, i won't really open my mouth that much. i'm definitely not one of those people (at least without the outright help of the Holy Spirit) who can just do and say whatever they feel in any given scenario.

anyway, during this one scene (along with several others), i always start weeping. it stirs me inside to see someone stating their needs so boldly....and here i sit, unable to call even one person when i'm sad to tell them that i need someone to reach out to me, to pray for me, to encourage me, to LOVE me. because the truth is that it opens the door of my heart a bit more than i'm comfortable having it opened. it gives another person the power to hurt me. to reject me. that strikes fear into me such that i cannot even begin to explain. i've been down that road too many times, and i'm scared as hell to go down it again.

so, in my self-sufficient ways, i hole up inside here.....tell people i'm 'fine'.....put on a smile. sign away my freedom to the prince of fear. and hope that, in His mercy, God will bust down my door and come in and hold my trembling self. or that someone will.

'words left unsaid. they may never see the light of day and that may be okay....'

Friday, July 12, 2002

chicken korma rocks my world

i have had several false starts already with this blog today. i must be suffering from a bit of writer's block. it's a rare occasion in my life when i, sarah elizabeth hedges, run out of things to say.

i'm sitting here at the dining room table (my makeshift 'desk' until sammie joy and i set up her actual desk) eating leftover indian food and looking at some daisies sitting in a small vase in front of me. everytime i see these 'friendly' flowers, it takes me back to being 4 years old and sitting in the grass near one of the pastures at my grandparents' house in the summertime....i used to pick the petals off, one by one, saying the all-too-familiar, 'he loves me....he loves me not.....' i think that, at the time, even in my young mind, i was thinking about the little boy, edward schwartz, who was in my pre-school class....this boy who used to make promises of marriage and future happiness to both me and my best friend, rhonda penn. little playa - even at the time....

it's amazing to me how much older my eyes are....how much they've seen....how they've been tinted with sadness, joy, and all the things that go along with having to grow up. i never would have imagined, at that young age, that i would be sitting here on this day, with these problems, trying to think of a few words to type onto a screen, a feeble attempt at making a connection with someone, somewhere. i had grander plans than this....i was going to have a circus and have 109 children (which my parents always informed me WAS a circus) and be a teacher....and i would always have lots of friends and love around me. at least i was a dreamer then.

these days, i'm much more preoccupied with where i'm going to get the money to make my $300 car payment next month....whether i have enough conditioner to last me through the end of the week....where my chapstick is....why it is that my phone hardly ever rings....not thrilling stuff. ah well. it's probably a good thing that i didn't know then what i know now; some things are just too much for a 4-year old to handle.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

'i once was lost....'

it wasn't that long ago that i walked around with a veil covering my face, unable to see the truth about anything real. amazing that this fall, it will have been nine years since i put my faith in Christ for my salvation. even more amazing how little progress i feel i've made some days and how far i realize i've come some others. sure, i still have some really bad habits. i trust my own strength far too quickly; i am often selfish with my free time when i could be spending it with God; i dabble at the table of the world more often than i would choose to admit. this list could go on and on....i think you get the point.

and yet, even though i am still well aware of all the ways in which i continue to fall short, something remains remarkably different about me now, these 9 years later....something that changed that night in the shower when God entered my heart once and for all....this strange and glorious and immutable thing that continues to confound me each and every day: i KNOW why i'm here. i KNOW who made me. i KNOW where i'm going. it's all because of Him.....and all this (even my vast imperfections) is for Him - for His glory and His fame. and some day i will stand before Him and i will be able to give an answer for the hope i have of spending eternity with Him. i will come boldly, with trembling heart and hands, and throw myself at His feet, claiming Christ as my righteousness..... what an unfathomably beautiful day that will be.....

and it's that shining hope that rouses me from my dense sleep of human-ness, the deep that calls to deep, stirring me from within....lovingly drawing me to lift my head and cast my eyes above. the hope that reminds me that i am not alone....

in Him, i am found.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

'i know there's a plan that You have up your sleeve. rabbi, teach me the faith to believe. it's the only way my life will ever make sense to me.....'**

i must be trying to set some kind of record for myself. i don't think i've ever posted this many times in one day. obviously, i have much on my mind....

so i ate some korean food with kristi. we talked about funky churches and celestial beings and all of life's craziness. what a cool girl she is....so glad that we've stayed in touch after johnny h. ended for us both.

note to self and sammie joy: put filtered water in the ice cube trays. there's dirt in the water. yeah. you read it right. i said dirt.

i was supposed to head down to g'burg for small group tonight.....i didn't feel like going. i've been too bummed to spend time with most people and i really was not in the mood to be driving all around. the thing is i really want to be involved with the lives of the people in my group.....but my own cloud of funk so often prevents me from really connecting with others in the way that i'd want to be connecting.

thankfully, i spent some time with sammie joy (one of few with whom i don't have to front)....we went to the one world cafe for a quick bite and some coffee and then drove around the city for awhile....as my car sliced through the summer air, i let the breeze come in the windows and waft around my face and through my hair....it felt good to breathe, to smell the city, to feel the bumps in the road. and all the while, the cross movement shouted truth into the evening, drawing me back again to the God who bled and died so that i could live this day....so that i could be audacious enough to stake a claim for myself anywhere or in any way.

so, yeah....i'm sad. sad as hell.....but Christ is no less on His throne. it's all about picking my head up off the floor and walking each day in that acknowledgement, regardless of how broken my heart feels.

Lord, grant me the grace to see clearly. my eyes are clouded and the road ahead is covered in a dense fog of something that, from my limited understanding, seems ominous and churning....please let it be a mirage.

'...and my resting place is taught by love; it’s the only peace I know of....'**

(** - chris rice)
Jehovah Rophi, i wanna be your trophy.....

little known fact about me: i listen to hardcore Christian gangsta rap....or at least one group in particular: the cross movement. these people are SERIOUS about the gospel. one of their albums, 'house of representatives', has a spiritually butt-kicking song, human superstars, the lyrics for which can be found here.

funny how something this rough and edgy can bring me so much peace.....

in other news, the faucet in the bathtub is leaking. it's been 'fixed' once already (i use this term VERY loosely)....it's a seriously good thing that sammie joy doesn't pay for water (or any utilities, for that matter). sometimes flat fees have their advantages.

mental note: befriend some men who are handy around the house....and/or who can rap the gospel to me when i'm stressed out.
kimchee wishes and bulgoki dreams

***********************
oprah looked at me expectantly. 'well, i can just share the rest of your leftover dumplings with you,' she said. i was speechless. this was oprah winfrey - multi-million-dollar-making guru that she is - and she wanted to share my leftover korean food with me?

'no, oprah,' i eventually sputtered out, 'i think you can afford your own dinner.'
***********************

i've got mandu on the brain.....and it's worked its way into my subconscious......

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

my heart hurts. there's no getting around it. i don't even want to pretend that it doesn't. and it's been pouring tonight. storming violently. i looked out the window just as it was getting dark and saw black, churning clouds overhead. for a moment, i thought i was looking inside myself....

what i want to do is cry. a lot. i'm frustrated by words that won't surface....a deep-seated wound that has yet to be healed....an emotional cancer that needs to be routed out, pulled from its hiding place by the roots. sometimes it's just too difficult to be...too hard to walk around in my skin....too much like death...everything feels like drudgery and it's nothing short of heartache to make another person understand what i mean, how i feel. i KNOW that i'm not alone, but sometimes it really does feel that way.

think counting crows, circa 1993:

raining in baltimore

this circus is falling down on its knees
the big top is crumbling down
it's raining in baltimore fifty miles east
where you should be, no one's around

i need a phone call
i need a raincoat
i need a big love
i need a phone call

these train conversations are passing me by
and i don't have nothing to say
you get what you pay for
but i just had no intention of living this way

i need a phone call
i need a plane ride
i need a sunburn
i need a raincoat

and i get no answers
and i don't get no change
it's raining in baltimore, baby
but everything else is the same

there's things i remember and things i forget
i miss you
i guess that I should
three thousand five hundred miles away
but what would you change if you could?

i need a phone call
maybe i should buy a new car
i can always hear a freight train
if i listen real hard
and I wish it was a small world
because i'm lonely for the big towns
i'd like to hear a little guitar
i think it's time to put the top down

i need a phone call
i need a raincoat

adam duritz rocks my world sometimes....

i miss amy lynn perbeck and long talks about what life will be like if and when we ever grow up....i miss hanging out with nigel under the stars, driving around until all hours singing along with the indigo girls until i lose my voice....i miss feeling like i was headed somewhere....

and yet those were the days that i was hiding behind myself....and i vowed never to do that again. i promised myself months ago that i wouldn't keep quiet....that i would scream from the inside until someone else heard me. i think i'm almost surfacing. i'm about to lose my mind....
metamorphosis


so i've changed the template (and description) of my blog. unfortunately, the comments thingie is down right now, so i'll have to wait a bit before i can re-install the html code and get that back up and running. frankly, i was sick of looking at that red header....had to do something a bit more subtle....more downplayed. please do let me know what you think.

listening to the mix that sarah sent me....songs 5 (dar williams - 'after all') and 10 (pete yorn - 'on your side') are, hands down, my two favorites on this compilation. some of dar's lyrics ring eerily true of my own personal experiences...i'll post them here later.

i'm finding myself strangely refreshed. the dishwasher has finished its cycle....the carpets were cleaned about 2 hours ago....i took out the trash. the cars on the street outside are sparse and nearly silent. the sun is beginning its slow descent toward evening. dinner will be something with italian sausages - perhaps later i'll bake some banana bread....do some reading.

lazy summertime on the edge of dusk. beautiful. i wish i were on a porch swing and had someone with whom to enjoy this moment....*sigh*
i'm so tired right now. and yet, i'm not in bed. why is this? quick answer: i don't know. long answer: i don't feel like sleeping. sometimes sleep is too much trouble...as is eating, although i do them both, because i'm a human being and i must. sammie joy and i were talking the other day that we both feel it's pretty obvious that God made us to need food to remind us of our dependence on Him. hunger is a strange thing (more on this at another time)....

so tonight i found out that someone reached my site because they ran a search on google for 'psychadelic dinner'. how fun is that? clearly, i am using some interesting words in close proximity to each other:).

i've been reading the guest writer on one of my favorite blogs and i must say that i'm experiencing a bit of blog envy.....jason, if i ever go on any long trips, will you sub for me while i'm gone? sarah knew what she was doing when she put this man at the helm.

but i digress.....

did i mention i was tired? okay, more thoughts will float out of me when the sun comes up again. goodnight, all....

Monday, July 08, 2002

last night at around 11:30, there was an entire group of people down on the street below screaming. and i don't mean yelling. i mean screaming. the kind where your voice takes on a completely different quality and tone. at first, i was alarmed but soon realized that this is the way it is sometimes around here. i had forgotten. how quickly i had forgotten....

about 15 minutes after this verbal outburst, a car backfired so loudly, i thought someone had been shot. normally, i think i would have been alarmed (these things just don't happen in the 'burbs, after all!) but it barely made it into my radar; i was fairly engrossed in some writing i was doing at the moment.

there is something so romantic about waking up in the morning and looking out over the rooftops of the rowhomes in mt. vernon. and as i gazed out over the fog and haze-topped buildings, i remembered why it is that the city breeds creativity. somehow the chemical composition of my brain changes when i breathe this air; and somehow i feel as if more things are possible....that God really could accomplish anything in me that He chooses....that maybe the thoughts that stream through my mind really are worth reading.

for some reason, this has caused my mind to rest on the antiquated practice of blood-letting...the theory behind this being that if a person were allowed to 'bleed out' their disease, they would be cured....that it was the presence of too much blood that was allowing the sickness in their body to continue. so interesting, really - that the life-carrying fluid traveling through our veins is also that which sometimes facilitates the passage of substances that damage us. and so it is with our thoughts.....these bringers of comfort, spurts of creativity, fixations on grace and holiness....the line of thinking that allows us to ponder the most great and profound things in life can, in an instant, change to the most self-destructive, God-dishonoring, depressing melange of heart-clogging, mind-numbing 'disease.' of course it's not quite the same thing, because as human beings, we CAN take control over our thought life. but how often do we really? i know myself....and i have purposefully waltzed down the aisle of discontent more than once....wallowed in shame and self-pity until i was coated in it - all the while having the choice to go the other way.

but i have found that, for me, this blog is a kind of emotional 'blood-letting'....letting all the thoughts pour out onto a screen so that i can deal with them more easily....so that others can read them and share in my experience....so that the proverbial wheat can be separated from the chaff. it's a form of paring down, of mind simplification...the removal of the unnecessary elements.

and in the end, what i hope remains is a clearer space for me to hang my heart's hat....a familiar place of rest....a way of letting my hair down and not caring who sees it or how they might react.....freedom from worrying so much about what it is that i'm doing and the settlement into the comfort of simply being who it is that God has called me to be.

this blog is like therapy.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

sunday morning. still in baltimore. i was supposed to go down to monty county this morning for church, but frankly, i'm not feeling well. i think i may be fighting something off. either that, or my body is rebelling against me for the entire month of june and all the stresses that it brought. it's amazing how you can go on in a certain vein for awhile because you simply must, and then as soon as the time period is over, you totally collapse/get sick/whatever. yesterday, i had to drag myself out of bed and it was 11 am!! this is unheard of for me - normally i'm up by 8:00 or 8:30, even after going to bed super late. so then i was up for about 3 hours and had to go to sleep AGAIN. like i said - i must be fighting something off. that is an unprecedented amount of sleeping.....

so i'm supposed to hang out with michael today - something i've been looking forward to all week long. i just sincerely hope that my body gets itself together so that can happen. i would be seriously bummed if i couldn't spend some qt with the man. he is a balm to me....

i'm finding myself getting used to the sounds of the city again. i lie in bed and listen to the sirens, garbage trucks, and people screaming at each other into all hours of the night. it's so settling. during college, i lived across from an emergency room for 2 years and found myself being lulled to sleep by the ambulances that screamed by into the wee hours of the morning. after that whole experience, whenever i would go into the country or someplace quiet, i could not sleep at all. obviously, being in the 'burbs for the last 3 years didn't get the need for noise out of my system (this explains why i have to have a fan on wherever i sleep - partially for air, but mostly for the lack of silence) because the FIRST night i was back in the city, i slept like a baby. who ever thought I'D be glad to be back here? when we left, i spent months announcing how thrilled i was to be free from the annoyance of the city....of the pollution....of never having a place to park (i think this was my one real problem). amazing how having a reserved parking space has made everything just a bit better this time around. the funny thing is that for the first year when we lived in germantown, we never had any parking in our little suburban development. i hated that place. it was the most obnoxious place i've ever lived. thin walls. loud neighbors. cricket infestations. i slept on my couch for 3 months because there was a cricket living inside my wall. i thought i would go mad.

i guess i could sit here and recount all of the reasons that being in the 'burbs was less than ideal, but i won't bore you with all of that. i'll just simply say this: sometimes God has to take you away from a place to make you realize why you need to be back there. charm city does indeed have its charm. the familiar streets. the coffee houses we used to frequent. the memories of seeing God's grace personified in the faces of the people who have nothing but the clothes on their back. the late-night jaunts to denny's for much-needed pancakes. the spontaneous prayer meetings with new-found friends. the place where i first knew what life really was.

did i mention? it's good to be home....

Thursday, July 04, 2002

freedom. it’s a word that we here in america like to throw around – especially on days like today. every year, i find myself unsure of how to feel on the 4th of july. mostly, i guess, because i don’t pledge an eternal allegiance to this country but instead to the One who allows us all to continue breathing. don’t get me wrong. i’m reallly thankful to live in america, privileged to experience the kind of government that allows its citizens to make decisions, honored to know people who are in the extremely under-recognized military that protects our civil liberties every day. but the truth of the matter is that this concept of freedom that we have is a mere shadow of the eternal “independence” that Christ bought for mankind on the Cross of Calvary...the free grace that is available to all who would put their faith in the price He paid – that which we could never have done for ourselves. galatians 5:1 says, ‘it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.’ it’s THIS freedom that i think about today....while others are out waving american flags (and please hear me – i don’t begrudge them of their enjoyment in the least), i’m thinking about a day that occurred around 2000 years ago....the day that God showed the world once and for all that the even the sins of man are not enough to keep us from His love. the perfect, righteous lamb of God was slain so that i could know this love. no disrespect to the u.s. and to the founding ‘fathers’ of this nation, but i will only ever raise my hand to the heavens to lift a thanksgiving to my Lord - without whom i would be unable to lift even my own head.

the price God paid so that i could live this day – i could spend all of eternity trying to repay that debt. thankfully, in Christ, it is finished.

happy independence day....hope yours is the truest freedom.

peace.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

well, i am back in the game...i managed to get a free AOL cd to use for the next month and a half, so at least i have some form of internet access (even though it's not high-speed:(...) i must say - i had a really nice birthday. allow me to recap:

woke up early, had some time alone with God (reading the Word, journaling, prayer, etc); around 11:30, my excellent friend kristi and her friend shani came to take me to lunch - baja fresh (rock on!!). then, around 2:00ish, michael came to the city and we went for dessert at vaccaro's (they have this excellent deal where, if it's your birthday, you get dessert and coffee for free!). afterwards, we came back to sammie joy's apartment, watched part of a movie, and took naps for awhile. then, around 7:30, we left for dinner and wound up meeting up with sammie joy, marge, aileen, naomi, and holly and i got to have my beloved shrimp enchiladas (i've been waiting three years for those bad boys!). after dinner and some gifts, michael dropped sammie and i off at her place, and we chilled for awhile before bed. it was really relaxing, non-stressful, and non-disappointing. to be honest, i felt loved. it was a good day. thank you, Lord....what mercy.

i am so honored that several people called or sent e-mail to wish me a happy day. thanks to each of you. and please forgive if you haven't heard back from me yet. i'm still getting back into the e-mail swing of things. i'll be in touch soon.

more later.....

Monday, July 01, 2002


In honour of Sarah's birthday, and because she, herself, does not have access to the Internet right now, I am blogging in her place. For those of you who have become devotees of this thought-provoking chronicle of the meanderings of her mind, it is important for you to understand the privilege it is for me to have unlimited access to her brilliance, compassion, sense of humour, intellect, and generosity on a daily basis.

I have seen her grow more brave in the face of adversity, more beautiful through trials, and more inclusive of others--her ability to consider others better than herself at once shames and provokes me. Her best friend is often selfish, controlling, and unkind. But, I am becoming the person God wants me to be through her patience, which I have tested so many times. Her ability to love me so wholly is more grace than I can handle sometimes.

Sarah, my wishes for you are that you would really understand who you are, and the crucial contribution you have made to the lives of those who have been fortunate enough to have their paths cross with yours. When we were first becoming close friends, I was so amazed by you. Everything from your copious blonde hair, slate blue/cornflower blue eyes, and full and resounding voice. You were like a miracle to me--so many gifts inside one person... I wondered what I would bring to the friendship... But the essence of your gifts is that they accent the gifts in other people. Even with my complete and utter inabillity to carry a tune, you always encouraged me to sing along with you in the car.

And I love the way you let yourself be affected by staggering beauty, pervasive grief, injustice, unrighteousness, and the simplicity of the delightfully mundane. You are my eyes to see the world better. I remember the early days of driving around in your car with you--how you would point out cute babies, sweet gestures taking place between people, the courage and strength with which people performed the simplest tasks... you always see all that... and you honour simplicity just as you honour bigger gestures.

I have never known anyone with faith that is more audacious and more well-reasoned. God delights in you, Sarah, because you understand His grace... You respect His Name, and are jealous for his causes. When you came into the world, I think He looked down on you and simply said "Yes."

I could not have a better or closer companion with which to walk this road of Eternity. I am in it for the long haul, and however the boundary lines fall, I am always on your side.