Monday, November 28, 2005

Have You Guys.....

ever seen someone get soaked on a rainy day by a full gutter and a passing car?

That was me on my way back from lunch today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More Things You Don't Know About Me

I could do a "Things I'm Thankful For" post, but it seems to me that everyone is thankful for the same things, so I couldn't be orginal in that. So, just for the fun of it, here's some more things you don't know about me.

1. I have a scar on my neck from when I was little and got caught on an electrical barbed-wire fence. I was actually caught on the barb and it took two boys to pull me off. (Yowzers!)

2. I'm not sure that science is where I'm supposed to be. I have a nagging feeling that I'm going to get my master's degree and then decide to "be" something else.

3. I'm good at a lot of things, but not really "great" at anything.

4. I can be really, really shy.

5. I can be really loud and obnoxious.

6. I wish I was an athlete.

7. I'm afraid of having kids (for many, many reasons).

8. I like to cross stitch.

9. I've wanted to write a book since I was in the 5th grade.

10. I started writing a book in 5th grade, but never finished it.

11. I owe a boy a dollar because I never finished that book.

12. When I was little, I used to write letters back and forth with my great-grandmother even though she just lived 15 minutes away and I saw her all the time. She died when I was in high school.

13. I still really, really miss my great-grandmother.

14. I had 10-15 pen pals when I was younger and I still have all of the letters that they wrote to me.

15. I started college thinking I was going to be a pharmacist.

16. I changed my major after a semester of organic chemistry.

17. I could totally be a beach bum.

18. I have the ability to strike up closer friendships with people that are much older than me than with people my own age.

19. Rick and I met at Starbucks. (okay, so some of you may have known that)

20. I can play the bells, the xylophone, cymbals, the piano, and the oboe, but I only miss the piano.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Church-Goers

I just witness something that greatly disturbed me.

I'm sitting at Panera in the back (where it's usually quieter) so that I can work on some things, when a young man, who is obviously homeless, comes in the back door where none of the workers are as likely to see him, and sits down at the table in front of me. He doesn't talk to me except to ask the time. I give it to him.

He strikes up a conversation with the family at the next table, telling them how pretty the little girls are, asking the time, just trying to strike up conversation, and as this family does the best to ignore him, they start to talk about all of the church activities they've got going tomorrow, the mother gets up, says, "I'll take care of this" and storms off.

Next thing I know, two of the guys that work here come over and tell the guy he's got to leave.

After he leaves, the grandmother looks to the husband and says, "Did [the mother] do that? I would have bought him lunch...."

Again, I've worked with a lot of homeless people, and I have to admit that this guy seemed ok. He didn't smell like alcohol and he didn't speak with slurred speech or seem to be high on anything. I'm sure it creeped the mom out that he was commenting on how beautiful her children were, and it may have creeped me out if I were in her situation, as well. But they made sure to let this guy know that they were Christian by the conversation they struck up while trying to ignore him. And my question is this: What was the point??? Why in the heck would someone start up a conversation in front of someone who is obviously in need about what an active "Christian" family they are? Where they holding it over this guy's head? Making sure to let him know that they are above him because they can afford to eat out and because they go to church?

And they missed out on a great opportunity to be Jesus to their children. When the man left and the little girls looked up at their mom and said, "Mom, why did they make him leave?" She just changed the conversation again.

I just don't understand people. I could've bought the guy some soup or something, but he was gone before I even had the chance. And, frankly, I was probably more absorbed in how the family reacted to this guy than the guy himself. That's sinful on my part.

Opportunities......how often do we miss them? I had a 2 minute window (really, that's about as long as he was here) and I missed it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My World-View

It's changing.

Which is okay, but sometimes this new view leaves me with a heavy heart.

I'm learning more and more why living means that we will encounter pain in our lives. The obvious answer is that it all goes back to the garden and the Fall, but the more difficult answer, at least for me to hear, is that it's what I signed up for when I made the decision to have a relationship with Jesus.

I didn't know that's what I was getting in to.

I can flip through the books of the Bible, and I have yet to find any person that is mentioned that had a charmed life. Everyone had struggles. Everyone had big, horrible things that happened to them so that they could become who God wanted them to be.

When you sign up to Christianity, it's just part of the deal.

And I'm learning more and more why that is. It's only through those experiences, through those times of struggle and pain, that the parts of us that need to die can die, as long as we don't run away from pain, but embrace it. Pain leads to perserverence, perserverence to character, and character to hope.

We need pain. We should embrace it and keep a watchful eye out for difficult times so that we can best learn from it and listen to Him and to what He wants to speak to us during those times.

But back to my world view. I don't see people the same way anymore. I sit and people watch, wondering what difficult things they are struggling with and/or what difficult things lie ahead for them. I wonder if they have the hope of Christ that I have. It makes me ache for them. It isn't an easy thing for me to walk around the campus of this great hospital and see patients, young and old, and their families. I wonder, as I sit in the hospital McDonalds, who works at Vanderbilt and who are the family and friends of the patients. Sometimes I can tell, sometimes I can't. But even when I see the other employees here I wonder about their lives and their struggles, and I wish I could share my Hope with them....with all of them.

But I can't. They'd rush me up to the psych floor if I started preaching to random people. :o)

But I do look for more and more of those opportunities. I am trying so hard to be more gentle and patient with people because I don't know what kind of pain they're facing. I fail (a lot) but I'm trying.

Rick and I had a great time with our mentor life group last night. It seems as if pain and suffering and the topics of pain and suffering are following me where ever I go. That's what we talked about last night. And we left with people much older than me saying, things like, "We're supposed to be mentoring you!" and "He's got you and it's so obvious." But I only talk about my experiences and what I know through my experiences. And this, again, gives me a heavy heart, a burden to carry. It's becoming more and more obvious to me that there are so many people "out there" that are really hurting, and it hurts me to know that they don't have The Hope. It's a burden because I want them all to have it, but that I can't give it to them. I can't fix it.

Maybe one day everything will become clear to me and I'll finally understand why and what has been accomplished through my pain. But, until then, I've got an idea for a great book title, Where I've Walked (and that's copyrighted, people!).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm Self-Centered

Someone once told me that if you find 5 "I's" or more in a paragraph, it's a clue to how self-centered a person is.

My self-centeredness must be off the chart judging by just a few paragraphs on this blog......

I'm a Coward

Tony's comment yesterday has made me feel bad about myself and my life, so I need to write.







Just kidding.

But the title isn't a joke.

I still haven't written The Letter. Honestly, the pit of my stomach drops when I think about it. Sometimes, several weeks will go by without me even thinking about it, and then it hits me like a ton of bricks and I can't get it off of my mind. Why am I so afraid of "it"?

It is a big "it." At least to me. Once I start thinking about it, it looms over me like a dark cloud. But it shouldn't! I feel as if I should want to write it. I should want to communicate with this family and tell them what a wonderful gift they have given me. For all I know, they could think that either the liver of their loved one wasn't good enough for transplant, or that the transplant patient (me) died during the surgery or not long after. Maybe they're finally beginning to cope with the death of their loved one. The last thing I want to do is send them a letter that will open up old wounds.

I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't make myself sit down and say the things that I want and need to say. I've done it once before. I started a letter. But it wasn't good enough. I don't even know where it is. I wrote it, re-read it, and gave up. I even contacted the social worker that worked with me and Rick through the transplant to see what avenues I had to go through to send the letter. He remembered me and encouraged me, but that's as far as it went.

I'm a coward.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I'm Boring

You guys are bored with me, aren't you?

I'm sorry....I just really don't have too much to say lately. Maybe that's because I'm finally coming to terms with a lot of what's going on in my life and I'm finally healing. Maybe it's because I just haven't been observant enough to find things out about myself that bug me enough to blog about them.

My passion-meter has bottomed out lately,too. I don't really feel passion about much of anything....not work, not school, not my health and/or spirituality.

So, unless one of you wants to comment about something that will fuel me again (make me angry, sad, whatever), I guess you're just going to have to deal with my boring-ness until someone else does it by accident. :o)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Reading

I used to be a serious bookworm. In first grade I was reading on an 8th grade level. I was reading better than most high schoolers when I was in 5th grade. I got in trouble by my history teacher for reading Danielle Steele novels when I was in 7th grade. (A friend had stolen the very adult-themed novels from her grandmother and shared them with me. My teacher was concerned and threatened to tell our parents what we were reading.....Like my parents would punish me for reading. Could you imagine that conversation?
Teacher: Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, I'm sorry to inform you that your daughter has been reading adult-level novels during class breaks.
My parents: During class breaks? So, she's not ignoring your lectures? And, she's reading on a level with the average adult at the age of 11? What's the problem, again???)

I miss reading. Since college, I haven't done much reading for fun. I read to learn now, which is way different. I went on a book buying binge last week. I decided that unless I had some fun, brainless reads to pack in between C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer that I wasn't going to get much out of the more scholarly reads.

So, I bought a lot of books. I bought the first 5 Harry Potter books. I purchased two books by the same author, Mirror Mirror and Wicked (I can't remember the author's name), James Frey's A Million Little Pieces and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I read The Curious Incident... today (I read for 4 hours straight). I read Frey's book in less than two days. I'm like an addict. I started something that I can't stop. I'm upset that I didn't bring another book to work with me today, but it's probably a good thing that I didn't. I have a feeling that I'm going to have some sleepless nights until I have all of these books read......

I would recommend both of those books that I've read so far to everyone. Frey's book is not an easy read. It's a very brutal and ugly story of addiction, but it's a true story. Haddon's book is way different. It's told from the perspective of a 15 year old autistic boy.

Now I have to decide whether to start the Harry Potter books or the other two books.....I may just flip a coin....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Spiritual Fruit

Thanks for the comments yesterday. I'm not too sure what I was looking for, but you guys are right. Most of you wouldn't know me from Adam if I ran into you on the street, so it would be really difficult for you to comment as to what you see God doing in my life and the changes that He is making in me. But that's my goal for the next couple of weeks: ask people close to me what they see Him doing in me. I'll be sure to let you all know what they say.

Also, I got my grades for the semester back today (at least tentative ones). The worst I did is a 3.5 GPA, but it's possible that I may have even pulled off a 4.0! I can't believe it. I'll know for sure next week. I'll be beyond thrilled even with a 3.5.

But on with the post.....

I've been working through some of Paul's letters recently. Particularly the parts of those letters that deal with his suffering and the battle between flesh and spirit. In Romans 8, I think it's clear that Paul is talking about how it's up to us to choose between flesh and spirit. There is nothing that forces us to choose to do things that are sinful; things of the flesh. But the Spirit is in us, and if we choose those things of the Spirit, it allows Him to work in us in ways that we had not imagined.

Today in counseling, we were again looking at these passages and others by Paul. My minister mentioned that we often look at Philippians as the "joy" book, which it is. But he said that we often forget that the background to this book is Paul's suffering and pain. We forget everything that Paul gave up in order to become a Christ follower. We forget that he was often beaten, that he gave up a very prestigious career with the San hedrin (sp?), and that he probably even gave up relationships with family and friends. So, on with Philippians 4:4-13:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."


I read this over and over to myself today, especially the first paragraph. It seems to me as if this is something you have to work at, through prayer and petition. And the more I read it, the more I realized that this is the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galations 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Rejoice = joy
Gentleness = gentleness
Do not be anxious = patience
prayer and petition = faithfulness
peace = peace

I may be way off here, but maybe I'm not. I mean, Paul did write both letters, so it's very unlikely that his theology would change, especially considering that this is the Bible.

I have never been taught that the fruit of the Spirit is something you have to work at. I've always thought (and it's never been challenged) that once you accept Christ, the fruit of the Spirit should come naturally to you. That you can tell other Christians by the fruit they bear and if the Spiritual fruit is evident in their lives. This was always so difficult for me because some of these come very difficult and I struggle with them. It's been a major area of doubt for me. I didn't have all of the fruit of the Spirit, so I've doubted my Christianity. I've doubted the Spirit's work in my life. But Paul seems to change that line of thought. After reading Romans 8 and this passage over and over again, I think I get it. I think that I realize now that the fruit of the Spirit isn't something that comes naturally to us. It's something that happens only when we really pray about it and strive after it, and it's a daily work.

I don't want to delude myself. I don't want to make scripture say something that it doesn't so that I can feel better about my faith. But maybe I've seen some truth here that will help one of you.

Thoughts?