Thursday, September 30, 2004

man vs. machine

today i interacted with two craftsmen.

interaction numero UNO
i took my car into my autobody shop to get a minor thing taken care of this afternoon. unlike probably most people i have a great relationship with my autobody shop even to the extent they are listed in my cell phone directory. most people who live in urban settings should have good connections with an autobody shop...

jane, who's married to john the owner and i chatted while he replaced a back tail light. man, we covered diverse topics from christmas decorations being sold in september to how 9/11 changed her life. what a blessing she is to me, in the non-trite sense of the word. she said i must be pretty comfortable in my skin to be trying on things that i might knowingly fail at, to which i responded that i am trying to push my limits and learn how to live a more full life through "failures."

9/11 caused her to re-evaluate her life and see that she too could die at any moment. she saw for the first time that life is truly as a breath breathed into cold air which looks like smoke and evaporates just as quickly as it appeared. she's from australia originally and moved to the States when she was 17. in looking back on her life, she sees that that was a big deal, though at the time it didn't feel that way. we both have catholic school in common and talked about our experiences.

on my bumper are a few fresh scratches and i asked what it would cost to get some anti-rust sprayed over them. john smiled his toothy, warmhearted smile and said in a lilting tone, "oh, it won't rust. it's plastic."

some bumpers are made of plastic, others made of styrofoam... at times like these when you look at how cheap cars are in terms of light materials, it makes me miss my peugeot, sophie... but i digress.

john washed my car with good old soapy warm water because he saw it was dirty from tree sap and fog. he cleaned off the TREE SAP. i came in for a tail light exchange and left with a newly washed car. i love seeing people when no one else is watching- in his case i saw his inner light shine. he did this small act of love because he wanted to. and that's cool.

interaction numero DOS
when i left i went to the gym and worked out with tony, a personal trainer. this was my only free one-on-one session. talk about pressure for asking the right questions... we concentrated on weight machines because i know my body likes them and i'm trying to listen to it better. i made him laugh a lot because of my crazy facial expressions, out of which, of course i got a kick. we talked about isometric something-or-other, as well as letting me jump on the "rebounder" some sort of trampoline-like device created and perfected by NASA that lifts your red blood cells up.
i felt practically airborne back into my childhood and our backyard trampoline.

it was great to learn about getting the toxins out of your muscles through "roller massage" and talking about what foods are best consumed post-workout. this is such a different approach to eating. it's like our bodies are machines and need certain kinds of fuels at different times to work properly. so you can count on whey protein powder making it into my post-workout routine next week. tony and i wrapped it up and i could tell he'd had fun. how could he not, with me, rolling all over the place on the massage tubes!

jane and i talked about the tenacity of the human spirit, about people's wills to survive and their wills to die. i know everyone has a certain amount of days allotted to them, but i think it also comes down to mind over matter. if you firmly choose in your head to follow through with something, you can "beat" your body into submission. maybe that just never really clicked all the way before now.

jane said she used to be a nurse and she could tell which people had given up and how they would often die pretty quickly versus the people who were like, "i'm not going to die today. i'm going to do what i can to hang on. i'm going to fight" and these are the people that can hang on. i'm not saying that it only involves a person's will. we are not always our own masters. but me, i was born a fighter. my dad was a boxer. and i aspired to be Rocky Balboa at a young age.
so i will fight on and perhaps will next attempt the punching bag at the gym. grr.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

at least it's consistent

tonight at the dinner for the homeless i volunteer at on wednesdays, i met a nice man named stephen. he came in with my friend antonio so i figured they knew each other previously to this evening. antonio walked to get seconds and stephen started talking to me, telling me, "wow, you're really pretty. i mean you're really beautiful."

i'm not great with comments like that and am still learning to take compliments at face value and just say "thanks." antonio was back at this point and i was feeling funky about this crazy lull in the conversation, so i turned it to fruits of the spirit. i think they made the leap with me.

it amazes me that it's always homeless men who hit on me, and i'm not dressing like i live in the ghetto anymore. i remember getting proposed to twice in golden gate park by blue. he was bent down on one knee and asked twice, later saying it was his way of telling me he liked me... i think doing ministry with mostly men is tricky because this comes up, and i wonder if it's because my guard is down with the homeless or perhaps because they're more prone to be straight up (contrary to popular belief they're not all con artists).most of them end up being friends, so that's good. at least, they're consistent.

wind-up bunny

this has been one of those "i'm using 85% of my brain days" instead of the traditional 6%...
just found out my replacement opted out, so still doing the work of two people. fun fun.
i wish i could be more gumby-like although that would probably freak me and everyone within close proximity out to see arms taking on the consistency of taffy. ick.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

hip hop wonder

well aren't i just the hip hop wonder- that is until we get to doing three consecutive turns in a row and then i'm just plain dizzy. i found out tonight that our instructor jose, who is such a doll, is leaving in three weeks. :( he is part of the lion king musical troupe and they will be heading up north. how cool is that? all this time he's a professional! so now i have this hankering to go see him do his craft, he is head of the dance troupe and is one of the killer hyenas. if i was going to be in the lion king, i would totally want to be a hyena because they laugh a lot, especially ed.

part of me really wants to give jose some tea on the last day of class and let him know how much i have appreciated his class. he is a very encouraging and patient instructor. but i don't want to freak him out. any opinions out there?

on a different note, i am meeting with tony on thursday. he's a personal trainer and i get one free shot to ask all the questions about the weight room that i can. that and learn about whey protein. good times.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

trying on shoes

this morning i determined that dating is like trying on shoes-
people will keep trying until they find the right fit.
nothing profound, but the question should be asked.
this is all well and good, but what if you hate shopping?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

whole countries

whole countries lie in the wake of your storm.
i could travel the earth and find a reason
to be disenchanted with countries dotting
the landscape like stippling from a seurat painting.

but i am as much to blame.
we are characters, figments coming to life
from a tired julio iglesias song
where we have loved and left whole countries.

i once had the nation of jamaica come together
in the name of love, they came together
and wrestled with God for my heart
to change its mind, change its path and direction
more in favor of one that would be in accordance with
the besotted's. but besotted became betrothed
and betrothed became long gone.

you had a niche within the land of brazil
where reference to this mighty country
pulled to mind images of soccer, the amazon,
you and her.
long over, moved on.
my doppelganger, with eyes green like mine,
but droopy, and a mouth just as sweet.
deep down the word brazil has a very personalized
definition for me: her home, her land, her.

you and i, we have traveling energy in our blood
in our make-up and our ability to assimilate to
the people around. we blend in and move at the
pace of the culture around us.
but where shall we go?
not brazil, not jamaica.
the entire world lies open to us
like a well recommended book
that just doesn't seem to be a good fit right now.

so let us draw away,
and create our own country
where i'll be the captain and you can be my trusty
mate, where we can draw the lines and call the boundaries
into existence, to be respected and adhered to years
down the road, where we will rule with fairness and objectivity.
ours will be the right to citizenship and we choose to be marooned
on this island paradise, left to us to civilize, live, breathe, love.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

noticing the exit sign

exiting takes its own form of grace.

i marvel at my inability to sometimes give in to exiting/letting go even when i can see it as plain as a green neon sign hanging over a door in the darkness. i don't think i'm alone in this.

there's something about recognizing what you want and contrasting it with what instead must happen that for me will be some sort of acquired skill that i must master.

i remember years ago spending time with my good friend jeff, whose conversations always lifted me up and challenged me. during the maturation period of our friendship i would so eagerly look forward to the dialogue that i would forget to eat. food played second fiddle. i ended up losing 25 pounds over the course of a year merely because i wanted to talk and relished listening to what he had to say. talk about a real lover of gab! we would talk about anything and everything, but more often that not, our conversations involved spirituality. and i would always see the telltale signs that the end was drawing nigh- his coffee cup would be dangerously close to being empty, his fidgeting in his chair, but still i held on like a stoic soldier putting up a fight until the end could no longer be avoided.

i can't say that much has changed since those days of dialogue. only that i still fight with reality and try to hold on as long as i possibly can, as if on a roller coaster ride, eyes squeezed shut, clutching the steel bar securing my legs, wanting to be oblivious that the ride will come to an end.

because they always do. and somehow i am almost always saddened and surprised by the end of things.

the other night i had coffee with this guy i had already written into my life manuscript as friend material. my intuition is usually never too far off. we did have a lovely conversation, finding we shared quite a few similarities and discussed the merits of frederick buechner over salad and macaroni and cheese. and though my colleague at work, jacqueline had warned me not to spend more than an hour with him, i found myself in a familiar posture, holding on, squeezing as much from the conversation as i could. so iced tea glass emptied, while my salad plate was methodically being disseminated and an hour and a half later, we both took a cue and exited the cafe, going our separate ways in the night. me, regretful that things had not developed as expected. him, walking home. one thing he said during dinner was about letting go. at the time it sounded terribly profound and almost acutely lacerating into my inner person, hairs raising on my arms, a mysterious light emanating around his head, me wondering if God was speaking through him. i remember it was terribly profound, but can't remember anything other than "letting go..."and then he threw up. just kidding.

the reasons for my stalwart determination could be varied. maybe it's because change, though i embrace it unabashedly, makes me kind of cringe. i love people and being with them but all of the variables are not fully realized, like when you will see the person again, when you will be allowed to probe their thoughts and engage their intellect again. so each conversation takes the form of potentially being the last. maybe i am a true realist. maybe this is an extension of my choice years ago to live a life sans regrets. maybe this makes me a terribly cynical person. what i know for certain is that it is entwined in my intensity.

so little by little i am learning to let go, to open up each finger from the thing which is being grasped. but my heart is still kind of resistant to the whole thing. but this year i have been infusing my life with the serenity prayer, like someone in a 12 step program. i am learning to see that there are some things in life which must be accepted for what they are, and some things that can be changed. it's the grey area of discerning the difference between these two realms that can be a bit tricky.

all of this over knowing when to leave. when to appreciate a dialogue/situation/person for what it is and not trying to make it more or less than it needs to be. leaving takes a measure of grace. and i am in the process of tapping into it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

my patch of moonlight

moonlight glistens on the gentle motions
of the ocean tonight.
i notice the immensity of the darkness
cresting into a midnight blue hue
finding its solace, its place
of comfort in one patch of lit-up water
as if it could be incandescent.
the world and all of its beauty,
a mystery to behold, to ponder
and realize its vastness; i realize
i don't have all the answers
and sometimes the questions get muddled,
as if in a traffic jam of other words,
less meaningful. stuck and unable to ever make it out
they work their way down into the soft parts
of the body finding their realization there.
i have this minute feeling of failure poring
down on this one patch of my person-
small enough that the rest of me remains unaffected
except for this little circle of light hitting me
uncomfortably, calling me out,
a veritable pebble on a huge field-
but a pebble that seems to bear a lot of weight
for its size and is not so easily sloughed off.

Monday, September 20, 2004

it's all greek to me

saturday night, katy and i decided to attend this greek festival held at a greek orthodox church in the mission district. as we looked for parking and drove by, we could hear music reverberating from the back lot where all the people congregated. upon entering the festival, we passed the gyro booth with the smell of succulent lamb emanating into the chilly night air, making it warmer. next we passed a booth of copied paintings- attempts at great favorites like "the kiss" by klimt, "the french cafe" by van gogh. on we walked and passed the biggest brown turkey figs i have ever seen. some of them were as big as my fist! as we were marveling over the figs, pam walked up and surprised us. she said she, darren and their son jesse were at a table with some of their friends from work. we continued walking around the booths, perusing all the delights and finally settled on gyros for dinner.

grandmothers sat alongside their children who sat next to their children. the multiple generational component was powerful. the youth group danced in traditional greek and cretan attire. the boys' slick black riding boots appeared impressive all smashing down together at the same time on the ground. after the show, the musicians played so the audience could dance. katy and i got up, joined the grapevine and got into sync with the other dancers. pam chased jesse around the periphery of the dance area, where he ran around, flailing his arms, looking like the lord of the dance. she then grabbed his arms and danced along with him, in tandem with the community of dancers around father, holding daughter's hand, mother holding grandmother's.

prior to this evening, i thought only one form of grapevine dancing existed. for whatever reason, my mind hearkens thoughts of dancing to "hava negila..." saturday night i found out a whole myriad of grapevine dances pair with certain songs, much like you wouldn't dance a mambo to cumbia music. i laughed so hard as we held shoulders with our neighbors, left foot crossing in front of right. this one man held my left shoulder as his bald head gleamed under the bright outside lights, his teeth loomed down on me large and white, carniverous almost... i decided not to look at him again, otherwise i would get freaked out.

katy, a non-greek woman named caroline and i chatted for a bit. caroline has had a very interesting career-life. she was a consultant for energy companies overseas and has traveled extensively. she became interested in greek dancing during a short stint in greece, took classes and was hooked. she now works as a strategy consultant to non-profits.

we had a very lively discussion about my experiences at the living room and about the wednesday night dinners held at church. she and katy got up to dance again. i stayed seated, as my quad muscle was pulsing with a dull ache from the soccer game friday night (which we won!) i checked my email this morning and caroline has already emailed me inquiring when we can get together to continue our discussion.

i feel like i am in a game of connect the dots, i'm just not sure how they all connect right now.
from meeting todd (who i am having coffee with tomorrow night to discuss his role with the non-profit he started), stephanie, the life coach from last week's dave matthews concert and now caroline, a strategy consultant for non-profits. all of them interacting with me, a marketing coordinator, who believes these meetings are not chance encounters but part of the other.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

a dashboard confessional

so another angle on the concert in golden gate park involved a guy named john.

how it all started out was that katy and i arrived at the park later than we had thought, due to the previous late night at the greek festival. as we approached the front of the line, we learned that morissey, the concert headliner had laryngitis and a high fever and would not be performing. people literally left the line in search of full refunds. the other artists on the ticket were howie day, dashboard confessionals, and tears for fears. we walked to the main pavilion area and katy copped a squat while i set out in seach of better seats. i found this SWEET spot, really close to the front. this guy let us take up some of his blanket space since there would only be two of us. i thanked him and called katy on my cell, letting her know of our new bounty.

this guy sitting to the left of our spot was looking in my direction and he looked pretty friendly so i said hi and we started chatting. his name was john and though he had come to the concert with five friends from sacramento, only he had entered the concert. the others had opted for full refunds and set out for haight street. we invited him to sit with us, since this concert we had plenty of space. he looked really happy to not sit alone. we all began to talk about music. he told us about his current favorite band "trashcan sinatras" and his current fixation with french pop music.

he said he installs carpets with a big grin on his face. i wasn't sure about the grin, so i asked if he liked it and he said that it gives him total flexibility, allows him to make some good money and he can set his own schedule. he's traveled to europe and originally lived in philadelphia. by this point in our time hanging out we all felt very chummy. he and i talked about the stupid things transposed onto the shoulders of twentysomethings and thirtysomethings like marriage and owning homes. i mean we agreed it should be a person's choice not some sort of societal mandate.

he then shared that he has been married for a year and a half. he and his wife separated for about six months not getting into specific details, but citing the transitions during that year as being a factor. he said they just had reconciled and are giving it another go. wow. i was able to encourage him in this endeavor. from listening well to married friends, especially newly married ones, i was able to reiterate to him that the first year is either very difficult or not so difficult. he told me that he doesn't drink anymore. that he likes the way he feels without alcohol in his system. we talked about spirituality, namely that he believes in God and that there are no coincidences. he knows God is watching out for him. when chris carabba took the stage, john, me and my camera walked at a clipped pace to the front of the crowd near the stage and joined a throng of junior high girls. i could stand about one song worth of squealing before i walked to the back.

what a joy it was to meet him. we all felt like we had known each other for years by the end of the concert. i promised to pray for him and his wife marie. and he went on his own way seeking out his friends, bound for haight street. katy and i left too, bound for her apartment, but came across a t-shirt vendor selling "now&zen" t-shirts with the name "morissey" emblazoned across the front. needless to say the t-shirts were $5 each... this biker in a muscle t-shirt bought katy and i both a t-shirt. we headed to haight street, got smoothies and headed home. just another great, sunny day in the city.

regression into junior high

i saw tears for fears perform today. i was as close as anyone could have been, my body almost up against the security grate. from where i stood i could see roland orzabal so clearly, that when he made the weird lipped expressions when playing guitar alone (as my friend kenny tells me all good guitarists usually are able to sing the lines being played on the guitar) i could see them distinctly. earlier in the concert, dashboard confessionals' chris carabba heard girls scream:

"i love you!"
"oh my gosh, i'm going to cry."
"you're so hot!"

i was nothing like those girls, but maybe mine was just a more grown-up form of fandom. i took 18 photos of him and of curt smith. i think a few of them will turn out to be smashing. they were still so fresh in their vocal abilities and gave a great show. i particularly loved their british bantering like when they made a comment about "how everybody loves a happy ending (title of new CD), but then how can they explain the success of Shakepeare's tragedies?" silence from the audience. a few of us guffawed.

he's gotten so much older. i am so much older. i used to have a mad crush on him in junior high and high school. i loved his voice, and also how his face sang along too, not just his mouth taking the lead. today as i watched him i kept wondering what it was like to sing these songs made popular over a decade ago, only to unearth them and see/hear the audience sing each lyric. what different people all of us are. today i retained the sense of my crush for the duration of the set, but left it at the front of the stage, as i walked back to meet up with my friend and leave the concert. junior high girl neatly packed back up into my backpack. but i'm still looking forward to developing those 18 photos.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

speaking of soccer...

it's as though i woke up one morning and saw, literally rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and laid both brown eyes down on the fact that it is a brand new day. most anything is still possible. so along with dancing, i added soccer to the line up of my extracurricular affairs.

friday nights for the next 9 weeks, a small group of beginners like me, have committed to playing intramural soccer. our team is named after an obscure star wars character TK421.
i always thought i would enjoy soccer. back in high school, my friend jb used to play on the school team. she was good. really good. she made it look so easy. i have always liked the simplicity of soccer. you have a goal. you try to kick the ball into it. no wonder it's so universal. in my mind i understand why it could be construed as the true global language, instead of english...

but anyway, my body is a good shield. it always has been. i expect that if i have kids one day, it will be used to shield them if big things try to attack. i have always been very voracious in protecting in this way. which is why maybe the role of defending the goal suits me well. it definitely allows this aggressive side of me to surface. though i have to remind myself this isn't hockey- we are not supposed to check... but a little body contact never hurt anyone too much.
in this way hearkening back to my tomboy roots... :)

as the game began, my heart was pumping in this jubilous thump-a-thump scratch and my adrenaline was rushing. it felt so good to kick a ball away from the opponent, to get it away from their feet, get it out of the goal vicinity. i walked away, not terribly winded and grinning with my two "war wounds-" a lovely purplish blue circle etched around the top of my knee and a mild discoloration on my wrist. evidence that i had fought the good fight. recognition of being in something bigger than myself. contributing to the greater good. taking one for the team. loving every minute of it.

class 0916: discovery 101

i am going through this explorative phase of life right now.

it's like i'm a kid all over again and actively seeking out things i was never sure i would be good at. and it all began so innocently. so benignly. really.

i was at a party a few weeks ago that a new friend was throwing in his big ol' pac heights house. i went with katy and neither of us knew anyone else there. so we mingled, met a few people and finally stood in a corner, me looking at his collection of books on the shelf (owing to my belief that you can tell a lot by a person based on seeing what they read) and katy assessing the extensive decorative plate ensemble on the wall. at this point, i really didn't feel like walking up to another random person, when in came several friends from grad school, a few of them that i hadn't seen in a while. one of them was quite the wild child and briefly after entering the room started dancing in the back where we stood. after a little while i started bobbing to the sound of the beat until all of us were dancing.

and i danced on. and on, late into the evening. i couldn't recollect when before dancing had felt so freeing, made me feel so alive. maybe it was the stress at work that i had endured for weeks leading up to the party, but i danced like no one was watching- least of all my new friend.
what a great feeling! i felt this connection with my dad as i danced, thinking how this part of him that is part of me and has been tucked away for so long came to the surface on the dance floor. almost as if it would have made him proud to see me dancing. which as i will blog later, he actually commented on... by the end of the evening, i couldn't remember having had so much fun or laughing quite as much.

three days later i found myself going to my first samba dance class at my gym. and laughing. sometimes out loud at myself. specifically at finding i had rhythm at times i wouldn't have expected and realizing it's not always all that perfect. but it was fun. our instructor "samba doug" would let out a squeal from time to time, as if emitting vocally the joy his body felt physically.

the next day was a hip hop dance class with jose. so much fun. still a little shaky in my rhythms. but loving every minute. even when we all slam down into the ground in unison. he's such a great teacher.

i haven't taken dance since i was in junior high, when i loved to dance but knew i wouldn't be the top pupil, might not have the best memory retention in my feet and legs, didn't look super-cute in leotards... and yet what a different place this is for me.

it's like i had to overcome this obstacle I SET in my mind.

"oh i'll never try that because i might not be good at it."
"oh it's too late to do such and such."
"i wish i had played soccer as a kids."

it doesn't matter if i mess up, i keep going. i don't have that lovely junior high self-image and mental tape running in my head anymore. i can fail and fall down and get bruised and still be just as precious in the eyes of God. because in the end i want to live life to the absolute fullest sans regret.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

life coaching at dave matthews

sunday afternoon the fog had burned off enough that blue patches replaced grey ones in the sometimes dismal sunset neighborhood of san francisco. katy and i tried multiple times to hop on a bus, hail any taxi that would stop to get to the dave matthews benefit concert in golden gate park- to no avail, until one taxi finally pulled over.

our driver, a nice tunisian man, with musical notes and melodies from lebanon playing in the background took off as soon as we had shut the door. he knew where we needed to go. he also knew that 1/14th of the city would be in attendance, as evidenced by the gridlock found on fulton and probably experienced on lincoln. never before had we seen so many stuffed busses, stuffed cabs, resembling tins of sardines on wheels- all headed to the same place. our driver zipped along on side streets until he finally dropped us off at the main intersection. people of all different sizes and socio-economic backgrounds milled about and forged a way through the woods with such purpose. we followed suit and passed a grove where we had crashed a postal workers' credit union salsa party two years before. upon entering the polo fields where the concert would be held, we saw throngs of people as far as the eye could see forward. which of course got my blood and my feet pumping.

katy and i have been to many concerts together and know each other's m.o. we usually grab an okay spot and send me out to do reconnaissance to see if more prime spots exist (they always do). so after taking some time to assess the configuration of the stage i set down my blanket, as a discoverer claiming his plot of land would have during the age of exploration. we were situated in between a man with no leg or fingers and in front of a woman and some kids. on the right was this girl and her boyfriend who had a knack for twirling a clear orb over his knuckles and arm to the rhythm of the music.

katy left to go explore all the offerings of the booths and try to secure concert pins for us. i stayed and relished the sunshine, lying down on the blanket and opening my book on cadavers that we are reading in our book club. the woman behind me asked if the book was any good; she had heard a lot about it. i put the book down, never opened it again at the concert, as we began dialoguing at first about the book and then next about our lives.

her name is stephanie. she is a life coach. she is a single parent with two children- one who accompanied her to the concert, is 17, but looks 13 and another with the opposite misfortune.
i was totally intrigued by her profession, and as i am oft-prone to do, began to ask a lot of questions about it.

life coaches help people who are at a place of transition, but can't get there by themselves.
very interesting. people who are ready to change, are aided by life coaches who help facilitate and enable the change to come to fruition. throughout our conversation i learned that resistance is really only negative thoughts and usually last only 52 seconds long. if you can move through that gap of time, you can resist the resistance. she explained to me that when you meet someone you don't like or a situation that is unfavorable, try the "yes and" approach, where you acknowledge the reality of the situation/your sentiments to the other person, but move past it with the conjunction "and."

so hypothetically if i meet someone named horton and i think he is a jerk, i need to say "yes and" this is what i will bring into this situation. kind of like giving second chances/moving past initial reactions that are scheduled into everyday encounters. it takes 21-28 days to break or form a new habit. we talked about posture and how she actually had studied the science of body language (had some long quirky name to it). she made the point that if a person stands erect, there is no way that they will feel depressed.

we talked about my encounters and relationships with street kids and i mentioned a few specific people and situations. we talked about how even when you want to help someone make a change for the better, if they are not ready, in this case to get off the streets, then you have to accept it.
i told her about my meditation time sunday morning involving renewal, restoration and isaiah (recorded in another blog) and how jesus is the living water all of us are thirsty for. she seemed to be tracking me, as we began talking about spirituality and the role it plays in human development. in the end she said i would make a good life coach and encouraged me to check out their school. she mentioned some authors too, which if i had had a pen would have been useful for further evaluation and learning.

what a great conversation. to me some of life's highest moments are great conversations.

to my left katy was talking to our neighbor, who was sharing his story. he had been a skilled athlete- surfing and skiing mostly and then was diagnosed with toxic shock disorder, which ended up taking most of his right leg and all of his fingers. he told her that he has several kids who are very active in sports and doing well. he looks like he is a little down on his luck and potentially living outside. she offered to buy him a beer. i handed him the bag of low carb chips from which we were munching.

stephanie shared one of our blankets for a while, until kenny, stacey and maela showed up.
when the concert actually began, three hours after we had arrived, we got up and danced. and even our new friends danced- stephanie on two healthy legs and our neighbor without a leg bopping his head up and down from the ground. what a fabulous san francisco afternoon.

Monday, September 13, 2004

a perpetual spring

yesterday when i woke up i meditated as is my common practice.i am currently reading through the prophet isaiah and have been pleasantly surprisedto see how man references there are to redemption and renewal, to restoration and even sanctuary. as i kept reading and thinking about my reading it made me think about spa items.there is a vast proliferation of spa items in the marketplace right now. i know this because wehave been researching what is being done and figuring out what we shall provide our clients that is innovative and different. the same words are used tirelessly from the main names to descriptions of products. words like restoration, and renewal... so this got me i see it, all of us recognize that we need restoration, our lives lack renewal. we are tired and worn down. our lives are crammed with activities, production and overall busyness. what we crave and seek are the adverse of what already exists in our lives. so when you or i go to a store and buy a spa pouch labeled "Renew," what we are really buying is a concept we want to soak into our most inner parts. What ends up happening though is that for a time we soak it in and it affects our externals- our olfactory sense, our porous skin. During the soak it may feel luxuriant and lush, and perhaps truly jettison a person into a space of sanctuary. But the trick is it never we as a people keep looking for new ways to be renewed and restored. and no matter whether we think it lies in an indulgent vacation or enticing experience, they too never last.i was reminded of an encounter jesus had with a samaritan woman at a well. how she had gone there to draw water, not aware that she would have a life-altering interaction. jesus sits down for a spell and asks her for a drink because he is thirsty. she quickly responds that he is a jew and she is a samaritan. (the two people groups didn't have a great deal of exuberance in the other group) why would he ask her for a drink? his response to her is such a pivotal statement in my life. "if you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water." But she doesn't quite get what he's saying. She sees he has no rope or bucket and can't understand where he gets this "living water" from because the well they are at is very deep. She recognizes the value of the water drawn from this well of ancient origins, and can't see how what he offers is superior to it. he responds."people soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. but the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. it becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life."eternal life. a perpetual spring. sounds enticing right? now she gets it. her candid interjection of asking him to give her some of this water, so as she says, she will never thirst again is met through jesus' piercing way of seeing things as they are. he calls her out and basically through a string of repartee divulges to her her life situation in which she currently finds herself- a pattern that has been repeated for some time in her relational life. she recognizes he has keen insight and believes him to be a prophet. during the remainder of their dialogue she has moved from a place of disinterest to excitable interest. so much so that she leaves her water jug at the well, runs back to town and proclaims, "Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! Can this be the Messiah?" after which the people follow her back to the well. they want to see this man and see if it is possible... could he be the Messiah?and we today are no different. we want to be renewed, restored, revived. but there is a price. we have to move from unbelief to belief- a radical one really that claims God is alive and in our midst and He can still give us this living water. He can see our deepest hurts and darkest moments, call them what they are, and invite us to move beyond them, invite us to know ourselves as He knows us, as He knows we can become. but we have to accept this gift of His, realizing the well we are drawing from in our own lives is very deep, but its nourishment is very temporary. very temporary. when we offers lasts eternally. what a comparison.come let us embark on a journey of being renewed. of finally being restored. of gratefully entering into and abiding in His sanctuary.