Tuesday, September 27, 2005

a classic moment

it's late and i should be asleep, considering the super shuttle, also known as my alternate form of transportation will be here at 4 a.m.

yet, here i am awake with a story to tell. i left work around 7 p.m., trying to tie up loose ends since i am flying to texas tomorrow for a tradeshow. my boss and i had a moment- one of those rare moments where everything makes sense and i left aware of my need to remember her in my dialogues with my Father.

i'm at home packing, and realize i can't find my tradeshow binder or file of to-do items. i comb through my room, my car and the house. nothing. then a feeling of dreaded understanding creeps through me. i left it at work. 45 minutes away.

so, my sweet roomie lori drives me to pick up keys and out to work. i finally find it in the sample room downstairs. whew. as we're driving back to the city, i'm hoping lori has money to cross the bridge. i had $3.83. we drive up to the toll booth and the booth worker's face looks grim. yikes. so lori passes him the money and he counts it. he then tells us it's only $3.83. i tell him we had jetted out to marin for an emergency, and we weren't totally prepared... to which he responds, "well, do you have 15 more cents?" i found another nickel and my face became hopeful.

what a nice man- he let us through on $3.83 instead of the expected $5. never a dull moment.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

craft: part i

i’ve been tucking myself away in my room and writing more lately- trying to practice the discipline associated with engaging in the craft itself. a slew of poems have been pouring out, amidst my small space of a room, in which i take pains to bring about the right atmosphere- a burning roman frankincense candle scenting the air, perhaps sade playing in the background and me, turning on the lamp with a coral lampshade which casts its warm, rosy hue throughout the room.

In these moments of dim warmth, I am releasing words on the page that feel utterly close to something like an intimacy between good friends or kindred spirits. But some of it feels too private to share with my writing circle. Mainly because that entails people, even those loved and dear, scrutinizing cherished insights, delicious thoughts, as if they were butterfly specimen on a lab table. Cold and scientific. I suppose it is one of the catch-22’s in life: wanting to understand, but wanting some wonder and mystery to remain. The balance is quite elusive sometimes, even as a portal slightly obscured by sand. Perhaps at times, the way we go about poking and prodding God as if He is one who may be fully known and yet who truly can know the mind of God?

And this week, even my chiropractor admonished me that I should get a move on with it and start trying to seek to get my book published (not that of poetry, but a memoir of conversations and concepts). As he stood over me, about to adjust my neck, he reminded me of the important thing that is risk and the even more important thing that is “the early bird getting the worm.” And so I’m thinking on it again. Wondering when life will tarry just a second for me to work out a game plan. But perhaps I will have to wait until I go overseas when I might be able to immerse myself in writing. Not sure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

the way you look 10 years later

You work as: a lawyer in an insurance agency, docent in a gallery featuring local hand-blown glass, a mother of two beautiful girls, a photographer in your spare time, an administrative assistant, an artist in new york city, coaching soccer, a social worker, writing a screenplay or three, a terrorist researcher at the center for disease control, a veritable nun living in isolation from culture, in an ashram seeking yogic nirvana.

You are still: warm and friendly, insincere yet smiling, uncomfortable with who you are, apologetic about who you’ve become, more open and less shy, raucous with a sparkling laugh that fills the room with color, squealing with delight, aware of imminent possibilities, not sure who to side with on issues of faith, fake and straightforward about it, fake and subtle about it, unsuspecting, naïve but more careworn

We have come to this thing called a reunion with such different motivations. I guess I am glad to reconnect and see that things are different and yet not so different- that we end up just looking better ten years down the line. One person giggling with wine still lingering in the air comments three times how of course I had to be there, it’s as if all is right with the world and continues on remembering me as laughing, laughing, full of laughter. Even as we comment, “did you say laughter three times,” and I’m touched by her gesture, even if laced with wine.

Another friend and I encounter each other as if inevitability led to this moment, that if not here, our paths might cross in rome, los angeles, new york, and I learn that she no longer is impassioned over tori amos music, but plans to concoct a screenplay involving “plato’s the republic”- different, yet same. I can poke you and make assumptions from you because that’s how it’s always been and time hasn’t changed that.

i am reminded that seeds, if watered well and consistently can lead to stalk or fruit shooting through what used to be perceived as rocky soil, as one friend immediately rushes over and crushes me with a hug and a squeal. she later reveals her unease at coming, but relief in thinking if only we can reconnect it will be all worthwhile. Her life is one I have treasured for so long and to see the marked change in her makes joy swell within, even knowing how much we walked through together and through how much I did not accompany her. But here we are now, important to each other, and we are able to have the most real and penetrating conversation of all others, where all is laid bare because we speak the same language of faith in a room of friends and former colleagues whose faith is in themselves.

What would I have expected from a reunion might have consisted of blown up egos and people mixing who never had previously during the high school years, and yes, there was some of that. But still Sheila stood alone, unsure of how to introduce herself into conversations, with me thinking and wondering how this could be amended at our young/late age of waning twentysomethingness.

But the way you and I look ten years later is so much better than I could have expected. Leaving me so glad to see this is the way this decade has resolved itself for us.

Monday, September 12, 2005

can people change?

The past few days I have been contemplating the concept of change: what it is intrinsically, what brings it about. There are people for whom change is easily embraced and others for whom it is very difficult. Then you have the whole other realm that involves detox or distance from the thing needing to be changed.

So here are my questions, which I would love to hear your thoughts on:

1. Can people really change?
2. What has to happen to a person to bring about lasting change? (emotionally/physically/intellectually)
3. How can a person figure out when change is short

Sunday, September 04, 2005

casting a vision

so this morning my mom called me. she doesn't usually call on sunday mornings, so i woke up to listen to the message. she informed me that my friend jeff, who's an outreach pastor at a church in west dallas is playing an interesting role in katrina relief. his church is sponsoring 25 refugees as they get put up into public housing (projects) in dallas. so it got me to thinking of what things would be of utmost importance for these refugees to have. which got me to thinking about my conversation with bill, my homeless friend on wednesday night, which i should have blogged about but never made time...

essentially all of these refugees are now homeless. and my homeless friends have such a keen insight that i, never having been homeless before cannot share in the same way. so i started thinking, wondering how our wednesday night dinners with homeless neighbors and friends could be a catalyst for not only raising relief support by involving the san francisco wednesday night homeless crowd but also as an opportunity to embolden them with purpose and a renewed sense of dignity and pride. the homeless have so much to offer and share, if we're willing to listen. they know that newspaper makes good insulation underneath clothing to cut some of the bite of a harsh wind.

i read in psalm 34 last week that "The LORD is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

that sense of diminishing of pride and dignity could totally be seen as being crushed in spirit. so, here i didn't know what this could look like, getting the homeless involved, other than having them help buy clean socks and underwear- the very things that they usually appreciate the most. so i talked to darren after the service ended and shared my partial vision. he mentioned the thought of going with and sending some of our most on target homeless with him down there to do mass feedings/to help with clean-up efforts... a crazy, beautiful picture. then ken, our minister of outreach asked if i would consider praying about going for 2 weeks in october... i would be willing to consider going for 1 week, but 2 weeks would be tricky. i have been certified through the SBC disaster relief organization in mass feeding, but the thought of going in the midst of our hot tea season might be difficult, in terms of convincing my bosses. but here's the other crazy thing is that earlier this year, i got certified in disaster relief so i could go to indonesia and do some tsunami relief work. i had already asked my boss for a week of unpaid leave, which she had consented to at the time... perhaps it was for a time like this?