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05

Nov

it’s me for you, and you for me.

I have been thinking a lot about need.  I am intrigued by the notion of one thing requiring the presence of another for wholeness or completion.  

I notice in the American culture the social “etiquette” of self-sustenance.  It has become polite to not require the help of people around you.  This idea of “you take care of you” or “we will take care of us” seems to be a central goal in growing older.  I see a correlation between accumulating more things in order to limit or eliminate this idea of need.  We don’t have to ask a friend for help if we can hire someone.  Or, we don’t need to call a friend to talk through a problem in fear of burdening them and admitting that we need a listening ear or advice.  I find myself apologizing all the time when I ask for help.   

I would argue that this culture of self-sustenance tears at the central fibers of a humanity created for relationship. 

Lately I have been a grateful recipient of help from many kind and gracious people, and have had the blessing of sharing small resources that I have.  There is something beautiful in the exchange: “I need you and you need me.”  This humble realization connects us in a deeper way.    

I am stirred to think about the needs of people around me, and also the needs I have.  I want to have the humility to ask for help, and to dignify the needs of others by offering it.  I cannot talk too much about this without seeing the overriding parallels and application of this idea and the body of Christ.  I love the metaphor of each part contributing to the wholeness in function to the entire being.  An arm cannot function as an ear, or an eye as a heart.  It reminds me of the song that I sang as I watched my sister and brother-in-law walk out of their wedding ceremony:

Look for me as you You Go By  

By: Innocence Mission

Hang my head low, so low.
Don’t see me only as I am but
see me how I long to be,
how I long to be
Shining like a flowering tree
under the gray Pennsylvania sky.
Look for me as you go by.

Hang my head low, so low.
Every burden shall be lifted.
Every stone upon your back slide into the sea.
It’s me for you, and you for me.
It’s me for you, and you for me.
It’s me for you, and you for me.
It’s me for you, and you for me.
It’s me for you, and you for me.
It’s me for you, and you for me.
It’s me for you, and you for me.
It’s me for you, and you for me.

It’s me for you, and you for me.

18

Nov

Flying in front of the moon…
(My little wooden birds hanging in my living room made by my friend, Kagiri)

Flying in front of the moon…

(My little wooden birds hanging in my living room made by my friend, Kagiri)

17

Nov

0 plays

I know we don’t need to go from good to worse
Living in the past begins to end and first
All I want is a horizon line
Get some clarity following signs

I can comb my path, it leads up to a clearing
Get some distance while the words come in so clear
And then I’ll head out to horizon lines
Get some clarity ocean side

Feist (Circle Married the Line)

16

Nov

Don’t bet against the grace of God.
a friend of my pastor, Bob Reid

07

Nov

a skyline framed by trees…the way it should be

a skyline framed by trees…the way it should be

24

Aug

Adios, First Day of School

Fall is nipping the heels of summer, parents are forking over hundreds of dollars for “new back-to-school clothes,” the sun is greeting the horizon a little bit earlier in the evening, sweatshirts are optional on these sweet, cool nights, and the grocery stores are out of hotdog buns after weekends full of people hosting BBQ’s in attempts to suck the very last drop out of summer.  All to say, Fall is here.  

These in-between days beckon me, and for the first time in my life this beautiful transition is not muddled with the dread of returning back to school.  I am now a liberated adult: a co-worker, a rent-payer, a coffee-drinker, an El-rider at 9am and 5pm. I am not plagued by who I am going to sit with at lunch, or whether or not my teachers will give homework on the first day.  Up to my senior year in college my skin felt jumpy on the first day of classes.  All of the insecurities from twenty years of my school-attending life would surface simultaneously.  I would morph into an awkward jr. higher and consider eating my lunch in the bathroom (instead I would eat it in my apartment alone).  Then after the first day, everything was back to normal.  I would see my friends, sit in lectures, and delve into more reading than I would ever finish.  

Now this one anxiety-ridden day is nixed from my life forever.  Over. Done.  I don’t quite know what to do with this newfound reality.  Should I make a toast to the end of back to school first days?  Do a heel click?  Throw an apple in the air?  

Who knows?  I might just do all three.

30

Mar

peanut butter cup

I don’t know why I write about the bus so much…maybe it is because I ride it for an hour or more each day.  Today I made a simple yet happy observation.  A middle-aged woman scurried on the bus with a furrowed brow, hidden behind her sleepingbag-like coat.  Her hood scrunched around her face only to allow a circle of her face appear like a barn owl.  I smiled to myself because the temperature was a balmy 33 Chicago degrees, why so bundled?

As the ride went on I forgot about the woman, getting lost in thought about how I was a bad person because I purposefully avoided a girl from my school.  I had a battle within myself whether or not I was justified in my averted eyes and beeline to the back of the bus.  I finally excused myself by realizing I had started my day with class at 7:30 and ended work at 8.  

After my internal sigh of relief that I wasn’t a bad person, I looked over at the owl woman who had just consumed a miniature Reese’s peanut butter cup.  She seemed a little bit happier, and I could tell she was savoring that little morsel that children usually scarf on Halloween night.  I looked away to let her have her moment.  A few seconds later I glanced back to see her licking that little wrapper a couple times.  

Make it last as long as you can, that’s what I say.

02

Mar

my recreation in watercolor


my recreation in watercolor

27

Feb

Misericordia

Today on the bus I saw a lady carrying a tote bag with a striking illustration printed on the front.  A small wheelchair sat on a lush green hill, and directly above the chair a little boy was gripping a handful of multicolored balloons, which removed him from his wheelchair.  Underneath this scene stood a word in Spanish, “misericordia.”  This word means “mercy” or “compassion.”

            Maybe the boy wheeled himself upon that hill to be alone, or maybe someone wheeled him there to get some fresh air.  One could be content just sitting on that hill with the right disposition.  I’m sure I would be happy there. 

Lately my motivations has clung to the gray wool clouds that have hovered over the city.  Like a lint trap that hasn’t been emptied in awhile, my head feels fuzzy and in desperate need of clearing.  The sky keeps dusting snow, and then it soaks it up in the droplets of rain that follow.  The weeks have been dragging on at snail speed.   Opening the blinds seems pointless when it doesn’t let any more light in.  A sunny spot on a green lush hill would surely make things all right. 

            Who is the balloon man who just left the scene?  What was he doing on that hill?  Shouldn’t he be at a carnival or parade or a children’s birthday party?  If I’m not mistaken, balloon men usually give out only one at a time, or is that just the policy for clowns?  What a streak of luck!   A whole fistful of floating balloons for one boy!  I hope they don’t slip from his small fingers.  Kids often lose the battle of control over balloons to the helium that so quickly wiggles them skyward.  Not this boy.  The balloon man gently, but firmly knotted the bunch around his skinny wrist.  Before he knew it, his wrist rose above his head and yanked his shoulder and the left side of his torso from the squeaky chair.  He tried to grab the chair out of pure reflex, but his right hand slipped on the metal handle.  His hand dropped limp and his little lifeless legs dangled in the fresh air.  Before he knew what hit him, he was delivered. 

            This small tote bag, which was probably carrying library books, made me feel like my heart was also attached to one of those balloons…most definitely the yellow one.  The sun came out today for the first time in weeks.