pensive corridor meetings with my boss’s boss

In certain situations, there are certain adjectives that are just not preferable, no matter how accurate you feel they are.

In the situation of a girl without make-up: “tired,” “worn-out,” “haggard” are clear no-no’s.

In the situation of a girl on her period: “sensitive,” “hungry?” “cranky.” Nope.

In the situation of a girl having a crisis of faith, however small: “sad,” “dejected,” “so downcast o my soul.” Stop.

It takes a person of some wisdom to instead ask such a girl why she’s looking so…”pensive.” Instead of what she probably really looked like, which was probably something like “too apparently sad. and at work, at that. because she has no emotion filter.” or something like that.

It takes a person of some deep care to ask such a girl a few days later about how’s she’s doin’, still. call her “miss,” probably not even knowing how nice that sounds to her unattuned ears.

Cause then, that girl might just respond openly (albeit…pensively) and share with you her thoughts of late — about how there’s no archaeological evidence of the Jewish slaves’ exodus out of Egypt, about how she can’t remember those salient times when God seemed to have been real in her life, about how she’s still believin’, but how it’s just confusing and hard sometimes, but how she’s just trying to be honest about all that, instead of trying to be a preemie-wise sage, for once.

And then you might just proceed to have a conversation in a quiet corridor tucked away in the building next door, weirdly next to a mothers’ lactation room and a bunch of vending machines by which she keeps getting distracted. A place in this building that you’d never been to before, though you have worked at this place for 30-some years. You might just try your hardest to get through to this stubborn girl who isn’t even a nonbeliever but keeps asking you those nonbelievers’ questions — “how can you say this is divine appointment” “what if everything is just random” “what if I don’t believe in this whole construct so none of this makes any sense to me” — just because her heart feels hard and empty. You might still keep trying. You might remind her:

  • there’s something innate in us that causes us to have faith in a whole bunch of things that may or may not be reliable. such as other drivers on the road. and a whole lot of food servers in the course of a lifetime.
  • there’s something innate in us that rebels against death. it seems unnatural and wrong to us and we wish for some more time and we wish for more than just this life. (because we are eternal beings. we were meant for eternity, Ecclesiastes 3:11 “he has put eternity into man’s heart.”)
  • feelings are unreliable. they can shift about and make you feel so sure one moment, then so uncertain the next. so how can you base your faith on such a thing. how can you even trust that certainty in the moment. faith is not a feeling.
  • when God feels far away, it’s not He who has moved, but you. He’s holding ya in his hands.

Which are probably things she already knows, has learned before. But still, the reminders are good. They just might hit home and break the crackly veneer of hardness that was starting to choke.

And then, you know, she just might burst into tears right there in front of that lactation room and all those vending machines — so private yet so public — and you might have to offer her a hug and a prayer. Both of which she will gratefully and unresistantly accept, for the first time in a long time.

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With answers to questions she may have been searching for in her old journals or something.

accountability

accountability hurts sometimes, but only when it’s working.

accountability is supposed to make you cringe a little bit, but only at the way your sins are being revealed — not because your accountability person is so harsh or evil (note to self: don’t be such a wallower).

accountability leads to repentance (by this I mean: concerted efforts –> a “turn from ____” kind of change).

accountability might end up with both soft-hearted people holding on for dear life, saying “sorry!” and “no it’s okay! thank you!” and agreeing that it’s good but not without its flinchy “ow”s, like working out and having your shoulders hurt cause those darn muscles are smol, so smol. or your pecs. either/or.

ah. wow. thank you.

and this well-timed email link is eerily appropriate for this post, minus the nude leotards and disregarding the jarring fact that apparently JoJo is still alive and kickin’:

Crucify Him

I sing, “Hosanna!” when I want it all.
Then I crucify the Son of God.
Cause He isn’t who I always thought.
Not what I want, but what I needed.
I sing, “How great and mighty is the King!”
Just as long as He considers me
High above every other thing.
Even His glory.

Broken like a record.
Spinning round and round
Like a hurricane.
I pour out water then I disappear.
Reappearing when I fear enough,
Or need a touch from You.
I sing, “Hosanna!” once again
Then I say, “Crucify Him!”

It’s packaged differently than Pharisees.
Wrapped in sing-a-longs and Christianese.
Empty hallelujahs to the King.
When my heart is loving idols.
A man of sorrows acquainted with grief,
He had no form; He had no majesty.
How could He have the audacity
To ask me to give Him my tomorrow?

Broken like a record.
Spinning round and round
Like a hurricane.
I pour out water then I disappear.
Reappearing when I fear enough,
Or need a touch from You.
I sing, “Hosanna!” once again
Then I say, “Crucify Him!”

Forgiveness,
Forgiveness and love.


There’s something about sorrow that deepens one’s understanding of comfort. And something about sin and brokenness that deepens the meaning of grace. And something about suffering that reminds of the necessity for obedience. The necessity for worship-anyway.

There’s something about the book-end drives back and forth on a weekend trip — that was pretty great in and of itself — that underlines, again and again, in page-creasing ink, the mysterious workings of God through unassuming characters, meaningfully placed in my life.

Suffering doesn’t necessarily promise a lesson in hindsight. You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting a be-ribboned package of life lessons waiting for you at the end of the tunnel; meaning restored and deep understanding, you may or may not come to gain. Not always. But what actually does (must) follow are these: Faith despite feelings. Obedience amidst crushing discouragement. Worship with tear-choked throats. Praise God. Praise God. Praaaise God.


I come, God, I come
Return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still all that I need
You’re enough for me
You’re enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

fighting with people

why does “communication” always assume the positive?

“they just need to learn to communicate [well, better]”

“my parents don’t really communicate [well]”

“wow [good] communication really is key!”

we’ve been omitting the qualifier adjectives in these sentences too long, too long. why is it assumed that talking about communication means talking about communicating well? it shouldn’t be.

cause, like all good things (like all good tools of life-doing), there inevitably exists an other-side edge of the sword. the scary, swordy one.

the edge that slices through thick, awkward conversation clouds; cuts through the elephant in the room; pokes and twists a little bit in the heart when used precisely — swish and flick. and all of a sudden there’s a thundercloud broken in half over your living room, pouring a deluge over your dead elephant, sliced and gruesome on your hardwood floor, and all the party-goers fall silent, frowning to turn to the dead interruption they’d all secretly been waiting for.

terrible communication can really hurt. and confuse. sometimes I fight with people whose minds I wish I could peer into, 3D and transparent. I want to see the workings of their brain, little neurons firing not-so-little signals over those synapseys, so cute, so powerful. –> makes me think of powerpuff girls, but that’s neither here nor there. the point is that sometimes, it’s just so tempting to hold a person between the temples, two handed, firm, and yell “WHAT IS GOING ON IN THERE; HELP ME UNDERSTAAAAND AND WE’LL FIGHT MUCH BETTER”

cause the most terrible fightings with people are because of terrible communication — where neither party is peering into the other’s brainsynapsees, not even trying. or maybe you’re trying, but they won’t let you. or maybe you say you’re trying, but are looking with your eyes wide SHUT. refusing to empatheyes 😦

terrible communication wreaks real havoc. causes human shut-downs and elephant murders. brings out past hurts and unravels dialogue, actively not resolving anything. we just can’t take [Positive] as the assumed default; the stakes are too high for that kind of carelessness.

good lovers need to be good fighters. and probably, there’s something to say about good fighters making good lovers, too — why else would Shakespeare have made so many of his couples such sparrers of words?

I dunno how to fix this yet — speak slowly? look earnestly? listen carefully?

actually, here, let’s try again — lay down pride. admit faults and un-smartness (especially when it smarts the most). pray.

disclaimer: I am not in a fight with my boyfriend, just…sayin’

blegh.