Monday, January 28, 2008

Of Shadow and Illumination


Ten billion little stars, twinkle in the night sky. They shine with all the fire they can muster, and does the light reach anyone? Does any parched, little desert canyon feel a sparkle in the night? If no one is there to see the light, does it matter? And if it does or doesn’t, what of it?

The stars appear close to one another. Clusters dance in constellations, but the closeness is the illusion created by distance. Light years separate us. We look from a fixed point and watch them move and track their movements- and it is true- they move, but we are also moving, and all changes. Nothing that is will ever be again. All is change; every moment is lost even as it is born. We mourn.

Yet even the newness bears echoes of the past. We begin to rely upon the resemblance of new to old. All change in the universe starts to disintegrate into patterns, ever expanding. The radiating movement blurs before us, meaning is lost in the vastness of the universe. Is there anything, upon which I can focus? Any turning-point, upon which I can fix my eyes?

If I am just one of ten-billion stars in the universe and it is up to me to make sense of it all, to make my shining worthwhile, then just snuff this light out, I am nothing new. I cannot create meaning.

Perhaps, if we all work together we can create something beautiful, valuable. Not one small light, but many. But who orchestrates the direction of our shared luminosity? Or are we just a chaotic stream of atoms crashing together, sometimes forming chemical bonds, and sometimes breaking them?

Is my bright star really just a flashbulb of the paparazzi, going off in the night, flaring up and dying out? My moment passes. Someone else will either create something from the remnants or discard them altogether. Can this be?

In the distance, there is something greater than the flashbulbs, brighter than the stars- the Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. The creator of ten-billion humans who just want to express themselves in one way or another- who just want to be seen and to be heard.

The Maker of all things has chosen to make me, and to make me thus. Why? What are you doing here- has it any value? Do I dare question? I bow my head.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How Quickly I Forget


My heart seems to have dropped into my stomach lately. Too many roller-coasters? Not enough solid ground. All around feels foggy and dark, and though I know the voice I follow, I struggle to see where it leads. What do I do?

A little accident with the curb on Saturday turned into nail-biting waiting the rest of this week, waiting to see if the other guy (who unwittingly ran me off the road) was gonna “bail” on me or if he was honest (he was and decided to settle through the insurance company), waiting on insurance, waiting on a new steel rim, which has to be shipped from somewhere not here.

Strange means of grace have come to carry me through- rides from Ralph to work, a M.L.K. march and celebration that I happened into with dear Anna, a nice time of chat and catch up with the other Heidi, (within eyeshot but not earshot of Angela who seemed to have the same idea of catch up on the same night at the same place). I have friends who will pray with me and give words to vague longings in my heart: longings for justice, hope, understanding, courage, love.

Some days it’s just too much caffeine, too little progress, feeling burdened by a vague sense of uncertainty. Even so, all the evidence I have ever been given, in the long run, adds up to one conclusion: Trust in the Lord with all your heart. In the fog, on the roller-coaster, awaiting response, I question, and I fear. My own understanding wants to prepare for the worst. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Why do I fear? He certainly carries me through.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

PAINT IT BLACK

Today was a day of sunshine with milky clouds- warm enough to roll the windows down, cold enough to wear a coat. It was the kind of day I daydream about in August.

I convinced my colleague not to black out Valentine's Day on her planner with a permanent marker. I suggested to her that it might imply “issues” to the parents of kids she sees, and necessitate weirdly personal conversations with people who would prefer to see us in medically neutral terms- as practitioners of health and well-being. She reluctantly agreed, and instead outlined with black around the whole month of February. Where do we get the time? Two hyphenated words: NO-SHOW.

NO SHOW is when clients schedule an appointment and don’t come. It’s a common enough occurrence. Why does the dentist calls you with a reminder of your appointment? NO-SHOWS.

Reminder calls from your counselor are, in general, not a good idea- too much guilt attached. It’s too similar to a guilt trip from mom, (“Honey, did you call them back and ask if they got your application?”) and it doesn’t encourage people to take responsibility for their own issues. So we don’t do it. If it’s really important to you, you’ll come. Well, you’ll at least call to reschedule once you realize you’ve missed.

NO-SHOWS are so common that three of us made a chart to track them. Actually, we don’t track the actual NO-SHOWS, we track our ability to make predictions. Using our intuitions, and the client’s track records, we guess whether or not “iffy” clients will be coming. Right now I’m on a good streak. My percentage of accuracy (in the last 2 months) is 78 %- compare that with Valentine girl’s current accuracy rating of 29 %.

Today: two NO-SHOWS. That’s why we had time to be coloring in days in our appointment books. I was actually daydreaming about taking vacation time in April and trying to guess when would be the first week of sunshine and actual warmth. My colleague was coloring with black. Tough day at the office...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Just a Few Notes:

I hope your Christmas was good- mine was ~peaceful~...
How often does that happen? Work didn't even feel so stressful upon return. (That can't possibly last).

Well, down in Phoenix, where my brother is, and I spent three days, the weather was just as warm as he had been promised... Up in the mountains with all the rest of the family, it was just as cold as round here (though drier and more picturesque!)

Here are a few snapshots.

Me and a cactus and a mountain- to prove I was there at Sedona.


Doug on a little mountain over ASU- his school.


The foggy mountain in the background is Camelback- can you make out the Camel's head and back? - My brother and I climbed it. To me it was very strenuous, but to give you a proper picture, there were also nine and ten year old kids scampering up the boulders and rails!

My feet over a look-out point somewhere on the camel's head. (Not very far up at all!) See the tiny people on the trail under my feet? Those aren't ants, they are people! That's where I came from!



The rest of the family that went to Sedona- my parents, brother, me, my Grandpa and Aunt Glenna. Aunt Glenna and I shared a room and talked till late several nights. It was fun to catch up. She's the middle sister in my dad's family, and I am in mine. The last morning, my brother and I chilled with my Grandpa and talked. It was nice.



More Sedona- Sliding Rock- in the summertime you can swim here! I don't advise it in the winter, do you see the icicles on the right?


And if you are the praying sort, please lift up the families of my coworkers Aubrey and Yvonne-both had deaths in the family on the week between Christmas and New Years.

My friend, Leandra will be around for a few days- she's a good pal- that Simon and Garfunkel song "Old Friends" makes me think of her and her twin sister.

I think I'm going to keep New Years Resolutions simple this year- maybe something about washing the dishes before they start to pile in the sink. Manageable and I would love to see it happen...