Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And We're Off!!!

I'm leaving for the Congo tomorrow. That's Wednesday, for any would-be burglars out there (watch out for the guard cat!).

Anyway, there might be a few updates during the trip posted on this blog. So check it out, if you are so inclined.

Also, I decided to move at the end of the month. A few things pushing me that way... the construction on my doorstep here, the rising rent rate here,

the cool landlords there, the Botanical Garden being across the street there, and the commute there,

all factored in... not to mention the spaciousness and free laundry in basement there!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Think I've Lost My Mind!

In the last two weeks:

• Monday (2 weeks ago):Lost my apartment keys. Looked everywhere for them. They should be inside my apartment! Can’t find!!!

• Monday: Called landlord. They told me they had copy. Went to pick them up.

• Tuesday: Couldn’t get mail due to lost keys. Went to post office. They said go to landlord.
Landlord said they would replace the lock.

• Tuesday: Put a note on the mailbox, and got mail delivered to step. Awaiting a $100 gift card in the mail and nervous that someone might take it. :(

• Wednesday: Got a check for $600 in mail, tax stimulus money, transferring from one account to another. Put it in pile of papers.

• Thursday: Came home- my power was shut off. Called power company. They came out, and turned it back on. Told me that my meter is not the meter that my bills have been coming from. Goodbye super-cheap bills.

• Thursday: Got my new lease in the mail. Noticed the wall in the bathroom felt very warm. Storms all night, woke me up. Room felt very warm..

• Friday: Overslept. (Set alarm wrong after power outage.) Only going in for a half-day anyway. Called in to work. Got stuff done around house.

• Friday: Landlord replaced mailbox lock and key. Thank you! Sense of relief.

• Friday: Called landlord about hot wall. Very hot, kind of squishy. Said they would send out a plumber today. Didn’t happen that I saw..

• Friday: Looking for that $600 check. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Prayed. Still couldn’t find. Looked in trash on impulse. I had thrown it away. Rescued from trash.

• Friday: Went downtown with friend, Tanya. Walked all over, looked at floodwaters, spun in circles under Arch, went to fountains, walked around a bit. Came back. My keys (car key, new apartment key and new mailbox key) had fallen out of my pocket. Missing!!!

• Agh!

• Walked and retraced our steps. Did a sweeping search under the arch with park ranger flashlight. Couldn’t find keys. Park Ranger gave me lost and found number to call.

• Went to the Millenium Motel, and called friend, Neil. Neil and roommate Jonathan came and picked us up.

• Broke into my own apartment. Wall hot and radiating heat and humidity. Paint bubbling with water seeping through in bathroom. Found spare key.

• Went back to arch, picked up my car.

• Wall did not explode in night. I will call landlord’s emergency maintenance line.

I’m leaving the country next Wednesday for a mission trip to the Congo...... All these things, though frustrating, freaky and making me feel scattered and like I’m spending all my energy putting out small fires, are not devastating and could be worse. I wonder if some of this is spiritual attack as I prepare for this trip? Please be in prayer for me! Thank you

Monday, June 16, 2008

Title Unknown

It’s a cool, breezy evening in the city. The near-full moon shines down on the gravel path in the park. The path is marked by the footfall of two pairs of feet; disturbed by the murmuring of two voices, laughing and reflecting in turn.

Anticipation and anxiety, flip sides of the same coin. It’s name is “Expectation”- heads or tails? You call it. Lists are made of things to be packed, purchased or acquired, completed, and then, when the time comes; departure, flight.

The preparations are strange ones, purchasing socks and underwear for orphans of unknown sizes. Learning basic greetings in French. Transferring toiletries to 3 ounce bottles. Reading up on the customs and culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Prayer. Trusting God to provide. Trusting God to lead. Exciting.

In our normal routine, we think we have to do something to make changes. We think that every day just follows the other, like paperclips linked together in a mundane, little chain. We sit at our office desks and dread returning phone calls. And it is true that we can invite change. Even so, we grow attached to our paperclip chains, we idly wish for something new, without anxiety, without the unknown. And then change comes, in her own time, an earthquake, shaking everything, nothing left unmoved. We wish for change to come in comfortable volumes, and with outcomes that we control. Can we take it all in stride, the changes, the sameness, the everyday with so much beyond us?

The path through the park, so commonplace by day, is mysterious in the moonlight. It is partially illuminated, with shadows of leafy trees wavering and bending, obscuring and ornamenting the ground on which we walk. Our moon-shadows stretch like giraffes behind us, distinct, swaying with our footsteps. We hug and depart, and our cars bear us back to the lamp-lit places we call home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Waters of Oblivion

Would you erase all the pain you have known, (but consequently the lessons you learned with it) if you were given the chance? Or put differently, given the choice, would you choose to be naive and happy or sad and wise? Would you rather know the truth and have suffered for it, or not know and live happily in delusions? Or on a more concrete level, if you had the option to have an IQ of 60, and not to grasp many things that other adults take for granted, but you were pleasant and happy, would you pick that over having an IQ of 140, and being a genius who saw many problems in the world and was greatly troubled by them?

I love the phrase “Waters of Oblivion.” To me, it sounds somewhat romantic and enticing, yet ominous at the same time. The “Waters of Oblivion” are originally from Greek mythology, in which the river “Lethe” runs through Hades, and its waters cause the drinker to forget the past. In the Greek mythology, people were reincarnated, and the wise were taught to seek instead, the Spring of Memory, so they could learn from their past lives in the new life, and be wiser than the average soul.

Sometimes I think of drug and alcohol abuse as waters of oblivion that people willingly drink of, to forget, for a time, the past, the present, and any uncomfortable emotions that accompany those thoughts. It’s a sort of living forgetfulness. The movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” explores the theme of forgetting one’s pain creatively and with some insight.

I don’t believe we get multiple lives to learn from, but I’m grateful that within the lives we have, we are given the capacity to learn from the past. Take this cup...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Welcome to My Blah-g!

Yep, it’s been quiet around here lately... maybe it’s the spring-to-summer weather that lures me outside so much, or maybe I just haven’t felt like writing.

Anyway here are the events(?) of note:

* Went to three different stores (two Walgreens and one Walmart) before finding Ivarest today. Praise God, Walmart had one dented box left on the shelf. (Poison ivy!)

* Today at work we had a refresher course on how to handle an irate client.

* Congo trip update: a health insurance company has pledged $5000 and is challenging their parent corporation to match the amount to put towards starting another self-sustaining health clinic!!! Total start-up costs for one clinic... about $10,000~ wow.

* I’m feeling a little anxious/excited as I think about the Congo. I’ve had more opportunities to talk about it with folks at work. I’m not sure what to expect, but I can’t go in “my” strength.

* went home for Dad’s birthday in Indiana. Saw entire immediate family. To quote my nephew, “Those were fun days.” I also got to catch up with the twins.

* A coworker asked me why I’ve been so happy the last few weeks. I didn’t know I’d been so happy the last few weeks. She said I had, and said, “Good attitude, that’s nice.” That is encouraging to hear since the last month or so, Anna and I have been meeting to pray weekly about work and all things related.

* This weekend, Sister, Bro-in-Law and Nephews come to St. Louis.

*This weekend we are having my five year GRAD SCHOOL reunion! Wow~ has it been that long?