The Thought of Being Free Has Entered Many Minds

"The beauty of the world ... has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder."
( Virginia Woolfe )

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Rubble Is The Ground...

I've been reading Anne Lamott's newest book of essays, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Though not for the faint-hearted or the conservative-hearted - let's just say that Ms. Lamott is not on the pep squad for the Bush administration - I've enjoyed the read. She's a broken women with a messy life who finds an honest hope in Jesus but perhaps not the sort of hope that many evangelicals expect from their fellow believers. I think her brokenness, her messiness, her clinging, and her perseverence should cause us to pay attention because I think we all need to be reminded to be broken, messy, clinging, and to keep at it becasue I think it's easy to forget that these things are not just ok, but good.

Anyway, I wanted to share one quote that I came across because I thought it was well put. So without further ado...

I have survived so much loss, as all of us have by our forties-my parents, dear friends, my pets. Rubble is the ground on which our deepest friendships are built. If you haven't already, you will loose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and you will never completely get over the loss of a deeply beloved person. But this is also good news. The person lives forever, in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through, and you learn to dance with the banged-up heart. You dance to the absurdities of life; you dance to the minuet of old friendships. [Plan B, 147]

posted by Jamie @ 10:25 PM

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Some of Life's Sweetness

Last night, our church moved into its new location since we had very much outgrown the building we had been using. Because my life spirals down its personal vortex, we are now renting space from the church my family attended through most of my childhood, only the church had since relocated and renamed. It was kind of strange to see the old paraphernalia from my memories in this new crisp room: the wooden cross that used to hang in the baptismal, the flags that we carried in each day during vacation bible school, the banners of a dove and a burning bush that somebody made for some reason that I can’t remember.

I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew since we didn’t usually cross paths with the church members at the space we had been rented, so when I met a lady outside the office, I just introduced myself by saying, “I don’t think I’ve met you before.”

“I don’t think I’ve met you either,” she responded. “I’m Faye.”

Something familiar clicked but I didn’t understand. I pointed to my chest and said softly, “I’m Jamie. I know you.”

Then she hugged me joyously and cupped my face in both her hands and smiled at me in at there-you-are-Peter sort of way. Once she found the child in the adult’s face, she exclaimed “I loved this girl!”

I’ve never been greeted like that before and I was genuinely touched. She was just there in case our childcare workers needed anything. That was actually pretty much all we said since I had to run back to the stage to finish setting up music. I was moved and I wanted to share.

posted by Jamie @ 3:00 PM

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I'm Sure You Must Be Weary, Dear

This is a speech I received from a three-year-old last night. I usually end up spending the night when I baby-sit him, especially if his folks are coming home late, since I live pretty far away.

So where are you going to be in the morning, Jamie? Because, see, we have four beds and one of them is just for Guests and it's in Grandmamma's Room, but grandmomma's not here right now so you can have that one, ok? It's just down the hall; you just need to go straight ahead. It's ok, you won't get lost - just remember, go straight ahead.

And don't worry, Jamie, we'll have a little bit of time to play in the morning before you have to go home. It will be all right. We'll eat breakfast and we'll play, ok?

posted by Jamie @ 12:12 PM

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Everyday Low Prices

Because of copyrights, I can't really post the image, however, you guys should check out this Sunday's Boondock comic strip. It's truly a full color affair,

posted by Jamie @ 3:38 PM

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

So He Said To His Mother, “I Am Running Away”

I met a four-year-old at the grocery story yesterday. Her mom and I were both looking at teas and the kid looked a little bored. I noticed she was wearing a pretty pink scarf so I looked up and said, “Hey! That’s a beautiful scarf you’re wearing.”

“Thank you,” she responded.

“Did someone make it for you?” I asked

“No, my mommy gave it to me!” was the answer.

Actually,” interrupted the mother, “I did make it for her.”

“It’s really great,” I replied. Then, turning to the girl, “You must be awful special for someone to make you such a great scarf!”

“I am special!” she exclaimed with all her heart. “Mommy says I am so special all the time!”

It’s amazing what little kids can get away with. This girl was not boasting; she was relaying facts to me: (1) that she knew she was something special and (2) that she knew this because her mother made sure she was told this all the time. If a twelve-year-old had said this, we would all jump to the conclusion that he or she was conceited – at least, those of us who grew up Southern would jump to this conclusion, though I seriously doubt we Southerns are alone in this prejudice.

It’s funny though. I think if we were to let ourselves be honest, we would all agree that we want what this girl has: to know without a shadow of a doubt that we are special, valued, and needed – AND we want to know this to such a degree that we would not be afraid to proclaim it to a stranger trying to pick out the right chamomile tea. It’s not that we want to be thought of as conceited, but we do want the confidence that conceited people seem to radiate.

Why don’t we know this? I believe that most of us know very few, if any, people we would consider invaluable, and useless clones. Actually, maybe we do, unfortunately, consider many people to be just this, but I wonder if we have actually taken the time to get to know them. See, a four-year-old child asks a lot from her parent(s): they must put her to bed on time, keep her safe from accidents, clean up spills when she tries to help, clean up vomit when she is sick, wake up at the crack of dawn because she is not tired anymore, etc. Also, a parent does not keep (or should not keep) a list of gains such as “I changed your diapers for over a year, now you must do all my laundry until you are 30.” What is it that makes us tell a child they are so special over and over again?

So, a four-year-old child could know indubitably that she is special and if everyone we encounter is valuable if we take the time to look for it. I ask again, why do we have such a hard time believing this of ourselves? Why is, nestled in our deepest fears, the terror that we don’t add up to much? Is it all the mistakes we have made along the way? Is it because we were not loved properly when we were children? Have we spent too many weeks under Murphy’s Law? Is it that someone has told us we were worthless and we believed them? Why is it that we will call everything and everyone under the sun worthy, but can’t believe it of ourselves?

posted by Jamie @ 9:25 PM

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Monday, February 14, 2005

What A Dangerous World!

Or, a story about prejudice.

I’ve been parking my car these days a couple of miles from where I work. Actually, I have no idea how far it is - I’m a terrible just at distances - but it is a 15-20 minute walk, so however far I can get in this amount of time is how many miles away I park. Anyway, all you need to know for the story I’m about to recount is that I have been walking to work through an imperfect section of town. What I mean is that I, as a women, would not be comfortable walking this street after the sun goes down. However, I don’t believe it’s unsafe, but I’m a little guarded at the same time.

So I am walking down this not completely unsafe street alone while being slightly guarded when an old sedan pulls up a block ahead of me and just sits there, right where the sidewalk gives out and you have to squeeze between the parked cars, the parking meters, and a short wall. Well, I was sure as hell not walking right beside an old, beat-up car that may or may not be waiting for me. I don’t like to misjudge things, but I have seen enough to be comfortable being afraid at times.

So, I pulled out trick number one. Since it was raining and the sidewalk was about to give out, I decided to cut through the parking lot that is on the other side of the wall. I figured, if the car’s driver had ill intentions, there would be some distance and maybe he would be discouraged from his evil plot. However, if the car’s driver was just some poor guy who had coincidentally parked his car at that time and place, then he would think I was just trying to keep my shoes dry. I was feeling pretty swell at this point.

Until the car drove up one more block and waited. Now he is parked next to a construction site where, to pass, I will have to come within four feet of his car. You have to understand that this street is totally barren for the most part excepting passing traffic - especially on a rainy day. I’ll admit that I was scared at this point, but I fortunately don’t panic in the moment which leaves me free to think. I went through all the possibilities: this guy wants to harm me in some way, this guy is lost and needs directions, etc. At the same time, I’m gathering together all my current modes of escape.

Finally, I decided that there was no way anything crazy could happen unless I passed close enough to the car to be pulled in. Since the car was in front of me, I could get a pretty good start if I crossed to the other side of the street where there are a few stores. The car would then have to turn around on a street not quite big enough for a U-turn. (Always go the opposite way if a car is harassing you!) So I reached the end of the parking lot, was walking to the street keeping an extremely close eye on the car when suddenly...

...the world’s friendliest face appeared. “Hey, Jamie! Need a ride? I tried to get your attention, but I couldn’t get the window down.” It was my friend Tim, the congenial hooligan who likes potpourri and organizational charts with the “evil” intention of driving me to my car so I would have to walk in the rain any longer.

Sometimes I get things completely wrong, though I’ll probably make the same mistake again!

posted by Jamie @ 10:41 PM

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First Cup of Coffee Tastes Like Washing Up

I have GOT to buy new coffee. My current stock is utterly depressing. There's nothing like bitter, grainy coffee to put a frown on your day.

I also need to figure out a way to make coffee at work; it's a little tricky with no sink and no refrigerator. I can bring in a gallon jug of water since I'm a little loath to drink the water from our floor's communal bathroom. However, what would be easiest to clean: a mini-French press or a four-cup drip filter? I guess I could transport cream in those mini-Nalgene bottles (4 oz.). Sugar is not too complex considering I still have 437 packets of raw sugar. This is really all about saving money. I just don't think I can keep doing $10+ per week on caffeine, nor do I think I can cut down at this point. I'm trying to compromise.

Next on my list is to force myself to eat better. Because of bloodsugar issues I need to eat a good breakfast and a good lunch. The problem is that I eat too slowly and drive too far to eat breakfast at home and that I have eaten sandwiches for lunch for about five years now and I can't enjoy them anymore. Does anyone have any good, simple, and portable suggestions? To complicate matters, I need a significant amount of protein (equivalent of a cheese or peanut butter sandwich), plus I can't do very much wheat flour unless it's stone-ground or processed sugars.

posted by Jamie @ 12:00 PM

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Just Think Lovely Wonderful Thoughts

Here is a my current list of my ten greatest & most consistent joys. Don't expect anything too profound, but I was feeling thankful and thought I would share.

  1. Friends who turn their schedules upside down (or skip something they were looking forward to) in order to take me out to dinner.
  2. Gilmore Girls.
  3. Oats
  4. Three-year-olds who have worked the word "Actually" into their daily vocabulary
  5. One-year-olds who fill my arms with various baby dolls and then force me to rock them all at once.
  6. J.K. Rowling's wealth of knowledge and vast imagination.
  7. Jasper Fford's wealth of knowledge and vast imagination.
  8. The iPod.
  9. Goldfish Crackers.
  10. Overalls.
I feel like I should add David Beckham's right foot (and perhaps his left), but - alas - I have run out of room.

posted by Jamie @ 1:08 PM

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