Archive for March, 2008

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“on a downtown train…” -tom waits

March 25, 2008

k. so every morning, monday through thursday, i wake up and take marta down to buckhead church to work. i’ve been really getting a kick out of how much about the system i’m figuring out. i know that i have to leave my house by 8:13 to get to the 8:28 train, and if it’s any later than that, i can leave by 8:23 to catch the 8:38 train. today, i left at 8:20, stopped in for chicken minis, and swiped my card just as the train was pulling up. i LOVE that. no reason why. little joys i guess. down the stairs, on the train. love it. makes me chuckle a little, like i have it all figured out. makes me feel like my whole life is in order, for just that moment in time. hilarious. so, i’m figuring out lots of stuff about marta. and i feel like i get most of it.

here’s what i don’t get. one thing really. baffles me everyday. when the train is coming to its station, there’s a female voice that tells you which station it is. the key word in that last sentence is “coming”. it hasn’t stopped yet, it is approaching the station at full speed. and yet, people stand immediately and head towards the door. am i the only one who realizes that if you stay seated, the train will stop and you will still get off in time? but everyday i sit in my seat and gather my things, and watch the people lunge forward and backward, fall all over themselves, lose their balance, just to get out the door. so then. when the train STOPS completely, i casually get up and walk out the door.

i wonder if these people also unbuckle open their car doors once they can get their driveways in view.

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“better get some sleep tonight…” -rolling stones

March 25, 2008

it’s 3:22 am. can’t sleep to save my life. doing that thing where you keep rolling over to look at the clock and count down how many hours are left until the dumb alarm will go off. thought perhaps the computer glow would lull me into sleepiness. somehow it’s just making me hungry. no snacking! i even got a good run in and played tennis today! i should be asleep like a baby. but no such luck. it’s been kinda like that lately.
anyone have any tricks on how to get to sleep on a sleepless night??? help!

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“the rest of the story…”

March 24, 2008

my mom used to listen to paul harvey… and i hated it. but the man is famous for saying in his annoying nostalgic voice, “and that’s the rest of the story.” so here it is. the rest of it.we last left the story with the death of Jesus on a cross. this dude joseph had space in his cemetery and asked pilate for Jesus’ body to be placed there. his request was granted, but some folks suggested that a massive stone be rolled in front of the tomb opening on the chance that Jesus’ followers come and steal His body, claiming that He came back to life. so it was done. and guards were posted at the tomb door too. and Jesus laid there, completely dead for 3 days.

BUT! early early on the 3rd day, while it was still dark outside, mary, one of Jesus’ best friends, and some other women went to visit the tomb. upon arrival she saw that the stone had been rolled away. so she immediately ran back to tell Jesus’ other friends that someone had taken His body. they all ran back to the tomb together and saw that the stone was gone and that the cloths that had been wrapped around Jesus’ body were laying there, but He was not. so they went back home, sadly. mary stayed behind and cried. when she looked into the tomb, there were two men dressed in white sitting in the tomb. they asked why she was crying. she replied that people had taken her Lord away. then she turned around and saw another man standing there. she thought He was the gardener. He also asked why she was crying, and who she was looking for. she begged Him to tell her where Jesus’ body was and she would go get him. then He said her name. and she knew who it was. it was Jesus. He had actually risen from the dead!

He spent the next days appearing to the disciples and certain other people. He spent precious few days with the people He was closest to, and then He was lifted up into the sky and went to heaven. before He left He encouraged His friends. He promised that Someone Else, the Holy Spirit, would come to stay with them and empower them. and then He went to heaven.

i know this stuff sounds like a fairy tale. and as i write it, honestly, i’m asking myself if i really believe a story like this.  i don’t think i would if it weren’t for the relationship i currently have with Jesus, Himself. because it sounds crazy, but i have an active relationship with Him. and you can’t have an active relationship with a dead man. so yes, i do believe that this happened. and i believe with all my heart, that it is the only reason i am alive. and it’s the only reason worth living for. believe me, i’ve had moments when i’ve had to search for something worth living for. and He’s the only thing that has been consistent.

it’s funny to me that mary knew who Jesus was right when He said her name. there have been so many times that i haven’t been able to see Him in my life, but the moment He says my name, i just know. so go looking for Him. ask about Him. even if it’s just to find out what’s true and what’s not. and even when you’re looking Him in the face and can’t see Him, listen. because i have absolute faith that He will say your name too. and when He does, you’ll just know. sounds funny i know. sounds a little cheesy and dumb probably. but i can’t explain it any better than that.  

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good friday…

March 21, 2008

today is good friday. for those of you who think every friday is good, i’ll explain. Good Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary. hmm. let me see if i can do better than that…

Jesus, whom i believe to be the flawless Son of God, was betrayed by one of his best friends, this dude judas. the temple guard in jerusalem of the day came to a garden where Jesus and His buddies were praying (well, Jesus was praying… His boys kept falling asleep) and arrested Him. He was arrested for claiming to be the King of the Jews. that, and these folks really didn’t like Him. that began a crazy long night. they took Him to this dude Annas’s house, who was the father-in-law to the current high priest caiaphus. He was interrogated there with little result and then sent to caiaphus himself where the sanhedrin was assembled. the sanhedrin is an assembly of 23 judges mandated by jewish law to be created in every city. legalist jerks, if you ask me. you probably wouldn’t like them at all. anyway, lots of people give conflicting and false testimonies about Jesus, but Jesus said nothing. He didn’t respond at all to any of these horrendous accusations. so then caiaphus commands that Jesus answer whether He is the Son of God. all Jesus says is “you said it. and in time you’ll know it’s true.” this really pisses the high priest off, so he condemns Jesus for blasphemy and the sanhedron call for the death penalty. in the morning, the whole assembly brings Jesus to the roman governor pontius pilate, under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to caesar, and making Himself a king. there’s a lot of yelling and arguing back and forth. eventually pilate washes his hands of the situation, saying that Jesus’ blood was their responsibility, not his. and so they took him to be crucified.

  crucifixion is an ancient method of execution, where the condemned is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead. this junk was bad. they beat Jesus literally within an inch of His life, ripping the skin from His body with pieces of metal and beating Him with clubs. it’s any wonder He didn’t die from the beating alone. they insulted Him, spat on Him, cursed Him, threw things at Him, and made fun of Him. and Jesus bore it all, even though He hadn’t done anything. and He never once begged for mercy or for justice… though He deserved both. then they nailed Him to the large wooden cross and let Him hang there in agony until He finally died. there was a big storm at the same moment of His death, and it was obvious that they had just killed the Son of God. that Jesus was who He said He was. 

all of that is what Good Friday is. doesn’t sound like anything to celebrate does it? sounds like something i’d like to forget. the point of this story isn’t that injustice was done to an innocent man, though that is true. the point is WHY. why did He let that happen? why didn’t He say anything, defend Himself? if He was the all powerful Son of God, why didn’t He stop the whole thing? answer: He chose not to. we are God’s creation gone astray. God’s children who demanded independence. and God knows that our debts would have to be paid somehow, someday. He loves us so much and wants to be with us so much, that  He made a way for Someone Else to pay those debts for us. His only Son, Jesus. by dying, Jesus knew that the rest of us could live. i can’t explain it all, but i darn well am not going to refuse it because i don’t understand it! Jesus died for me. because of me. instead of me. that’s what today is about. it’s about remembering that. and not taking it for granted.

if you know the rest of the story, then you have incredible hope! if you don’t know it, stay tuned with hope. there’s much more to come! but for the next few days, i’m going to truly try to wrap my mind around God’s love, the fact that Jesus ACTUALLY bled and died, was beaten up worse than i can imagine. i would challenge you to find a Bible and do the same. the accounts of Jesus death can be found in the gospels; Matthew 26&27, Mark 14&15, Luke 22&23, John 18&19. so don’t just  take my word for it. 

*question to ponder: if this was where the story ended, how would that change my life as a Christian? would it render it all in vain? i want to say i would still love Him as much as i do today. but what would that be like? i’m glad it’s not the end of the story, but would i still trust the sovereignty of God, if it was? 

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“as i wait for You, maybe i’m made more faithful…” -brooke fraser

March 5, 2008

“when i can’t feel You, i have learned to reach out just the same: when i can’t hear You, i know You still hear every word i pray: and i want You more than i want to live another day: and as i wait for you, maybe i’m made more faithful.”   – Brooke Fraser 

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“so scared of being older, i’m only good at being young…” -john mayer

March 2, 2008

i just got back to atlanta. i flew to pensacola, aka: home, this past wednesday for a few days. my dad turned 70 years old on thursday, so we planned a dinner party for him at my sister’s house. i’m pretty positive that i’ve had a harder time with him turning 70 than he has. 

the trip started out well. it was snowing when i walked out of my apartment. i hurried through the marta gate as the women who worked there were commentating on the low temperature. i swiped my card, and said “i’m going to florida ladies, have fun with the snow!” their teasing annoyance trailed after me as i boarded the train. i love flying home. seems that in today’s economy, it’s just as cheap and/or expensive to fly there as it is to drive. it’s an hour flight, and there’s something about airports and flying that i absolutely adore. i got to the tiny pensacola airport, with all 13 of its gates, and went to baggage claim. and there they were. my mom and the cutest 3 year old nephew in all the world. the beginning of a great weekend. 

it was wednesday, and where i come from, that means church supper, kids choirs, and adult choir. so i went. for the first time in years. went to dinner and smiled and talked in my high pitched voice to all the people who watched me grow up. and then i went to choir practice, where i realized that i haven’t read music or used much classical training in a long time. i also realized that some people do church the same way they always have… and it never changes. there was something comforting and familiar about it all, and yet something that was sad about it. it seemed to be getting older, getting sick, dying a bit.

thursday, i surfed. water? cold. extremely cold. but so much fun. the beach is so therapeutic for me. so home. and i went to the store with my mom, bought my dad a six pack of beer for his birthday,  and then went with my parents to my favorite grungy cheeseburger joint in all the world. and i saw old friends. friday, we prepared for the party at my sister’s all day. and then the party. and i was the only one there under the age of 40 (minus nephews). and there was talk of grandchildren and politics and old age.

and that was the day that it all struck me. my dad is 70, my mom is 65. and at some point this summer, i’ll be 25. 25 seems a lot different from 24. i love being 24. it’s been the most amazing age so far. i’ve felt truly young. but 25 isn’t an age i want to be right now. guess i shouldn’t worry, because i’m not 25 right now. but still, the idea that my parents are older and may not be around forever hit me hard this weekend. and just at the point where i’m beginning to really relate to my family, i’m not there to enjoy it all the time.

so today my mom and dad took me to the airport. and i checked my bag and went straight through security (which might i say, is a little stricter than atlanta’s) and sat down to wait to board my flight. and i got teary. i wasn’t ready to come back home. yeah, atlanta is home now. and i love my life here. but for today, and probably not tomorrow, pensacola is home and i miss my family a little. and that’s an emotion i’ve not really experienced all my life. and for today, and probably not tomorrow, i’m not cool with being 25. so it’s a good thing i’m still 24. and i’m going to be the most 24 i can be for the next 138 days!