Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on a Monday

I oft wonder if men are built with the same innate desires... no, longing, to be needed. As a woman, it is programmed into my DNA. I need to be needed. My lack of a husband and children often leaves that longing, in a sense, unfulfilled. I'm not really needed by anyone. Sure, there are people whose lives may not be as full without me, but I fear that it is still different.

Today, I felt needed. It wasn't for long, and it wasn't for much, but a friend needed me today. She didn't even ask, I offered my assistance to a very difficult situation. I was so grateful to be able to help, and, selfishly, to feel needed. I can never decide just how selfish it is to hunger after being needed. In that necessity, there is most definitely an unselfish act, that putting aside our own to be something for someone else. But is there still selfishness in that selfless act? It is a ponderance that I have mulled over time and time again. I don't know that I will ever quite have it figured out.

Today, I also experienced a miracle. I am planning on making another trip down to Guatemala this fall to be part of an arts camp for the kids. I was at first uncertain that I would be able to make the trip, due to finances. After some discussion, it became clear that God was calling me to make the journey and somehow figure out the dollars and cents that went along with it. Less than two weeks after making the decision to follow my heart, the financing for the trip has basically fallen out of the sky. I was nearly flabbergasted. It was some much needed encouragement for a not so great day up until that point. Jehovah Jirah certain does watch out for his children and provide.

I have nothing profound to say today. No soap box to climb up onto (although I'm sure I could if I tried), no great revelations or epiphanies on the meaning of life. Just some random thoughts that have been pressing on my tired mind. I do believe I shall try to sleep now. I do certainly believe I'll try.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm Sorry, Could You Translate That?

There are times in life where certain things bring such sheer delight that it will continue to bring laughter to your soul hours after the occurrence. I encountered one of those very occurrences just this afternoon.

I think most of you dear readers would agree that mommies and technology aren't always so buddy buddy. All of those new, hip, trendy, newfangled techie... things... are like some alien device. My mommy happens to fall right into that category. She's a teachable student, thankfully, but at first it can be rather entertaining. She was always pretty good with computers, from what I remember. I do distinctly recall a period where she suffered from a rather serious addiction to Sim City, so I think she caught on to the computer age relatively quickly. We put her in a 5 step program to help her cope with said addiction though. My poor mommy had some very late nights glued to the computer screen, helping those little Sims build their cities. I can't lie though, she was pretty stellar at it. Her cities always beat mine with an awesome stick. If they had Sim City competitions, I'm pretty sure she would have been super supreme gold medalist. Might have even won the Sim City Olympics. She was that good.

Anyway, sometime after my mommy recovered from her Sim City obsession, she was introduced to a cell phone. Back in those days said cellular devices were less phones and more solid bricks with this little antenna sticking out the top. They made for a great weapon if you were ever being mugged though. They could cause some serious damage. I'd say that Mommy learned the basics pretty quickly. She likes things simple though, and always wanted the nice, easy, basic phones whenever a new device was acquired. Nothing fancy, no bells and whistles. Just nice and easy. Kind of like sunday morning.

Now, most of us know that technology is continually advancing. Text messaging has largely replaced phone calls between friends, acting as a substitute for actual talking. Humanity will one day forget how to verbally communicate due to text messaging and the internet. Mark my words. Anyway, even though most of the civilized world has been texting for years and years, Mommy has never had the need. Her babies know that mommy doesn't have text messaging on her plan, so you pick up the phone and call. Until yesterday, that is....

My dad informed me last night that Mommy's cell phone now had text messaging, due to it now being included on their family plan. Naturally, this concept sheerly delighted me. I decided to try it out this afternoon and send a text to my mommy, saying that I had heard she now had texting and just needed to learn how to actually use it. This was the reply I received:

Uh0 0 0 0 aao ok i knozw h6m to use it maybe wggg wheres thequestion marlk arde you crackhging u p yet

Crackhging u p didn't even begin to describe it. I was at work when I received that, mind you. I burst into hysterical laughter to the point of tears. She definitely succeeded in actually sending the message and it almost made sense, and that was highly impressive for her first time.

Thankfully, my little sister was there to give her texting lessons during this. Mommy informed me in her next few texts (which were perfect, FYI) that she was laughing so hard that she was crying. Glad I wasn't the only one. Mommy picked texting right up and is an old pro after just a few tries. Apparently, her thumbs need some exercise though, because she tired rather quickly.

Texting is just like anything else, Mommy. Just takes some practice and you'll have lightening fingers like the rest of us. That may even become your superpower- super duper fast texting. I'm sure that could save lives or something.

Oooooooh yeaaaaaaaaaahh......

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Skewed Sense of Justice

Justice. Its a word that should bring people to their feet. Its powerful. Its truth. Its a force that brings about light and life to humanity. Or does it?

If any of you dear readers have been following the news lately, I'm sure you'll know what I'm talking about when I mention the Florida Cat Killer. For those of you who have not read up on the case, there was recently a killing spree of pet cats in the Sunshine State. People's animals were snatched from their homes and brutally murdered and dismembered. The 18 year old assailant was apprehended and arrested about a week ago. If found guilty on all 19 counts against him once put up for trial, he could face up to 158 years in prison.

Those of you who follow the news may also remember the tragic events last summer in which 2 Pennsylvania teenagers brutally beat a Mexican immigrant, who eventually died from blunt force trauma. The racially-driven murder attracted national attention because of its sheer ruthlessness. The young attackers, ages 19 and 17, were put on trial for their crimes. They were acquitted of the murder charges and sentences to 6 to 23 months of jail time. Potentially only 6 months. For taking a human life.

Does anyone else see the discrepancy here? Where is the justice? A foolish kid goes around killing animals and faces almost 160 years in prison. Were his crimes disgusting and brutal? Absolutely. And yet, 2 teens commit a racially charged murder and they nearly get away scott-free. Where is the justice? I certainly don't see it.

We brag about our government. We brag about our way of living. The rest of the world is wrong and we are the only ones who seem to have it right, all straightened out and peachy keen. And still, there is no punishment for taking a human life. Yes, they are young. No, I don't believe that their original intent was to murder. However, that was exactly what they did. And somewhere along the lines it has become more of a crime to kill an animal than it is to take a human life. We have certainly lost ourselves. We have certainly forgotten the meaning of justice and truth.

A nation that does not value life will fall. Period. We have murdered millions of unborn babies in the past 50 years. Now, its okay to murder a helpless man who couldn't defend himself. We have forgotten the value of life, how precious it is, and we will pay for that. PETA rained down fire on President Obama for killing a fly during an interview, and yet they didn't say one word about an immigrant who lost his life to 2 bratty teenagers who couldn't see past the color of their own skin.

Silence is a crime in and of itself. And we have developed a skewed sense of justice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cell Phones and Water STILL Don't Mix

Some of you may remember a few months back when I blogged about my unfortunate tendencies to force cell phones and liquids to collide. As in, dropping my phone in various containers of water. Sinks, toilets, etc. This past weekend takes the cake, wins the trophy, goes down in history for the best one yet.

I may have also mentioned in the past my dreadful fear of critters. As in, bugs. Especially spiders. I hate them. As in, loathe, despise, abhor, detest. I think you get the point. I personally feel that Jesus was having a very bad day when he made spiders. Seriously, it was simply unnecessary. I love when people try to tell me that spiders are good because they eat other bugs. I tell them that they must have brain damage if they think that spiders are actually good. Who cares if they eat other bugs? My cat eats bugs. At least she's cute and cuddly and not sneaking around on eight legs and trying to literally eat people in their sleep. I suffer from extreme terror when I wake up with bug bites. Let's just be honest, they're from spiders. Which not only means that a spider was crawling on me in my sleep, but that it was also consuming my blood. It was feasting. On my life force. While I was unconscious and unable to defend myself. I personally think that Satan should have come in the form of a spider and not a snake. Spiders are way worse.

This past weekend marked the annual youth retreat with the youth group at my church, which I am a leader of. It is held each year at Tuscarora Inn, out in the middle of God-freaking-forsaken nowhere (oddly, and somewhat uncomfortably, close to where I spent my formative years). Do you know what's out in the middle of God-freaking-forsaken nowhere? Bugs. Particularly spiders. And not small ones. Big ones that probably wouldn't wait until you're sleeping to climb on you to suck your life force. They just tackle you and pin you down. Bottoms up, baby! Its dinner time! They are basically comparable to Shelab in Lord of the Rings. Or... at least in my mind.

Friday night found me hanging out on a dock by the shore of the Delaware River at Tusc. The spiders must have thought that was a good place to chill as well. After spotting one climbing a post reeeeeaaaaally close to me, my shrieks of terror sent one of the youth girls hustling off to find a few stones with which to slay the beast. This thing was ginormous. I mean, the leg span had to have been at least 2 feet. That's my side of the story, anyway. If anyone else tries to tell you differently, don't believe them. Its a lie straight from Satan. However, Jo successfully brought down the monster with a rock, only to have another one surface a few seconds later. I'm pretty sure that it was going to come after us in revenge for killing is fellow creature. This was not going over so well with me. Jo quickly went off in search of more stones with which to slay the new beast, whilst I cowered in a ball, probably whimpering like a little girl.

Immediately before throwing the stone at the Shelob, Jo mentions that it might be a good idea for me to move, because if she missed, the beast would probably make a beeline for me. My hysteria at the thought had me swiftly to my feet.... forgetting that my cell phone was lying peacefully in my very small jacket pocket.

*bounce, bounce, PLOP* No... it couldn't be!! My laughter started immediately upon the realization that, yes, my cell phone did just, in fact, hit the dock and bounce its way into the Delaware River. It was dark. And its the Delaware. I was not about to go jumping in after it.

My cell phone, may it rest in peace, is now making friends with the fish at the bottom of the Delaware. I have done nothing but laugh about it. I mean, its a great story. Its hard not to laugh about it. Plus, I'm up for a renewal on my cell plan next week, which means I'm eligible for a phone upgrade. The trusty old backup phone is being used in the interim. Good old, trusty old cell phone.

Lessons to be learned: do not, I repeat, do not try mixing electronics and water. It just doesn't work.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Little Pieces of Me

I'm getting tired of slipping into funks. Work funks, life funks, relationship funks. We all suffer from funkiness on occasion and I don't believe that any of us particularly like them. My funks are typically not of the severe sort, just enough to bring my mood down to a brooding level and make me want to just sleep it all away.

I've been recently struggling with a funk that was previously unknown to me: loneliness. I'm not a lonely person. I've been forced over the years to be comfortable with being by myself and alone, to the point where I've embraced it and has become a necessity to get that time to myself. However, there is definitely some falsity to the phrase "you can't get too much of a good thing." I think I'm basically over all of my superwoman independence. I am beginning to dread coming home to an empty house at night, I'm learning that my conversation skills are deficient due to a lack of exercise.

My very good friend, Leah, spent a week with me while on hiatus from long-term missions in Guatemala. I can't lie... It was awesome coming home and being greeted by someone who did not walk on all fours and stand about 18 inches high. We had dinner, drank wine, asked about each other's days... And it was amazing. Silly, right? Something so simplistic as having someone close enough to share every day things with can really make such a tremendous difference.

I feared as Leah's time with me came to a close that I would depress. That my feelings of loneliness and isolation would be magnified even more. Its incredible how being reminded of the fruitfulness of relationships when it is sorely lacking in one's life can impact a person on such a level. I knew that this was true when my mom called after I had dropped Leah off at the airport and asked if I would miss her and I nearly burst into tears. I know its kind of selfish. Wanting someone to stay around simply for your sake. But it is what it is (and hopefully Leah will be flattered! Te quiero mucho!)

It was a stark reminder of how God created us to be relational beings. That we were not meant to live this life out alone. I was reading something the other day on the Eastern State Penitentiary (don't ask) and their method of solitary confinement during imprisonment. There were direct links in the prisoners of insanity from such severe isolation tactics. I couldn't help but find that interesting. We are so much meant to be with and around other human beings that the lack of a human connection can actually drive a person out of their mind.

I know that I am in this place of my life for a reason. Yes, I do struggle with loneliness. No, I am not miserable. Its hard, sure. But, most things in life carry with them a certain level of difficulty and this is no exception. Its a time where I can focus solely on the things that God has for me, on my purpose, on my personal path, and just wait to see what's in store. Maybe this place of reclusion will soon be at a close. Maybe it will be for the rest of my life. In the end, I know it will be for the best and I've learned to not want for things that I cannot change. Just to hope for a brighter tomorrow and trust that fate is not what controls my life, rather the hand of God.