Unleashed

I don’t know if you carry on full conversations with other people in your head, but I do. I plan out what I’ll say, and what their response could be and what my response to their response will be. By the time I reach that person, I hardly even need to have the conversation because I’ve had it 20 times and with every possible pattern of multiple choice answers.  We won’t talk about how I usually replay the worst case scenario conversations over and over to be sure I can handle those tough conversations and generally the real conversation is the best case scenario.

I also have question and answer sessions in my head, where I ask myself “How would I respond if someone asked me…..” And then give myself something to think about, to self reflect, to think on what I really believe about things or find out if there are areas where I could study and learn more.

In a related note, I recognize that I have a lot of free time on my hands.

The nice thing about conversations with God is that it doesn’t leave me feeling lost in messages trying to guess the answer the other person would give. It is uniquely different from the kind of conversations I’ve described where I think of the smorgasbord of replies and taste test each to see if they’re palatable. There is just one plate served at the dinner conversation between Him and me.  I may at times be tempted to arrive at the table with my own carry-in dish, but ultimately and consistently, God waits til I see that it is His table, His meal. He is the host, not me.

Since the day we moved here I have revisited this same conversation with God. Why did you bring me here? What are you doing with me here? This question about purpose has come up over and over again. Each time He has responded, “I’m preparing you.” Preparing me. For what? “I’m preparing you.” Just over and over the same answer.

There is no struggle on that answer. Just assurance that even if I don’t know what I’m being prepared for, that’s what God was doing with me since we moved to Va. Now, I understand that God is always growing his followers, always stretching them and perfecting them as they allow, but a number of months ago, God stopped answering me with that same phrase and started using a new phrase, showing me what this preparation is for.

I drove into Harrisonburg yesterday having one of those head conversations with a friend, trying to explain this sense I have, the root of my confusion. It is as if for years I’ve been on a leash, learning to take steps at my master’s pace, learning that there is no use pulling against the collar, I can’t drag God. I have spent the past 3 years being taught how to heel.

And then he took off the collar.
I’ve been unleashed.

I see this common dog standing there looking up at the one who has trained him with questioning eyes, and hear the master say “GO!”

But where? To what end?
How does this beast whose nature has been improved begin to take that journey?

I got to my destination and had the conversation with my friend that I’d been playing in my head when that comparison came to mind, but in the conversation it never came up. I shelved the thought and figured I’d carry it around with me for a while and soak in it til I understand it better, something I have a tendency to do, marinate in a concept.

Last night I went to church, the third Monday of each month there is a gathering where the topic of holiness is taught. There Pastor Kerry shared how after the emancipation of the slaves, there were slaves who resisted leaving their masters. Their masters had loved them and the slaves grew to love their masters and even though they’d been set free, they chose to stay with their slave owner families. Even though their owners would say “Go,” they wouldn’t accept their freedom and just stayed.

That image of the unleashed dog came back to the surface and I saw the difference. Jesus has liberated us, continues to liberate us, supplying more and more freedom to us as we fall deeper and deeper into Him. However he doesn’t take the leash off and say “Go.” That was never His intention with our freedom.

Just as God created us to be relational….
Just as Jesus came down to commune with us….
Just as the Spirit came to dwell within us….

The nature of God is never to unleash us and release us.
It is to run with us.

I stand at the knee of my master, looking up at Him, wondering where He wants me to go, what He wants me to do. He says His new phrase to me, “Let’s go,” and breaks into a slow jog glancing to be sure I understand, and happily, I am running to keep pace.

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Alone – Not Wimpy Survivor

I just finished watching History Channel’s Alone, Season 2, or as I like to call it, “What Survivor Should Be.” I have long wanted a cold climate survivor, where the contestants are challenged by more than just having to be at the beach with 8 people they didn’t choose to vacay with. This is Survivor the type of Survivor that Stephanie would be able to do. (If you read my blog back when I wrote Diary of a Fatty, you’ll remember how much I LOVE Stephanie from Survivor and still think she’s basically the only Survivor worth the title…and I’m still aggravated that she didn’t get the title.)

There are no bikinis on this show, and the contestants don’t get to compete for rewards. They have to have knowledge of how to survive in not just the wild, but the wet, cold wild with winter approaching. There is no end date, just be the last person out there, for up to a year. They are living surrounded by some fierce predators and nasty weather patterns. It is not for the weak.

There are spoilers below, if you plan to watch the show, so you know, read with caution.

I watched this second season off and on, but thanks to Sling I can watching it in big binges and catch up. When my favorite went home, a woman who was about the toughest lady wrapped in candy and sunshine I’ve ever seen, she cooed and chatted with the bears and seals that lived all around her, I figured I had to pick someone else. There was a guy from Spain, who I did like, a VERY whiny man, who I didn’t like (though, admittedly I’d be whiny there, too) and this other older guy. I couldn’t tell.

After a while the older man was catching fish and said that he was amazed that the method he was finding most successful at catching food, was the method he’d never felt skilled at. He said something to the effect of “If God were to remove His favor from me, I’d be out of this.” Well, I’ve heard reality contestants say things like this before and it always catches my interest. It makes my heart pull for that person.

On the second to last day the man, David, stumble on rocks while trying to catch a fish that slipped off his line. He hurt his knees and returned to his makeshift tent to recover. He is talking back and forth about enduring and quitting. And in the end, he outlasts the rest.

They sent his daughter through the woods to meet him, her presence the announcement that he’d won, and he weeps. They hug, crying, and then after sharing a few moments at his camp, they fly out in a helicopter.

These were his final words as he left his cove….this is what I want to share here….

“I do have a love hate relationship with this place. You get up in the morning and you confront the realities of your situation. Some days it’s great and some days it’s horrible. But suffering has value. We avoid it at all costs. We would never want to go back and repeat it. But it has value. It’s a part of life and nobody gets through life without suffering. Nobody. Question is, what do you allow it to do in you? You can allow that suffering to make you bitter, angry, just a wretched person. You can allow that suffering to just eat away at your soul, turn in on itself and just chew you apart. Or you can look for the deeper meaning in it. My philosophy on suffering is that God’s trying to teach me something and I know that in the end I get to keep those lessons and the pain goes away.”

Man, amen brother. And congratulations.

On the win and on being up there with Survivor Stephanie in my book.

*The image is from The History Channel. Obviously I didn’t take it or make it. Don’t sure me.

Gilmore Girls: Who Rory Will End Up With

I’ve tried. I really have. I have wanted to write for days, but I have written multiple times about how people can live like decent human beings and about deep thoughts that seem off point when America is just unable to pull it’s act together.

So tonight I write. I just will write about something that makes me happy. Gilmore Girls.

And also how I’m right about all my thoughts about Gilmore Girls as they apply to Rory’s love life. Being right also makes me happy.

We are all waiting anxiously for Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life to be released on Netflix. We’ve crammed the whole series in as fast as we can review and then stopped, looked up and wondered, “How many more times can I binge watch the series before GG:AYITL releases?” The answer? A billion. It is taking fooooorever for this thing to come out.

Now be warned. There will be some mentions below of things like how many episodes so and so will appear in, basic stuff you are able to read on imdb, but if that’s going to ruin your life, by all means, buck up. It’s not that big of a deal. Oh wait, I mean, by all means don’t read it. I totally get the super secretive controlled type of people who can manage life without late night rabbit hole diving through behind the scenes pics posted by minor characters to their instagram accounts….or I don’t. Whatever.

      Here it is. Here is who Rory will end up with.

       NOT LOGAN. ANYONE EXCEPT LOGAN.

     Logan is literally the worst. LITERALLY. There is no one worse on that show and likely no one worse that I have ever met in my life. Now, I can be ok saying that because he’s a pretend person! I really like pretty much everyone on the face of the Earth except this fictitious character. (Pretty much everyone…pretty much.)

Rory was insecure, unstable, anxious, unable to focus on her goals, unable to be forthcoming with her mom, not transitioning into adulthood or discovering who she was as this cool young Yale student who was head of the paper and had a bright future stretching out in front of her. The only time Rory stopped being intolerable and insufferable during the Logan years was when he was in England or away on business. She made arty friends and paid attention to the ones she already had. She made adult choices. She could think of solutions to problems without panic attacks.

I have long wished she could have been with Dean, however when I rewatch the show each time I go, “Oh yeah, the adultery thing. And the second attempt after the adultery thing. Nooooooooo.” I’ve also struggled with the idea of her with Jess because, well, he was such a punk as a teen. But then this last time I rewatched it, there he was, writing a book and being all cool and functional. So maybe Jess.

But I got on IMDB tonight and found the Dean is only in 1 of the 4 episodes and Jess is only in 3 of the episodes, but there is Logan. In all 4. This is unacceptable.

The only way this is acceptable is if he gets punched in the face, just like when Luke decked Christopher in the face. I will see this as trade off for having to look at him in each episode. Dean can punch him in the first and Jess in the other three. Or Jess can punch him solo in the first two episodes, Dean and Jess can join together and punch him in the third episode and in the final 4th episode Rory can punch him.

While we’re at it, Robert Grimauldi, who Rory went out with once, will be in one episode! So, perhaps he could take a swing at Logan as well. And there is a mystery character Francis! He could be for Rory! Or the 40 something year old Alejandro! He could be for Rory! Or Emily!

But not Lorelai, because they better not mess around with that. Luke + Lorelai = Right. She’s done with the obnoxious searching years. We need a year of stability in that relationship. (Although, in the few pics you see of the show, there are no rings on either of those two, despite them sitting next to each other at a town meeting and holding hands walking down the street. New definitions of lets not get married-ness? Come on. Wedding. Ring. Luke. Lorelai.)

Anyway I have solved the mystery of who Rory will end up with. You’re welcome. Now when you watch it you can just think “Sarah was so right about this and I’m so glad Rory is not going to be with that slimy weasel Logan.”

*Obviously I do not advocate punching any one in the face in real life. Logan is a pretend person. We don’t punch real people. It’s not decent.

*Obviously I didn’t take the picture at the top of this post. Please no one sue me for using it.

*Feel free to comment about how right I am.

STOP IT! Just, please, stop it!!!

Shooting each other.
Race riots.
Email scandal.
Bigotry.
Cell phone videos.
Entitlement.

In 5th grade I first became aware of suicide bombers. I was 10 and starting to pay a little attention when my dad watched the news. I heard about Operation Iraqi Freedom as this far distant concept where we would help these other people, people who were plagued by violence and a nasty power hungry leader. We would do what it took to be helpers. That’s what I understood. But those people over there…I had not concept of who they were.

In high school I shook my head as things continued in that region. Kids I knew had parents working in the military. Kids I knew would go into the military. We’d look at each other and just sigh, and say, maybe callously, maybe ignorantly, but say, “We should just build a wall around that area and let them blow themselves up.” I remember hearing that over and over. We couldn’t figure out how a society got so warped that they would be ok living where it would be expected that you might get blown up if you went to the market. It was a cold statement, but it matched what we saw as the social climate there.

We continued on. We welcomed Starbucks and all the privilege that came as more and more money came our way. America got softer and softer, learning how to wear black to appear slim, boasting of our accomplishments like we were still marathon runners when we were quickly becoming couch potatoes. We lived, ate, drank, breathed the concept that we are worth it, worth anything and everything that we could ever want. We became entitled. And we couldn’t imagine that life involves struggle, and so we began to hate those who lived life in constant struggle.

We made our first inward turn against ourselves.

Who were those in our midst who were not worth it? If I am worth it, it must be because I’m better than….better than a poor person. Welfare became the agenda. Poor lazy people. They’re the enemy. Not, not all, just the addicts. No not them, it’s not their fault. People who think addicts should get help and not just love them in spite of their addiction. They’re the enemy. No, no, it’s the system manipulators.

It’s not me. I’m worth it.

With all of our fingers pointing in opposite directions, nobody would do that trick that I learned the same year I learned about Operation Iraqi Freedom. Point your finger at someone else, and then look. The rest of your fingers are pointing back at yourself. What can you do to change? No, no. Not me. I am not the problem. Someone else is.

Then there was a time in college where we sat watching True Life on MTV and would question how the camera people could stand there and video tape people ruining their lives and not step in to intervene. Now we all stand on the side lines, phones in hand and take part in that baffling behavior.

Through the years we have swung our arms wildly about, flailing them with no regard to whose eye we might poke in the process, one after the next after the next. Until we are at this point.

We are at the point where we are on the brink of turning into what was unfathomable to my generation not a decade and a half ago.

A culture where it is become a possibility that you will be attacked by your own people in a place that should be safe. After the possibility sits for a short time, it will become an part of our practice. We will alter our actions on the defensive, because most of us don’t know how to put an end to the madness. And then it will be our reality, our daily existence.

We think that we have a responsibility to hold up our phones and document the ills of the world, but if everyone on Earth is trying to be Peter Parker, then who will be Spiderman?!?!? Put down your phone!

We think it is our business to be analysts and commentators on social media, yet we have no qualifications, no education in the areas we run our mouths about and none of us bother to listen to anyone else’s point of view anyway. We just unfollow those we disagree with and scream into the darkness. STOP IT! Light a match, y’all.

We think we are so important. We think we are worth it. Ten years ago we were safe. We had things to whine about, but we were safe. We convinced ourselves so much of our own worth that we blinded ourselves to the poor the hungry and the needy all over the world and thought only of our own slight discomforts until we picked the scabs into gaping wounds and turned them into infectious sores. We did that, took ourselves from relative health to needing triage. We are racing into position to have young teenagers in France, or Australia, or wherever watch news reports of the USA and wonder why they don’t just build a wall around us. No one needs to come and attack us, because we are attacking ourselves!!!!! Stop it!

We need no enemy oversea to destroy us. We are doing our best to implode. We are careening towards being a people plagued by violence led by a nasty power hungry leader….and I am not making a statement in support of any candidate right now.

Put down the phone. Don’t click post on that meme that REALLY proves your point. Go live a real life. Go love a black person. Go love a white person. Go love a person and don’t notice their color or anything else about them except that they were made with value and should be treated as such. Go meet your neighbors. Go bake a cake for someone else. Go rebuild a community. Go serve food to first responders. Go out in the world and MATTER to someone, even if it’s just one person. That other person is worth it.

Now is the time.
Now is the time to stop the violence in response to violence in response to violence.
Because united we stand.
Because divided we fall.

History should be yelling that to us, screaming it at us til its throat bleeds.

Stop dividing.
Stop pointing.
Stop it. STOP IT!!! Stop it.