Dec 26, 2008

awake is the new sleep

See Slumdog Millionaire. Now. You won't regret it.

I remember several times when I felt especially alive. Not the awareness of your breathing in and out, or of your heart beating steadily, but times when I was hit with the sense that life is incredible. When I found myself overwhelmed by moments that were joyful.

Usually they involved Gene.

My parents gifted Gene Parmesan to me two years ago. He is my car. Sturdy little red corolla. We blew a tire in Salt Lake City where the man in the Hooters sweatshirt put on the spare for me. The starter failed last year on a rainy day. I waited and signed off my trusty car to the man in the tow truck. We spun 360 degrees in a snow storm on the way to a final that took 15 minutes.

My first trip in my car was to Manhattan, KS. I stayed with my friend Rachel. I don't remember everything that happened, but I remember feeling grown up. I was a freshman in college, driving by myself across Kansas. I listened to U2. And on my way home I saw the most incredible sunset that is somehow burned in my mind. I stood in the cold wind and took pictures for as long as I could, then drove home in the dark.

A few months later I packed my car with Molly, Caitlin, Lauren, and Katherine. We each had a backpack and one sleeping bag. We drove to Montrose and then to Boise and then to Seattle. Scenery changes around you depending on the people you are with. I remember driving back from Seattle, over the pass in Oregon, with the windows down. We took pictures and smiled and laughed and I was freezing. But the air was so perfect and the moment was real and I just wanted to stop time for a while.

And then, six months and 19 days ago I packed my car, threw myself a birthday party, and headed out to Richland with my friend Mara. On our drive we laughed, I screamed, and I cried. A lot. I remember the music I listened to. I remember meeting my host family. I remember moving all of my stuff in and begging Mara to stay with me. I did not want to be alone in that place because I knew it would be hard.

And I remember the night I drove myself back to the Tucker's after a week at camp and a weekend at ICE. It was late and I was tired and my windows were down. But I was happy. I was so thankful to be in Washington, by myself, making mistakes, feeling lonely, but feeling right. It was a sense of life that I took with me.

So why does it matter? Well, I guess talking to Erik makes me nostalgic. I guess looking at plane tickets make me wonder what revisiting Washington would be like. And I suppose I am just longing to feel that vibrancy again. Maybe next time I will savor it a little more.

Here's what I know: life, in the moments where you feel the incredible joy of being alive, are always shared with someone. Maybe it's a time when you feel especially near to the Lord and you share it with Him, or maybe with friends. Either way, life comes in others. But most readily and easily sensed are when connection with something of the heart of God is experienced.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth...he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being." - Acts 17:24-28

Dec 18, 2008

Because I can

I have been putting off a lot of things this week: cleaning, packing, sleeping, writing letters, showering. So I sit in a dirty room, and I smell, and there are clothes and papers everywhere. And I sit here accomplished.

I passed. Everything. At least, I think I did. I will know by tomorrow.

My GPA is "ruined". I will probably be on grading remediation pending bringing grades up next semester, threatening termination of my scholarship. I don't even care. I practically rolled down a snowy hill after I walked out of my last final out of sheer elation.

I have never had to work so hard in school - minus that first semester in a new high school. Passing this semester was probably my most profound accomplishment. I am proud of myself. I am proud I stuck with it, that I came back to school this semester, that I am coming back next semester, and that I actually love what I am going to do for a job someday.

I will write more thoughts once they come - right now I am a little too overwhelmed to be coherent. Right now I'm going to watch The Hills and clean my room and take a shower and get dressed up and go to a concert tonight and love on people.

Dec 8, 2008

Because I always have good reasons to blog when I should be writing a final.

So for everything that is bleak and dreary about William Jewell, there are some totally stellar parts of being a Jewell student.

1) Lighting of the Quad - definitely the perfect event to ring in the Christmas season. We sing carols, light candles (or glow sticks), and sing outside as they turn all the Christmas lights on campus. And every night after, you walk around the Quad in a glow of awkward, semi-creepy green, red, and blue light.

2) Late Night Breakfast - always the Tuesday or Wednesday of finals week. The professors feed us pancakes and ice cream, they play music, and awkward children follow you around asking to refill your drinks. A total "we-appreciate-you-paying-our-salaries" from the professors.

3) The Ely Christmas party - good fun is had by all.

(all occurring in the span of one week - needless to say, it is full of excessive joy and caloric intake.

Today in the mail I got a "happy half birthday" card from student affairs. They gave me a free drink coupon to the coffee shop. Add that one to my list too.

Happy Christmas season to you.