Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Chain // Lock Down Day #11

A crane for every
day of
lock down.

A folding,
shaping, creasing, 
of paper
One for each day
trapped in our
cozy hideaways.

A teal crane
for day one,
hearing the order
on the radio,
the endless rabble of words
when only a few 
would do.

An ombre crane 
instead of 
getting lost in my thoughts
as I try to write.

Three cranes in one day
after a 
assignment sent.

A coral crane
with words written
on her wings as
a prayer to God
of surrender.

A blue crane
to put
in a letter.

And at the end
I'll have a chain-
a chain of cranes
to hang
in my room
and remember

beautiful things
will come 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Some Coronavirus Thoughts

It has been almost a year since I have last written.

I didn't intend to take a break. Life got busy at work and as I started grad school and tried to adjust to my new schedule.

But I am hoping to be back.

And since we have all been mostly confined to our homes as we practice social distancing to stay healthy and safe from the coronavirus, I thought now would be a good time to come back and add my own thoughts to the chaos. 

So a few thoughts and reminders for myself...

1. This is getting chaotic. All of the news and social media platforms can't stop talking about it. My friends and co-workers can't talk about anything else. I join in despite the fact that I want to talk about anything but Covid-19. But I remind myself that in the chaos, God knew this was coming all along. Before the foundation of the world, He knew! And I can rest in His sovereignty and love and provision.

2. This is hard. I have heard people wonder if the Covid-19 pandemic will be our World War 2, and I don't think that is a fair comparison. Self quarantining and the potential for losing our jobs does not equal war. But this is still hard. It is an unknown none of us have ever faced. It isn't easy to be forced to stay at home. My trip to Oxford this summer was cancelled. I already miss my friends and church family. Though I work at an essential business, I wonder how this might effect the business long term. This season of life will call for extra grace for ourselves and others.

3. When the Coronavirus first exploded in  China, I prayed that the virus would not spread. But I also prayed for the protection of our brothers and sisters in Christ, that God would enable them to be unafraid and that they would stand as examples to unbelievers and they would lead many to Christ. Now, I pray the same for us, that we will be noticed as people who are unafraid and firm in our faith and they will know we are Christians by our love. That God will use Covid-19 to further the gospel.

4. Remember those of us who are single. I am fortunate to be living at home during this time, so I am not completely isolated. But many single people live alone and they do not have families to watch movies with, to spend quality time with, to share meals with and to wonder whether or not they should brave the grocery store. It is only them for the foreseeable future. So please don't forget the single people not snuggling with family on the couch.

5. Remember the elderly. Many of them are also alone and are at high risk. Their families probably can't visit to make sure they stay safe.

6. This is not about me. It is easy to be focused on how unsettling these changes are for me, how I am having a hard time focusing on my school work since I can't study at the library, how I can't travel, how I miss worshiping on Sundays, how I'm worried about my friends who are out of work, how I'm not sure where I will get the books I need for school. Instead, I pray that I will focus on my relationship with Christ and the needs of others.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

"Is This It?" by Rachel Jones // Book Review

 "Is this it?" Rachel Jones asks in her new book with the same title. 

 It is the same question my heart has been asking for what feels like a long time.

 Is this it? 

 Did I really get my Bachelor of Arts to work in a chocolate factory?

 Does the fact I am 25 and living at home make me a failure as much as I feel it does?

 Will I be "the single friend" who watched every friend of hers get asked out, get engaged, get married, and have children while I remain where I am? Single and alone and childless? 

 Is this it? This feeling that I should always be somewhere I am not, that I am failing at adulting?

 Will I ever make enough money to truly be independent?

 Will I always work forty hours per week at a job I'm not passionate about?

 "I'm looking for a book to get you for your birthday," my mom said. "How about this one?"

 I read the description of the book, saw the avocado on the front.

 "It doesn't seem like all of it would apply to you, though."

Related image
 "No," I said. "I want this book." (Not because of the avocado). 

 I needed this book. 

 Especially since graduating from college, those thoughts have been circling. And I don't think I'm alone.

 I was suddenly a college graduate. Opportunities I was told would come my way don't. But still, there are so many different jobs I could apply for, different states I could live in, different places I could go, different things I could be. 

 There are too many choices that I don't want. Not enough of the options I do want. 

 So I begin adult life like a baby bird simply dropping out of the nest. I don't hit the ground. At least not every time. But I'm not really flying either. And I think so many of us in our twenties are feeling this way.

 I wish this book had existed earlier. Because what Rachel Jones does in her book is take all of those circling emotions and anxieties and addresses them in two ways. First, she applies the gospel to them. Shows us how Jesus is more important. What the gospel says to each situation and feeling. She speaks truth into our lives. Then she takes that truth and breaks it down into simple and practical application.

 To that feeling of rootlessness, of not having our own place, Rachel writes: "The priority now is to 'go and proclaim the kingdom of God' (Luke 9 v 60). This is wonderfully liberating. It means that it doesn't matter if you haven't bought a house. It doesn't matter if you never buy a house. You haven't failed at life. Being a citizen of the kingdom of God- and telling others about its King and showing others the love of its King- is what matters. And flexible, no-strings-attached lifestyle brings certain advantages to that end" (52).

 To singleness she says, "Being single now is like missing the three-minute trailer for an epic film that you're going to end up seeing the whole three hours of anyway" (138). For marriage only points us to our relationship with Christ, a relationship we do have that is eternally secure. 

 To being paralyzed by decisions to be made: "Life in Christ frees us to take risks. The Christian answer to the question 'What if I do this thing and then it doesn't work out or I don't like it?' is, 'Well, if you do, and then it doesn't or you don't, you'll still be alive with Christ.'"

 There have been critiques on this book. Ultimately it is praised for its gospel centered focus, but older Christians have said Rachel Jones only relies on her own experiences for the contents of the books and that she is dramatizing what is now called the "Quarter Life Crises".  To which my response is 1) Rachel Jones never claims her book is not based on experience. What else would it be based on? And every experience she shares and wisdom she imparts is backed up by and focused on scripture.  2) If we can't have a Quarter Life Crises then they can't have a Mid- Life Crises. Seriously. All snarkiness aside. Both stages of life are hard transitions. Both require Jesus. And sometimes, more than sometimes, a little bit of appropriate drama is okay and necessary. 

 I needed this book. And if you are twenty something or in your early thirties, you might need this book, too. If you feel lost and hopeless and like you are loosing in the adulting world (or know people who are feeling this way), please read this book.

 "And being a Christian ought to turn our expectations of adulting on their head. If we're following Christ, life's big adventure is not climbing the career ladder or meeting milestones- it's about becoming 'mature and complete' in our faith. So the measure of whether we're adulting right is not whether we've got our own place with a pet, but whether our character looks like Christ's. That's what 'maturity' means- becoming like Jesus, the most courageous, compassionate, convictional, kind grown-up of all time. How do we grow in that maturuty? Through trials" (13).