Watch this. This is my God. Who loves justice, the poor, the disenfranchised, and those who the world forgot.
That was the last couple days. And now, as things go, I’m needing to get back into the swing of things. Reviews, reflections, guitar playing, and soon NYC. It is such a joy to serve, but there are times when I long for quiet and peace.
I find that in a few things I find peace and comfort and joy and solace, and I think over the last couple days I was able to be very directly with them.
Think of it this way (and I say this as much so you know what I’m dealing with as well as maybe what you’re dealing with, too): in a time of year where I need to swim deep underneath the water, it helps to take a really deep, soft breath between the sustaining breaths that take you the rest of the way down.
I wanted to try to define that more deeply, but let’s be honest with each other – it’s 12:48 and I’m up tomorrow at 6 to do laundry and get more work done. But hey, soon I want to talk about some of the best things in my life… if you don’t know what those things are, well, then… stay tuned.
Today has been weird. I’m not usually an anxious or worried person. Life is too short and beautiful for it. But today, boy, I’ve been anxious in spades. I woke up this morning in a panic. About relationships, about work, about my papers I need to write – about everything and anything. And it was weird, because it didn’t make any sense. It’s not as if I had any reason to be anxious or panicked. The worst part is it feels lodged inside me. My bones, my blood. I mean, it could be caffiene, Sudafed, cabin fever, expectation… any of the above. But it isn’t comfortable. It isn’t me.
We had gathering in praise today, and before it, I went to the chapel and prayed very specifically for God to help me figure this out, and that I’m giving myself over to Him, relegating my will and control to Him. In response (and this could have been me or the Holy Spirit, but I tend to think it’s both together), I recieved the same thing over and over again:
“Let not your heart be troubled.”
So I’d pray some more.
“Let not your heart be troubled.”
Over and over, I’d try to start again, and that’s what I heard, so resounding and real:
“Let not your heart be troubled.”
And so I figured after about the 7th or 8th time, I’d listen. And so sure, I still feel anxious and insecure a little, but I’m remembering that ultimately, my heart, soul and strength are with my God, the Creator and Lord of Heaven and Earth.
I’ve also had the blessing of a community around me saying the same thing in various ways… stay focused on the blessings… don’t worry, it’s easy to make something out of nothing… yeah, I’ve been feeling anxious, too, I’ve just prayed.
In many ways, I’ve felt the arms of God around me today.
- I have a girlfriend named Erika
- Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day
- We had plans
- The biggest snowfall of the years hits the 13th and the 14th, burying both Cleveland and Erie in multiple inches of snow.
- We’re still celebrating Valentine’s Day… just by distance
- I think this might be one of the most fun Valentine’s Day I’ve had.
I ended up reading a Valentine’s Day gift advice article on MSN.com. Mind you, I didn’t read it because I needed any help; I happen to be very good at that sort of thing. Also, Katie isn’t caddy or inherently evil, and she doesn’t set me up to fail be secretly desiring some obscure Mayan artifact that she won’t tell me about and prepare herself for a meltdown come Valentine’s day when she opens… well, something else entirely. (a dead cat, shhhhh) She’s sweet like that.
This article that I read analyzed cliche V-Day gifts and suggested alternatives. There was truth in it, but not all cliches are bad. A woman wrote in saying how she was unfortunate enough to get a bunch of red roses with baby’s breath. To quote her:
Says Kristin, 40, of Lake Geneva, WI, “I was dating a guy who said he adored all my quirks and my adventurous spirit. Then he turned around and gave me a big bunch of roses with the lacy white stuff for Valentine’s. It was embarrassing, because I’m so not the kind of woman you give that to! It made me feel as if he didn’t really know me or get what I was all about.”
Adventurous spirit? It’s Valentine’s Day, and red roses, though cliche at whatever level… should be nice. They aren’t cheap (especially around Valentine’s Day). Should he have gotten her some mountain climbing gear? A sword? A gun? A pirate hat? I think that sometimes even a woman with an “adventurous spirit” might like something like roses. Cliche is usually cliche because it works. It’s classy. And it’s safe, especially for a gentleman that… you are only dating? Kristin is going just a little too far with her dissatisfaction. Also, Kristin- you live in Wisconsin; just be happy you didn’t get hunting gear, cheese, or a dead fish. Or… is that what you ARE all about?
The other thing was that in the entire 10 point article, only 2 vaguely referred to gifts for men. Again, my fiancee has no problems in this department, but I can imagine the letdown when gentlemen receive a tie or something similar for every gift-giving occasion.
9. A tie-What’s wrong with it: “Women actually have a harder time than men shopping at Valentine’s Day, because there are fewer gift options for men than for women,” says Silvestri. “Still, a tie is a big yawn.” It’s amazing how many women complain about generic gifts and then hit the tie aisle for their man. At best, the tie is by a great designer—which the guy likely won’t care about. At worst, it’s a novelty accessory featuring pigs, the Blues Brothers, or some other unwearable shtick. But usually, it’s just “about” the color the guy usually wears, meaning he already owns a dozen of ’em.
A simple solution: Head a little further into the menswear section and pick out a great scarf instead—it’s more casual and therefore more wearable; some fun or extra-soft (cashmere, maybe) socks; or another item that shows a dash more originality.
I think the tie analysis is dead on, but look at the solution. Just look. Buy your guy a great scarf? Fun socks? There are only 2 situations in which I would want to get a scarf.
1. It’s so cold outside that the skin on my neck is freezing and for some reason I am incapable of procuring a scarf
2. The gift giver made me a scarf
The casual scarf should not be mentioned as a generally acceptable Valentine’s gift for men. It’s preposterous. There are 4 main exceptions to this.
1. His family resides in New England family and “has money”
2. Your boyfriend likes to think he’s really artsy and that no one understands his struggle
3. Your boyfriend has part of his under-developed Siamese twin brother growing out of his neck
4. You are a man buying for a man
Fun socks? Fun… socks? I love a good pair of socks, but how DARE this person suggest FUN socks may serve as an acceptable V-Day offering after criticizing roses? If these socks are so much fun that they massage your feet, change color, AND make fart noises every time you step… well, you might be going in the right direction.
Here’s a suggestion- if there’s something specifically not cliche that you want for Valentine’s Day, ask for it. Also, if you have a male counterpart… don’t buy him a scarf unless your relationship falls under the exceptions listed above.
That’s what I weighed this morning. I haven’t weighed that since I worked at American Standard on the floor and was sweating 8 hours a day. In other words, I haven’t weighed this since really pre-college.
18 more pounds and I’ll have gone to my total goal… and maybe I’ll keep going to get the sexy swimsuit look (but let’s be honest, I don’t care that much)
Oh, and can I say that I weighed 250 at the end of my junior year of college? 52 pounds lost in 3 years. Yessum.
I looked in the mirror and thought “not too bad, Adam, not too bad”.
W = ∞
A = Really, really blessed.