The Birth of Coco

Coco is one of my best friends in the world. She lives a little over a mile away and I haven’t seen her since right around when I picked her up from the airport after Christmas break. I am not even kidding. She’s in her final semester of grad school, she’s been busy falling in love and causing hell with her roommate. I’ve been drowning in the busiest semester of my life. I don’t love her any less, I miss her like crazy and I am so thankful for her.

I met her the first time in a car in Waco, Texas. Later she came to Berlin, where I begged her to move in with me. She did. It was wonderful. Then she moved back to Chicago and applied for grad school. I struggled in Berlin. She got into BC and then I moved to Boston. Life could not have been more generous to me. Coco did all the hard work to find a church, we followed her there. She goes every week, we go when I am not panicked about homework, housework, or just work. She was incredible when I was engaged. She is amazing when I cry. She was resilient hobbling through an unjustly broken foot. She was patient letting me help her around.

(This one is for Maria who is in town, undoubtedly making Coco’s birthday magical)

Courtney is one of the most beautiful friends I have ever had. She is honest. Real. Loyal. Patient. Kind. Funny. Brave. She has been a safe place for me in some of the most dark moments of my life and a beautiful reflection of love in both the dark valleys and high moments. I honestly feel like being able to live in the same city with her three times in my life was more than providence, it was Providential. It was more than what I needed, it was beyond what I could have asked for. I have to say that in moments it felt like it was a lifesaver.

She has conquered grad school and teaching. She has fallen in love with someone that I have never met, but have every confidence in. Her standards are high, mostly for herself and I wish I was more like her in that manner. Today, I celebrate one of the greatest gifts of friendship I have and I pray that as this dreary rain falls heavy on Boston she is feeling loved, cared for, appreciated, enjoyed, warm and ebullient. I have no doubt that Nick and Maria are looking carefully to it.

Also, if you’re in the Boston area and you need an English professor, I know a really great one who is looking for a job…


Rainy Days and Wednesdays…

It’s a rainy day in Boston today. I love rain. I absolutely love rain. I love songs about rain. I love that it’s washing things away… I don’t like to think about the polluted acid part of it and I think that’s just fine.

We are a parable of the follies over here. I was sick Sunday night, Justin was sick Monday night, he gave it back to me last night and I have also obtained an exhaustion cold. I sound like a sexy phone line number.

I’m going to try to sneak into the link up today. My friend Jen, who I’ve known since youth group has kind of a bible study/women’s group link up. So if you’re into that head over and check out the group of she bloggers that post there.

I always feel such a pressure to write something relevant for the link up, but today I think I will just share about a conversation that DCWright, J and I had at dinner last night (Giacommo’s then Mike’s for cannoli.) We were talking about deviants. We all have them. Some are quirky ways, some are character flaws, some are major issues, some are hidden past issues etc. We were talking about how in our older age we haven’t grown more “tolerant” per se nor do we feel that there are no absolutes, but we do feel like everyone has their thing and the last thing they need is someone gasping in horror or shame when they discover it.

Think about it. You reveal or have exposed something that you are ashamed of. How do you want someone to meet that revelation. Or even this. You are a serial mistake maker. Do you want people to draw a line and condemn you and set these crazy rules and boundaries, hoops that you have to jump through to prove change? It’s like a probation time at a job, of course you can do what you need to do to keep your job, but what you desperately want is some help, some training or some equipping to help you overcome your obstacles or bad habits that keep you in a perpetual state of less-than efficiency or effectiveness. It’s the same way in our personal lives. So often we try to give people these “diet” plans for character improvement, problem solving or getting back on track. I think plans are well and good, but when what is needed is a perspective change, a heart change, a soul renewal then a diet isn’t the best solution. There is no arguing that it may be of great assistance along the way, but I think in reality what the world needs is a little more gentility.

In my English class we are talking about Internet Freedom of Speech. One of the things we discussed about things going viral is that the bad things go big a lot faster than the good. What if we perpetuated kindness the way we perpetuate frustration. Like the example from my Management class, a satisfied customer tells 3 people. A dissatisfied customer tells 9. COME ON! Seriously.

So here’s the deal. Let’s all take a deep breath. The next time your child, husband, small group project partner, good friend or stranger does something that upsets you. Stop. Take a deep breath. Think. I am loved. I love or like this person (or don’t.) I have so many good gifts. If it were me I would appreciate ___________. THEN ACT. I bet more often than not, you will offer grace. Kindness. Gentility.

Also, can I just say when someone does a great job, when someone is kind, when someone impacts you, when you feel moved. SAY IT. At restaurants and stores I ask for managers to offer compliments. In my classes I tell my professors and their bosses when it’s been an incredible experience or a great class. I share my notes. I stop and take time. I still bark at J when he doesn’t finish a task… I get confused when we make the same mistakes or have the same fights, but instead of condemning one another we are re-committing to each other and the people around us that we will keep working on behaving and thinking about each other in the right way, the way that believes the best, that is based on love and the belief that we are loved. And you know what, if it is cheesy or too half-glass-full then so be it. I could use a little optimism.

Happy Rainy Day and Wednesday, I am off to re-take an Algebra test that three classes bombed, so he’s giving us another chance. Believe me, I am meditating on thoughts of kindness toward this man…

Roads With Ditches

They happen. As may be obvious by this blog. I am drowning in this semester. In a lifelong battle with boundaries I once again bit off more than I can chew. Needless to say, my work and school schedule forgot to cc life on the memo and it’s been full steam ahead. I have left the compulsive cleanliness of my house in the wake, civility in moments of absolute stress (this mostly affects Justin), maintaining regular contact with friends, church, running & exercise, and a myriad of other things in the dust of my fast moving train. Today I am juggling a stomach bug, bad news leftover from Friday, sickness, a test, a rough draft, a house in need of straightening, and errands. All I want to do is watch TV and drink Diet Cherry Limeades from Sonic. Unfortunately on roads with ditches, when you spend a couple miles in the ditch off the road of life, if you don’t keep moving while you’re in that ditch, when you pop back up on the road you haven’t made any progress. So here’s to making progress, and the math test that I have to re-take on Wednesday because it was so hard only two people passed it in all of my professors classes. Awesome. Thanks man, that’s exactly what we needed. To study for a test twice. I just keep thinking of my GPA…

Let the Light In

I’ve been loving this song lately. I am not totally sure what that means.

It’s been a rough semester. I’ve taken on too much. A lot is going on around me. I feel like I’m already a more cynical, self-deprecating person by nature, but it seems to have really blossomed in the midst of this semester. I am panicked about maintaining a 4.0. I want every opportunity I can get, but that drive, combined with work and life leave me burnt out. Me being unable to find some balance and equilibrium in my life is not new, but if I hope to succeed in my friendships, marriage and a more demanding academic environment I need to get my act together. Not to mention I’d like to step out a little more into some amateur photography.

Life is always like this. I cannot change life but I can change me. I keep rolling this around in my head. I don’t want to be the negative and cynical person that I feel like I’ve become. I cannot simply change myself, thought I know a change is desperately needed. I’m trying to Let the Light In.

Today I remember that there are people everywhere in more difficult circumstances than I. AM has been talking a lot about gaining empathy and a more sympathetic disposition. I realize that I need to first offer myself the appropriate empathy, recognize that I am deeply loved and deeply flawed and that’s not going to change, and then embark upon the world without thinking that it requires and equal and opposite reaction from me, but instead that a peaceful and gentle spirit can and will diffuse a lot of the harshness that I encounter on a daily basis. Anger, frustration and negativity spread more easily than love and gentility but it doesn’t make love and gentility any less needed.

I am not really sure how to do this or where to start. I have thrown up hail mary prayers, begged God, read books, gone to counseling… There must be a way, and I will try to find it. Hope. There is always hope and I am holding on to it for dear life!

Sending all the love in the world to Austin, Texas today. Desperately wish I had a teleportation machine to pick me up after class Friday and drop me back off in Boston Tuesday morning so that I could spend the weekend on the greenbelt. Instead, I am just sending love every way I can.

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