10K . . .

Yup.  I finally did it.  I was getting bored with 5K’s, and wanted to do a 10K by this spring, so I started training on the trusty gym treadmills . . . and on Sunday, I did it: 10K.  6.2 miles, baby!!  With energy to spare!  Granted, the time was not all that great (~56 mins) . . . but I’ll work on that.  My goal is to do one of the Bmore 10Ks this spring in under 45 minutes.  We’ll see how that goes.

In other news . . . just 2 more days   Thanx for offering a ride to the airport, JaneYang!!

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a MUST SEE!  Hilarious!

This morning, my heart is heavy.  Not in a bad way (I don’t think) . . . it’s just that I feel torn in so many different directions on several fronts.  My career is at another crossroads, relationships are more confusing than ever, and where the hell am I gonna live when my lease runs out?   Yet, I feel peace about it all.  I’m just trusting that God’s still there, and still loving me . . . and everything will fall comfortably (or perhaps uncomfortably?) in place.

Ciao

 

 

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France . . .

If you haven’t heard it by now, it’s time you did!  I’ll be heading to France on Friday.  I’m so excited!

I’ll be spending the first couple of days w/ my old college friend Ranjana in Dieppe.  I know we’ll have a blast!  She’s already told me of plans to get me liquored up quite nicely. LOL.  Should be fun.

On Monday, I’ll be meeting up w/ Jonathan in Troyes, and then . . . who knows?  The plans have changed quite a bit (original talks of going through the south of France, then the French Alps . . .but all of this was time-consuming, and budget-blowing, so we’ve opted for a smaller trip instead).  Plans are still in the works – I think we’ll just play things by ear.  But either way, it promises to be awesome!

I seem to be coming out of this latest hibernation of introvertism.  I’m exploring my more social side again   I’ve met some really cool folks lately . . .

This past weekend I’ve been overwhelmed by palpable expressions of God’s love for me.  So many things:

. . .like a really long talk with my mom last night.  I know I’ve talked in the past about troubles with my family, and not having the freedom to be “me” at home.  But I’ve been engaging my parents in some very honest, real conversations lately.  My mom showed me how much she loved me – for whoever, wherever, or whatever I am.  She shared with me how much she’s struggled with my depression the last few years, and how she’s been constantly afraid that I would kill myself.  (Truth be told, there was really only a short timeframe where I was actually at any significant risk for suicide, but she’s a mother, I suppose, and it’s her job to think the worst, right?)  Anyway, it was a good talk.  For the first time in a long time, I could feel her love for me – not just in theoretical, cognitive terms – but in my gut, I could feel it.  I’m far too blessed, I think.

At church today, a good friend (whose wedding I helped coordinate a few months ago) was telling me how her sister thinks i’m “lickable”   And that she and her sister agree that I’m beautiful.  I know it may sound strange, but I was highly flattered by that!  No one has ever told me that I’m “beautiful”.  I’ve always assumed that I wasn’t all that good-looking.  (Yes, low self-esteem is a part of my messy picture too!)  And now, I dare to believe those words . . . I dare to believe that I’m actually beautiful.  It’s a nice feeling.  A really nice feeling.  You should try it sometime.  Seriously.

A few minutes ago, I got a text from a guy from my small group saying he missed me. 

I don’t know that I can handle all this attention and love.  I really don’t understand it!  Where’s all this crap coming from?  Or has it perhaps always been there, but I just never noticed it???  Mmmm . . . I’m gonna have to think about that . . .

Anyway, I need to get home now.  Should probably start packing and getting shit together.

Lata!!

Retreat . . .

I find myself in a very strange place.  A place I like to call “lost-ness”.    If there is one word that I think really sums up my young adult experience, it’s lostness.  I feel lost.  All the time.  Unsure.  Completely without confidence.  Guideless. 

Which is why I find it so odd that the Cedar Ridge staff person who’s in charge of the young adult group (Sarah) would make me such an integral part of the leadership team, and would utilize me so much in planning a young adult retreat with the theme of “surviving the highs and lows of young adulthood”.

It’s true: I’ve survived a lot.  But it’s all been so very messy.  Uncomfortably so.

Yet, I moved as I was summoned.  I wish I could have taken a bit more of the planning load off of Sarah, and I wish I could have been less in the limelight when it came to leading the group in spiritual exercises.  Life is what it is though.

I must say, it really was an amazing experience.  Everyone arrived safely and soundly on Friday night, and Sarah and I led the group in some contemplative spiritual practices, and it was very, very sweet.  Saturday, we had an EXCELLENT talk from Ms. Christy Crothers, who really helped people to face the thread of tragedy that seems to lace the story of the universe, alongside the constant thread of beauty. 

The food notwithstanding, the rest of the day went really well too – complete with small group discussions, prayer, intimate-one-on-one-talks-you-can-only-get-at-retreats, and a couple of REALLY intense rounds of Mafia!! 

With Sunday came a tragic, heart-breaking, yet paradoxically hopeful, life story from Kim, followed by Darren trying desperately to ward off the steadily growing stream of tears so that he could lead the final small group discussion.  I finally relented and just let the tears flow – as we all got really honest with ourselves and our trauma, and got awfully naked with one another.  It was . . . in a word:  beautiful.  (And that’s a very clumsy word, b/c I don’t feel it even BEGINS to describe how amazing that experience was.)

Finally, Sarah and I led the group in some Lectio Divina, and then I led us in communion – which was – again, quite beautiful.  It’s the one tradition of the Church that doesn’t seem to lose its novelty, no matter how many times I participate in it.

As lunch ended, and people began to trek home one-by-one, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of lost-ness all over again.  It was as if a piece of my own soul was departing every time another person stepped out of the dining hall and headed to their car.  I’m actually rather shocked I bonded so significantly with this group of people in such a short amount of time. 

Fortunately, my transition back into the real world has been pretty easy to handle.  Monday is clinic day, which means the opportunity to help real people with real problems.  And that feels a lot like making God’s dream for mankind a reality right here and now.  It softens the blow from having to leave the cozy comforts of a safe spiritual environment.

I suppose I should get back to work though.  The boss will be done interviewing those new residency candidates any minute now, and I want to at least appear to have my mind on all the shit I should be getting done.

Adios.

D.J.

P.S.  Jon, really wish you could have been there!  We missed you!  Folami says hey, by the way.  And sorry if the text got sent multiple times.  For some reason, every time I go on a retreat and try to send you a text, it tells me it’s not going through!  So I hope you got it just once, but if it came 3 or 4 times, forgive me

Roll over . . .

I can’t remember the last time I had such a fantastic weekend!

I haven’t seen my cousin, Hollie, in such a long time.  She has the lamentable misfortune of having a birthday 2 days before Christmas.  Now, in a more affluent family, that would probably translate to twice as many presents during the holiday season, however, being the very middle-class family that we are, it’s more often meant poor Hollie getting as many presents as every other kid in the family, but having it double as both a Christmas and birthday present.  So I usually try to celebrate her birthday a few weeks later, so that it actually seems like she has an actual birthday – even though it’s late.  I spent the weekend w/ her in Frederick.

On Saturday, after receiving a call from Canadian John (who’s actually in Australia now!), Hollie and I headed down to D.C.  and went to the National Gallery of Art.  Wow!  I haven’t been there since I was in high school, but I realize I have MUCH more of an appreciation for the place now.  I could spend HOURS in there!  As a matter of fact, it’s been added to my list of places to “escape” to when I need to be alone with my thoughts for awhile. 

Then we headed to Bethesda where Hollie had to give some kayak lessons (something she does in her spare time).  Since they called her in last-minute this weekend, she finagled them into giving me a free lesson!  I learned how to roll over (a pretty sophisticated technique kayakers use when they get flipped over in their boats.  I really thought this would be a breeze to learn, but it was frickin’ HARD!  It’s a little something like this:

 

And it ain’t NEARLY as easy as it looks!  But it was friggin’ COOL!

I didn’t get away w/o a few injuries, however   A couple of chunks of flesh rubbed off my knuckles, sore feet (you gotta wedge yourself in those kayaks pretty tight to make the flip), some sore muscles, and lots of congestion (all that flipping over, and over, and over, and over again did murder on my sinuses!) – but I’m none worse for the wear.  I’m actually feeling pretty good now.

It was all kind of a good reminder about life though.  We do inexplicably find ourselves turned over – completely disoriented – in this journey of life.  And it takes a lot of skill to learn how to get yourself righted and back on course. 

We started a new series on the Bible this Sunday.  It promises to be really good.  I know Matthew’s only doing this b/c there’s a rather conservative core of the church that’s been getting nervous with all us youngins coming in and having all these questions and doubts – so he’s felt pressured to talk about some of the basics.  But he started off the series really well today – saying nothing I haven’t heard before, but I realize how this view of the Bible I hold now is diametrically opposed to the way I was brought up believing about it. 

Cedar Ridge has been such an amazing place for me to just grow and be changed.  A place for me to find Jesus . . . in the midst of my pain, shame, confusion . . . at the point when I found myself upside down, fighting desperately to grab a breath of air, when along came these wonderful people to show me how to get my boat right side up again.  I’m really humbled, and really thankful. 

So now, I need to head home.  My body is rather fatigued, and I need to catch some shut-eye.  It’ll be a long week . . . as usual.

Peace,
D.J.