girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Saturday, October 27, 2007

to be...


to be found
to be held
to be challenged
to be stretched
to be considered
to be encouraged
to be forgiven
to be amazed
to be remembered
to be cherished
to be seen
to be heard
to be accepted
to be free
to be healthy
to be trusted
to be comfortable
to be able
to be complete
to be loved
to be blessed


'we have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.'-dorothy day
when i first started my OT theology class this past quarter my professor told the class that he hoped we'd be 'undone' during the course of the class.
later i would find that he intentionally chose a provocative book that would challenge not only his thinking but the whole class' thinking.
he used the same book last year and each class continues to reread the book so that he can be challenged yet again.
he also prays for each of us by name before class as well.
i also found out about his wife.
i'm not sure about the exact timing, but i think around 2 years after they were married she was in a car accident that crushed her brain stem.
since then she has lived with the understanding of a third grader.
so every morning my professor wakes up and they reacquaint themselves with each other...and with God.
his wife can't read because she can't go from one paragraph to the he reads for her.
she's also oblivious to the current christian culture around her...
it swirls around her and goes totally a child.
my professor said that when the car accident happened he wasn't a christian.
after that, he had to figure out what was real.
he found God...and christianity...
3 masters, seminary, and a phd later...
he had to unlearn everything that seminary had taught him.
then one day he went to africa and his whole life was changed.
i mentioned a few weeks ago at my wellspring community that maybe the 'good news' isn't good news to white, american, middle-class males because there's nothing in the bible that's good for them: they have never really understood the pains that the rest of the human race has.
and so i began to wonder about this.
i brought it up in this OT class and my professor said something that i guess i had always known but hadn't recognized:
that the good news becomes good when it's read in community.
that a white, american, middle-class male can understand the oppression of women, and of blacks and hispanics, and of orphans and widows and the poor...when read through their eyes.
at some point we have to remove ourselves from where we're at and begin to see the gospel for what it might be for others...and then its our duty to support them in their plight.
my professor is also critical of the current christian culture in america...
he goes to first baptist in houston (shocking, but let me finish)
he constantly reminds his pastor that he is navigating the titantic...
that there's an iceberg down below and everyone is failing to notice.
i can't understand why he would put himself in a church like that,
but he's right:
him: what is the opposite of love?
me: indifference.
him: then what are hateful words? things like 'i'm fine'...when you're really not.
things like, 'i care, and i'll pray for you'...with a smile on the outside but disinterest or even animosity on the inside.
words of cynicism and sarcasm...those are hateful words.
he also told our class once that he didn't pray for revival....
'i don't pray to revive what's there...i pray to transform what ain't.'
so not only am i learning a lot from this man and his life,
i'm also learning a lot from the class.
this past week we travelled through proverbs and job.
(my prof tells us he feels like a cheap whore when he has to fly so quickly through these chapters that demand so much depth)
he talked about how proverbs were tried-and-true truths that the community believed in...
and that perhaps somewhere along the way they became so relied upon, so set in their ways, so trite and cliche.
then we talked about job.
that his theodicy (trying to understand God's goodness in light of evil) is not a theodicy at all.
that job stands against what proverbs was...
job was innocent.
he had no sin...
God conceded that to him...
and yet he still suffered.
there was no making sense of that.
this past week an acquaintance/friend of mine died in a motorcycle accident.
he and his wife travelled with the wellspring community for awhile last year and when we hung out he wasn't even 21.
(their picture is above)
i spent all week thinking about his wife and about how she could cope with something like that-
how i would cope in the same situation.
i couldn't think about them without getting nauseous.
they had only been married a short time and all of her plans fell to the ground in an instant.
during our group on wednesday we got to discuss how we were all feeling around his death.
we all had things that his death reminded us of...
one of the women there shared about how she's been feeling over the past two years around her own father's death:
he was out on a golf course with his son when he was struck in the head by his son's flying golf struck him in a place that killed him instantly.
...another horrific surprise.
this woman talked about how she has begun to meticulously control and calculate what her family eats and how they work out and all the things they do to remain healthy...
because she doesn't want any more surprises.
she was bold and brave to share this with everyone,
and i respect her deeply for it.
i shared bits of it with my OT class in order to give a real-life example of what happened with proverbs and job:
we try to find the equation and begin to calculate God...
and then something terrible and surprising happens...
and like job, we're just left there wondering.
lamenting a deep wound and yet praising that we acknowledge that a God out there exists.
and the scary part is that a lot of the time we won't even let ourselves feel it...
we push the pain and suffering away and find ways around it.
i used to hate the idea of suffering...
and i still hate it for its own sake...
but i'm finding that there are many places where we run,
we run from the what-ifs and the possibilities of pain,
and i guess i don't want to anymore.
i guess i want to just be whatever i am wherever i am...
and just let that be enough.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


today, ryan told me for the first time that he loved me.
...and so i cried.
today was a good day.


'this is what you shall do:
love the earth & the sun & the animals,
despise riches,
give alms to every one that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income & labor to others,
hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience & indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons & with the young & with the mothers of families,
read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,
re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
and your very flesh shall be a great poem & have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips & face & between the lashes of your eyes & in every motion and joint of your body...'
-walt whitman

Saturday, October 06, 2007


there are some events in life that bring us out of our self-induced comas...
today was one of those days.
i was on my way back from picking up dessert for harbor when i spotted something ahead of me in the road.
i thought to myself, 'what now...?'
i wondered if someone had allowed their trash to fall into the middle of the road,
or if someone was biking and had decided to park themselves right in my path...
(this is montrose after all)
but it wasn't...
it was a young, black female...17 to be exact.
she way laying across the road...
and there was something red all around her on the ground.
i looked across the intersection to see if anyone else was around...
a white woman was down the street on her phone-
looking at the girl in the road,
and looking at me.
i looked left...
i looked right...
i looked left and right again...
no cars.
i parked myself outside of an apartment complex next to the road the girl was lying on.
without even looking toward the girl i reached in the back of my car and pulled out a pillow and removed the pillowcase...
my $10 pillowcase,
and i hurried toward the girl.
suddenly i was in ymca-first-aid-mode.
surveyed the scene: no glass, no cars, just blood on the ground all around that looked as if someone had dumped a whole gallon of paint around her...literally.
the girl was screaming...
she was trying her best to cover a wound on her wrist with her small purse...
i thought, 'this girl is dying...right here...right now'.
i got her to pull her purse away and there, next to her dark brown skin and bright red blood...was white bone.
she had slit her wrist that deep.
turns out she had been crawling out a window...
trying to get away from a man that was trying to rape her.
who knows if the story is true,
but her wrist was cut, her legs and jeans and her whole body were sliced up,
and it really didn't matter...still doesn't i guess.
i got her to elevate her hand...
tried to get her to stay still...
and pinched the artery in her arm...
for 15 minutes.
cars kept driving by and i think some people eventually stopped-
i'm not sure...they certainly didn't speak to me.
she screamed, she kicked, she cried.
blood was on my hands...
it was on my feet...
it was on my jeans.
finally the ambulance and fire truck arrived.
i was barely able to let go...
my knuckles were white and it was hard to release my cramped hand.
they asked me what had happened and i tried my best to say.
i stood there a few minutes before someone offered me some alcohol wipes and i began to remove the blood as best i could.
then i got in my car...
and i drove the remaining 4 minutes to ryan's.
i got out of my car and i grabbed the dessert contents,
and i went inside.
i took them upstairs and when someone asked me what was wrong...
i snapped.
i couldn't speak...
i began to cry...
i ran downstairs to ryan's room and flipped the light on.
the poor boy was lying there in bed asleep and my crying burst into his room woke him.
i grabbed a pair of basketball shorts out of his drawer and ran to the bathroom...
he asked me what was wrong...
and i couldn't say a thing.
i went to the bathroom and instantly began washing my hands...
over and over again.
i couldn't stop shaking.
i cried.
it was one of the scariest experiences of my life.
i have never freaked out and been unable to control my body like that...
i have never been so scared.
i would eventually tell ryan and the rest of harbor what had happened,
but in that moment all i could see was blood...
...and then i threw up.
my therapist told me recently in one of our sessions that i am at a point in my life where i am 'purging all the ugly history out'.
it's coming out in all kinds of crazy ways...
i break up with ryan every 3 days...
i withdraw from everyone...
i take on school, a full-time job at the Y, two faith communities, living with roommates for the first time, therapy, and an intense relationship with my boyfriend.
i'm avoiding.
one night at the beginning of this new schedule i found myself in another fight with ryan...
after promising myself again that i wouldn't break up with him,
i found myself doing it again.
this time he turned his phone off.
all the mean words i had wanted to say disappeared.
i was alone.
no one was home in the apartment...
i finally gathered myself enough to make it to the shower,
and i cried and cried.
eventually i laid down on the tub floor...
i curled into a fetal position...
and my crying began to resemble something more like dry heaving.
something inside of me was coming out...
it hurt like hell,
but after an hour and half of a shower...
i felt better,
and things have been a little easier between us since then.
who knows why today happened like it did,
or how much longer this 'purging' is going to take for me.
i don't want to withdraw away...
i don't want to be absent-even from a silly thing like a blog.
but i am,
and thanks to my friends who have kept encouraging me.
even when i don't respond,
i hope you know i'm listening.
pray for that girl...
i'll never know if she lived or not.
i hope she does.
i hope her life can become better than that moment i witnessed.
even though things like that happen everyday in montrose and other cities,
i'm a small white girl from the burbs-
and i've never seen shit like that.
i hope i never do again.
and i hope that i continue to live a life that can do something about situations like today.
that in the end, my life and my choices mean something.
i hope so.