Weepy Week


I’ve cried in the library already twice this week, and when I saw the news that Taylor Swift’s mom has cancer, I teared up again. Where am I? Yes, the library.

Maybe it’s stress, maybe lack of deep sleep. Maybe I’m more emotional because I’ve been reading more – you know it’s an exercise in empathy, right? Either way, I’m prone to tears right now. Give me some especially good news, and the pipes may burst. Crush my spirit, and I’ll reach for a tissue. It’s just my reality right now.

It seems like a healthy way to go through life, to let the tears come when they may. I have successfully had a good cry at a study carrel twice without disturbing my fellow library-goers. It’s a skill, I’m telling you. Then you just dab at your face so your eyeliner doesn’t create scary tear lines down your cheeks, and you’re good.

I could teach seminars on this.

Some of the tears this week have been about plans that I had that can’t come to fruition now. It was disappointing. But I’m looking ahead because God is in my there, which is obviously not where I was hoping it’d be but it’s better.

I was thinking during one of my classes today, while I was having a hard time paying attention, about what my life will be like when I make it. I had a fleeting image of Fame, where there are pink neon lights. But most of our successes don’t happen like that, do they?

I switched gears and instead imagined sitting at a pretty desk (that I somehow manage to keep organized) in a dimly-lit room that has a well-placed window for thinking-staring. I pictured myself writing a true sentence, something that communicates a deeper truth than I even thought I knew. I think that’s making it for me.

It’ll be quiet, and maybe no one will even read the sentence at the moment, but that’s what it will look like.

And I’ll probably cry.

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Just fine.


So, here’s what went wrong in the past couple days:

First, my bank account didn’t look quite like I wanted it to. Then, I dropped my toothbrush – bristles first – down the drain in the bathroom. Fortunately, it didn’t go all the way down and get stuck… but it did get some gross stuff on the bristles. It was probably time for a new toothbrush, anyways.

Then today I went to Hofer, happily walking through the cemetery to buy my groceries for €4 less than at Spar, and my card didn’t work.

I’m such a baby sometimes. The cashier wasn’t friendly about it, and I felt like I was just off the boat – even though I’m so not just off the boat… I didn’t even come by boat! So, I sniffed and shed a few tears on my walk back home, empty bag in hand. I told God that it was so dumb that they didn’t take Visa, how did I not know that? Why didn’t cashiers here think it was their job to be nice? Why am I so freakin’ sensitive?

Big, deep breath. Something’s got to go right soon enough.

I got home, and my flatmate was washing our blinds. We planned to do that today (blinds are on the outside of windows here, so they get pretty dirty. And our landlords insisted that everyone in the building wash their blinds for some reason). She had a power washer out and handed it to me when I walked up.

Something about power washing blinds is cathartic. Then we washed the windows and laughed about something related to cleaning. Then, since we tracked in dirt to the kitchen, I cleaned the kitchen floor. And since I was on a roll, I cleaned part of our bathroom, too.

There’s something I know how to do. Clean. And I bonded with my flatmates at the same time.

Then I picked up my purse and headed to Spar, where they accept Visa, and spent €4 more than at Hofer, but at least my card went through. I have groceries. My flat is clean. Life is just fine.

Jesus and the hormonal woman


What does Jesus say to hormonal women?  Or anyone else with self-pity/emotional issues?  I’m kind of wondering if he supports wallowing, because sometimes it’s 5:30 and you’re fine.  But then 5:31 comes around and you’re both crying and laughing at the same time, crying for sadness and laughing because you’re crying so suddenly (and you really are perfectly sane).  Then we hit 5:32, and you decide that the cure is to slice the mango and eat as much as possible.  And you kind of think it might be a good night to just eat and watch Smallville.

But then there’s that little voice in the back of your mind that says, I wonder what Jesus thinks about that. And you just want to slap your brain for trying to ruin what could be a very relaxing evening.

Because you aren’t totally sure what position Jesus takes on self-indulgent evenings when you’re feeling like it might be nice to not do anything productive.  There’s the guilt for being unproductive, of course, but that might subside.

Is Jesus like some of those really touch coaches who make their athletes play on sprained ankles without ice or anything?  Or is he the one who lets you sit it out at the hospital and doesn’t guilt you for it?  Or does he fit in neither category?  (maybe that isn’t a good analogy)

I’m not sure what Jesus says to hurt athletes, but I bet he says to people who want to wallow: Come.  I bet he wants to heal the wounds (even though hormonal wounds aren’t really wounds… they’re like diseases) or at least administer some holy ibuprofen. I bet he’s not into quick fixes like movie nights… not that those are bad, they just don’t need to be the medicine.

You know when you’re sick, and you think that watching Mary Poppins and drinking the Coke slushy from Burger King that your mom bought you after they told you that the strep test was positive (again) are what makes you feel better?  But it’s really the amoxicillin that you picked up at the pharmacy and they tylenol your mom gives you every few hours.  Nothing from Burger King can cure strep.  And nothing cinematic heals anything else.

Jesus doesn’t do band-aids.  He does open heart surgery.

Saying goodbye with Jean Valjean.


Today was my last day at home for 8 weeks.  Right now, 8 weeks seems like a long time, even though the past four went by so darn quickly.  I hardly feel like it’s time to hop on a plane to head back to school tomorrow.

I jumped on the I-saw-Les-Mis-and-cried bandwagon today.  It seems like it’s an epidemic, that the story and music and emotion of it all spreads the tears around like germs.  It was worth crying over though.  Yes, the music was great, and the love story was nice.  But beyond that, it was a story of redemption and justice and grace.  If only all the women in the world today who find themselves in Fantine’s position had someone like Jean Valjean to give them dignity and take care of them.  If only the man who hunted Jean Valjean down all those years could accept the grace offered to him and live in it.

I think most of us can connect with Fantine’s song, “I dreamed a dream,” because we, too, have dreamed and continue to dream of a world where things are different.  Even just the little things.  I dreamed a dream of a time where I didn’t get sick every time a cold came to town.  I dreamed a dream of better cafeteria food.  I dreamed a dream of a future where we all stand up to injustice.

Speaking of dreaming, it’s time for me to do that literally.  To take one last sleep in Minnesota before I say goodbye and travel with Bunny and Jesus back to Chicago.

 

I’m a hoarder who cries on the bus.


Sometimes you just sniffle on the bus and use some of the tissues your sister gave you before she hugged you and put you on the bus.

Sometimes you try not to make ugly faces while you let some of the inevitable tears out, while making sure you are facing the window.

Sometimes you just have a perfectly wonderful weekend with your best friend – who happens to be related to you – and don’t want to leave.

But that’s just sometimes.  And that makes the whole thing okay.  The time spent with my sister was totally worth the $50 Greyhound bus ticket.

I knew that I’d value my family more than I already did when I didn’t see them every day or every week or even every month, but now I understand how that plays out.  It plays out in countdowns to the next reunion and lots of hugs while we’re together.  It plays out in starting my Christmas shopping really early, because maybe that will make Christmas and a month at home come faster.

In addition to realizing that I seriously love my family (enough to cry on a Greyhound – you can’t even measure that), I’ve been realizing that I’m kind of like a magpie.

No, I don’t hoard shiny things in my nest.  I don’t have a nest, really.  There’s sometimes enough hair on the floor of my dorm that you could almost call it a nest, but then I grab Blanche (the vacuum) and make it a human residence again.

The pastor at my sister’s church was talking about consecrating ourselves to God today and about the power that comes when we do that.  He was talking about how consecration is personal and wholehearted.  And I was thinking about the “whole” part of that phrase.  And then I was thinking about how I keep finding things in my heart that I haven’t yet turned over to God.  There are hesitancies to trust Him (which are logically ridiculous, but that’s humanity for you) and some things that I think I can handle.

Or maybe I just want to handle them.

I’m like a hoarder.  And it’s with problems and issues and things that seem big.  And joys and people.  And things that make me smile.  And other things too. I stash them away when they really don’t belong with me.

I can’t handle anything.  Good grief, I cry on Greyhound buses. But even if I was as stoic as a rock I wouldn’t need to hoard things from God.  My immediate response when I find things that I need to hand over should be to… well… hand them over.

And perhaps leave them in His hands.

Even the circumstances and things that make me happy.  Because when my whole heart and life in consecrated to Jesus it will be the way it was supposed to be.  That’s a good aim, right?

Perspectives.


I don’t know how wise this will be, but it’s time for some honesty, while on Vicodin. This might be a complete joke when I read it later, but I’ll take that risk. I feel pretty lucid.
I really hate oral surgery. I hate the fact that everyday things that I love like eating and talking hurt really badly. Plus, i can only eat mushy foods, and there is a shortage of salty mushy foods in the world.
Also, Vicodin makes me cry. I have no idea why it affects me that way, but it does. I just sit there til it stops. Then the Vicodin wears off, and I actually have a reason to cry.
I also have to sleep sitting up tonight so that my face doesn’t swell any more than it already has.
Wow, I sound like an American brat.
Change of tune: I will deal with the applesauce and mashed up food because at least I get to eat. I can handle crying from Vicodin because other people cry for more valid reasons. I can handle an awkward sleeping position because I know that in India tonight thousands of girls who are sex slaves aren’t exactly having sweet dreams either.
I’m so blessed.
And all it takes to see that is having a global perspective.
I love my ice pack. I love my stack of pillows. I love my dentist even though he didn’t sedate me as heavily as I would have liked, and the pills he prescribed make me weep. I love my mom and my dad for keeping the mush coming and the ice pack frozen.
I love my Jesus for not counting me as a lost cause because I’m so selfish.
Life is good, and I won’t have bleeding gums, stitches, and unexplainable tears forever.