Stupidity, doubting, and faith.

Let’s talk about the three of those in that order.

First: stupidity.

Stupidity (stoo-pid-it-ee), def: You make a full, large cup of hot tea. You set your laptop on your bed and intend to join it there with your tea. Your bed is one foot off of the floor, so you have to lower yourself a lot farther than your center of gravity is used to. You lower yourself down, meanwhile sloshing tea onto your computer (aka lifeline to home, center of memories, files, and work from years and years).

You have a half second of panic and disbelief, then you grab the towel from the shelf and dab the computer. Oh, no. Ohhhhhh, no. Don’t die, baby, you whisper. No, no, no. Don’t die. I need you. I NEED YOU.

As you’re dabbing, you have the presence of mind to turn the computer off. And by some miracle, you realize it would be a good idea to set the computer up like a tent (upside down) so that the water can all drain out.

Doubting (dow-ting), def: First, you doubt that you could have ever done something so clumsy and stupid. You, who never do anything like this (note the sarcasm there). Then you doubt that God will heal it. Oh shoot, he’s probably going to say that he has a better idea. He’s going to make me buy a new laptop. Oh shoot, I can’t do that. I really can’t do that. And what will I do without my files? Where will I get such a marvelous computer as Matilda? Why do bad things have to happen when you’re brand new to a foreign country? Still, despite all the doubting, you realize that the only way this can get better is by miraculous healing.

So, you set your hand on your computer tent, which is sitting on the towel on your bed. (the tea cup is now on the floor, out of the way) You pray for a good fifteen minutes, pleading as honestly as you know how with God to fix the darn thing and to overcome your stupidity. You promise to make it known when He does. You tell him that you know that he could have a better idea, but you tell him you can’t handle the better idea. You just would like to have it fixed. You tell him that maybe there was a lesson he wanted to teach you by making you buy a new laptop in a foreign country, but you ask if you could learn that another way.

Then you proceed to continue to worry. And you wonder why you can’t just trust God to fix it. You know that God has fixed your phone before, has given you an extra week with Pearl that you really needed. He could give you an extra five months with this machine. You know that God has the power, the reason, and the sense to fix it, but you wonder if he thinks something else might be better (even though you have no idea how not fixing it could be better). You wonder why you can’t just let God have this situation. You want to try turning on the computer.  I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t know that it’s fixed. You try turning it on. It turns on but then goes black. You decide God isn’t ready to fix it but hope he is soon. You really want to trust God.

It’s a computer for goodness sakes. So you text your parents to pray for it, even though it’s a computer and you don’t want to tell them how stupid you were.

Faith (fay-th), def: You calm down and go to sleep. Then you wake up the next morning, eat müesli, drink coffee (the same coffee you have a small victory with yesterday), and tell God that you trust Him to fix it. You trust him because he called you here, and in order for you to stay here and be sane, you need your computer. You remember his words to Peter when Peter was walking on the water towards Jesus and started to doubt and sink, “You of little faith, why did you doubt? ” So you decide not to doubt. He’s faithful. You remember Daniel’s words in chapter 9, “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous but because of your great mercy.”

Have mercy on this tea-spiller, Lord.

You get the strong urge to turn on the computer again, so strong that you pour out the small remainder of cold coffee and go to your room.

And it turns ON. It allows you to login, and it stays on. And has not changed since.


Here’s my psalm for today: Praise the Lord! He has heard our prayers and fixed the computer. His faithfulness and computer savvy, no one can fathom. Hallelujah for connection and for files restored!

The wise fool hits the road.

Sophomore: combo of “Soph,” which means “wise” and “moron,” which… well, we all know what that means. All credit for knowing what that means goes to Mr. Joel Solliday, who told me that at the start of my sophomore year of high school (the year we spelled it ‘sophmore’ on the sign in our hallway for homecoming week… wise fools….), and I’ve never forgotten it.

I’m in my last few minutes of being home, and I wanted you to be a part of this. I’m sitting on my bed for the last time for a couple months. From here on out, I’ll be coming to you live from a corner of the library, my bunk bed in my tiny studio apartment, or one of the many Chicago coffee shops.

I’m so at home. And by that, I mean that my sister is playing the piano (she’s practicing for a wedding tonight), my dad is still packing his bags and showering – meaning that we’ll be leaving late, and I’m tapping out a blog post.

The anxieties that prevailed in the last few days have started to subside as I collect kitchen supplies and finalize my schedule for the semester. But mostly, I’ve been learning that fear doesn’t have a place in my life. Granted, that doesn’t mean that I’ve shown it the door and switched the locks for good. I think it will take a while (if not my entire life) to overcome that. Jesus is greater than all my fears, but that doesn’t mean that I always trust Him. Yes, I do realize how ridiculous that sentence is. I was tempted to change it, but it’s true. Even though I know that God holds my entire life in His hands and walks alongside me, I still fear and still question.

I really am a wise fool. I know a truth that should overcome every anxiety I’ve ever felt and more, but I still cling to the horridness of being afraid at times. I bet you do, too.

In a few minutes, Jesus and I will take Matilda and the newly-healed Pearl and my parents, and we’ll walk out the door and drive to Chicago together. And my parents will move me in to my apartment, and they’ll leave. But Jesus will remain. My parents and sister and friends and the rest of my support system from home will be a phone call away, but Jesus will grasp my hand and never let go.

Oh, for grace to trust Him more.

Let’s hit the road.

A new name.

The object formerly known as “my laptop” has now been christened with her own name (and gender to go along with it).

Everyone, I present to you, my good and dear new friend, Matilda.

*golf claps*

There are only good connotations with that name in my mind.  The book, Matilda, by Roald Dahl, was an innovative and brilliant children’s book, and the movie version did the book justice.  I’m pretty sure there was a maid in a book or movie I encountered named Matilda too, and I’m fairly certain she was a nice, non-central character.

Funny how names always carry feelings with them.  Like when I hear the name Rinnie (not often as you might imagine, but similar sounding words can do that same for me), the connotation is of a girl in my class in first grade.  I didn’t particularly like her – not that I disliked her, but she was in a different group and seemed a little strange to me – and when she left our school I wasn’t devastated.  Then, after a rather short period of time, she came back.  People were hugging her and getting excited about her return.  And I hugged her and acted thrilled to have her back.  I might have even jumped up and down a little and smiled really big.

Maybe I actually was thrilled.  But when I remember that day, I can’t remember whether I hugged her to conform to the pattern of my classmates or if I felt bad that there weren’t many people who were glad to see her back.

Oh, how I’d love to think it was the second, that I was the noble first grader who acted in love and made a girl who was a little bit on the fringe of our little society in Miss V’s room feel welcome again.

I wish I could go back to those days, to any day where I had a chance to break the mold of distance and barriers.  I wish I could be the one to break down walls, to act in courage so that people could feel loved.

I wish my name reflected that.  Ashley.  For some reason, in novels and movies, it’s always a snotty, rich girl who is popular but not because of kindness or charisma.


Gonna be breaking some molds here.  I got my roommate assignment today, and I think my roommate’s name (in addition to her address and phone number, all I was provided with) makes her sound nice.  I hope she doesn’t see my name and think uh, oh.  I got stuck with a brat.

Breaking the mold, people, breaking the mold.