Monday, August 15, 2011

A String of (Unconnected) Thoughts: Hope Abounding

Someone says that men's thoughts could be compared to a waffle-- everything has its own compartment and the divisions between individual compartments/thoughts are clearly defined, while women's thoughts are more like a spider web or a giant bowl of spaghetti-- thoughts lead to other thoughts and it's not really clear how. So, a woman can leap from talking about a recent lunch date to remembering that the trash man came this morning (oh darn). Here are some of the things I've been thinking about recently. Judge for yourself the semblance to waffles or spaghetti.

Cars: I don't like getting work done on my car. Here's why: everyone knows that girls get ripped off unless they know something about cars. Thought process: How do I know where to take it? Everywhere is expensive. How do I know if a cheaper diagnostic will pay off in the end or not? Is it important that the brake test is 25 at one place and 50 at another if they can both be applied to the end cost? Well, it depends if the problem ends up being with the brakes. Dahhhhhhhhh. Whichever decision I make seems like the wrong one.

Jobs: I got a job. From one Monday post to another, I got an email asking me to interview, interviewed, and got a job. It was a whirlwind. And I am thankful for it because I was getting to the end of my jobless rope. Not only did I get a job, I got my dreamjob using almost everything I am passionate about: teaching, Spanish, kids. In addition to these awesome things, my job is only 18 hours a week, which will allow me to continue doing wifely things and writing (and rowing! see end).

Before I knew I was hired, I had a conversation with a friend about defining ourselves by what we do. This is a BIG temptation for me. Last year, I was working all the time in a bunch of different roles, and I came out of that constant flurry of activity to a position of relative non-doing-ness, a position where I was forced to sit around and think about the source of my contentment with myself. Did it come to me because I was successful or because I knew who I was in God's eyes? It is hard for me to be still. I hope that I am growing to be more comfortable in stillness. Knowing that I start work soon helps, but I hope that the time that I was without a job was long enough to teach me that lesson.

Prayer: I got this job because people prayed for me. When I thought I was going to be doing the teaching program with conflicting hours, I sent an email out to the big prayers in my life and asked them to pray that I would get hired anyway. What happened was that the program didn't fill, I got interviewed, and I got the job. I asked them to pray because I got to the point where I realized that with doing the program, it was unlikely for me to get hired, but I really wanted the position. I asked for prayer because I was so desperate. (Why don't we seriously ask for prayer before we reach the point of desperation???)

During the past school year, a situation came up that was very desperate involving family. I had no hope that it would get better, and I was afraid, so I asked for prayer-- I asked my roommates, people I worked with, I asked pretty much everyone I was close to because the situation was so desperate, and God came through in a way that was so far beyond anything I could have imagined. Why don't we tap into the sweet resource of prayer all the time? Would we see more happen if we believed that God was the only one who could help?

Belief: I got to have dinner with a dear friend two Saturdays ago, and she said something that I have kept thinking about. She used this illustration to talk about belief: a homeless man stops referring to himself as "a homeless man" and starts referring to himself by the job he just got. He's choosing to believe that he's headed in a different direction. This is cool, because it actually works. It's exciting to talk about yourself with hope instead of despair. If I say outloud to other people, "I'm a writer," I'm closer to being one than I was before. I'm telling myself who I am instead of letting other people put labels on me like "unemployed," at the time. Saying who I am helps me to become it more. I ordered some business cards with my blog address on them. Self promotion is scary, but it also builds confidence.

Cooking: I made some awesome chicken tenders with ranch dipping sauce the other day. I didn't know ranch was so easy to make, and you could get it to taste like real ranch. I was amazed. It's just buttermilk, mayo, and some spices. Amazing. I also discovered the goodness of Japanese breadcrumbs: panko. Yum.

Joy: I want more.

Rowing: I found a rowing club and I am going to start again, as soon as my car is fixed. I hope I survive morning practices. I am itching to start, even though I know it's going to kick my butt. Caleb has promised that he's not going to let me quit in the first two weeks. Rowing is calming. There's the initial moment of hating everything because it's 5 am and why am I awake everyone else is sleeping I hate this. But then, you get on the water, and all is calm. The only sound is the oars dipping in and out of the water doing the warmup in pairs and the sun is coming up. No one is around. No one gets to see this except you. It's priceless.

Summary: I'm doing a lot better. Hope differed makes the heart sick... desire fulfilled is a tree of life, as my dad always says. Hope abounds.

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