the raft

I don’t remember which camp it was… but one of the girl scout camps that I went to had an anchored raft at the edge of its swimming area that marked the limits as to how far we could go without being in a canoe etc.

I have a memory of racing to the raft… swimming as hard as we could… wearing ourselves out… until we reached the raft…

and at first it was all we could do to just hang on to the side until arms regained a bit of strength.and then with great effort, we pulled ourselves up and just layed there for a while… warming in the sun after the cold lake water.. recatching our breath… just resting and recooperating… barely even moving… just feeling the gentle motion of the same waves that we’d just been fighting that were now just a soft rocking motion.

emotionally… that feels a lot like where i’m at right now.

things are good… after being super rough for what seems like forever.

and while i’m tired and weary and feeling worn out physically… its a calm spell.

a feeling like i can just go limp for a bit and still be ok, after having to be strong just to keep my head above water for so long.

a chance to just catch my breath without the risk of drowning if i dont keep paddling harder.

to just warm the chill off in the sunshine… and relax… and heal.

it’s a much needed time…. and i’m loving it.

but in the back of my mind… there’s always still the thought…. that the return trip was always hard and slow.

we always found ourselves wishing that it had been a one way trip… and ya know, I bet they probably don’t even let kids swim out there anymore for safety and liability reasons. Because it really was at about the limits of our abilities for most of us.

and i sort of feel that way now again.

i made it. I did it. It’s nice here.

But I’m not a big fan of returning to the water anytime soon.

Advertisements

harder close

I consider myself well experienced in long distance relationships… where there is little in person contact time.

I’ve done years of dating someone thousands of miles away, followed by years of being engaged to that someone thousands of miles away, and only seeing them on very rare occasions.

I’ve done extended months of dating someone 4 hours away and only seeing them a couple of times a month.

And for that matter, a good percentage of my closest friendships are long distance friendships right now… whether they’d originally started in person or whether they formed online.

But it drives me nuts being forced by schedules to only see someone on the weekends when they are living nearby.

I know that I’m basically spoiled at being able to be with them every weekend… and at having frequent contact through emails and texts and calls.

But still… it’s almost a tease at having them so close and yet…

And it’s even worse when I know it’s my schedule that forces the fact.

It’s driving me nuts.

Being first choice

There’s a metaphor of God as a loving parent… who when presented with dandelions from a child who doesn’t realize that they are weeds, treats them as if they were precious flowers anyway… because the parent loves the child and knows the child’s heart.

It’s a sweet and beautiful picture.

But I’m realizing that it’s not quite the most accurate.

Because the parent only loves the weeds because they come from the child.

Actually, they don’t really love the weeds at all… they love the child and the weeds are just tolerated and get to come along for the ride because of their association with the child.

The weeds are still just weeds to the parent. They aren’t transformed into their flower of choice. Their only value is in who presented them.

And there’s a lot of Christianity that goes in that vein. God loved his Son, who plucked us up as weeds, and so we get a free pass to sit around somewhere we totally don’t deserve to be.

And it’s a good metaphor… a reminder that we’re basically helpless messes that only get anywhere by God’s mercy.

But I think it misses a bit.

Because there’s a difference between mercy and pity.

There’s a difference between actually loving something, and putting up with something because you love someone associated with it.

To use the most generic verse “for God so loved the world…”, not “for God so loved his Son, that the world got to be tolerated by association.”

God actually likes dandelions.

Actually likes them. Actually wants them.

He’s not just putting up with them.

They actually are his favorite flower… if you gave him the choice between a vase of dandelions and a vase of roses, neither of which had the loaded emotions of being presented by a naive child, he would actually pick the dandelions.

He isn’t just putting up with us because we were presented by someone that he actually loved enough to give us a pass… he actually sent his kid out specifically to get dandelions.

He had other options. He could have sent him to get the roses that were the closest to perfect… who were in the right place in the flowerbed… the most well preened.

He preferred the dandelions.

He wanted dandelions.

He actually likes the dandelions.

He’s not just smiling because his son doesn’t know any better.

We are his choice. His first choice.

Jessica

“Hey Jessica, where are you working now?”

My name is not Jessica… nor anything even close to Jessica.

But after a second, I realized that I did actually know the cashier who had been grumpy with the two people before me. Even if she did have my name wrong… and had totally skipped any pleasantries to jump straight to the point.

We were on the same project together back in the work program.. has it really been 3 summers ago???

She was one of the ones who always seemed to feel like they were better than the rest of us… like they thought they didn’t need the program, but were forced to be there… as they swore they would never work in retail.

But she was… at a store I knew pays minimum wage, and at least back then, was known for giving staff very few hours and hiring way too many people so that they always had people all but begging to work any hours they needed them.

I answered her that I work for the call center next door… and sort of skirted around a couple of questions while she rang up my jug of orange juice and the bag of misfit jelly beans added on impulse.

I found myself sort of wanting to tell her I was sorry that things hadn’t worked out as she’d hoped… but I figured it would probably not make her feel better.

But it was an interesting moment.

And as I walked back down the sidewalk… to my full time job that pays roughly 50% more per hour and offers benefits… soon to be the lower paying of my two current jobs running 65 hours per week combined… the job where I’ve actually turned down overtime twice in the last week because my schedule is already too crazy….

I couldn’t help but think about the fact that 3 years ago I would have happily jumped at that cashier job… or any job… when she would have completely thumbed her nose up at it as something she would never resort to doing.

Sometimes it’s interesting the way that life twists itself around.

And I’m reminded anew about how spoiled rotten I am right now.