This is one of those days when I feel full almost to bursting with the blessings in my life. Really. But also aware of the precariousness of it... the tension between good and evil lived out everyday. Something that is straight-up blessing today could turn into something terrible tomorrow. and it could be my fault. but that's being human, right? That's what it is to long for heaven, where the good stays good... and truly, purely, perfectly good, with no struggle over whether it actually honors God or not.
Lemme give ya'll a list:
1) After last week's 2am post, my friend Herbertia paid me a visit. Herbertia is... um... I'm going to say that she functions in my life kind of like an angel. I know that's cheesy beyond words but I don't know how else to say it. She came into my life at a really bleak time and basically just kept telling me what a rock star I was... and when H. says something, you listen. But it's not just that. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that H. is the first black woman who ever really tried to be my friend. She GAVE to me... gave me her friendship, gave me praise, gave me unwavering commitment as my friend and my advocate. I didn't have to win her, didn't have to overcome her cynicism about me, didn't have to be afraid all of the time that I would say or do something unintentionally racist and lose her. She just loved on me because she could see that I really needed it... and she changed my life through her commitment to me in very practical ways that I'm not going to post on the internet.
This spoke to something deep in me. I'm an emotional person, but I don't cry on demand. I cry every time I talk about racism. I went to a high school that was 70% African American and I got a tiny tiny TINY taste of what it's like to be the minority... and a hated minority at that. I was pretty meek then, but even I got knocked off of the sidewalk by black girls and had black guys say sexual things to me just because they could. Other friends got their butts kicked. When my parents went to that particular high school it was worse. I've told people before that I wouldn't trade that experience for anything because I learned so much from it about what it's like to be judged all the time for something that you can't ever change, what it's like to not be given a chance to show what you've got to offer, what it's like to be afraid every day of how you will be perceived because of the color of your skin. That's gold to a Skinny White Chick like yours truly. It hurt, but it was worth it.
But anyway I digress. H. didn't know I had a blog and hadn't darkened the doors of my office in months. She came by to tell me about a situation in her life that she'd confided in me about, that has caused her a great deal of suffering, but which God has resolved in ways that were beyond her imagining. What she actually SAID, though, was "I came to thank you, and to tell you that God is faithful, and that if you wait, He will give to you more than you could ever imagine." She told me her story (which was amazing) and then I showed her my blog entry about hope deferred, and we both cried. I sobbed, actually... kinda not cool to do at work, but maybe you had to be there. She showed me some scripture in Romans about God's faithfulness and we talked a little more and then she left. Maybe 20 minutes later my Dad emailed me another passage from Romans about all of creation groaning, waiting for the fulfillment of the promise, waiting for its redemption.
So God answered my 2am prayer.
2) We had our final memoir writing class with Nina this week. The class has been divided into six sections to coincide with six phases of life, and this week was "legacy"... basically, reflection on the final years of your life... how you want to be remembered, how you want to REMEMBER. I've already posted about how my personal mission now is to try and tell my own story redemptively... not to lie or gloss over the crappy bits, but to try and see God's Hand in it, and to try to remember that I really never intended to be an idiot.
This class was powerful. We had a really rich discussion about what we valued and what we wanted to leave behind. Nina wrote something fantastic that I will post here if she remembers to email it to me. :^) I concluded my response to "How Do You Want to be Remembered?" with this
"Ok, so this is how I want to be remembered: As someone alive in her community. Someone who was passionate about her life, her work, her friends, her family. Someone who didn't hold back what she had, but not out of a sense of duty... out of a sense of abundance, a recognition that she has blessings to overflowing and wants to share them all."
which surprised even me. and which --in typical Moff style-- is a little melodramatic, but that's how I feel, and I guess I never would have known that if somebody didn't make me write it in a memoir class.
3) Saturday morning went to my friend Bethany's wedding shower. I'm going to be one of Bethany's bridesmaids. In 2004, when Bethany left for Kyrgyzstan to be in the Peace Corps for two years, I was wounded. She was the third friend in the last few years whom I'd utterly loved and whom had then run away to a foreign country to Change the World... which of course I wanted to do. She had been a really good influence on me already and I felt like she was maybe my only really positive influence at the time. I remember at her going away party leaning my head back on the couch in her living room, tears welling in my eyes and thinking "This is how it goes. Everything beautiful ends, and everyone you love leaves you." Yeah, I know... melodramatic. But this is what I used to believe, that loving someone meant they would leave you.
I didn't write any letters to her... sent her maybe two emails in the whole two years. She wrote letters to me a few times. She sent me really nice sky blue wool socks she bought from an old Kyrgyz babushka at the market that I wear in the winter when the floors in the apartment are cold. She copied me on her group letters, and also emailed me long personal emails when she had time and internet access. I was hurt that she'd left, so I didn't respond.
I was a jerk.
But she came back, and she forgave me. In fact, she's never acted like she was mad that I ignored her... and now I'm one of her bridesmaids (and she picked a SEXY bridesmaid dress, ya'll) and I'm her friend. I know this is because she's a Christian, and wise beyond her years, and she can see behind the pettiness in people. I'm really fortunate she's my friend.
4) The Date. I went on a date. It was a very nice date and he is a completely unexpected and very complicated, difficult, beautiful blessing, and that is ALL I'm gonna say. Really.
5) This morning's worship service at Reston Presbyterian. Cindi and I went to do an offertory of Cindi's song "Silence", where Cindi hypnotizes everybody with her guitar skills and her sultry voice and I basically stand there attempting to move rhythmically to the music with my hands in my pockets until the part where I Belt Soulfully. It's an evangelical church and they opened up with a bunch of praise songs before we did our thing. and it was awesome. I don't know why, really. Normally praise music leaves me cold but I guess it's just been a really long time. We sang "You Are Holy", that song where the guys sing and then the girls echo, and then the girls get to do the rhythmic singing on the chorus. I normally think of Michael W. Smith when this song is done in church, which naturally evokes a gag reaction in me (I know that's unfair, but it is what it is). This time was different. I was really praising God in it. We also sang "The Wonderful Cross", which also tends to put me to sleep, but again, this time it was different. I was standing in the front row of a Presbyterian church with my hands lifted, praising God, and it was the most natural thing in the world.
6) Amanda. Elise. Lisa. Could write a whole post about how each of them blessed me tonight, but I'm even getting tired of my writing now, so I'll just say their names as a kind of prayer of thanksgiving and leave it at that.
Bless the LORD oh my soul... and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.
Every good thing comes from You, LORD. I've got nothing to say but thank You.