"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Friday, February 15, 2008

and how it ought to continue...

Well, a little over a year later, several friends have now abandoned xanga in favor of blogspot. So apparently my decision to "reserve a name" was farsighted but weak on followthrough. I do like the look of this site much more.

My husband is away this weekend, so I have had the evening to myself. The first thing I did was go to Blockbuster to get a chick flick, one of those movies that I suggest when he asks me what I want to see but which are met with complete silence every time. Actually the very first thing I did when I got home from school at the unexplainably late hour of 7:45 PM was walk half way to Blockbuster only to realize I didn't have my Blockbuster Online DVD to trade for a free rental and turn around to get it. There is a point to this story, I promise. I discovered, happily, that Becoming Jane has just been released this weekend, and to my delight the movies that our borough NYC Blockbuster is completely out of on a Friday night involve everything except Jane Austen or England. So, I brought it home, watched it and had a very long, very good cry. The kind of cry that you can't have if you don't know that you are completely alone. Something about the silence, the romantic emotions of the movie, and the beauty of the English countryside, brought out some emotions I hadn't dealt with in a very long time and I was able to just cry them all out with no poor husband around to feel awkward and confused by this inexplicable font of tears. No wonder he avoids the chick flicks.

For lent, I gave up clutter. I think that means that I need to simplify my life, physical belongings first, as my apartment has become a rich stash of junk in a brief 8 months or so. My real weakness right now is paper. I have piles of paper, some much more important than others, everywhere. I say I think it means this because God always has surprizes up his sleeve when I give him something. Tonight he decided to take away some emotional clutter that had been mucking things up. I'm also beginning to be convicted about other things that create clutter in my life: hours spent on random NYTimes.com articles or Facebook pages, foods that are bad for me, etc. One must definitely be careful about the vows one makes to God.

I was first convicted about simplifying my life when I discovered Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline for the VERY first time only a few months ago, despite all my immersion in the Church. Not long after that I was playing a sort of conversation game with Clint where we had to choose pictures that describe different aspects of our lives. There was one particular picture of a rusty bike frame with no wheels (much like the ones you find here in New York chained to random city signs). I chose that one to describe how I felt about my faith. I felt especially like the churches I grew up in had only given me a part of the picture of what faith ought to be. By their actions if not by their words, they had communicated that all one needs to do is read the Bible and pray and one will become a perfect Christian. But the richness of the ancient disciplines of meditation, solitude and silence, simplicity, service, submission, confession, worship, guidance and celebration were completely lost. When they over-emphasized a salvation that was not by works they threw the baby out with the bathwater and eliminated about 10 of the 13 disciplines Foster writes about. So I'm trying to put the wheels back on the bike and learn how to ride again. It's been a little shaky, but I'm glad for quiet nights to process the journey.

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