Trucks are prohibited...but you are always welcome

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 1

A bittersweet goodbye at the terminal, the earmark of the life that happens in airports. Sweet hellos, tearful goodbyes, and strangers passing in forced proximity.  I love them, I love the mesh of stories and hurried happenings as I fight the urge to ask each of them where they've been and where they're going. 
The flight, uneventful, seemed like magic. It always does. The chaotic power and the quiet lift as wheels kiss pavement farewell. I have the window seat, nose against the glass like a child. The sun is starting to rise, I feel as if we're racing its ascent... Who can touch heaven first? The sun blows smoke in our faces like a brute in a bar, and the turbulence makes us all clench our armrests a little tighter, prayers intermingling with nervous laughter. 
The first coming together of the group was effortless as we all shared stories and laughed as we poked fun at stereotypes of our respective cultures. Land and sea, far or near, our humanity looks the same and bonds us. 
Our laughter sounds the same and our smiles are unaffected by accents. 

Day one is going well, spirits are high and we all look forward to cooking Guatemalan style pizza... Because who doesn't love pizza?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Freakin' Germany....

I saw a post entitled "10 German words with no English equivalent" and I've experience three of them in the space of a week.
The first, "weltschmerz", describes a specific depression or apathy that comes from comparing the ideal world to reality. Ah... yes, weltschmerz. I know you well.
The second, "kummerspeck", roughly translates to "grief bacon" and describes weight gain brought on by emotional eating. Just look at the amount of pizza and chocolate containers in my trash. Grief bacon is a staple in my diet, atop scrambled eggs and toast.
The third, "torchlusspanik", translates to "Fear of the gate closing" and describes the acute fear that time is running out and opportunities are slipping away.

If you had asked 16 year old Stephanie what her life would look like at 25, she would have said that she would be a physical therapist married to a veterinarian who also plays in a band and loves camping. She'd have a kid on the way, but still has time to care for her two cats and volunteer at the homeless shelter. She'd live in a little yellow house NOT in the suburbs and has a willow tree in the yard she likes to read underneath. She has a pool probably.

So imagine her weltschmerz if she discovered that real 25 year-old Stephanie is a single nurse with an apartment in the suburbs, no pets, and no pool. She still volunteers, but the nearest willow tree is miles away. Bring on the grief bacon, here comes the torchlusspanik.

But in all reality, the fact that God's plan for my life has so far diverged from my own does cause me some stress, confusion, and occasional sadness. I long for the feeling of moving towards something, rather than treading water. But God has also granted me an insane and totally supernatural amount of contentment in this season. I pine, yes, but rarely. Most days I wake up and relish my freedom. I make my own amazing breakfast, enjoy coffee just the way I like it and get quiet uninterrupted time with the Lord followed by raucous, un-judged dancing. I do yoga in my living room and let the dishes sit as long as I like. I sing always, and I come and go as I please. I cook the food I like, listen to the music I like, sing the songs I like and apologize to no one. It's a wonderful life. But despite my happiness with it, I've also discovered I idolize relationships and love in general. I only thought you idolized love if you said things like "once I get married I'll be happy". But I've recently realized my heart often says, "I'm happy... but I will be even happier after I get married". They are the same, and both are attitudes that make marriage an idol and prevent readiness for it. Lately my prayer is for God to make me content in my life NOW, because once He is all I need then everything else is icing on the cake. And boy, would I love to trade my grief bacon in for some cake.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sweatshirt Weather

I still have your sweatshirt.
It hangs in my closet like a secret.
It reminds me of you, in the way that it smells, among other things. It's a simple, unassuming grey. Boring? No... classic. It matches and alludes to you in that it keeps me warm, gives me comfort. It wraps around me fitting too big, but strangely perfect. The company that makes it is well known for their reliability and durability. Your Maker too, took great pride in your construction and it shows in the quality. If they sold you in Macy's I would not be able to afford you (but I may ask for you for Christmas).
You lent it to me expecting to get it back. I lent pieces of myself, expecting the same.

Your sweatshirt and my heart, neither of which will return to the original owner any time soon.