Friday, March 23, 2012

Blind as a bat

I left home without my glasses this morning. I was totally crusin' along, taking time to do my hair and have tea with my baby sister, (tea for me, hot chocolate for her) and I get to work only to realize that I had left my glasses on my bed.

"____, ____, ____!" The words I said in my mind were childish, unprofessional and don't belong on this blog. (Does it make it better if they didn't actually come out of my mouth?)

So there I was at work, and my glasses were 15 minutes away at home. (30 minutes with traffic)

Might as well make the best of it. I fired up my computer and squinted at the screen for a few seconds before muscle memory took over and I went to work. Clicking the links I needed to open because I knew where they were, not because I knew what they said, signing in to my 3 different email accounts that I work off of as a customer service rep, and booting up our online system.

I continued to move through my morning routine in the same manner before I realized that this was nothing new.

I do this all the time, only not at work.

It's called going through the motions.

And it's pathetic. Almost as pathetic as me, putting in eight hours in front of a computer without being able to read a word off the screen.

No regrets
Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

And yeah, I just copy-pasted that from a website without reading it, cause I can't really see it. It's scary how good I've gotten at detaching my heart from what my hands are doing.

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to leave my glasses behind - for helping me to see so clearly what I've been doing to my walk with you, and for always, always, always welcoming me back into your arms.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Joyful Noise

Music. It's an integral part of my life. Lifting my voice in harmonious praise is as familiar as eating, breathing or sleeping. Between Mom's angelic vocals and Dad's passion for making melody, it's not a wonder that we, (my brothers and sisters and myself) are a little bit obsessed with music.

It was a deep rooted love for praising our maker - or that's how I always considered it, until I had a startling reality check a couple of weeks ago.

The shortened version of the back-story would be that for the past 16 (or more) years we've been going every Sunday afternoon to an assisted living facility, (that's halfway between a nursing home and a retirement community) to do a church service for the residents there.

16 years of Sundays to practice singing in harmony, to perform special music and learn to blend our voices together. 16 years of singing the same hymns until we know them as well as we know our names, and most importantly, 16 years of unforgettable characters.

So there we were, a couple of weeks ago, halfway through a familiar hymn when one of our memorable friends shuffled in. We knew without looking that she had arrived, by her out of pitch, loud, un-rhythmic singing. I nudged my brother and snickered, before singing just a little bit louder to drown her out.

Do you really think your music is more pleasing to Me than hers is?

What?? Where did that come from?

At least she's singing from her heart. You're singing for your own gratification.

I craned my head over my shoulder to take a look, and saw our friend - with her shoulders thrown back, her head erect, the emotion of the words displayed across her face - and I knew that I had been wrong.

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth:
make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the LORD; for he comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Finding "that moment".

I slept late this morning. I've slept late all week. Something about the time change, and my body rebelling against rising before there's light in the sky.

I slept through the sunrise, through my quiet time on the couch. I slept through my morning coffee and putting on my make-up. (okay, nothing new there.. I almost always choose sleep over that) And this morning I even slept through a hot breakfast.

When my feet finally hit the floor this morning, I barely had time to brush my teeth, scoop some cottage cheese into a bowl with frozen berries and ground flax, say "good morning" to my sisters and run out the door.

The funny thing is, that even after 10 hours of sleep, I wasn't feeling refreshed or energized. Something was missing. My body was rested and refueled, but my soul? It's a different story. Starving might be the right word.

"I just can't seem to find the time, Lord!" I complained, navigating my car through the metropolis I call my home.

"I know that man can't live by bread alone, but this girl can't live without sleep either."

He restores my soul. That still small voice reminded me.

This morning's light traffic allowed for a quick stop on my way to work. And who orchestrates traffic? The window and door to the warehouse being open allowed for music of the birds singing to waft into my office. And who gave the birds a voice?
The phones have been quiet for the last half hour, and I find myself with my bible and journal spread across my desk, cradling my cardboard coffee cup in my hands.

It might take a stretch to find that moment of peace and tranquility, but that stretch helps me remember that He doesn't need my help - or my cleverness and creativity.

He restores my soul.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Safe

Even living at a church it's unusual for people to approach us to ask for help. Unusual, but not unheard of. In the 6 years we've lived here I can still count by name (if not by face) the people who have ventured past the gate on a weekday and made their way up to the house, knocking on the door, asking for a help or a handout.

Last night was an unusual. The woman is one we all know and recognized right away. Her bright blonde pigtails and colorful striped knee socks make her stand out from the crowd. Blonde hair and colorful clothing isn't that unusual in sunny SoCal - on a teenager, but it's a statement for this middle aged Cantonese woman. Having met her once or twice when she came to church years ago, we would point her out on the sidewalks, (not that she needed pointing too) and say, "oh, there's Holly."

Last night I was getting ready to go to bed, taking advantage of the quiet evening at home, hoping to get ahead on sleep when my sister looked out the window to say, "oh, there's Holly."

She was invited in and we tried as best as we could to understand her trouble and how we could help her. She babbled like a simple minded 12 year old about antiques and Hong Kong, her father being a millionaire and Hello Kitty suitcases full of gold that her landlord possibly stole - and French Bibles.

After listening to her talk, I wandered into the living room, frustrated and sad and I'm not sure what else. (overtired.)

Dad read the emotions on my face and smiled. "I'm guessing you need to go to bed?"

"Well, yeah, but..." I shrugged. What can you do?

"Where is her family!?" I finally blurted in frustration. "How do they let her just globe-trot around when she clearly isn't okay?"

I don't know if I was more frustrated with her for keeping me from going to bed, or my family for not knowing how to help her, or at her family for not taking care of her.

"She's safe tonight." My dad offered.

What is the price of two sparrows--one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.

She is safe. Even without her family watching over her. Or our family. Or anybody.

I went to bed last night feeling incredibly spoiled, blessed, taken care of, humbled and I don't know what else. (still overtired) When I woke up this morning Holly was gone, but she left reminders. A 20$ bill in the living room along with a scribbled thank you note, a collection of tea and jam and honey packets, (the type they give out at restaurants) in the kitchen, and a whole new appreciation for God's love in my heart.