Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A series of events

Post influences: Avatar, Brett Dennen, KC, Shane and Shane, the Cliq, a hazelnut mocha

I got a smart phone yesterday. A Motorola Cliq to be exact. Even I am starting to get creeped out by the things these gadgets can do. Buying this phone was like 8th grade when your parents couldn't help you with your homework anymore, Algebra was too much. My parents can't wrap their minds around it. So I researched the purchase myself. I must say, as happy I am about the purchase, I am one of "them" now. Plugged in, tuned in, wrapped up, slowly disconnecting from those around me with any form of technology that comes my way. And I am willing to spend buck on it all. I am an American. Come on. It's what we do.


Today I was driving down Broadway to get a latte with a friend when I glanced to the side of the street. I saw several people walking down the sidewalk, many homeless, which isn't unusual to see in the area. He was pushing his bicycle with his bag which carried his belongings in hand. It was bitter cold out. You could see this by the cold breath exiting his mouth.

My heart sunk deep into my chest.

I knew this man. Infact, I had sat down at a table with him just last month. I had broken bread with him. And like friends, we had conversations about sports, literature, politics. As I drove past him in my white SUV to endulge in my latte, I couldn't help my heart from being stirred; convicted you could say.

He was a friend I had made while spending time at Cherith Brook the past few months, a place that changed any idea I had about those that sleep under the stars every night. This moment founded some pondering today.

I just can't reconcile this in my life. Poverty. Those who are in need. Those who are broken....and me, with my college education, new technology and complaints about how life isn't fair to me. I am selfish. American. And I am, too, broken. In so many ways. On my way home I heard a song:

If You were hungry, would we give You food?
If You were thirsty, would we give You drink?
If You were a stranger, would we let You in?

What would be the song we'd sing to You when they're in need?
Would it be an empty hallelujah to the King?

What does it mean to them that we Christ-followers give our dollars to build bigger and better churches yet leave them sleeping under the overpass? And when we do help, what does it mean to create a system that shoves a plate of food in their face without a human connection; conversation; "hello, I acknowledge you, we are both human beings." What does it mean to them when we say we care but treat them like we don't?

All I know is I have a warm bed tonight, a shower in the morning accompanied by a hot breakfast. Gosh. There is such a disconnect.
What am I going to do with all of this?
.....I am figuring it out.
But my friends, we have much much to learn.
And they might be teaching us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A New Christmas

Currently finding: rest
Currently excited about: the purchase of my new camera
Currently sick over: the money it took to purchase my new camera

This year we did things differently. We did "Christmas" on Christmas Eve. It's before midnight and I am already done with Christmas. This is weird. But you know, this was one of our best times as a family. We all came out of it refreshed and not too annoyed. Score. We didn't do gifts this year, just for the little ones. But we still eat just as much food and sat around doing nothing. It's like illegal to do anything productive during the holidays. Every time I thought to do something that I could check off my to-do list, I stopped myself. And I just sat there. That's all you can really do, right? I mean some families play games and such. We just sit there. But I have this newly purchased camera to walk around with, taking candid pictures that annoy people. This was an unplanned purchase which is why my stomach hurts to think about spending the money. I sat on my other one. Broke the dang screen. Anyway, it's a great camera and I am sure it will do me good in DC. So many things to document.

We are a family tied to tradition and Christmas hilights these traditions. As time passes and the family grows and changes, we have to let go of some....all awhile, adapting new ones. And what I see in my family at every Christmas is that we have remained steady, hanging onto the traditions which mean so much and letting the others go. We still dress up and act out the story of baby Jesus....singing Happy Birthday to Jesus with angel food cake and 3 candles that represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.....we eat Pizzelles....we open one gift at a time. I love these things. Today I think about my grandma. She was the source of these traditions we follow. And although they have evolved and changed, as they should and have to, they keep the same heart. And I think it's beautiful. And now, we look forward to a new addition to our family next Christmas. My sister is having a long awaited baby. Next year, that baby will be with us. A new Christmas.

And I look back last Christmas Eve to my blog post, and I am able to see what I was feeling, anticipating this time, when I would be done with school, wondering what that would feel like....having the whole world in front of me. And yet, it's not as overwhelming as I imagined it to be. Because just like every other time in your life, you are always more prepared than you thought. God somehow, in the craziness of life, orchestrates you to be ready for the exact thing which he is leading you to. And getting ready for DC, with new relationships and experiences, feelings, challenges, I feel such hope. JOY. And so many other things...It's remarkable.

It feels like a new Christmas.... I am in a new state of mind, entering a new place as I watch my family beginning a new phase, getting ready for a new arrival. And with the white snow that will be covering the ground tomorrow when I awake, I can't help but be reminded that "He makes all things new" (Rev. 21:5).

Happy Birthday, Jesus....and thanks.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Put on the Christmas tunes, let's dance

Currently listening to: Enter the Worship Circle
Currently feasting on: pizzelles
Currently dreaming of: all things DC

I am making lists....lists of to-do's before departure.....a list of books to read....of things to do in DC. I am making a list of people to see before leaving.....

This must be what retirement feels like. You sit in your chair, ready to think of the next thing you have to do, and when you realize it doesn't consist of the things you have emersed yourself in for so long, you feel naked--figuratively. I am sure an identity crisis is in my future. But at the moment, it's pretty fun to not have student things to do. I am partaking in some casual hobby-finding, ok, intense hobby-finding. But I figure I got college out of the way and there are several other things I want to accomplish...like learning how to cook, sew, how to exercise regularly, read more books, write more. I want to record more music. And you know, when I am done with that, I will miss school so much I will enter myself into grad school. Just because.

After 2 life-threatening moments of thinking my computer was crashing down, I devoted a signficant amount of time today saving everything I own onto a couple of little flashdrives. Those things look whimpy, but watch out, they can store your whole world. 8 GB of music, 8GB of pictures and another one full of documents I am too attached to delete. Ah, security.

I embraced a family tradition tonight. I dressed myself and my mom and dad in santa hats, put on the Luther Vandross Christmas cd and made pizzelles, an italian cookie and a Christmas tradition for our family. It's the same every year....same music, same hats, same roles. Mom makes the batter, dad handles the pizzelle iron, I take care of the music and hats (essential to the experience) along with eating them all as I go. I even hear the same things being said every year...."We should write what we changed down on the recipe so we remember it for next year"---we never do. So the first batch of pizzelles are either burnt, too soft or shaped funky. It takes a batch for dad to get the hang of it and to tweak it all to italian perfection. And you know, no one outside of our family likes them. When we were young, we always had our friends try the cookies, but they said it tasted like black licorice. While we make them, we dance. We glide and groove across the kitchen floor. And we never miss a beat. This is the Powell tradition.

I am going to bed now. Something a college alumni can finally do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the other side

Currently packing: my dorm room
Current musical discovery: Kristene Mueller
Current status: alumni

So this is that awkward comeback from a long blog silence. I feel nervous, I feel kinda unknown. And I wonder why I haven't blogged in almost a month? Maybe I thought you didn't want to hear my pitty parties. Perhaps I was embarassed as to what I have been actually feeling. Or maybe I had no idea on how to express. The latter is mostly true. So I present myself to you...on the other side of student, in official terms that is.

So I graduated. I am done with college. When I talk about it now, it will be in the past tense. I will talk about what once was. I will remember.... And remember fondly. Just in case, I began making a list of different books to read and hobbies to pick up if I find myself freaking out in about a month. Having a 9-5 job will give me ample time to do some things I have been putting off. Then again, that sounds extremely idealistic. I will probably find myself just as busy. You know, I might like being busy. Ewe. I just sounded so American. Simplicity, I will find you soon.

What does it mean to say good-bye to friends you have shared life with for the last 3 1/2 years? When I look them in the eye to say good-bye, I replay our favorite moments. When my eyes well up in tears when I look at them, it's for them being such a significant part of my experience here. When I thank them, it's for influencing my entire life with just 3 1/2 years. When I say I will miss them, I mean I will miss having dinner with them every night. I will miss dressing up in costumes and putting on dance parties. I will miss late night conversations about faith and justice. I will miss worshipping with those that don't have to agree with me to understand me. I will miss being understand. Ah, yes, that is it. Being understood. Being able to question and not judged. Being able to doubt and still believe. Being able to mend faith and science. Here I found beauty. Leaving here raises so many more questions.

And yet I was reminded yesterday...."GO."

It sounds so familiar. That voice. I recognize that voice....from another season. And I remember.

So I respond willfully. I reply joyfully. I walk obediently.

And full of faith, I believe "He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever." Psalm 111:5