Friday, November 4, 2016

We're All Mad Here Part 2: Twilight Zone Moments.

Yesterday on my way to work, a man jumped out in front of my car. On Highway 99. There was a lot of traffic and I was going at least 70 MPH, and he jumped right into the fast lane! By the grace of God, he didn't get hit, and in all of the swerving to miss him, none of us collided, which was truly improbable. I was a bit shaken for the rest of the day, feeling thankful nobody was hurt and being reminded of how precious life truly is. Then in the evening, a realization suddenly hit me. This marks the 4th year in a row in which I have had a close call event in traffic during this very week of November. The last 3 were pretty serious car accidents that I shouldn't have survived-totaling the car I was in and leaving me miraculously okay.
It struck me pretty hard that it keeps happening on the same week every year. And as I thought about it, I can see that I was in the middle of doing something important each time. Important relational things, moves, decisions, and projects. Here, in Houston, in Southern I think it's a coincidence? No.
I think so much more goes on in the Spiritual realm that we can comprehend. And I think that God uses these things to wake us up a bit. You see, the incident yesterday made me really step back and think about life. My priorities. What I'm doing and investing in.....if I ended up in an accident yesterday and was suddenly in the presence of my King, would I be content to say I truly poured myself out with everything I had while on this Earth? What an opportunity to evaluate the areas of my life and take this chance to adjust accordingly. I continue to see that pouring into people is so important! Relationships done well and deep rather than halfway and through social media are so pivotal. Being diligent and making the most of my time is also important. Our existence is so brief. We truly don't know if we're here tomorrow. So I don't want to waste any of it. I want to be a fireball of power and hope and world-change. I want to be active and healthy, a vibrant ball of energy that just makes things happen everywhere I step foot. I want to bring sunshine and hope and solutions and answers and relief. I want to not shy away from ugly, dark, deep, and awkward. I want to be strong. An example to others. And I want to be all of that and hilarious at the same time, never losing that special corner of myself that is untouchable to anyone but Peter Pan. Always a sense of Peter's spirit ready to take off to Neverland and bring everyone with me. I want to be able to offer that magic too. I want so many things with myself in this brief life that it's exhausting. But exciting and full of possibility and fun and amazement and hope. How about you? What thoughts fly through your head when you think about life being brief and what you want out of it? I'd love to hear! But, first, after writing all of that, I'd love a nap!

We're all mad here part 1: Mexico dirt living

This last semester, I had a classmate who lived in her car. She was dedicated to school, worked hard, had a job, and was cute and put together every day that I saw her. But she lived in her car. She didn't have a place to make a home. A family to support her. She was doing this whole thing on her own. I was quite impressed with her bravery.

The other day, my coworkers teased me as usual about all the typical things they like to tease me about. Among them was the fact that I seem to just know everybody. It's rare for me to see someone at work I don't know or go to a store or restaurant without running into people I'm connected to. This is a running joke at work. They also tease me about the consistently changing array of keys on my key ring and the fact that they can never keep up with where I am staying. I've been house-sitting for about a year solid. It began with a few friends who have always had me watch the house when they're gone, and it grew. Now I am booked for months in advance and I have no idea how it happened. I hold 5 keys to the homes I'm most often at. And some of those homes are so wonderful. There are a few places I stay that have become more "community" houses over the years. These families truly use their places to bless others. My favorite thing is that the keys are hidden in the yard and when I'm there, sometimes a mutual friend will come over for the pool or to borrow some clothes and just walk on in shouting "Hi honey!!!!" It delights me. And it's something so normal to me. It's how our community of people do life. Lovingly invasive. Sharing and living alongside each other. And something is just so right about it. I don't often remember that this isn't always considered "normal" for people until I see my classmate and it hits me that the only difference between us is the fact that whether I deserve it or not, I would never have to worry about sleeping in my car. That just isn't something that would happen to me. Because of Jesus. And my coworkers voice how strange it seems that I know so many people, always have somewhere to sleep, and always seem to be doing life with others. They comment on how unusual this looks from the rest of what they know in life. And I think about that.

Over the next few days, I saw what they meant. 
Case in point; a text conversation with a friend I haven't seen in months:
Me: Hey! I miss you. We need to catch up!
Her: Yes! On the Patio? Saturday? 
Me: Perf.

Do you see what I mean? That was the whole conversation. And we both totally understood it. 
(Again, so do a lot of you! Which has a lot to do with my point.)

Another example. I ran into someone while shopping who I haven't talked with in several years. In 90 seconds, we talked about having children, school, church involvement, health. By 5 minutes into the conversation, we had discussed doctors, insurance, depression, psychologists, and friendships. How does this happen so quickly? 

Example #3: Many times I'll be house-sitting for someone & receive a call from a mutual friend: "Hey. Are you house-sitting for Sue? Can I go over and use the pool? I know where the key is hidden."
This makes me so happy. As I consider all of this, the only way I can explain it is Mexico Dirt Living.

A lot of you know exactly what I mean. Mexico. The infamous Easter break mission trips in high school. The army tents, dirt, lack of sleep, service projects, sunburns, cloth bracelets, ministry sights, gross shower stalls, close proximity, and messy way of doing life together. That is a picture of what it looks like to be in the body and community of Christ. And we so often forget that this is a rare beauty and blessing that not everybody gets to experience. I don't have a particular or deep philosophical point to make here, just the thought that this is a beautiful and amazing thing. Beautiful and amazing enough to be the joy of my life. The reason I don't move back to Texas or live in a "nicer" city. I adore doing life with each person I'm in community with here. We ought not overlook this or take it for granted. This week, make time to be in intentional community. Be lovingly invasive in another's life. Look someone in the eye at church and ask a meaty, deep question. The kind of talk you'd have with them if you were on a Mexico trip & in the middle of a gritty, dirty week, with no phone pulling you away from a conversation in which you really talk about things. Show up and drop off something unexpected at someone's home. Cookies. Flowers. A card. Just because of the fact that we are in a community where we can.