January

Everyone who knows me, who hears of the situations and circumstances in which I regularly find myself entangled, says that my life is like a movie. Perhaps it’s just the way that I articulate my tales of complication-driven woes.

For example, at 16 years of age I was madly in love with a certain boy, we’ll call him Mark (because that’s his name). After weeks of agonizing as he decided between the two girls that he supposedly loved–me, and a girl he had met online playing video games–the decision was conveniently made for him. He discovered that the blonde beauty with the little brother dying of brain cancer and the overprotective parents who strictly limited screen time, was actually a thirteen year old boy pulling an elaborate and frighteningly convincing prank. So there went that notion, and Mark was mine for a few short, ridiculous months. The rest of that dramatic tale isn’t worth dredging up.

When I was 17, I was walking up my driveway at midnight after being dropped off by some friends, only to hear the slam of the door of the car I had just exited, and feel a hand on my shoulder. I was turned around by my best guy friend, who launched into an entirely unexpected, elaborate, tear-laden speech declaring his love for me. Jane Austen would have been impressed, and I was astounded. In the moment I could barely conjure up any response at all, so after a hug and a quick goodbye I went inside and wrote a long, dramatic, emotion-riddled letter that I really should have sat on for a few weeks before delivering. Instead, there is now handwritten evidence of my gut-spilling, foolish, emotional thoughts. They say what you put online is online forever–but I don’t know, if someone is ambitious enough to dredge up deleted posts and pictures, good for them. There’s no delete button when someone else possesses the fleeting emotions of your heart on a piece of paper. Basically, always keep your thoughts to yourself, and if you are going to reveal them, make sure there is no corroborative evidence anywhere.

I deliberately avoided the male element for my first month or so at college, and then all at once they became an inevitable, time-consuming and emotion-dramatizing wedge of the whole experience. It all started with a dumb joke I made about going to a conference for the sake of finding an aspiring church-planter husband. My bad. Well, that led to my pursuit by a Mexican from Indiana, who brought me chocolate and a sweet note all in the hopes of someday taking me back to Indiana, so that together we can carry out a church-planting ministry for the Hispanic population in Elkhart. Although, come to think of it, prior to that fellow, there was a 28 year old who bought me chocolate and packing tape. That relationship dwindled quickly. Anyways, I almost forgot about my church-planting friend after Christmas break, particularly because I was distracted after I accidentally accepted a date to go see Star Wars VII with a “group” (aka two third-wheels added to the mix). To clarify: I’m not interested in any of these guys. I try so hard, and there isn’t anything specific that I don’t like about them, I just don’t think that any of them are quite right. So, Church-Planter and Star Wars are unfortunately still in the picture, because no matter how hard I try to convey my lack of feelings, they’re oblivious, and still bring theological conversations and blueberry tea to me at work on a regular basis. They’re also oblivious to each other. I’m also singing a couple of duets at a coffeehouse on Valentine’s Day with Star Wars. So we still have that to muddle through (we do sound pretty good together).

But this past weekend I spend a few hours working during a snow camp registration with a fellow student, and they do say that love is an open door (we were stationed at door number 2). He’s from Germany, lived as a missionary in Brazil for a few years, and spent 5 months working and traveling through New Zealand (picking kiwis to support yourself sounds much more exotic than it is, apparently). Maybe it was the funny German accent, or the fact that he was quiet and kind. I think that in actuality, it was the fact that there was not even the slightest indication that he was gauging my wife potential, or interested in me–not even a hint of flirting–that made me feel safe. No pressure, no expectations. We had good conversation, but I’m not sure whether he even knows my name. However, we did end up across from each other in the dinner line two nights in a row. If that isn’t a clear sign that I’m moving to Mecklenburg someday, I don’t know what is.

All that to say, my life is generally overflowing with curious and amusing situations. Sometimes just little things, like the time I was twenty minutes into a conversation with a homeless man in Bryant Park, and just as I began to share the Gospel, he interrupted me to tell me that I should really go get some rest and honey with lemon to heal my terrible cough. I laughed at the irony. Or last Friday night, when Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch was coming down the hill about thirty feet away from where I was walking, and just as he flew off the jump, flipping in the air, I slipped and slid on the ice, spending a few seconds airborne and then landing hard on my bum. We were both in the air at the same time, only one of us was cool, and the other was Andy Finch.

So now, here I sit at the receptionist desk in the financial aid office, with 5 minutes left before I’ll wander back to my cabin, allowing for a quick detour at the bookstore. Sometimes I like to ponder my life as if I’m living outside of it. Most of the time I just like to drink herbal tea and read Flannery O’Connor.

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

I’m a work in progress.

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