In her popular book, A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle introduced me to a tesseract as a way of traveling. The idea is that the shortest route between point A and point B is not a straight line, but would be to bring points A and B together, eliminating the distance between them entirely. This tesseract creates a wrinkle in time as you bypass the journey.
Throughout the course of my life, I’ve spent much time dreaming of tessering – especially as my friends seem to be farther and farther away from me. The thought of tessering is so beautiful and romantic.
I was staring at the blank box to type a new post, trying to figure out what to write about, and went to YouTube to find some music to listen to. As Adam Young started singing and I closed my eyes to think, I was suddenly no longer in California. It was night, driving to camp, and Graham had just excitedly put his new Owl City CD in the CD player. and just like that, I was suddenly in the car with Deryn, Mejee, and an entire summer’s worth of stuff. Almost immediately, it was 3 in the morning and I was merging onto I-5 South off of 39th St, about to begin my journey down here.
When I opened my eyes, I realized that I had tessered. Somehow, I had transcended time and space though I had never left. That was just the result of one song (Hello Seattle). There are countless other songs that take me other places; John Mayer’s Love Song for No One takes me back to the Philippines, laying in the only air conditioned room in our house. Jamie Cullum’s cover of Frontin’ takes me to the Starbucks by the Shari’s on Mill Plain and tastes like a caramel frappuccino. Matt Nathanson’s When Everything Meant Everything CD puts me on the road with Mei-Ling, Seattle-bound from Spokane.
This could go on forever. But you get the point.
Life has a soundtrack, but sometimes it’s so obvious that we miss it.
I got up to leave at 2 am this morning. At 5:30, I stopped for a nap until 7. Got back on the road. Discovered that my cup wasn’t properly washed and had been unintentionally drinking very soapy iced tea for five hours. This made me very sick to the point where I couldn’t drive. So instead I went to the bathroom……….. anyway. That terrible few hours of my life, plus a few involuntary games of “Let’s Get Lost” set me very behind.
By the time Graham texted me to ask where I was, my handy dandy verizon navigator said I was about 200 miles away and I was in it to win it. No stopping, no singing, no thinking.. just driving. The urgency and reality of seeing the family just overwhelmed me. After 100 miles my phone died, and I thought to myself “the last thing I did this morning was reassure my mom that my phone would make it, and that I didn’t need a car charger.” Luckily, the GPS was just enhancing the mapquest directions I’d printed out.
As I began my ascent into hell (yes, I meant that) I started to get nervous and paranoid. I drove a steady 25 mph and pulled over an average of once every five minutes to let the people behind me pass. Just when I thought the roads couldn’t get curvier, they did. Or that I couldn’t see less in front of me.. it happened. Every time I about broke down and started to cry (ok, I was scared. I rarely admit that, but I was terrified) I’d see a street sign and be assured that all was well. And finally, there it was. A sign that said “Redwood Glen.”
I gleefully pulled in, found a parking spot, and jumped out to find everyone. Taking it all in, I stood in the middle of the parking lot and listened for voices I recognized, hoping to find them first. Except I didn’t recognize any. This was something I’d come prepared for. Not only have I never been to Redwood Glen, I don’t know many people from the Golden State division. So I walked up to someone and asked if they knew where the Coverts lived. They had no idea who I was talking about, so I said “what about the Birks?” figuring that it was probably silly of me to assume that in The Salvation Army, everybody knows everybody (don’t they??) I decided to try my luck with another group of people.
One of the ladies in the next group I hit up, Val, was very nice. She took me inside and introduced me to Bill… the camp director. As I assessed the situation, I began to freak out inside of me. They clarified that I WAS at Family Camp, and that I WAS at Redwood Glen. Not only that, but Bill pulled out the Family Camp Roster and couldn’t find “Birks.” It was at about this time that another group of people walked past, overheard what was going on, and asked if it was my first time at Redwood Glen. To which I replied “yes, I’m from the northwest division.” The man stared at me blankly and said “of what? …the military?” and I rolled my eyes a little bit.
It was only then that it occurred to me that I’d not seen anything Salvation Army; no shield, no crest, no flag, no uniforms, no Hallmark.. wait, I don’t even think Hallmark jokes are funny anymore! Turns out, I was not at The Salvation Army’s Redwood Glen but had somehow managed to find another Redwood Glen an hour away from it.
At first, I was all ready to keep driving. I did leave this morning all excited about sleeping alongside Birks, Coverts and Helms.. and was so desperate to see them that the hour drive through curvy roads in the dark seemed like nothing. The longer they debated over what directions to give me, the more I realized that I should probably just stay.
So that’s how I ended up here, at the Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church Camp. These people are so gracious and kind. Being served is humbling. It is also encouraging. This is the body of Christ, right? We are all one Family, the children of one God. How appropriate then, to have stumbled upon this. It’s also encouraging in terms of my walk. God’s got me; I always know that, I always believe that. But every so often, he reassures me. Here I am.. hundreds of miles away from home, with no cell phone reception, no real sense of where I am except for “northern California” and all by myself.. and yet God provided safety – comfort, even – and friendly faces for me.
Though I am so grateful for the hospitality of this family at Redwood Glen…. …. I long so deeply for mine at the one 40 miles away. 800 miles sucks.. but 40 can sometimes be even worse. If I stand outside and scream loud enough for them, they might hear me.
If there’s one thing I have a love/hate relationship with, it’s technology. I like my technology with a healthy dose of real life interaction. Today, I love technology, and it’s because of a twitter hashtag: #truthursday.
As if Jeremy Cowart couldn’t get any cooler in my eyes (it was his idea, by the way.. that wasn’t a completely random statement).
Thursdays are all about telling the truth; sharing secrets [about yourself, obviously] and discovering you’re not alone. John Mayer, when talking about hearing people sing the line “so what, so I’ve got a smile on, but it’s hiding the quiet superstition in my head, don’t believe me when I say I’ve got it down” (Why Georgia) described it as safety in numbers. When we are all experiencing the same discomfort, the same fear, the same anxiety, the same shame.. it becomes more safe. I think it not only becomes more safe, but it becomes less destructive.
So Thursdays. If you’re on Twitter, start tweeting (I never take people seriously when they use that seriously, so in case you are like me.. please know that I giggled at myself) some truth, and add #truthursday so everyone can see.
If you don’t have twitter, don’t let that stop you. Change your facebook status. Blog. Wear it on a shirt. That last one was a joke, unless you thought it was a good idea.. and in that case.. take a picture?
Every Thursday from here on out is #truthursday on my blog. You’ll get some truth, and I encourage you to share your own.
Safety in numbers, people. Don’t leave me hanging.
Today I was thinking about a text message I’d received in response to an invitation. The person had replied “I probably won’t be able to make it,” and for some reason it started to really bother me.
We watched “He’s Just Not That Into You” tonight and it continued my thinking from earlier. Why are we so afraid of being honest with each other?
My friend who sent me the text message could have said “I won’t make it” or “I can’t be there.” The use of the word “probably” made it seem like there was some small chance that they could come – even though the person had plans they weren’t even considering skipping. I even have certain friends that I continually invite places, and every time we discuss plans I know in my heart they will cancel at the last minute or end up being too tired or finding a reason to get out of something they seemed really excited for.
Obviously the movie we watched is about accepting reality and the very simple truth that sometimes people don’t need to be read into. The problem with this comes in people’s inability to be completely truthful with each other. We like to tell half truths or almost truths or even flat out lies. I’m guilty of it. You’re guilty of it. We all are.
Have we become so politically correct that we carefully package the truth so that it becomes something it’s not? My friend Mejee is getting his lip pierced tomorrow. I am so distraught. It makes me very sad and I’m already prepared to hate it. He knows this, though. I didn’t say to him “you should maybe wait” or “have you thought about it?” or “tell me why you want one” or “really? your lip?” Instead, I told him – repeatedly, and very passionately – that I would be very upset if he got his lip pierced. He’s still doing it, and I will have to get over it. Our friendship is in tact, he doesn’t hate me and I don’t hate him. My honest opinion was given, and it didn’t affect our friendship (his piercing will, though).
The Bible says that the truth will set you free; that is, the truth is liberating. But only if it is put into action. Stagnant truth is worthless. It’s like having a savings account of $5 million dollars you can spend only after you die. It has so much potential to change so much of your life, but will never be utilized.
So let’s all step up. Let’s be honest with each other. Sometimes the truth is brutal enough, so we don’t need to be inconsiderate of each other’s feelings. I dare you to reject invitations to events you want to go to, to give your friends your honest advice or opinions, and to be bold in disagreeing with someone you love. If our friendships are based on always landing on the same ideas or opinions, then our friendships are one-dimensional and do not add much depth to our lives.
Now that camp has officially ended (which I am still in denying) the question of what is next in my life keeps coming up. It’s always worded differently, because I think people have different answers they’re looking for.
Earlier today I was sending a message to Aleen. In the first part of the message, the question was asked of her, “where do you work?” and towards the end, “what are you doing with your life?” It occurred to me that we frequently think the two are interchangeable. The reality is that our work and our lives often do not walk hand in hand in terms of our purpose.
Raise your hand if you are 24-years-old and you feel that you have a job that accurately reflects your passions and the footsteps you’d like to leave in your lifetime. If you did raise your hand, then you’re lucky. If your hand stayed on your mouse, then you’re probably normal.
Why is there so much emphasis put on the “career”? As we were driving home from the store I told my mom that I am not interested in a career. If I have a different job every five years for the rest of my life, I could die a very happy girl. There’s something boring and bland about spending twenty years doing the same thing. I spend three years doing the same thing and was about ready to pull my hair out.
My goal in life is not to be irresponsible; I do not want to ever be someone who drains the resources out of anyone, my parents included. That said, I trust that if God gives me the opportunity to be transient and be able to survive, then I will take it and trust in him.
Side note: I’ve shared with my friends a few times in the past few days how much I am worried that I am becoming one of “those people” whose advice is always prayer and who always gives a Sunday School answer to all situations. When I say “I trust that.. God,” I don’t mean it in the generic way like when rappers thank God, just because he’s there and he’s powerful. As the result of my deeply intimate relationship with my Creator, in times of uncertainty my only default is to trust him. It is in the same way that I trust my dad with my life, not in a generic way that I would say I trust my friends with my life.. but because I am secure in my father’s love for me and concern for my well-being. I am always secure in my Father’s love for me and concern for my well-being. So I confidently declare “I trust that.. God.”