God speaks to me in airports

>> Monday, September 28, 2009

We arrived at the Charlotte airport Wednesday just before noon, in plenty of time to catch our 2:30 flight to Chicago. I love experiencing the process of air travel and would choose it over road tripping any time finances allowed. I may, in fact, be slightly insane, but I think I'm okay with that.

Airports are enormous structures, thousands of people in a hurry; most of them angry because they're late or their liquid toiletries just missed the 3 oz. bottle limit, others of them seething inside because their job is to take away those toiletries with a happy face, as though they're teachers scoldingly taking away a six year old's toy during assembly, except that everyone realizes that the traveler simply wants to wash his hair at the end of the day. Then there's the running, and the gate changes, and the delays, and the waiting, and the $12 hamburgers, and the obnoxiousness found in all the people cramming into seats around you for an overbooked flight.

The thing of it is that as soon as I step through those CAUTION: AUTOMATIC DOORS with my luggage I no longer have to clean up cat vomit, or develop a paper on the inefficiencies of standardized testing in preschool, or worry about what's for dinner. I make a point to arrive early enough that I can saunter. For two or three hours I can snuggle into Lanse with a happy sigh while I watch the two 20somethings trying to jog down the hall with their hands in each other's pockets. I can grin at the four year old dressed top to bottom like an airline captain, his mother coaching him on how to speak nicely at the desk and hand the lady his ticket. I can cheerfully buy a bottle of water at the news stand and watch the haggard woman with very little English crack a smile after a long stream of grumbling customers. I can marvel at the beauty and the balance and artistic talent in the art on the slim woman's arm in the seat across the gate area. I can sympathize with the tired young mom and dad leading a trailing line of young children like goslings, each proudly pulling their own little tiny suitcase on wheels. I can watch and wonder at the lives of the tall woman in a party dress and stilettos running full-tilt to her gate trying not to break an ankle, or the nun standing in line to board for Cincinnati. And whether or not they're aware of it, God says, "These are mine".

I travel with my iPod Shuffle, a hand-me-down gift from my brother-in-law, because if I read or even focus on pictures while in motion I tend to get sick. Though I have no personal ideology against society's music, I happen to have my Shuffle packed with Christian music of varying genres. I leave my cares at the automatic door and have nothing else to focus on (except during the break when I learn that my nearest emergency exit is behind me), and all I can do is listen to the words. Through them God reminds me that He provides life and purpose, specifically for me, because He loves me, and I just can't sit still as the joy pours out. (Apologies to the woman sitting beside me trying to read!) Through the window I see the city getting smaller, and think of all the thousands of people down there and God whispers, "I am there, I know each one." We fly into a cloud gearing up for a storm and for a few long minutes there's only vaguely yellow nothingness; even the wing disappears for a moment. He says, "I'm here, too, in the nothingness." Then, suddenly, we break through and the sun is so bright that it's momentarily blinding. Blue sky fades into navy into dark as I look up. He directs my gaze down, to where there is a blanket of comforting whiteness between me and the world, and gives me images of beauty (beyond compare) and power (enough to create the weather) and love in the way He takes care of our need for rain and sun and growing things for life. Though this flight was in daytime, I traveled once at night and as we banked in a turn I looked out the window to gaze downward at a star. It is a truly stunning moment when you can imagine being above the stars. Even in the darkness He is not only there, but He put that star in the heavens for me to realize His greatness. He says, "This is who I am; look and see..." and I try to understand the kind of being who could make the clouds and the sunshine and the stars and the talents and ideas that let me soar in between them just so that I can know Him. That same being designed me, purely out of a desire to know and love me, exactly how He made me. I was thought up by the maker of stars and clouds and sunshine. And if stars and clouds and sunshine show who He is, how do I?

We're flying home on Wednesday, and I can't wait to see what He's going to show me. I pray that I remember to keep my eyes open.


Being Me

>> Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm studying disability culture in my connections class this mod, and next term I have a six week course on Special Needs. We watched a video called "In My Language" made by Amanda Baggs, who has Autism, and though it was uncomfortable to watch, it seems to have broken through something in my head as to how I think about folks with these kinds of differences. I highly recommend watching it for a new perspective.

It's also odd going through these classes having been a special needs student myself. Though all I really needed was lower furniture, an extra set of textbooks and a few extra minutes to change classes, I technically was part of the Special Education department in high school (which sucked), but completely mainstreamed so it never even crossed my mind as being Who I Am. There are other times when it's completely obvious to me in both good and bad ways, so I thought I would share some of those with you.

[Okay, so I made a Pros and Cons list, but then the cons got me depressed, so I'm just leaving in a couple and will leave in the Pros so I feel better about me. Sounds like a plan.]

Pros and Cons of Being Me

Pro: I have never spent more than $10 on one blouse that I am aware of.

Pro: I've learned how to sew.

Pro: My house is obviously very clean, because I can't see any crumbs [dust/fingerprints/dirt] all over the kitchen counter [piano/fireplace mantle/bookshelves/buffet]. (Please bring a blindfold when you visit.)

Pro: We make good use of space to put most things in my house within my reach.

Pro: I tend notice people's shoes and interesting floor tiles or find random lost coins and things when I stand in lines. Related Con: I'm also eye (and nose) level with your backside, if you are in front of me. Please do not fart.

Pro: I can make use of the bottom shelves in my cabinets in my kitchen that most people don't.

Pro: I can sneak up on people and be otherwise surprising when I want to be.

Pro: I can see under things that are set on counters or stands, and often find interesting lost things there.

Pro: I can take amazing photos of children because I'm not off balance when I shoot at their level.

Pro: I can pet my cats as I walk past without bending over.

Pro: Flowers are closer; I stop and smell them frequently.

Pro: I can weed my container garden standing up (as long as the mosquitoes haven't drained me of blood for the day...)

Pro: I can get permission to ride my bicycle in unorthodox places, and I have a Go Anywhere 3-wheeler, in shiny metallic red.

Pro: I am educational to both the child who asks me questions and the child who runs backwards into a closed door because he's watching me instead of where he's going. I guarantee you both children learned something.

Pro: Friendly people carry my groceries (and other heavy things) to the car for me.

Pro: I often have to stay in one place waiting for people or things to happen. This is a "pro" because it's honed my observation skills and I get the joy of sitting by a lake surrounded by dragonflies, or people watching in the mall, or learning the patterns of the birds in my backyard or the neighbors to-ing and fro-ing, or catching up at church with people I wouldn't normally talk to much. Staying still and learning quiet is a blessing that I may not have been granted had I not been forced to sit down more frequently.

There's more on both sides of the coin, but that's a start anyway.


Romance (and other such things)

>> Thursday, September 17, 2009

I've written three or four blog posts in the elapsed month since my last post. Unfortunately, they were all written in my head while I was trying to go to sleep, and I never remember them in the morning. So, as a friend once blogged herself, unless you're psychic and were tuned in at the right times, you'll all just have to do without.

My husband and I are apparently really in tune with one another. (As an aside, I've noticed that the ladies in blogs that I read all give their husbands nicknames in the search for anonymity or discreetness. Nothing I think of feels right to me for mine though. Something to think about.) We've reached a new stage in our relationship where, though we're very much still in love and still even a bit smitten in the 'new love' kind of way, we're finding a groove for the long-term. We're exploring and finding ways that work for us in communication and conflict resolution, we've come a really long way in our ability to relate to life with each other - oddly enough through the Financial Peace University concept (we can actually joke together about money!), which relieved an awful lot of general family stress. And even though we get into that feeling that we can finish each others' sentences, we've realized that we still need to let them express it themselves, and sometimes recognize where our assumptions lay and when we need to clarify something before it becomes a conflict.

This is a good thing. It definitely feels new, but a lot more permanent... like something's really changed. It's a good thing, and necessary. But with the comfort of expression comes the willingness to tackle those things that we didn't know how to address before. Overall a good thing, but also a bit intimidating. No, my love (as I know you read this!), there's nothing in particular I want to bring up... I'm just noticing the more comfortable we are the more we've been exploring deeper life changes. We've been making the changes together, which is what we all hope to do in our marriages.

So by this point, you're looking at the title and going "Yeah, fine, but where's the romance!?" Today he had to actually go in to the office for meetings, and had quite an adventure with a tire blowout on the way. I knew he'd be tired and hungry when he got home at six, so I planned a special surprise dinner. I set the table upstairs (so he wouldn't know until eating time) with candles and our wedding china, which hadn't been used in at least a year, and got to cooking the steak. He got home, helped me a little bit in the kitchen, and then went ahead and set the table while I was cooking. That's becoming our routine when I cook, so I didn't think anything of it.

When the food was ready I turned around to notice that he'd set the dining room table with our wedding china, and made specially folded napkins, all to surprise me.

I'm completely blown away when things like this happen. We joke about sharing a brain and everyone knows that we really don't, but then we have the same idea at the same moment after a long period of time for no reason at all. I am so incredibly blessed that God saw fit to give me this man, and I hope that even when things get rough I will always see fit to be thankful.


About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.

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