Wedding Bliss

Saturday I did something for the first time:

I went to my first high-school-friend-wedding.

We all knew it was going to happen since forever ago – they’d been together since junior year (we don’t count the tiny spurt sophomore year…), and the date had been set for almost THREE YEARS.

And yet we couldn’t believe it was here.

We, the other five of us girls and the new significant others, sat in two pews. There was no designated “bride-side” or “groom-side” because they’d pretty much grown up together in church and high school, so it would’ve been weird to split us down the middle.

Some of us teared up at the ceremony. Seriously, she was beautiful. I love it when dark-haired women wear white. It’s stunning. They were both just so happy, and we were all sitting there like, wait, this is really happening?! Someone leaned over and whispered, “They’re actually adults! They’re married!”

S. looked at me and said, “What does that make us?”
And I said, “Not adults and not married.”

Kind of true, I guess.

~   ~   ~

At the reception – during the cocktail hour and decently long photo time – I got so antsy. I couldn’t sit still in the hideously upholstered chair at the country club, so I got up and stood around while my friends talked genteely. I probably looked like a freak. They told me as much. So finally I told them I needed to go for a walk.

I wandered outside for awhile. The grass was bright green and the sun was hot. It was a good day for a wedding.

I think sometimes I get overwhelmed by so many people. I needed some space. To think through what just happened. That it is FOR LIFE. A small moment alone in the sweet-smelling air to gather myself for the long night of celebrating ahead.

We danced like crazy, the bunch of us that, until that night, had all been kept in little “this-is-who-you-were-in-high-school” boxes – now set free to be who we’d become in the last five years.

They’d never seen me dance.

And now the first of us are married, blissful on a little island.

That’s the way to celebrate.

After-Work Conversations

Last night I went out with my coworker (I actually hate that term. Makes it sound like I don’t really like her — we’re not friends — when we most certainly are.). We’d planned to go to one of our favorite pubs: dark, cozy, inexpensive, towny, the kind of place that doesn’t demand anything from you. It was closed, of course, and we had to run back to my car through the rain, cursing our lack of planning and horrible luck.

We headed to another small town to see if we could get in to a restaurant I knew, but just before we opened the door we saw the sign “Must have valid State I.D.” and we had to turn around with our heads hanging. K. is from out-of-state, and so again, we were thwarted.

Finally we ended up at a place neither of us had been. It didn’t have quite the same ease of the other pub, and it was terribly and perfectly suited to our passionate conversations of faith: what it means that Eve was created last and how wrong it seems to us that this is used to crown her as the “best of creation,” and how do we reconcile the fact that the Bible is inspired and yet heavily influenced by human culture and society? When I get out of work, I feel this release, like I MUST TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING NOW.  The Bruins game was on the five surrounding televisions, grown men yelling at the score, their graphic t-shirts stretched tight across their stomachs, and we sat at the corner of the bar, two suspiciously uninterested young women who seemed, probably, a little crazy.

I realized I’ve stopped caring what people think. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Or even most of the way true. But last night, I didn’t care that we didn’t fit in with the sports crowd. I didn’t care that we were talking about God and relationships and Calvinism and what it means to have a marriage that points to Christ. A year or two ago, I would’ve tried to keep my voice down. I would have made sure no one could hear how much I care about these things.

Now, I wasn’t up on the table screaming.

But I didn’t feel shame, either.

I feel more energized after talks like that than I do when I wake up in the morning.

I feel more ready to be excited about life.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with my post, but I CAN’T WAIT FOR STRAWBERRIES.

Day at the Beach

I wrote a post a few days ago. About sin and a book I read.

But I’m tired of writing about sad things. I’m tired of trying to make sense of all the sadness.

So that’s why I’m not going to publish that post, and instead, I’m going to talk about my day at the beach.


It feels a little bit like the perfect job – babysitting – when I can take them to the beach all day, sit in the sun, and top it off with some yummy ice cream at the end.

It’s hard to remember, on days like this, that I’ll have to move on eventually.

The beauty in the day and the sun on my skin was amazing, and for that I am grateful.

Unexpected Helpers

Today has been on and off rainy (thunder cracked at lunchtime and sent me and the boys I was watching back into the house — picnic aborted!!).

But after that shower died down, we headed in the truck to my house. I promised I’d show them the chicks in my room (yes, still in my room…don’t ask).

I removed the cover and held the baby over the box. His eyes lit up. I picked up a fuzzy yellow chick and held it up to the baby. He reached out, and I said “gentle” and he was. He was so gentle I couldn’t believe it, his tiny fingers barely grazing the soft down of the chick’s head. He looked at me, questioning, and then did it again.


J. (he’s nearing 5 and curious) looked and asked questions.

“Where is their food?”

“How do you feed them?”

“Where are the eggs?”

That last one was my favorite.

After trying to explain that no, the chickens don’t eat the eggs, they lay them, we went outside to the hen house so I could show him. There, four eggs in a box, ready to eat.

Then, with J. fascinated and distracted by feeding the hens grass, I took the baby to my garden, plunked him down on the path, and started clearing away deadness from last year.

He looked around, pulling at dead grass, watching me as I moved around him. I brushed some dirt off the large flat stones, and he copied me, his tiny hand flashing across the ground.

And then he put that hand with a handful of dirt into his baby mouth and smiled.

(P.S. I made THE MOST AMAZING GRANOLA two days ago. Thank you very much.)

Easter Sunday

This Easter was different.

I went to my first Easter Vigil, snuck into the dark sanctuary, unsure of what was waiting. Scraped and squeaked the plasticky pew cushions every time I shifted (whose idea was it to put plastic in a place of quietness? certainly not someone as fidgety as I am…). Sat next to a dear friend and for the first time in a while, felt like I was worshiping with family. The scriptures were read in the dark, and the long line of people doing this, the Jews reading to each other the stories of Creation and the Exodus, the Christians telling the story of Christ’s redemption, the early church. History always catches me, makes me want to be a tiny part of it. I was now one of those Christians, one of who knows how many, who was hearing the Word of God.

This wasn’t high church – no gongs, no dramatic theater – it was like a mix of Evangelical understanding of Christ’s grandeur. A pretty good mixing, actually.

And after three hours of sitting, standing, singing, praying, we ate and ate and celebrated the resurrection of our God.

I had wanted the eating to be at midnight – the dawn of Easter Sunday – because that was symbolic. As the clock strikes midnight on that Sunday, we dance and jump and proclaim our salvation.

We ate at 11:30. Just shy of symbolic, but Easter Sunday was coming quickly, and 6:55am too quickly for me.

I slept in Brookline and rose FAR TOO EARLY to sing three services at another church, a historic church, a church that many good people have called home. But it doesn’t feel like home to me, and I am not looking forward to it. K. in her sweetness rises too, makes me a cup of coffee, pretends it’s normal to wake up so early on a weekend, and as I head out the door, we say, “Happy Easter!” and we mean it, our voices ringing in the empty Sunday streets.

After the second service, (and yes, of course we are singing the Hallelujah Chorus, among other oratorio pieces), I am wondering if I’m gonna make it. Another cup of coffee. A slice of smoked ham and cheese because there is nothing worse than passing out on risers because you don’t have enough protein. I am praying from where I sit on the floor, praying that I make it through, that God reminds me what it means to worship, what it means to have a ministry while you are trying to worship.

It was probably the hardest Easter Sunday I’ve had. I certainly didn’t feel at ease. That’s the way Pastors always feel, I guess, on their toes, ready to “perform.” Singing on a regular Sunday feels like that  too, but not nearly as bad.

Home there were plates of cheeses and humous, crackers and olives, rounds of warm brie with apricot jam (this made lovingly by my cousin), and later two hams dripping with juice, scalloped potatoes, homemade rolls.


There is always someone serving.

My parents in the kitchen long before the meal, working to feed family and friends, slicing, baking, kneading and buttering.

Me, pretending to sing well even when I felt like I was so tired my vocal cords were dried up.

The Pastor, preaching the Good News of our redemption, of Christ’s miraculous resurrection, of God’s promise fulfilled.

I feel, this week, a sense of hope. I wish that every week there was such energy in my worship, in our churches, in our homes. I wish I were never self-conscious of proclaiming where my hope comes from. Maybe every year it will get a little easier, and I will be able to hold on to this joy that is Easter.

Different Adventures

It’s been a slow letting-go of my ideas for the next phase. Slow, but amazingly blessed. I was shocked to hear myself say to God, “Okay, fine. If You really don’t want me to do this, to go there, to change in this way, bless me in other ways. Give me more, here, so I know.”

The audacity.

I did feel audacious and I did feel far outside the bounds of prayer and worship. But now I’m wondering if there really is such a thing.

I may not be going far away, but now I have a box filled with chicks in my bedroom (yes, my bedroom!). I fall asleep to their cheeping, and I hold their small, soft bodies in my hands and marvel that in a few weeks they will be completely different. Smell, look, sound, almost nothing will be recognizable as these tiny chicks I now hold.

I may not be working with inner-city high school students, but last night I presented a new music program for local children. Name after name on the sheet until it was full. My throat hoarse from explaining my vision, my goal, my ideas. So many different ages, I’ll have to split it into at least two classes, and I say to the Lord, Thank you.

I may not be moving half-way across the country, getting my own place (who decided that was the mark of adulthood, anyway?), but I am getting certified to teach English as a foreign language in a month. Four glorious weeks where I get to be the instructed instead of the instructor. Train rides and strolling my old haunts, Berkeley and Boylston, Newbury and Arlington. Maybe even a beautiful evening picnic at the Gardens, during which time I will people watch to my heart’s content.

It’s rare for me to be able to move on from things quickly. I hold on to people and things and ideas far too tightly. Maybe it’s out of fear. I’d like to think it’s out of love. Passion. Excitement. And I am not going to say that none of these things matter, because they do. Yes, we are to get fulfillment in Christ. But He enjoyed friendship, good wine, and a vocation that filled Him. We should enjoy these things too.

It’s realizing that they are only good in the Lord. We enjoy them because of Him. Can you imagine creating such beauty and it not being enjoyed? Maybe that is part of our purpose after all.

Living a Fairy Tale

“You live a fairy tale, you know,” my first boyfriend said to me. We were driving somewhere in his toyota station wagon, and I was telling him stories about growing up. I can’t remember what it was – maybe it was that I took horseback riding lessons, or maybe it was that we used to spend a week every summer on a lake in Maine – but whatever it was, I guess it made my childhood sound pretty idyllic.

“What do you mean?” I knew I’d had a good life, that there were beautiful moments of laughing til my sides hurt, of roping my brothers, sister, and cousins into playing “Little House on the Prairie,” and of boisterous family holidays where sometimes it was hard to hear anything that was going on. “Everything’s always been so easy for you,” he said, not looking at me. “Everything was so easy.”

What he didn’t see though, was that while things looked easy, there is always more. I think back on that afternoon in his car, and I wonder what my life looks like from the outside now. Graduating in May was a huge change, and I’ve made some choices I really didn’t want to make: I moved back home with loving parents and a great younger brother, but sacrificed living with friends and independence. I took a few part-time jobs because I get bored out of my mind working at a desk, doing the same thing day to day. But this leaves me with uncertain hours, a smaller income, and more than anything the feeling that I’m not accomplishing much.

As I begin to piece together what my life will look like, I balance between learning patience and practicing action. I am much more prone to act than I am to wait; I see a problem, a challenge, a choice, and I want to conquer it. Maybe this period of waiting, of patience, of trust, is necessary to shape me more finely. But it’s really uncomfortable.

“Everything’s always been easy for you.” Those words echo in my head, making me feel an odd mix of resentment and un-deserved privilege.

I step back and see the blessings, and I am grateful. I look forward to sharing the fairy tale life, even if it isn’t always such a fairy tale.

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