Archive for the ‘Handwritten Chronicles’ Category

August 8, 2011

So, I didn’t get that job at __________ High School. The assistant principal called this morning and said that although he really wanted to hire me, he couldn’t because of my certification. He used the phrase, “they won’t let me.” It’s weird — I feel exactly the way I told everyone I’d feel. I’m disappointed, but not that upset. I want to write, not spend my life figuring out a new teaching job I plan to quit once I have a baby anyway. At the same time, I know I have to get a job one way or another. Not getting this one means I get to keep looking and admitting I’m a loser to every person I meet who asks, “What do you do?” (I’m meeting people frequently these days, since we’ve moved to a new place, so this is happening at least every Sunday.) It’s exhausting, really, and I’m tired of talking about it to everyone. I know it’s a major thing in my life right now, and therefore a natural topic of conversation, but I’m tired of it already. Let’s talk about anything else in the world except my lack of a job. If I get another interview or an actual job offer, I’ll tell you. Otherwise, just assume the worst and save me the humiliation. Please. I love how I started this by saying I wasn’t that upset, and then griped for a page! The truth is, I didn’t totally want that job, for a number of reasons. Not getting it was a slight relief. However, getting it would have remedied a lot of short-term annoyances and embarrassments. Long-term, I would have hated the drive (~40 minutes without traffic), hated not having my own classroom (it was a floater position), and really gone crazy with learning a new curriculum and trying to stay sane outside of school. I may well have loved it, though, because I do love teaching. Oh well! I asked God for a good interview, and He abundantly blessed me with one. Since I’ve been waiting, I’ve been praying for His will and His help in embracing whatever His will is. God is faithful and full of grace.



Burning …from my journal

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Handwritten Chronicles

August 1, 2011

It was a peaceful place, but it was a false peace. Like a commune, perhaps everyone was naked, or close to it. There were things you knew, but tried not to know. You had two choices: spending time here, which was a spa sort of like a slaughterhouse, or being hunted down in the jungle. There was no peace in the jungle; the knowledge was too sharp. They were always watching, knowing who was next. You didn’t know until you were being chased. They didn’t kill you then, just brought you to the spa to relax. That was one way to get there. The other was simply being drawn there by the temptation of peace. In the jungle, there were snakes, and hunters, and knowledge, and fear. At the spa was quiet, and civilization, and TVs with remotes. In the jungle was survival — raw and savage. You didn’t have to survive at the spa. They brought food to you on little trays while you watched TV and lounged, munching and waiting for nothing — peaceful. But we were waiting for something, it was just so hard to remember with all this peace. The servants spoke in soothing tones and wore gentle smiles. There was something to remember, though. It was hard to find the memory — the real reason we had come. It wasn’t just the lure of safety that brought us out of the jungle, though that’s all that was easy to feel. It was a lie, we remembered, but what was the truth? We watched the screen — I held the remote — and we searched for the memory. We shared a sort of telepathy once we began concentrating very hard on figuring out the truth, which was very helpful. You really couldn’t do this on your own. We weren’t sure we could do it together — it was just so peaceful, and we had everything we could want! The food was to die for, and the people were so kind. But it was a lie. We found the truth, secretly. We kept watching TV and smiling, but when we remembered, we were burning inside. It had to burn to stay alive, for the peace was so strong. David asked our TV companion — there was only one, because there were only three chairs per TV — how her husband was. She smiled and said she was not married, then she turned back to watching TV and delivering cheese, meat, and crackers — stacked just so — to her mouth. No crumbs or mess, just peace. But it was a lie. She was married. We came for them. We came from the jungle to get them, because we knew the truth of this place. In the jungle, with the snakes, we knew. They were scared of the snakes and the hunters, and the lure of peace was great, so they came here. We came to tell them the truth and take them back to the jungle. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we didn’t know it would be too late. They had him already, and she was in grave danger. How to tell her without being overheard? Would she even hear? She’s so far gone — she doesn’t recognize us and doesn’t remember him. We have to try. We decided so while laughing at the TV, to look normal. We turn to seize the moment, which won’t look normal, so we have to be fast, and we are facing an empty chair. A servant appears to re-fill our drinks and soothes us with the reassurance that our friend would be back in just a moment. She won’t be. We know. We have to keep the fire alive and keep thinking about the truth — they already got him before we came, now they have her and she won’t be back, one of us is next, and don’t eat the meat. It’s hard to remember and keep smiling at the TV. Oh, here she comes, the servant smiles. Our friend is back. We were wrong. She just had to go to the toilet. She’s back to watching and munching. We settle in. We were wrong. She’s back — at least there’s time for her. We have time. This show is funny. We laugh — we are not faking. It’s really funny. I look over at her so we can laugh together, so that it’s even funnier. She laughs with me. It burns. It burns. I keep laughing, but it burns. He looks over, because he feels it, too, but doesn’t know why. It’s hard to keep laughing when it burns so much. We see the truth — we don’t eat the meat, we know we have to get out, we have to tell her. It is not her. It’s hard to see, because it seems like her. She would say she just got up to go to the toilet, she hoped she didn’t miss much, but it is not her. It is too late. Now we know we must go. The servants fluff our pillows, but it’s a lie. We must go. We shovel cheese and crackers into our robe pockets — no meat — and wait until the servants are preoccupied. We run. I can run as fast as him — that is new. We find a wall and climb it. That is new, too — how are we scaling a 20-foot concrete wall? We do, but I am seen. She’s a wispy girl with a broom the same color as her hair. We are nearly to the top, though. We have time. She’s going to tell him, but we have time. I’m scared of the top, because I don’t want to jump down the other side. I keep going. We get to the top, we pull up and swing our legs over and feel grass. The good, thick kind with no weeds. We look around — the wall is gone. There are people everywhere, having such a good time singing and dancing. They’re all making their way into this ancient building — looks like a ziggurat or something — and the music is coming from inside. A strong beat. We feel it. It doesn’t burn. It is sweet.

[This was my dream last night.]


July 30, 2011

Today, I met [a friend] for lunch. I hadn’t seen her in about 2 years. A lot had changed in two years for her, so we had a lot to catch up on. I didn’t have nearly as much to share, but when I did, I told her something I didn’t even realize about myself before I said it. I said I’m currently happier than I’ve been for as long as I can remember. What a change, right? Even from just a week or two ago, when I was writing about depression. Well, here’s what changed: I started writing — really writing. Scheduled, 1,000 words a day writing. I love it. I’ve come alive. I’m me. I’m dancing around my house and singing praise songs to God. Well, I should be thorough and say that I started praying for deliverance from depression, and praying through the Psalms, before the Spirit prompted me to stop moping about and to get serious about writing. I feel connected to Him, like my story is His story, like I’m doing what I was made to do, and it’s a great experience. Problem is, July is traditionally my month for writing. Summer school is over, I get a lot of free time, and my typing fingers start flying. And then school starts. The thing is, I can be a writer, a wife, and a housekeeper. Or, I can be a teacher, a wife, and a housekeeper. I have not been able to successfully be all four. If I try, I fail and get depressed. If I drop the writing, I’m good at the other three, but I’m aching inside. Stephen King says, 

If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it? (On Writing, p. 147)

Because, Mr. King, I don’t know how to do it all. I can’t yet quit my day job — well, technically I don’t currently have one, but the plan is to find one — and I am not superwoman. I really don’t know how to do it, but I sure am afraid that I’ll desert Luke and Catie’s story the way I walked away from Josh and Leora’s last August. It terrifies me, actually, because I know I’m supposed to be writing, and I don’t want to give it up. But, August is traditionally my month for giving up. 



July 27, 2011

My interview with Mr. B——- at the high school went awesome. I can fairly confidently say that it was probably the best interview I’ve ever had — he interviewed me for an hour! I’m so thankful to have had a positive experience. I’ve been praying every time that God grant me a good interview, regardless of the ultimate outcome. I’ve just felt so much pressure to get a job, and so it’s easy to feel like a failure when I’m not getting the job each time. At least if I have a good interview, I can confidently say I gave it my all. I won’t be agonizing over what I could have or should have said — at least not too much! God has been so gracious in giving me four positive interviewing experiences. I’m so grateful! On another note, I realized that I haven’t thought of an enemy for my book. I have to have (a human manifestation of) the enemy! Circumstances aren’t enough… I need real temptations. Unexpected ones. Hmmm. It’s gonna be good! 


May 1, 2011

I’m not really one to watch the news, but today was a historic one, so I made an exception. President Barack Obama announced that American officials attacked a mansion in Pakistan after intelligence revealed that Osama Bin Laden was living there. The Americans killed him, and our military/government is now in possession of his body. Impromptu patriotic demonstrations were springing up, especially just outside the White House, as the president prepared to make the announcement we’d all already heard online and via newscasts. Facebook exploded with cheers and hallelujahs, and my heart sank. Yes, I believe this was a necessary act of justice. No, I do not think it decent or just to rejoice, sing, and dance about it. He has met his Maker; let Him handle it. Let us continue to marvel at God’s mercy, pray for sinners, and shut our mouths lest we be condemned by them. We, too, deserve the death penalty. We have no right to rejoice, and I am honestly ashamed that these images will inevitably be broadcast around the world. How telling that will be of our sinful hearts. Lord God, thank You for justice. Make Your glory known through this — draw people to You. Please forgive us our wicked ways and protect us from retaliation. Please grant wisdom to our leaders and stay our enemy’s hand. Please bring us back to You — we are an unregenerate and self-worshiping nation. Please pour our Your Spirit and grant repentance to America. Teach us to fear You. 


God took out Osama bin Ladin. And he will take me out. And you. And everyone else. Only different ways. (Deu 32:39; Job 1:21)
~John Piper

*Disclaimer: This was written at midnight with a sleepy head and a grieving heart. Re-writing it here makes me see how my words can be misconstrued. I do completely agree with the earthly justice carried out on Osama. I do understand why many people — especially those who were personally affected by his terrorism — would be satisfied at hearing this news. I do not, however, think that public rejoicing over this is pleasing to God. I just don’t see how it could be, when we all have desperately sick (read: wicked) hearts from birth. We’re all wicked before we’re regenerated. So — no, I don’t think our government’s killing him was wicked or wrong in any way. Rather, I think it was necessary and just. I think hallelujahs and yippees and singing and dancing as he awaits the White Throne Judgment to be cast into hell for all eternity is really inappropriate, however, and that these things just further reveal the brokenness of humanity.

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
~Jeremiah 17:9

The foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against the LORD.
~Proverbs 19:3

This was a busy weekend because we went up to our hometown — mostly for David’s 30th birthday.  It was exciting because I actually pulled off a surprise!  We went to a baseball game with David’s family, but I had arranged for a bunch of his college friends to be sitting with us, too.  It worked — he was surprised and very excited to see all of his friends!  Saturday was a stressful day, because we also had to visit with my mom and my sister’s family.  We are in a pickle with them, because visiting at one of their houses is always really uncomfortable and never-ending; it’s hard to find a good time to leave, even when it’s evident that we still have nothing in common and thus nothing to say.  We’ve taken to suggesting restaurants instead, because there’s a natural stopping point.  However, it’s embarrassing.  I really feel awful being embarrassed of my family, but I am.  They are openly rude and insulting to people, and it’s just awful.  I just feel like I should go behind them and apologize to strangers for their rudeness.  I don’t, usually, because it can make an awkward situation even worse.  But I really don’t know how to handle it when people in my party are rude to the waitstaff, or audibly express disgust that the table of Mexicans next to us should learn English, or loudly make comments about the sexual orientation of two men not three feet from us.  What should I do?  It’s really, really horrible, and I hate it.  Reasoning with my family is fruitless.  Any visible discomfort on my part invites combative and provoking comments.  Total silence suggests agreement.  Perhaps we should just go back to meeting at someone’s house to spare innocent bystanders.  On another note, school starts tomorrow for teachers.  I was pretty down in the dumps over it all week, mostly because I feel like my summer was wasted.  Today, however, I’ve resigned to the inevitable, and I’m actually excited to see some of my friends.  That’s a start!  I really want to be intentional about forming relationships this year, because I am very isolated because of the subject I teach.  It’s time to focus on making it a good year!

July 17, 2010

Today was the first time I nearly cried because I want to have a child.  I really can’t say why; I was watching the movie “Julie and Julia” when it hit me.  I’m sure there was some line that made my mind go there, but I can’t think of it.  (Although Julia’s own unfulfilled desire to have a child was touched on a couple of times, that wasn’t it.)  Anyway, I immediately tuned out the movie and faced a serious choice: to press pause and sob my heart out in an empty apartment with the full knowledge that I have no business doing so, or to swallow the snot, forbid the escape of tears, focus on the adorably touching stories now going on fully without me, and plan to reapply my deodorant immediately following the conclusion of said stories due to a sudden and emotional rise in body temperature.  I thought this over for probably 17 or 18 seconds, dutifully restraining my tears just in case I ended up opening Door #2, as Julia awaited the arrival of her friend, Avis, at an airport.  (Or train station.  I don’t know which.)  I do know that during those 17 or 18 seconds, I considered that this was a fortunate scene during which to have this distracting crisis; nothing would really be lost as Julia refused to wait for me. I guess I’ve been thinking and praying about my future children so much — it is too much? — that I didn’t realize how much I do love them already.  I see them sometimes, even though I know full well that I don’t know what I’m imagining.  I know that I can’t expect my little daydreams’ details to come true.  (But wouldn’t that be neat if they did?)  Bottom line is that I’m getting impatient.  I have often been accused of wearing “Impatient Pants.”  I’ve also been known to exhibit classic characteristics of a textbook case of the “I Wants.”  Yes, that’s David speaking.  However, he’s not here today to tackle me, make me laugh, and remind me that God has a plan.  In the meantime, I sat watching — or not watching, for 17 or 18 seconds — a girly movie and letting my imagination whisper to me about all these symptoms (emotional, mostly) I’ve been having that could be pointing to a very surprise, completely-against-the-odds-because-we’re-not-even-remotely-trying-to-try pregnancy.  I felt like I should pause the movie and let myself fall apart.  David wouldn’t have to know, so there was no danger of his being stressed out over my trying to add stress to his stress during a stressful time in his life by asking if we could try to talk about trying sooner than we agreed to start trying.  So, I stared at Julia Child — who was actually Meryl Streep, of course — and made my decision.  I swallowed my snot and channeled my husband’s wisdom: It’s gas and PMS, not a subtle sign of a surprise conception.  And you don’t want a baby right now anyway; you’d have nowhere to put it, not to mention all you’d do is gripe about lugging it up and down the stairs.  (We live on the third floor.)  Instead, let’s focus on the things more immediately before us, like finishing the movie, and then figuring out how to get the cat pooping in his box again.  Door #2 for sure; the scene is no longer unimportant to the story.


I just watched an amazing movie — “The Book of Eli.”  There is no reason to write a summary of it here, but suffice it to say that the story was openly Christian and searingly challenging.  It drove me to immediately retrieve my Bible, which by chance — truly, by no chance at all — opened to Colossians 1.  I read through the entire book a couple of times, and I read chapter one a few more times than that, with emotion catching my throat and heat stinging my eyes.  On this eve of American Independence Day, I am acutely reminded of that which is true freedom, indeed.

For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created by Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.  And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach — if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven. (Colossians 1:13-23a)

My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, make me Your truest servant; make me free, indeed.