today is Sunday - the Sabbath - and my favorite day...one that represents rest and resurrection and celebration and new life.
in the more recent months though, i have made it more of a day for grief. Friday nights are full of weekend promises - a shedding of the early mornings and gym routines and salads for dinner and textbook reading and survival. my Fridays usually begin with throwing all those things out the door, and embracing things like frothy beers and greasy pizza wholeheartedly. Saturdays are often for adventures and accomplishments...long showers, time to do my make-up and hair, expensive cups of coffee, flea markets, beach trips, lazy walks, late night movies, and, of course, large glasses of the darkest, frothiest, richest beer i can find.
but Saturday nights, as i crawl into bed, i begin grieving. because i know Sunday is coming soon...and i spent most of my Sundays worrying about my Mondays. i scramble to clean house and finish laundry and check emails and fill up the fridge because, on Monday, survival begins again. on Monday, i wake before the sunrise, and halfheartedly pull on work clothes in the dark of my room. i drive to work and fill up on cheap coffee and i prepare to do battle with traffic and grumpy co-workers and mounds of homework and people who refuse to acknowledge that i even exist.
so, this weekend, i moved forward with the intent of changing that. last night, instead of grieving, i sat on my floor and watched The Office with a beer at my side. then, i crawled into bed and let myself get lost in my favorite Explosions in the Sky songs until i fell asleep.
this morning, i slept in, then took the time to curl my hair and put on a celebratory Sunday skirt. Ethan and i went out for expensive coffees and chorizo omelettes, and the warm weather beckoned me to roll the windows down and crank my favorite country music up.
as i write this, i'm sitting in my room, with more beer, preparing to finish up my homework for the week. it's about 90 degrees in my house, and i'm pretty sweaty and my hair has been messily swept up off my neck...but i feel alive. and as i look back on today - and on this past week - i can't but think about all the things i'm thankful for, like:
- the pretty pink roses blooming in my backyard.
- orange-infused water in pretty blue mason jars.
- the mustard-yellow yarn wreath i finally finished and plan to hang up on my front door:)
- getting to watch the birds that come to my backyard every day - the doves and hummingbirds and finches, and their little songs and squeaks and coos.
- daffodil bouquets in baby mason jars. :)
- daffodil bouquets in baby mason jars. :)
- the 1912 yellow Titanic book i scored on eBay that finally came in the mail. inside of it are photos and sketches and personal stories from those who survived. i've barely begun to peruse it, but so far, my favorite part is the "Dedication" page that reads: To the 1635 souls who were lost with the ill-fated Titanic, and especially to those heroic men, who, instead of trying to save themselves, stood aside that women and children might have their chance; of each of them, let it be written, as it was written of a Greater One - He Died that Others might Live."
- Penny&Sparrow videos on repeat.
- getting back into the habit of gym workouts...remembering how good it feels to sweat and push myself to new limits.
- library visits to thumb through old pages and reread my same favorite stories that i'll never tire of.
- the therapeutic process of cleaning the house - of soapy hands and dusty clothes that result in a place that feels a little cozier and a little more like home.
- making plans to see my brother at the end of this month, and my mama at the end of April.
- texts from my little sister that read, "Just read your blog, Char. Keep writing. Keep writing what you think and what you feel and what you do. Write it all down. I love you and I want you to know how blessed i am to have you. i'm so thankful to be your friend and to be so close to you. i could not ask for a more selfless and caring friend." reading that made me cry because i rarely feel good enough to be a big sister and friend to her. because SHE is the selfless one, and she is the caring friend, and she inspires me in my faith, and to be a better listener and to work to love others more than myself. how am i honestly worthy enough to receive a text like that? (i love you, baby munchkin. you are one of the most amazing people i have ever known. i can only hope for a heart that is more like yours.)
- phone conversations with some of my favorite people. yesterday, i talked to Ryan for over two hours, and he reassured me in my doubts about writing, and said things that made me think about being alive, and shared things that made me want to grow, and reminded me that i'm not so alone in how i feel about things, after all. one of my favorite things he shared with me was how he wanted more of his life to be full of things he was proud of - no secrets, nothing to hide, no places in the dark. as soon as he said that, i wanted to rush to my knees and pray to think more like that.
- getting to meet an Instagram friend. :) several years ago, i made a friend - Beka - through this blog. through her, i made connections with several of her sisters. and it just so happened that one of those sisters, Anna, was visiting southern California this past week - only 30 minutes away from me. so, i played hooky from work for an afternoon, and drove down to see her. she cooked me Mexican breakfast, and served me coffee and brownies, and we curled up on her friend's couch, where we shared our stories and talked about faith and wounds and growth and redemption. Anna is one of those souls that is truly ALIVE - her heart beating right along with that of the universe. she was one of those rare, truly captivating women, who was full of raw honesty and hope. truthfully, i felt inadequate in her presence, and at the same time, she inspired me to truly LIVE. to drink from the cup that has been given to me without doubt or fear or apologies.
seriously, those last 3 things? how am i so lucky to have these people in my life?
- and lastly...God-speaking.
i have been praying more often and more honestly these days. growing up in church, i often feel like prayer has to be such a formal thing. i talk to God all the time, but i rarely feel like it is really PRAYING. but this past week...holy crap. He has rushed into thought after thought of mine. the other afternoon, i took a break from work to walk to the deli in my office complex and get a smoothie. the girl who works there is a Christian, and always sweet and full of life. every time i see her, she makes my day. as i walked back to my office with smoothie in hand, i immediately began praying. i asked God how is it that someone as wonderful as that has to work in a deli. she works hard and has the sweetest heart, yet she gets no glory for it. i thought about all the other Christian people i know of who are famous, with their book deals and speaking engagements and thousands of "Likes" on Instagram and Facebook - why do some get glory, but many others don't? And God immediately rushed into my thoughts and responded, "I decide what Glory is. You don't." writing it out, it sounds harsh, but it came with a calm, with immediate peace. many of us - myself included - decide that "glory" is limited to things like Facebook Likes and TV appearances. who are we to say what Glory looks like? God is the One who created Glory, after all - and He sees us and decides what is Glorious, even if man doesn't. that is one of the most reassuring things i can think of.
another time God spoke to me, one that particularly stands out, is when i was driving home from the gym. i was listening to one of my favorite worship songs, "God Be Praised," by Elevation Worship. it's a song i've listened to dozens of times, but for some reason, it was like i was hearing it for the first time. and the words, "You were despised" stood out to me. as i sat in my car, i could instantly recollect the stories in the Gospel, telling of how people hit Jesus, spit in His face, yelled "Crucify Him." even though He was the Son of God, a perfect man, they HATED Him. and this was extremely convicting to me. i've heard it said dozens of times before, and earlier in the week, Anna said it to me again, "Jesus will always make people uncomfortable." and i know, even more so, He makes people angry. i was reminded that there are several times throughout Scripture when Jesus said, "You will be hated by everyone because of me," and "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." He even goes so far to say that we will be blessed if we are hated: "Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man." so why do i care so much about what the world thinks of me? because i do. i truly, truly do. if i have any weaknesses, one of my greatest is the desire to be liked...and i definitely don't want to make anyone uncomfortable. because of this, i am often willing to sacrifice parts of myself and what i know to be true in order to achieve that. but Jesus was despised - DESPISED - for the sake of the Gospel. so i pray to stop desiring to be liked and simply to start falling back to Him - to forget about worldly glory and to focus on HIS glory.
so, those are the things i'm thinking about and giving thanks for on this Sabbath. and, at the risk of sounding cheesy, i am praying that, instead of grieving and fearing the week to come, that i can give it all up to the One who already holds every one of my seconds in His hands.
and i hope your Sabbath is just sweet and restful, my friends<3