24 April 2008

being taken care of

last weekend my computer suddenly died - and wouldn't start up again. as so much of my life is connected to a computer, i was a bit lost without it. and yet, i didn't feel the panic/distress that i would expect with its possible demise. perhaps it's because i knew it's still under warranty. perhaps it's because i've lived through more than one computer breakdown in the past year and a half. perhaps it's because i knew on monday i could borrow a computer from work while i figured out what was wrong. perhaps it's because i suspected the problem was only the power supply. perhaps it's because i actually have a bit of money in the bank and can monetarily afford such a problem.

but i think i'd rather explain my lack of panic/distress as being that i am starting to believe that God really will take care of me (and all of the reasons above might just be part of how He does that). and i know things will be okay. certainly i shouldn't be careless or lackadaisical about my life - and i definitely ought to be listening closely to what God might be nudging me to say or do. but i do not have to fear what might happen - or be overwhelmed by what does happen.

this past while, i've been blessed with a lot of reminders of God taking care of me:
- a scholarship of a couple of thousand dollars just to affirm what i am studying
- the teaching job i'm currently in where i know people went out of their way to help me teach - and i know people want me to do well - both my colleagues - and the students who wish to learn
- being able to rent/borrow a car for a significant amount of time with very little cost
- having help putting my bike on the road, so i might get to enjoy the beautiful weather - and get to exercise tons - and have a valid excuse to eat whatever i want :)
- having friends who invite me to do things socially and who just listen - not only to the words i say, but to the things i don't yet have words for - especially as i grow through the sadness and feeling lost that comes when a dating relationship ends
- a crazy community in Amsterdam (who i found on the internet, which still makes me smile) where i have found a place
- being close enough to visit family and friends - and participate in major events in their lives
- a likely job next year doing research related to my ph.d.
- discovering a community here in Grand Rapids that's similar to the community in Amsterdam - Stockbridge Boiler Room - and getting to meet someone from there and looking forward to seeing how this place continues to develop
- a place to live temporarily - where there is not only never a complaint about my nasty habit of leaving my stuff around everywhere but also the joy of getting to complain about my day - and have somebody around to ask about their day
- living with a cat who comes into my room in the morning, talks to (at?) me, and then crawls into bed and purrs next to my alarm clock as i pray and get ready to meet the day
- knowing that i am remembered in prayer by the community in Amsterdam.

and after all those reminders that i am being taken care of, it should finally sink into my whole being that God really does take care of me. and it also gives me the hope and desire that i might be used by God to be part of how He shows others that they, too, are cared for.

18 April 2008

spring break adventures

with daniel visiting for spring break, i had both an excuse to take a significant break from my work teaching (so that i could be a good host) - and also an excuse to do things that i normally wouldn't. and so my spring break was filled with a number of adventures:

- we went to a Whitecaps baseball game (the Whitecaps are a minor league baseball team - a "farm" team for the Detroit Tigers). they're pretty good, but what made the experience was the need to take several blankets along, and all of the random events/games that happened in between innings (like throwing hotdogs at the crowd, doing the chicken dance, watching strange races, etc.)
- we visited the fish ladder in Grand Rapids (you can see the previous blog entry for the pictures)
- we went out to Lake Michigan - and delighted in the peace and beauty we found wandering through the dunes and woods in PJ Hoffmaster state park.
- we ate well. we went out once (to a Mexican restaurant) but most of the time we cooked at home, being more creative and a bit more grand than we would normally - simply because we had the time and energy. Kristin joined us most of the time - and we ate at the kitchen table, which is a bit unusual for us here. (it's only honest to admit that it's mostly thanks to daniel that we ate so well :)
- we walked. a lot. i think i know the neighbourhood better now than i ever used to! but it was also delightful to see daniel's reaction to the neighbourhood and the houses - such a difference from downtown Amsterdam!
- i "taught" daniel to drive :) being from Amsterdam, he'd had limited opportunity to drive a vehicle (and it's crazy expensive there to get your license so a lot of people don't get one - and it's not necessary). so we practiced in a couple of parking lots, and he managed to do a pretty good job handling the car (a standard at that), and i didn't fear for my life nor the well-being of the car (most of the time at least :). and i liked knowing that i could provide the opportunity to do something here that would have been almost impossible to do in Amsterdam.
- we puttered a lot - watched some movies, tried to learn to salsa dance from a dvd (it went okay - although trying to follow the hip hop dance exercise video was a lot more amusing!), i did some grading, daniel read some and teased Newman, and we just spent time relaxing.
- and i introduced him to the peace and wonder of St.Gregory's Abbey for the last few days of his visit. by that time, we had begun the biggest adventure of spring break: the process of ending our dating relationship. during his visit, we had come to recognize that as much joy and delight as we had being together as a couple that it was better for both of us that the relationship end - that it would be hard for both of us to be fully honest and fully ourselves if we tried to continue simply as we were. and so at the monastery, we walked and talked and walked and prayed and walked and talked. i finally got to see most of the monastery grounds (it's huge) - and we both said good-bye to dating each other.
- the adventure continued: just as we were getting prepared to say good-bye (and i was getting ready to process his visit and mentally prepare from spring break mode to go back to teaching), we discovered his flight had been cancelled! we negotiated a much better ticket and schedule than the one they had originally changed him to - but the compromise was that he'd stay another night (although he'd fly out of Grand Rapids instead of Detroit). and in knowing that daniel would certainly be welcome to stay with me longer, we recognized how much the time at the monastery had been instrumental in healing much of the awkwardness and uncomfortable-ness of ending a relationship. certainly the sadness had not gone all away, nor will it disappear quickly - but nonetheless, i am filled with hope that i will have the courage to open my heart and my eyes to whatever adventures might be before me next.

16 April 2008

what teachers hope for

part of the reason that i teach is because i love what i teach - and i want to share that love and delight and joy with others. and i hope that they grow to (at least) appreciate what i love (and that i can share that love well). and that they would continue to want to learn and hear about the things i'm sharing.

the textbook for the class i had in january was The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. Shane came to Calvin this past week, and one of my former students let me know that she went and saw everyone from the class there. and when i heard that, i couldn't help but be delighted - for they wanted to keep learning and hearing after the class.

15 April 2008

still alive

to show that i'm still alive, i've uploaded some more pictures of my life. below is the preview:

you can see the rest of them via facebook. (n.b. the new pictures are number 18-26).

and sooner or later, i'll write more on the blog...