Sunday, November 22, 2009

What I've Learned in 2009 . . .

Jeans are neither my enemy nor my friend. Jeans are not meant to change my body shape, minimize my butt, or make me taller. Their sole purpose on earth is to prevent nakedness from the waist down. Period.

Perhaps the reason so many of my friends are turned off by church is because church people have done a crummy job of representing a holy God to a hurting world. And perhaps my new year’s resolution should have more to do with remedying that than with eating less carbs.

Fact: Sometimes mediocre writers get published. Fact #2: Sometimes amazingly talented writers remain overlooked by the publishing world. Fact #3: both of these things kinda stink.

It is perfectly acceptable to be 33 years old and single. Heck, it’s even okay to be 33 years old and be happy with being single. It’s also acceptable to completely change one’s mind about that, and I will be sure to keep you posted.

Drama is conflict, and conflict is necessary to good storytelling. And, as much as I have lived my life to avoid conflict at all costs, being a writer will eventually force me to embrace it.

God is more than able to open doors that no man can open, and He delights in using the foolish things (and people) of the world to humble the wise.

No matter how much of a grammar and punctuation rock star you think you are, a good editor will show you the error of your ways.

Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and then waiting for the other person to die.

Kids hear and absorb everything their parents do and say. Everything.

I talk too much. I need to do something about that. I’m sure there’s a reason why God gave us all two ears and only one mouth.

Noodles must be added to homemade chicken noodle soup last.

None of us have it all together. Especially not the people who look as though they do.

People who say they don’t care what people think about them are usually desperate to have other people think they don’t care what people think about them.

When you write a memoir, always change first names to protect the innocent. Because, chances are, by the time your book is released, you will have come back into contact with every single person whom you wrote about. (Thanks, Facebook!)

Some cats like veggie burgers, celery, soy milk, and coffee. (Or, at least one does. )

For as long as Liberty is alive and living in my home, I will never again be allowed to lay on my right side. She is a left-sided cat. Period.

Imitrex doesn’t work for my headaches. Zomig doesn’t work for my headaches. Advil Migraine no longer works for my headaches. Five Hour Energy works like magic for my headaches. Live and learn.

Even if your friend has been dead for five years, you will still have moments where you completely forget this and you’ll reach for your phone to call her when a certain song comes on over the speakers in Applebee’s.

Sometimes words are overrated. It’s impossible to say the wrong thing when you simply hug someone instead of saying anything at all.

There is no joy equal to the feeling of taking someone by the hand and walking them toward Jesus. Evangelism doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. It means doing life the way Jesus did it, with boldness, tenderness, and authenticity, and presenting the truth in love. The “ministry of reconciliation” is for every believer, even those of us who have been scared to death of it.

I do not like beer, dark chocolate, or bleu cheese – and I probably never will.

I will probably never again be a coloratura soprano or a size one. And I’ll just have to deal.

Sometimes kindness shocks the heck outta people. We’ve learned not to expect it. Kindness goes further (farther? Ack!) now than it ever did, because it so obviously sets us apart from a hostile society.

And probably the MOST important thing I have learned in 2009: I still have a lot to learn.

(To be continued . . . )

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Words Are Overrated

As a writer, I love words. I like to play with them, using words as colors and textures upon the blank canvas of a page. I like the weight of words, the way they echo in the mind after they've registered. Words are powerful. Words are irretractable. "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit -- you choose." (Proverbs 18:21, MSG) We need to handle words with care, mindful of their power both to wound and to heal.

And sometimes, we need to shut up and forego them completely.

We've all had them -- those electric moments shared with another human being, where words suddenly seem so glaringly inefficient. Sometimes it's a knowing glance across a crowded room, sometimes it's a tearful embrace inside the viewing room of a funeral home. There are those moments, whatever their setting or circumstance, that are simply better for their silence.

I shared a moment with a friend today, wherein I knew I was part of something bigger than words. It was one of those times where tears spoke volumes and a good tight hug, the kind that lasts a while, was the only appropriate way to truly respond in love.

It seems to me that brokenness begets brokenness. In the face of one who is brave enough to remove her mask and break down in a sincere expression of human fragility, we become aware of our inability to say the right thing. We admit to ourselves that we are not clever, eloquent or wise. Humility comes upon us as we recognize ourselves in that broken person, and we realize that perhaps the best way to love them in that moment is not to mentor them but to meet them, right where they are -- to come alongside them and sit with them in brokenness.

I guess I'm learning. As much as I love words, I admit that they are often overrated. Because today, as I sat with my friend in her brokenness, I found I had no need for them at all.