Thursday, October 23, 2008

Waste of Time and (Blog) Space

Why is it so very easy to waste time?

I can waste time window shopping, looking up words, spying on everyone’s Facebook and myspace, checking out new books, movies, music. I can wander the annals of emails new and old. I can research something to wear to the international Christmas musical.

What I should be doing is something else altogether.

This is usually laundry, my chore-room for the week, fixing lunch for the next day at work. I could really benefit from some time reading the Bible, kicking it with God, myself, or nature. I might also call a friend I haven’t spoken to in what seems like forever. I should write more frequently than I do also.

These are all infinitely better uses of my time, better than wasting it doing who knows what. Does this produce any extra productivity on my part? Not really. Guilt moves in for a play at superiority, but even that emotion doesn’t get much air time when it comes to my play time. And that’s what it is: play time. I want quite greedily to play and be irresponsible. Being responsible has garnered limited benefits in the past, so why should the present be any different?

And yet, a part of me recognizes that responsibility may take a while to incur any cool fringe benefits. That’s what everyone in high school/college is working toward, right? And all the entry level peons? Yes, they’re usually working toward a specific goal, and their eyes are on the prize. Maybe I should select a prize to give myself for not wasting so much time. Then, window shopping might take a back seat to more important pursuits.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fighting Getting a Big Head

Lately, I’ve been told several times by different people that I’ve lost weight or that I happen to look especially nice that day (implicitly saying I usually look nice). To which I say this: thank you. Now there are a few theories at work here, one being that I look better because I am in process of shrinking; the appearance is collateral to weight loss. The other major theory is that I am mid-self-actualization, developing more self-esteem, which in turn leads to coincidental glow and shedding my disguise; the weight loss is collateral to the self-realization.

Yeah, I said collateral.

This is not a negative thing here, and I sure as heck don’t mean to take out any loans. But I wouldn’t be Valonna if I didn’t tweak words to my whim. And I admit that my money’s on the second theory. Whether it’s hopeful thinking or simple factoid, I think part of the work God’s done on me this year includes rendering my disguise (read: weight) a superfluity. ‘Cause I’ve gotta say, I’m really not trying. Yeah, I happen to be eating less, partially due to budgetary crises, but I’ve never before gotten sick to my stomach just because I ate something sugary. And that’s happened a lot lately. Weird. We’re talking someone whose sweet tooth can normally put other people into diabetic comas.

Something strange is happening to me. Basically, I’m coming to the realization that there will still be sweets tomorrow if I have none today. There will still be Haagen-Dazs even if I don’t buy the pint of peanut butter chocolate. Needless to say, this is not a cognitive epiphany I’ve reached but rather a psychological—or, for the more spiritually inclined, spiritual—one. Put bluntly, I simply don’t need that kind of sustenance. Instead, God sustains me through Himself, friends he provides for me, and good ol’ piece of mind.

Now, I promised myself not to exceed a page; therefore, to be continued.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rain on Grieg's and God's Parades

It rained for the first time in a long while in the city last night. Of course, this is the only occasion in 5 months when I haven’t had an umbrella with me at all times. But it wasn’t a dire circumstance, because true to Bay Area precipitation, the “rain” was really more like a heavy drizzle.

It was lovely.

Don’t ask me how, but this gave me the biggest yin to take a bath, just chill out with some awesome music. (At which point, I realized some of my absolute favorite classical music was at a friend’s house.) So, I ran a bath, grabbed my laptop and a good Grieg CD, and settled down to live it up. My plan was simple: listen to the wind blow the rain over the above skylight and get pruny while faceless musicians hammered out Grieg’s piano concerto. . . .

Then the first five minutes was gone, and I made the second unhappy discovery of the evening. I was having trouble doing nothing and not rushing to get one thing done as I advanced to the next. Had my life, my work, my friends—my self—become so constantly kinetic that I couldn’t simply be in the current moment? I, who had always prided myself on being able to sit still and revel in my own imagination, found myself hard-pressed not to run forward to the next thing.

This called for discipline. This called for a Psalm 46:10 exercise. So, I needed to be very still and start listing off some of the ways that God was, well, God. I needed to exalt Him. In my ignorance, in my fears, in my expectations, in my doubts, in all the ways I hoped He’d come through for me and mine. I needed to think about all those ways in which my life had changed in the past year (fun and unfun), and exalt His hand in those, too. . . .

Did I do that?

No. I managed to concentrate on the task for a little while, but just like so many of us self-deprecatingly admit, I failed to fully invest my time with God for more than a brief moment. Then, it dawned on me that the water was getting cold, the concerto was nearly finished, and I still hadn’t washed my hair. I had to laugh—silently, so as not to wake my roomies—and remember that I can indeed do all things through Him who strengthens me. So, even though I’d failed yet again, there’s always the next time I humbly approach God for a little of His quality time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

God on the Floor

Never before have I felt crushed to the floor by God’s will. Tonight took care of that hole in my repertoire. Not only did I feel His command, once I was lying face down on the floor, I was hard-pressed to move. And I cried so hard, buggers dripped from my stuffy nose.

I’m not telling you this to gross you out. I’m telling you this because . . . well, in actuality, I’m really just talking to hear myself talk at this point. This is what is known as catharsis. What my old professor (he is old, but also is my former professor) called “mind sprints.” Not supposed to stop typing ‘til the cursor reaches the bottom of the page. And if it’s not coherent, so be it. Frankly, what is coherent to me is frequently incoherent to others, so it’s no real loss if a mind sprint finds its way into the “eh?” column of people’s Valonna dealings.

Anyway, before tonight, I had always been “able” to say, “No, thanks, God. I’m good. No need to put my face on the carpet in order to bond with you.” He was having none of that, would not take no for an answer, and other clich├ęs. Instead, I admitted I was overwhelmed, with nowhere to go but down on the floor before I could move upward again, and it struck me: vulnerability reeks.

Like those filthy rags we’re warned about in the Bible.

Yet there I lay, admonished, knowing I had to acknowledge not only vulnerability, but fallibility. Where was my back-up plan, my self-reliance? My friggin’ I-am-an-island-ness. God had stripped that away, as surely as He had my address during my Peregrination Period. I begged money from my mom, only to have it absorbed into bank overage fees, leaving me nothing, no money whatsoever for transportation or food.

And yet my friends all state, “He never gives you more than you can handle.” His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Well, I sure feel weak, but I'm not seeing how I can handle anything prostrated on the floor. Except maybe a hunger strike.