Sunday, October 21, 2007

Defeating God?

I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of wrestling with God and man. I’m tired.

Jacob wrestled with God and what did Jacob receive? No answer, but a new name, and a blessing. For fighting with God. Is that weird to anyone else? That Jacob, in a sense, overcame God. It feels disrespectful to write. But that’s what it says: “because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” That Jacob won and got what he wanted. “I will not let you go until you bless me.” God gave in, I suppose. He didn’t actually change His will to fit Jacob’s demand, because God had already promised Jacob a blessing. But he gave up the fight and did what Jacob asked. Jacob walked away with a blessing and a limp.

Then why did God wrestle? Why was it necessary? If God was just going to give in eventually, why put Jacob to the test at all?

Perhaps to see how badly Jacob needed God’s blessing, that which could come from God, not from man or personal, inner strength. To see how much Jacob needed answers. How much would Jacob give to hear from God? How long would he persevere to obtain God’s promise?

Just thoughts after the sermon this morning and a lazy afternoon. It was a fight to move to this city and now it’s a fight to stay. Seems like you fight your way through the day sometimes.

But while we wrestle every day with man, in a sense we’ve “defeated” God, and been given the blessing we so desperately seek: to see God and live. He’s given up the fight on the cross. He, through Jesus Christ, has taken the beating for us and from us, but has left us with an injured hip. We walk with a limp, but will one day be restored completely. We serve a merciful God, full of grace and overwhelming goodness, who gave in to the demands of the law for us, so that we might live.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blogpology

We are internet-less again. Will be a bad blogger for the next week or so until we can sort out our lives again. Bummer.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Missed My Church Today

We meant to get up for church this morning. Wanted to make the 11 AM service at St. Thomas, an Episcopal church at 53rd and 5th Ave. We have visited there twice now, and find ourselves craving more of the liturgy and choral Mass. But we were out late last night at a friend's party where we played "Catch Phrase" and "Taboo" until way too late. So we missed the morning service and tried to make the Evensong 4 PM service. But the subways ran so behind that it took us an hour to get there, making us entirely too late. We ended up not going, and instead made the night service at Redeemer Presbyterian where they did a very weirded-out-meter jazz arrangement of "In Christ Alone" that required way too much thought toward how to sing the melody, the very reason why I think worship and jazz don't quite work together. But hey, that's just me.

As I struggled to sing a complex rhythm to a hymn whose beauty should be found in its simplicity, I missed my church in Houston and I missed my friends there. I missed singing the simple rhythm of a beautiful hymn and being moved together toward holiness in a way that is familiar to me. And that's when I finally understood why tradition is important, and why some church members and leaders fear change and resist it. Why some people like to sing from the book and not off the wall. And that I've judged certain people who enjoy what's comfortable. Maybe not out loud, but in my thoughts, but maybe out loud, too.

I missed what was comfortable and wanted so badly to just sing the hymn the right way. Just sing it the way it was written. Because that's the way I knew it. But I noticed people around me worshipping and singing and meaning it. And I realized that this was how they knew it.

For some reason, it felt good to miss my church. It must have been the sense of belonging. Or maybe it's because I had something that was good, and it feels good to have had it. Feels good to get that what I had was good. I'm not sure we always get it. But anyway,

I missed my church today.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What's Your Name?

Saw this on 4andcounting's blog and couldn't resist.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME:
(first pet & current car)

Tyra Ford

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME:
(fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)

Mint Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME:
(first letter of first name, first three letters of last name)

Awar

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME:
(favorite color, favorite animal)

Red Dog

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME:
(middle name, city where you were born)

Christina Moore

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME:
(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

WarAm

7. SUPERHERO NAME:
(”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)

The Green Mojito

8. NASCAR NAME:
(the first names of your grandfathers)

Skeeter Floyd

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME:
(mother’s & father’s middle names )

Jean Ross

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME:
(Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)

Fry Florence

12. SPY NAME:
(your favorite season/holiday, flower)

Christmas Gerber Daisy

13. CARTOON NAME:
(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)

Apple Pajamasie

14. HIPPIE NAME:
(What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)

Bagel Magnolia

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME:
(”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”

The Dance Breeze Tour

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Apartment Saga: The End

Continued from previous post.

I took out my hand sanitizer, shared it with Seth, and figured it couldn't get any worse than this.

Thankfully, it didn't. In fact, I found out when we got home that our next door neighbor's bathroom vent had leaked brown nastiness all over his bathroom....4 times. And Jamaican Michael had guys exterminate my neighbor's apartment, too, but they had no idea what they were doing, and sprayed all over my neighbor's new furniture and couch, ruining it. And his dishwasher malfunctioned so that the water backed up in the pipes and flooded the girl's ceiling underneath him, warping his wood floors as well. And his oven only cooked the top of the food and not the bottom, so his pizza and cookies came out well-done on top, but gooey on the bottom.

And my neighbor's apartment was the apartment we thought we were getting. Apartment A, if you remember. So, I'm thankful we didn't end up with Apartment A.

Turns out the management company got smart and hired a certified extermination company to come out and spray the ENTIRE building for bed bugs. No, Jamaican Michael was not properly certified for bed bug inspection. When the certified company searched the building, they said they found no bed bugs anywhere, and what people were finding were in fact tiny spiders that look very similar to bed bugs. So the entire first floor of our building moved out for no reason at all. I'm not sure about all that, because Fred was definitely a bed bug. I saw the tiny spiders they were talking about, and Fred looked much different than the tiny spiders, and very like the picture of the bed bug on the internet. And a guy on the first floor claimed to have been bit at least 50 times, and I don't think those tiny little spiders bite that much. But hey, a certified bed bug company sprayed, and I bought a mattress cover just in case. Hallelujah. I'm over it.

I know for sure that they sprayed because I found a cockroach lying on its back on the floor next to my couch, although I refuse to dwell on the implications of such a thing.

So my story has a happy ending. We're not going anywhere, and a bunch of this bed bug stuff might have been alot of rumors and hype.

I did find out, through this series of unfotunate events, that our building, prior to our landlord's purchase and renovation of the place, was a crack house and a whore house. Supposedly, a man was murdered on the front steps, and another died on the third floor. Fourteen people shared a studio the same size as ours. Supposedly. Supposedly our buidling was infested with bed bugs. Supposedly.

THE END

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Apartment Saga: Stella

Continued from previous post

After several silent and suspenseful seconds of intense study, Michael, with eyes cast downward looking grimly at our Fred, said softly after a quick nod:

"Dis is de bug."

Wonderful. Just wonderful. Bed bugs in our apartment the THIRD WEEK of living in Manhattan. I thought they had exterminated for those? Obviously not. No, see, what they did was SAY they would exterminate, and then they told us everything was fine, and it wasn't fine. And I was itching all over. It's amazing how sensitive your skin becomes when you imagine bugs crawling all over your body in the middle of night, sucking your blood, and then going to hide away and lay eggs.

Gross.

So, thankfully, our management company agreed to put us up in a hotel that night, while Jamaican man Michael officially exterminated. I was surprised that they agreed. If they wouldn't have agreed, we would have high tailed it out of this place. And at the time we had plans to do that very thing. I called my broker and set up an appointment the next week to look for apartments.

But an interesting thing happened.

We had a relatively nice stay at The Amsterdam Inn (which, upon arrival, I noticed the shared bathrooms and thought I might cry again. But we had a private bathroom so it was all good.) BUT. We soon realized that WE MISSED OUR LITTLE HOBBIT HOLE! The apartment with no closets and hardly any windows! It had become our home! Our neighborhood had invaded our psyche and we belonged to it and it belonged to us. We were miserable away from it. Even the pounding and the fear of bed bugs couldn't keep us away. We wanted to go back HOME.

And back home we went the next afternoon, but not before perhaps the worst of all experiences.

We were told to wait until around 5 PM to return the next day, so Seth and I spent a good bit of time in the Barnes and Noble Cafe down the street from our place. We had been pleasantly sitting and reading for an hour, when a man with two little girls sat down at the adjoining table directly to our right. The little girls were beautiful. Probably ages 5 and 3. Dark, curly hair and brown eyes. And the Dad kept calling one of them Stella and she kept calling him Papa. He sounded British.

Stella, the five year old, kept looking our way and smiling. We kept looking her way and smiling.

It was a special day for Stella and her sister. A special day because they got an oatmeal cookie at the Barnes and Noble. And an even more special day because they got hot chocolate after the oatmeal cookie. All this if they finished their vegetable pizza, which they did.

But I suppose special days have certain special consequences, because all of the sudden, Papa was leaning over Stella, asking if she felt alright. And Stella was shaking her head, no. And then Papa reached for the paper cup that just seconds ago had held the hot chocolate. And Stella leaned her little face over it. And then I turned away and heard sounds of spurting liquid hitting the bottom of a cup.

I gagged. I avoided looking. Papa said, "Are you done?" And Stella shook her head no. And then more sounds of liquid spurting into a cup. I placed my right index finger inside my right ear and stared at the laptop computer in front of me. Stella kept looking our way, embarrassed. We no longer looked her way. Smiles were gone. My face was hot. Please be done. Please be done. Papa ran to the counter for another cup. Stella panicked, and Papa made it back just in time. PLEASE be done.

Finally it was over. They left the cafe, an embarassed Papa, a crying Stella, and a confused little sister. I felt sorry for Stella and her dad. I felt sorry for myself that I couldn't go home and instead had to sit next to a puking child on a rainy day after I found a bed bug in my bed. I took out my hand sanitizer, shared it with Seth, and figured it couldn't get any worse than this.

TO BE CONTINUED (just once more)