Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Neon Signs and Burning Bushes

Back in middle schol, high school and even college, I was big on praying for signs. "Dear Jesus, if it rains today it means that so and so likes me," "If (fill in the blank) happens, it means that this is what I'm supposed to do with my life," or "It would be so much easier if God would plant a big flashing arrow in the way I'm supposed to go!"

As I've gotten older, read more, experienced more, grown closer and grown farther apart in my faith walk, I think I've come to the conclusion that "signs" (burning bushes or the flashing arrow variety) are few and far between.

I can say with certainty that I've felt God's voice speak to me twice in my adult life. Once before I found out I was coming to Oklahoma and another time I'm still waiting to see how He is working that out.

The rest of the time, with decisions, large or small, with big risk or no risk, I find that God's love and past provision enables me to make choices with freedom (and maybe a little angst).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bandaids and Bullet Holes

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing … not healing, not curing … that is a friend who cares."--Henri Nouwen

A Tale of Two Friends:

So, I have this walking buddy. I'd like to call her NTJ. NTJ has become a good friend, albiet the fact that we disagree on most things (social policy, our varying degrees of lutheranism, politics, etc). However, we respect each other enough that we can discuss most things in a civil way. The one thing about NTJ that "bothers" me... for lack of a better word is her desire to make every situation positive. I don't mean that to sound cynical. I'll explain a little more.

I have another former walking buddy who moved up north and I'll call "the Kriz." The Kriz and I have spent lots of time talking and sharing. The thing that I love/hate most about the Kriz is her capacity to lay out the truth... most of the time in a loving way and her ability to not sugar coat a situation.

During the last week, I've talked with both NTJ and the Kriz about some things going on and their responses were very different. NTJ listened and said, "well... something pacifying... God will work it out... something something something" (that's not the EXACT thing she said). The Kriz listened and said, "Well... guess you'll have to wait and see, now suck it up." (that's not the EXACT thing she said either, but I'm paraphrasing).

I think that there is a lot of strength in a friendship that allows for someone to say to you, in truth and love that "it may not get better." I also think that as a culture, we're so focused on avoiding conflict and making things better right away and slapping band-aids on bullet holes that we forget that there's lessons to be learned in the waiting, the grieving, and the struggle that are better than any lessons that a quick fix can offer.

Here's to the sitting, the waiting and for the friends that sit and wait with you.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Is a great day for Regina Spektor:

"This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again"

Spring Cleaning

I recently re-read Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

For those of you reading that don't know, Donald Miller's book is about living a better story. He says that a good story is a character that wants something and goes through conflict to get it. What makes a great story if the something they want is meaningful. Don also writes that our lives are our stories and the book has really convicted me to "live a better story"

Since reading the book, I've taken on some "personal projects" in an effort to live a better story. In my last blog, I think I called it, "the time of Hannah doing some difficult things," things that have the potential of immediate conflict (not necessarily bad conflict, but definitely not easy) and no easy resolutions. But, it feels good. Scary and exciting, but good.

It's feeling a little like spring cleaning... dusting off the cobwebs, opening the windows, airing out the house, looking around and looking forward to the upcoming season.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Opening Up

A couple of years (yes, years) ago, I posted a couple of blogs about vulnerability.

As I've grown up, I've had a curious pendulum swing with "vulnerability". As a college freshman, dealing with the stress of moving away from home, friend drama and homework, being vulnerable meant crying. A Lot. I would pour my tearful angst-ridden woes out and think to myself, "I can sense that this is not bringing people closer to me.... but I'm BEING VULNERABLE!"

In reality, I was probably depressed and whiny. Both completely curable. And the things that I thought were bringing me closer to friends were actually pushing me away from authentic relationships.

It took all four years of my college career and a couple of years out in adulthood to understand that, but not before swinging to the other end of the spectrum, to a time I like to call, "the time of not talking to anyone about anything."

During that time, everything, even when it was terrible, was "fine" or "good." Granted, during that time, during some more bad drama and other issues, I had been told by friends (and several others) that, "we don't want to hear the bad," and the message that I took from that was no matter the problem, or the issue I was facing, I needed to not talk about it or "man-up" and deal with it, and still keep smiling, even if that was not how I was feeling.

While that made things better on the surface, it was still incredibly lonely and frustrating. While it made for easier friendships and relationships, the depth of true friendship was missing.

These last couple of years (and mostly the last 18 months or so,) I feel like I may be getting the hang of what it means to be vulnerable--not the whiny, depressed "vulnerable" of the college student Hannah and not the walled-off cheerfulness that hid the real me--but a me that is honest with who I am, what my limitations are, and the struggles and joys that I'm experiencing and how to share that with others... And it's taken true friends that have chosen to love me in spite of/because of all of that.

In an effort to live as someone who is truly open, I've noticed that it also means doing the hard things that I don't necessarily want to do. It's saying things that need to be said, putting myself in situations that can be challenging, but better in the long run and being "honestly Hannah" in all circumstances, quirks and all. And it's infinitely better than either side of the pendulum.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


My friend Jules (aka the spode) has made a recent, valiant effort to return to the blogosphere.

I'm going to attempt the same thing.

Now, I know, I know, blog friends, I've been promising that for a while now and haven't been so good, and I don't know that I can actually promise that I'll be much better this time around, BUT, I'll make an effort.

I think that the biggest difference in the past year and a half/two, I've been so busy living life that I haven't had much time to overanalyze process every stinking thing.

It makes a big difference. But, it's not an excuse to not try to update you with a little more regularity.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It must be March

Hello March,

It's nice to know that you've already met my low expectations for the month.

Day 2 and I'm already ready for you to be over.