settle down

“After diving two weeks deep into summer I have emerged for a breath.”

I found the above sentence earlier today when I opened my laptop. Chrome had kindly saved the tabs that were open before I closed it last, including the one in which I now type. “After diving two weeks deep into summer I have emerged for a breath.” There it is, a reminder of my inability to sit down and write without being distracted by the internet or sleep. It’s also a reminder that 48 hours ago I was able to pause for prayer and  introspection during what I am realizing will be the most frantic summer of my life.

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Something that I have tried to do recently is to be aware of the presence of God. People go about this in different ways, but for me I think I need routine. I am generally able to stay on top of Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours, which consists of different prayers and Scripture readings for each part of the day, but I’m not the best at keeping up with my church’s Bible reading plan. I’ve also begun to carry around Anglican prayer beads in my pocket. My mother bought me a set four years ago. After a few months of fervent devotion they fell cold from my hands. Since then, they have been one of those small things that I pack to take with me whenever I fly back and forth between Seattle and Grand Rapids but never actually use. Now when I’m walking around campus I’ll do a lap on the beads if I remember.

Perhaps the simplest thing I’ve begun to do is to keep a candle lit in my bedroom—a small, white, tea candle. I remember going to mass at my Roman Catholic elementary school in New Hampshire and seeing the little candle dangling in red glass next to the tabernacle. It is kept lit to honor Christ and to remind people of his presence. At the end of freshman year someone gave me a box filled completely with tea candles, so I have enough presence to last me at least until the end of the summer. It is a good practice for me because once it is lit, I don’t need to remember to do anything, I just see it and the little postcard next to it of Christ Pantocrator from St. Catherine’s Monastery.

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Back to the most frantic summer of my life. I’m working full time for my school and interning with Image Journal. Continue reading

rising

To my mother over spring break: “I’m trying to think of a symbol that makes me think of you that I could get tattooed to me somewhere.”

My poor mother sighed and said, “But you’ve already done so much!”

“I know, I know, I was just kidding, Mom.”

And she was right. Since I graduated high school, I got an ear pierced (which earned me a “I didn’t think you were that kind of person” from a schoolmate’s mother), started to smoke a pipe once a month or so with friends, got my septum pierced, among other things that might be familiar to you if you’ve followed this blog at all.

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I was born on an Easter. Instead of preaching a resurrection sermon as she would have been doing had I not been itching to reach daylight, my pregnant mother rolled away the stone and Behold! The womb is empty! He is no longer here. Go and share the good news. A little baby boy was born. Well, I’m sure my mom wouldn’t use “little baby boy” to describe the bouncing bundle of joy that emerged that day. The way she describes it, I was more barge than baby. Continue reading