“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.
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.
Back to the most frantic summer of my life. I’m working full time for my school and interning with Image Journal. Continue reading
“So you’re a student, right?” said the elderly woman as she jabbed a needle into my arm.
“Uh… yeah,” I said.
“I remembered that!” she said as I thought When have I ever spoken to this woman?
She continued, “What are you studying?”
I braced myself and replied, “Music and English Literature.”
“Mmmmmhm.” She bit her lip and nodded her head slightly. “I remember you. I’m bad with names but I remember you. You’ve been working somewhere this summer, right?”
Prior to today, I hadn’t given blood in a year. And when I did, it wasn’t at the American Legion Post, where this lady was trying to convince me that she knew me at least on a hairdresser basis. So unless she had recently run into me somewhere, asked me about my life and then hit me over the head with a hammer, she had to have been guessing. What other things did she magically come to know about me? Would she ask about my sister’s dancing? Would she ask how the puppies are doing? Did she know about the incident with the medical research donation letters?
“Yeah, I’ve been interning with a refugee resettlement agency.”
This is a little hybrid post.
1. Thank you all for your response to fresh abloom. I have been waiting for the right time to write about depression, so the kind words were affirming.
2. I just started reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, one of my favorite modern authors. Once I’ve finished I’ll probably blog about food, vegetarianism, animals, God, humanity, or a combination of these. Be on the lookout for that! (Disclaimer: I love meat.)
3. Three weeks is all I have left of my internship at Bethany Christian Services. The ESL classes just ended, and I will miss my students/friends greatly. I may post about this as well.
4. In the mean time, here is a very short essay I used in one of my college applications a while ago:
I am not, by any means, a dictionary-thumping defender of the English language or even a potential English major, but I do have boundaries. I am more sensitive to certain aspects of spoken language than most of my classmates. My dad was raised in Virginia, my mother in New York, and my sister and I in Manchester, New Hampshire. While I lived in New Hampshire, I was endlessly irked by the locals’ tendency to throw r’s onto words like “Asia,” making it “A-zhur.” Now that I’m in Michigan, I’ve noticed some pronunciation mixups of the Midwest such as, “He drove acrosst my yard.” I normally let it slide, but I occasionally feel the need to gently suggest a t-removal procedure. Since these trifles get under my skin, it makes me happy when a perceptive person hears me speak and asks afterwards, “Where are you from?”