Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm Not Sorry...

Yes, I confess. I'm a die hard fan of So You Think You Can Dance. I know the contestants' names, have favorites (Russell!), and watch every week. In addition to the great dancing, I also love the music. Last year's favorite was "Falling Slowly" by The Frames, and this year's (so far anyway) is "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" by Star. There is a sweet cello line (or maybe an upright bass?) and the lyrics.... great story, great imagery, just plain good...

"Your Ex-Lover Is Dead"

God, that was strange to see you again
Introduced by a friend of a friend
Smiled and said "yes I think we've met before"
In that instant it started to pour.
Captured a taxi despite all the rain
We drove in silence across Pont Champlain
And all of the time you thought I was sad
I was trying to remember your name...

This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin
Tried to reach deep but you couldn't get in
Now you're outside me
You see all the beauty
Repent all your sin

It's nothing but time and a face that you lose
I chose to feel it and you couldn't choose
I'll write you a postcard
I'll send you the news
From a house down the road from real love...

Live through this, and you won't look back...
Live through this, and you won't look back...
Live through this, and you won't look back...

There's one thing I want to say, so I'll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to save

Sunday, November 15, 2009


On the journey towards health, I have often marveled at the wonder that is water. Sometimes all I need when I'm tired mid-day and feel like falling into bed for an extended nap is a glass of ice water. And when I'm cold deep down in my brisket, a couple cups of hot water fix me right up. When my post-lunch brain threatens to shut down, a sip or two from the water fountain next to the cafeteria can make all the difference!

I've also noticed that just as often as not, I substitute something else for water. In the morning, coffee. In the early afternoon, a frost DP. In the evening, apple cider. Now, according to Weight Watchers, any type of liquid counts for hydration purposes (other than alcohol); however, I know how much better my body feels when it gets the real water it needs.

Today, Cesar brought up this idea and pointed out that God in His wisdom and knowledge of our nature hides water in other things that are good for us. Fruits and vegetables, for example, are often 60-80% water and chock full of good stuff we need to be healthy. We may avoid drinking a glass of water but fully enjoy a juicy apple or some crunchy lettuce.

The spiritual applications are obvious. Jesus said that the water He gives (umm.... Himself? His Spirit) would be a spring of water welling up to eternal life. There is a thirst in my soul for this Water, and when I quench that thirst by spending time with Him, I find that eternal quality in my life. And I thought today as Cesar munched on an apple during his sermon that there are other good things in my life that help to quench the God-thirst. Franklin Hill, my small group, and Young Life are all places for me to serve and teach and give. I am edified and nourished and loved in ways that simply don't happen in other contexts.

But even as Cesar was making his point, I couldn't help but think of the time when I was training for the marathon and got dehydrated on a run. My body became ridiculously unable to do the simplest functions, like eliminate waste, all because I didn't drink enough water. I didn't need an orange at mile 15. I needed water. Just water.

In the lives of those of us who not only believe in Jesus but seek to follow Him, and serve Him by serving, leading, and teaching others, the need for straight Water becomes even greater. This type of spiritual training requires proper spiritual hydration. If we are gonna lead, we gotta follow Jesus personally and closely. Church, small group, and service all provide a different nutrient to our souls, but in the marathon of spiritual leadership, often we just need Water.

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When you give Marah a cookie...

She'll probably eat more than one. And if she has skipped dinner, she'll definitely eat more than two....three....four.... is there any milk in the fridge? NO? Okay, then.... let's leave it at four. That's what happened tonight, and that's why I'm still awake at 9:57. I am, indeed, that sensitive to the enlivening effects of chocolate. And so, since I'm up, I'm gonna throw a few reflections on today out into the cosmic void.

My first thought is, freakin' A, I love my life. Even though I was sick the past four days and in the throws of some serious snotty nastiness, I am so aware of how much I love where I am and whom I'm with and what I'm doing. This morning I had coffee with Debbie Paganelli (she's Pagariffic!), and it is so beautiful to walk with her through life. She is so full of pizazz and humor and love. Just fill my heart right up she does! Then I had coffee with Richie Perez, whom I've known for 15 years. We were GREAT friends in high school, and now he's working at Davis, and he loves kids, loves Jesus, and is considering being a Young Life Leader with me and Susie. I really hope that works out, but even if it doesn't, it is so great to have people like him around.

Then I got to chat with Kjell, a fellow English teacher and Boomerang Coach whom I've known for seven years. She's nationally certified, so we got to chat about tons of great ideas as I start on the National Board Certification process. While I am still a bit bewildered by the whole thing at times, I'm excited to be so purposeful in reflecting on my teaching and potentially to be rewarded quite well for that time and reflection. Can we say 2012 trip to Europe?

Then I worked out. I am so grateful to be in a healthy space with my body image and food issues. By the grace of God and the accountability of a great friend, I'm making better choices and have a healthier perspective on food and activity than I've had in a long while.

And then I putzed about the house while The Return of the King played in the background. I haven't watched that movie in a while, but I'm glad I did today. So many resonating themes. There are battles that need fighting. Robed in glorious white, I'm standing right where God has placed me, defending the harvest from the coordinated attack of the enemy. I am no man. Nor need I be. Kazah!

And then Helen came over. She's a new Young Life kid this year, and I think she's my little sister from another mister. We made banana bread and chocolate chip cookies and watched Up. Such a sweet film, and such a sweet girl. Then the Young Lifers arrived. We were small in number this week (I'm blaming it on not having school today) but there was still LOTS of laughter. I don't know where this whole Young Life thing is going, but I know this is a good thing for this season. I've been asked to go on Summer Assignment in July, which means that more than a month of my summer will be spent at Washington Family Ranch. I'm not sure how I'll cope without seeing my little people for that amount of time, but I'm excited nonetheless.

And I'm really thankful for the passage of time and the healing that has come the past couple weeks. October was not easy. But I think I can say, with thanksgiving and hope in my heart, that my feet are back under me, which is interesting because I didn't realize at the time that they had been swept from me. What I sense more now is the traction in my life -- moving forward in what God has given me. And that, my friends, is so good.

love to you (because I'm assuming if you're reading this, you know me) -- marah jean