Like you perhaps, I had a really full week. These are some of the thoughts that flew by my radar as the week went by...
- I flew to Seattle this week for a youth ministry consulting project, Monday through Wednesday. After each one of these projects, I walk away grateful. There are so many lovely, faithful, hardworking people laboring long and hard in relative obscurity, serving God without much thanks or notoriety. What a blessing.
- Flying is no longer any fun. As I told a friend, why am I so impressed when a flight actually comes off the way it is supposed to?! I'm not asking for perfection. But I fly enough (about 6-8 times a year) to be able to compare experiences somewhat close together. I know that the airlines cannot control weather, so I don't get mad when there are weather-related delays. In these last 5 months, I have flown 3 times. Two out of three of those experiences were maddening: luggage lost for 2 1/2 days, flight canceled with no explanation given (it was sunny and clear at both departure and arrival airports), a TSA agent on a power trip who refused to let me through because my name on my ticket and ID didn't completely align (though I had flown into that airport just fine two days before)... Not to mention that it is insanely complicated to get through security even when the agents are kind. Between taking off my shoes, pulling out my toiletries in my quart ziploc, retrieving my laptop, emptying my water bottle beforehand, placing my cell phone and change and jacket in a tub, hoisting my rolling carry-on and my backpack onto the conveyor belt, at the same time making sure I don't lose my boarding pass in the midst of all that... phew! Then you squeeze onto a plane seat with 5 jillion other folks (all bringing rolly bags), rustling through little baggies of snacks because you're so hungry and there is nothing to eat. Oh well. At least I arrive safely. That is some consolation.
- I still really love and enjoy high school students. In the mail this week I received several graduation announcements from beloved students in my old youth group. As I opened each one, a big smile broke out across my face. They look so handsome (or beautiful), so adult and confident and ready. A flood of memories from their childhoods welled up too, having known each of them nearly since they were born. Yesterday, as I walked up to Providence Hall, I cherished the guy who ran up to talk Lakers basketball with me, the other one who jumped over the fence to show me his newest Ninja move, the hugs and hello's and "I missed you so much!" This June will mark the end of my 28th year in youth ministry. What a ride! I love it more than ever. Thank you Lord for being willing to use me.
- Memorial Day is my "green anniversary." This weekend marks seven years as a bicycle commuter and three years since I bought my scooter. In 2003 I decided to walk or ride my bike as my first transportation option -- for several years I was able to ride my bike to the majority of my appointments. (Current dress requirements for Providence prevents me from doing that, unfortunately...) I once read that bicycle commuting is the "gateway drug" to sustainable living, and oh my, would I agree. After that first commuter summer in 2003, I discovered the list is endless as to ways to simplify -- from there I slowly started the shift: to garden a bit at home, compost, line dry my laundry when possible, cook more at home (as opposed to eating out), switching out all my light bulbs, recycle everything I can, use the library rather than buy everything I read, join a CSA, avoid processed food, eat seasonally... I reflect this weekend on slowing down and trying to consume less, and feel like I've been changed as well. Today, as I dropped off my car to get the tires rotated (yes, I still have my '97 Subaru wagon), I decided to walk to some errands. But I stopped and chatted with a man who was asking for change, saw a friend in Peets and visited for awhile, and prayed for those I saw. I want to keep being more present and aware of the world around me. As I told my Mayterm class at Westmont this week, I am asking Christ to allow me see more of the world the way He does. Slowing down and living more sustainably has helped me to do that.
- Have I mentioned I love my new kitten? Oliver is a hoot and a half. The Alpha Cat, Eli, has learned to accept his new lot in life, and occasionally they can co-exist (when Oliver isn't relentlessly harassing him, attempting to coax him to play). Here is nap time in the sun recently. I love it.
Restore us, O God;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:3)