Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Secret Spot

I snuck into the resource room at work yesterday on my lunch break to catch a few moments of silence. This is my secret spot. The resource room is a library and presentation room, but behind the wall of bookcases is a balcony that overlooks the auditorium and cafeteria. The only thing behind the bookcases is one square table and two or three office chairs. Hardly glamourous. The beauty of this place is that no one knows you're there. Fantastic people-watching would be available from that spot, but it feels too creepy to watch people from above when they really have no idea you're there. That's not fair. And I always ask myself what I would do if someone really did look up at the same moment I looked at them. I would die. And maybe get fired.

I wheeled a chair to the table and sat down. I looked up and jumped. There was Jim. He'd followed me in and told me that I was in his secret spot. Everyone understands that you don't join someone when they're in their secret spot unless invited, so we exchanged a few words and he left. I got settled into my book and a few minutes later, a woman I'd never met poked her head around the corner and jumped. I was in her secret spot, and she said so.

The only reason I know about this spot is because my friend invited me once to have lunch with her in her secret spot. That day, we were the only ones there for the entire hour, so I adopted it as my secret spot too. Either this building does not have many private areas, or we humans are far less original than I hoped.

This aspect of life humors me. Most of our originality has many similarities. During my brief retail stint last year, I saw that everyone had a different style or way of expressing the same thing. For example, you do not come between customers and their coupons. Some would present their coupons organized in a file folder. Others would shuffle through their purse and give me coupons from all types of stores, leaving it to me to sort. Some would leave everything at the register and go to the car to fetch that one coupon. One customer brought in a stack of soggy coupons in a Ziploc. She saw my puzzled look and explained how she dug them out of her trash can. Okay, that was original. But it was still going to dramatic lengths to save money. I respect that.

It's amazing to me how we are all so remarkably different, with different reasons for doing things but with the same desires. It's the differences that bind us. That's how we learn. Something Obama said that I actually liked was, "We find unity in our incredible diversity." I think even in that diversity, we are the same. We will always be human. You might be surprised at who you find in your secret spot.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Scary Lovin

Fear is the enemy of love. 

I don't often read novels, but The Shape of Mercy recently came highly recommended from a friend, so I'm reading. Last night, I read the above quote by St. Augustine on the dedication page and I paused to decide whether or not I agreed. 

Enemies are, by definition, opposed. An enemy is an adversary, out to conquer the opponent. The only way to lose an enemy is to kill it or to befriend it. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. When the enemies are ideas rather than people, friendship can't be possible. Fear and love...can they co-exist? I could end the argument right here with 1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." True. So why is there still so much fear surrounding love? The key phrase there was perfect love. Perfection. Hardly how I describe my love. 

Let's face it. If perfect love can't exist among humans, that leads to one conclusion: fear exists in love. But fear doesn't get comfortable, or love wouldn't survive. It's interesting. Fear can fight hard once and kill love for good, but love can fight hard once and win, but never completely kill fear. It lurks, and pounces when you least expect it. To love is to fight a constant battle with fear. BUT to fear is to never truly live at all. Living in fear is not really living because you never do anything with all your heart. We fear rejection, we fear failure, we fear giving everything we have for something that doesn't satisfy. Is that reason enough to forfeit? I would rather live a short life with all my heart then live a dreadfully safe life well into my 90s. 

One of my best friends and I have had several battles with fear in our own friendship. I recall refusing to look at her, facing the corner opposite her in our hotel bathroom as she faced her corner. Two 14-year-old girls, on a school road-trip to California, fighting because we were scared of keeping the friendship the way it was. But we were more afraid of losing the friendship altogether. That's where love kicked in. We've made it through some bumps since and I dare say there's a good chance we'll make it all the way to the end. 

What if we lived in a world where love never conquered fear, or was never willing to put up a good fight? What if good never defeated evil? What if life never conquered death? Spring never conquered winter? 

I wouldn't have the little pink blossom tree to eat breakfast with every morning. 

I would never be hanging off the back of a tricycle like this one.

Little Jonny wouldn't have to try to forget this haircut I once gave him. 

This definitely wouldn't happen.

We wouldn't enjoy some of the world's very best music. 
We wouldn't travel or explore.
We wouldn't smile.
We wouldn't hope. 
We wouldn't have a Savior that offers life to the fullest.

What I'm trying to say is, St. Augustine, I never thought I would get so much out of reading the dedication page of a novel. But I agree with you. Fear is the enemy of love. 
And fear is worth fighting if love is the prize. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Yep. I'm 25. Three more of these and I'll be 100. It's so dadgum painful to leave behind the carefree days of running barefoot in the grass and climbing trees whenever you please. Those ended a long time ago, but for some reason 25 says one thing to me: Adult. The good news is, 25 is still too young for mom-butt jeans and PTA meetings, and it's too old for prom and all-nighters before the final exam. It's perfect, really.

My birthday fell on a Saturday this year, so I played the whole day! Ate pancakes with the roomies and then brother Jonny and I walked around Old Colorado City and ended up at Agia Sophia for chai lattes. We met up with friends at Amanda's Fonda in Manitou for some Mexican eats. This place is one of a kind. To-die-for chips and salsa, burritos bigger than Chipotle...oh! and an entire staff that sings happy birthday. With a sombrero to boot. I got to wear this beauty for far too long.

Mom and Dad hosted a dessert party at their place, so we drove up the hill to laugh and eat some sweets. Triple layer chocolate cake was on the menu, along with carrot cake, berry pie, cream cheese tarts and cheesecake. Mom can throw a party.

25 candles.

I avoided the intense game of SET at risk of getting severely irritated at my lack of skill. My sister dominates every. single. time. Dominates. She's the one in the black. Notice that sly, cat-like look on her face. It's like she knows everything that's going on but isn't saying a word. I know that look and I avoid it, especially when it comes to games.

We all ended up playing "The Bowl Game" and laughing hysterically the rest of the night. My life is bursting with incredible people, and so many of them were at the party. I am so happy and blessed to know so many quality people in one place at one time. Thanks to everyone who came, and to MOM AND DAD for hosting! xo