Sugar Ray is such summer music. I honestly tried to picture listening to any Sugar Ray song during fall or winter, and I honestly couldn’t do it. Maybe spring (haha, Spring Break)…But the most rock-solid context for Sugar Ray is definitely summer, or at least, beachy atmosphere.
This is random, but today I discovered a huge spiderweb, and an accompanying huge spider, on the outside of my window. It had a bug wrapped up in the web and everything. I wouldn’t have mentioned it, but this thing could be on the Discovery Channel, no lie. It’s black with yellow spots. Usually I can’t make out markings on spiders because they’re so small, but such is not the case with this guy. I’m not sure if it’d be better to kill it or leave it be.
I am happy to report that current conditions are better than they were in the last blog. A friend recommended I pray for understanding with the seemingly offended party. I took the advice to heart, and things are much more at ease now. God has enabled me to have a tender heart toward them, but not so tender that I take on guilt and discouragement. It’s been a blessing; hopefully, I can keep it up as my time to leave looms ahead.
After this post, I plan on one more before I leave. So, I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge something I never would have believed in May: I needed to be home this summer. I’ve been away for the summer for the past 3 years, and somewhere in my mind, home became equivalent with…well, I’m not sure what, but something not good. I had begun to believe that my usefulness to God or my change potential was greatly increased when I was elsewhere. Which, to some degree is true–but I think the only reason it’s true is because we condition ourselves to anticipate such only on special occasions, instead of everyday (case in point, what I’ve deemed “youth camp syndrome”…). The truth is, I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I have had plenty of lazy, unproductive-in-any-realm days this summer, and I’ll be glad to put some of that laziness behind me. But this summer at home has not been a time-wasting “holding area” like I had originally pictured. God has taught me some important things this summer, most of which is tied up in learning what it means to let God fight my battles for me.
Also this summer, I learned a lot from work. Tomorrow is my last day. While I won’t be missing some elements of work (like gross menus), some of it I will miss. Working where I did was an experience that, looking back, I can say I needed to go through before starting ministerial study. For one, it was a real job (versus my old campus job). My legs got tired, and my hands got dirty. I had to interact with people (some of whom were difficult) face-to-face. It was good for me. Secondly, though, and more importantly, I got to work with a very diverse group of people: all different, all pretty friendly (at least towards me). That was a biggie. It’s always been easy for me to hole up with Christians (via who I was friends with, campus ministry, school affiliations, etc.). I did hang out with people who were different from me when I went on mission trips. And I had fun hanging out with those folks, too. But even in that context, I was there specifically as a missionary. Work was different. I got to work alongside some very different people, and got to know them just…as people. Just from hanging out with them and seeing their side of the story, I’ve learned some “do’s” and “don’ts” I doubt I would have learned elsewhere. One thing I know for sure: if I had gone to Canada this summer, I never would have benefitted from working where I did; I would be doing the same thing as always, and I wouldn’t have learned anything new. And, if I had stayed home and not worked, besides going crazy, haha, I would have been completely isolated from everything, and probably still would not have learned anything new.
I initially recoiled from the idea of being home for a summer. But now, having gone through it, now I think I can leave properly–not running to Canada as a hiding place, believing that there is nothing to be gained at home. Instead, I can calmly and (somewhat) confidently walk away, appreciating home, but knowing there’s more out there for me.
Finally, I want to thank you, my readers. Supposedly there are 46 of you…out of that 46, I doubt even 20 actually read my posts. I know the MySpace craze has hit bigtime, and folks are abandoning Xanga left and right. I, being a “writer type,” like the fact that Xanga is more focused on writing, so I intend to stay. I hope you do, too. But thank you for sticking with me and reading.
Yes, this includes you, mysterious “California” reader…