chin up

July 23, 2010

sadly enough, i was thrown into quite a tizzy recently by the cover of an old new yorker magazine that mark had left around. i remember laughing at it when it first came in the mail many months ago but for whatever reason when i last saw it the sight of it made me nauseous and anxious, the residual effects of which have morphed into general malaise and depression throughout the day. you can view it here or i can simply tell you that it is a drawing of a young man hanging his PhD on the wall of his bedroom at his parent’s house as he moves back in.

it hits a little close to home, ya know?

on the occasion of our recent anniversary mark and i talked a lot about our marital relationship – the shape that it has already taken and our hopes for its future course. one of the things we were reprimanded about in pre-marital counseling was the fact that we don’t tend to dream enough. i know, it’s pretty lame of us. at the start of our dating relationship, one of the most glowing compliments mark paid to me was that i was “rational” (seriously, i swooned over that for quite some time) and i think our love of all things rational tends to sometimes flatten out the vivacity of our future. we want lots of kids, but we know we won’t make that much money, we want a house, but we assume we’ll rent until we die, we hope we’ll get jobs that we love, but we know the state of the economy right now, etc.etc.

i guess these fears apply more to me than mark – and really, the above examples occupy the more mild end of the spectrum of my worries (i can’t even write out what my REAL worries are…i just did and they looked so horrifying i had to delete them). but at the one year mark, we still find ourselves mildly self-conscious about whether or not we have what it takes to discern or actualize our respective vocations, still countering some of our ‘dreams’ with proposed ‘realities’. and there are times when this general self-consciousness (on my part) turns into a doomsday scenario in my mind where mark works at mcdonald’s with his Masters degree, i answer phones at WJE until i retire at 80, and us and our gaggle of rowdy problem-children all live in my parent’s basement in the suburbs.

“who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”*

i ask myself this a lot. because i sure do expend a lot of energy towards the great sport of anxiety. mark has said that if i were to apply the creativity, complexity, and methodology that i utilize in my ‘doomsday scenarios’ towards philosophy, i would be the next heidegger.

that said, i have been creative, complex, and methodological in my recent worries surrounding my ‘vocation’ – exactly what that means, what form it should take, how to be proactive in a rather dead economy, etc. there have been some unexpected shifts in my interests as of late and i have been wrestling with the idea of narrowing my goals when i’m so young and inexperienced. i’m a wader – i like to take things slow, justify my actions every step of the way – but i’m realizing that my deliberation sometimes looks more like downright immobility.

one of the great blessings of our marriage (despite the above-mentioned mildness of dreams) is that each of us balances our personal insecurity with immeasurable confidence in the ability and possibility of the other. and so mark has been incredibly supportive and hopeful about my potential paths despite my own current wobbliness and abstract musings. the beautiful thing about this is that it gives me more impetus to shake the dredges of anxiety while also serving as a glowing reminder of the glory of God and life even in moments of uncertainty and insecurity. and, of course, i try to do the same for him though this usually comes out in much less articulate terms. it’s a good thing we have going: nudging one another along with patience, love, and words where necessary.

as mark told me during one recent bout of frustration i was experiencing: our lives are as simple or as complicated as we want to make them. it’s best to just take joy in our blessings, whatever form they take.

wise man, that one.

so today i’m taking joy in the fact that it is FRIDAY, which means i might get to ride my bike in this glorious heat. i’m also countering the anger i’m squirreling away towards my boss by looking at pictures of quilts. have i mentioned i’m pretty obsessed with quilts? my own attempts at making them have been as primitive as they come, but i long for the day when my aesthetic sensibilities and needle capabilities progress to the point where i can do something like this or this or this or even this . though i’m assuming this mid-century modern quilt fascination won’t last forever.

*matthew 6:27

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born under punches

July 19, 2010

oh my.

i have started all sorts of entries that are dangling, incomplete, in my “draft” folder. maybe someday i’ll polish them off and post them but until then, i’m going to kill the last half hour of monday here with some randomness.

it has been another crazy few weeks:

we witnessed the delightful marriage of some dear friends two weekends back which officially ends our wedding marathon. and what an ending! we were entirely blessed by mark and claire’s union and very, very thankful to spend some time with them in the days leading up to it. to compound this joy even more, the scheers – our faithful friends hailing from st. louie – came to town for the wedding. i could talk forever about how much their friendship blesses, challenges, and inspires us really. they are one incredible set of parents, i’ll tell you what. hanging out with them will make just about anyone want to throw their birth control methods out the window and abandon themselves to the wonder of procreation. well, maybe that is a rash characterization (and certainly not what we did) but still. being around young parents that are so full of love, peace, and life is a really wonderful thing that does a lot to still and en-courage my heart.

the intermittant week been quite full due to several factors: my best friend’s return from the netherlands, warm weather that makes us feel a lot more adventurous, and the sprawling life that has siezed the garden. i spent a serious hour last week destroying squash beetles – my new nemesis – that have begun to ravage the zucchini. this is dirty work, friends – organic gardening means your options for fighting the little bastards are quite limited and i have found the most efficient method to be simply plucking them from the plant and squashing them with your hands. they real gross intact and burst with green when crushed so…not pretty. necessary (and somewhat satisfying) but not pretty. i have thought about posting an entire blog about how much i have come to hate squash beetles, how i dream (literally) about killing them, how confused i am as to why God let them sneak up from Hades, etc. but we’ll leave it at that for now.

my sister and i made the rather impromptu decision (well, impromptu to me, which means that we started making plans only 1 and a half weeks ago) to go meet our dear friend (and former roommate) at her husband’s family’s cabin up in michigan this past weekend. it was a 5 hour drive each way and we had only saturday and sunday for the entirety of the trip so i was a wee bit anxious whether this idea was really overboard, especially after the minimal sleep i’ve gotten this week. but it turned out to be so completely good. i devoted myself to the sisterly mission of the weekend by leaving mark at home and indulging in all of the cackling immaturity that time with Erica (and Sarah) usually devolves into. it was grand to be sure. i came home with a sore throat and belly from all of the talking and laughing we did (not a joke) and could barely tell mark about the trip due to the fact that i had spent the interium of time from when i left at 7:00 saturday morning until i returned at 10:00 sunday CHATTING. sincerely. so today i’m tired and worn out but cheerful nonetheless.

and the beat goes on…