Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Tonight I went to a worship night at church. It was still going when I left, because my attention span starts to short out after an hour or so, but it was really nice to just forget everything else that's going on. A lot of times on Sundays I'm volunteering, so it's times like tonight when I can just focus on God and really immerse myself in the worship.

It was foggy as I drove home. I recalled hearing that there was a fog advisory on the radio, and as I drove down the road, there were thick patches of fog and then patches where it was clear except for a haze around the street and traffic lights. As I drove across high places, I could see the fog gathering in low spots. And I thought how lovely the fog is, how mysterious, how quiet. I remember once in high school there was such thick fog that you could barely see the building from the student parking lot. Everything sounds different when it's foggy, everything looks softer because of the blurry edges. I have tried once or twice to paint fog, but it eludes me.

I think fog is a pretty good representation of the presence of the Lord. Sometimes it's thick and practically tangible, sometimes you can't feel it around you but you think you see it far off. Sometimes you notice a haze of it as your gaze wanders. It's not a perfect metaphor, but drifting through the mysterious fog reminded me of the wonderful mysteries of God's presence.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Definitions and Memories

Last night I was given the (optional) task by my counselor to writing about the topic of feeling like nothing. Vague, broad, and open to my interpretation. So I've been musing over what feelings I associate with the times I have felt like nothing. The words that come to mind first are embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, and rejected. Not fun words.

I like to be correct in my language usage. Well, most of the time, anyway. I like to use the exact right word, and I have been known to use a thesaurus while writing in my private journal so that I could be very precise with expressing how I felt. I realized that while we often will ask people to share a time they were embarrassed, we don't usually ask for a story about when someone was humiliated. I decided to look up the definitions to see what nuanced differences there were.

According to dictionary.com, "embarrass" has a few meanings, the one I think most common is "to make uncomfortably self-conscious." "Humiliate" means "to cause (a person) a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or  dignity."

Whenever I'm asked to recount an embarrassing story, I struggle to remember something. It's not that I haven't been embarrassed, it's just that in the grand scheme of things, they don't stick out. However, I can remember in painful detail times when I felt humiliated. I don't mind the times I've blurted out stupid things or when a friend teases me and I know they're only teasing. I don't even mind the time I threw up all over the floor in college in front of someone right outside our classroom. People understand that. People understand that sometimes things aren't in your control. The things that hurt? It's the times when I felt people were judging me and finding me "less-than." It's those times, when you feel like people are laughing behind your back, when people look down on you, that are the ones that you remember. And you remember the feelings that go with it.

I don't really have a point to this, I guess. Just thinking about how it's the things where you felt strong emotions that you remember the most. Unfortunately for me, it tends to be the negative emotional events that I remember with more frequency than the positive things. So I make it a point to remind myself about the people who care about me, about the nights when I'm up late with friends laughing so hard I can't breathe. At this point in my life, I've reached a period of stability. Now I want to work on those deep, icky things that were too hard to work on when just everyday stuff felt hard. It's not fun to dredge through that stuff, but I think it's really important to deal with your baggage so that it doesn't follow you around your whole life.