Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just when I thought I was done thinking about them..

Last night, I had a Restaurant dream. Or should I say nightmare. Oy veh. I don't know why I dreamt about them last night, but I did. Maybe it's because I've worked for money recently, and so my subconscious got hung back up at Restaurant. Here's the dream:

I was back there to work for a Friday night. However, my co-waitress was one who quit A LONG time ago due to the bosses ticking her off. Anyway, she was waiting tables with me because on Friday nights, there are two wait staff people on.

When I got to Restaurant, we were putting the salad bar together. That means that you go up to the walk-in cooler and scoop salads like marinated carrots, potato salad, cole salad, three bean salad, etc into these rectangle pans and then put them on the ice that fills the salad bar bottom. It's the waitresses job to do this. So, I was scooping out a pan of marinated carrots when the other waitress stopped helping me. So, I finished putting the salads into pans and then finally went out to the dining room where customers were already filling the place up! All of a sudden, the hostess was there, which was weird because wait staff gets there a good hour before everyone else in order to put the place together. But, the hostess was there, and it was weird because she also hasn't worked there for a really, really long time. She quit maybe 8 or 9 years ago.

So, I looked at the piece of paper that tells each waitress which tables are theirs. I had a bunch of tables, one being the "big" table toward the other end of the restaurant. It seats about 8 or 9 people. I also had "R4" which is bizarre, because Restaurant doesn't have an "R4" table. R3 is the last R table, and that's the 9 seater.

So, I went off to wait on the first tables I had because the big table was later down the list. But, I realized I had no idea what table R4 was. So, I had to turn around and ask the hostess which table it was. She told me that it was out in the bar room, where people generally WAIT to be seated. So, on my way out there, the people at my big table waved at me like, "Get your butt over here! We're ready to order!"

But, I had to go in order. So, I went to R4 and it was a 2 top that were regulars when I really was a waitress there. It was an old man and his son in law. They ordered their food and I forgot to ask the old man what he wanted to drink, so I went back and asked, but the son in law who only wanted water to drink was replaced by this woman who said, "I didn't want water! I wanted apple sauce!" So, I went to the kitchen right away, again forgetting to ask the old man what he wanted to drink. I told the female boss, who is also the main cook that I needed some apple sauce for this woman to drink. The boss was like, "WHAATTT! We don't serve apple sauce to drink!" But then, she started looking all around for it like she was going to accomodate this woman's request. And she TOOK FOREVER to look for it. She even put her hand in the tortellini that sit in the cooler, waiting to be heated for orders. All the while I'm thinking, "Hurry up! I have tables piling up on me out there!" So finally, the boss says, "We don't have any."

So, I went back into the dining room to get some decaf coffee made because the old man always drank decaf coffee. I figured that this way, at least one person wouldn't have to wait FOREVER to get their drink or be told we didn't have what they wanted. However, as I got to the coffee maker, I saw that it was broken. The other host who does still work there came out carrying this other coffeemaker and said, "I need to hook this up. The old one is broken."

Then, I went over to the table and said, "I never asked you what you wanted to drink." The old man said, "Water's fine with me." That made me think, "Dammit! I wasted more time!" So, I had more and more tables piling up on me, and the big table was back there being impatient. When I really worked at Restaurant, I hated waiting on that table because it was time consuming and I sucked at carrying lots of plates at once, considering Restaurant doesn't use big serving trays.

The dream didn't go on for much longer than that. But the basic gist of it was that I was super behind and couldn't catch up, and the female boss was being psychotic at me and taking forever and not being efficient, but was blaming that on me. So, I actually woke up, almost hyperventilating. It was not pleasant.

I guess maybe my brain is still processing out the experiences and baggage that I have from having worked there for so long and being treated like I was sometimes (although, many of the waitresses, hosts, salad bar keepers, bussers, and dishwashers were treated poorly, too, at times). It's actually kind of odd, because as I sit here thinking about the dream and about the reality that was Restaurant, my heart is racing a little. Crazy. Oy veh. Anyway, that is my dream, proudly brought to you by my imagination/subconscious, the letter "T," and my brand new laptop that got here Monday. Yeehaw. Have a great day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm slightly excited

Why, you may ask? Because, I got confirmation Saturday that Dell has shipped my new computer. Soon and very soon, I will have a laptop of my very own, and J will be able to take his back and not have to share it with his crazy, Internet-needing g/f. Ha. So, that's exciting for me.

I also attended my first ever ordination tonight, which was cool. The ordinand chose some AWESOME music. I was super impressed with his selections. Plus, it was just neat to see a service like that. The guy who was ordained is a neat chap, and he has a call, which is good because he and his wife are going to have a baby in just a little more than a month. Congrats and peace to them.

I also finished reading "Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal." I recommend the book whole-heartedly. It was amusing, and I got the sense that although it was fiction and what not, the author tried to treat the subject matter with respect. I read the afterword, which deepened my belief that he was not being a jerk about what he had written. The book really made me think a lot, and I have several more blogging ideas written down on my sheet of "stuff I need to remember."

I'm now reading, "The Gospel According to the Son." It's not a funny book, but it's going along quite smartly because the chapters are really short, and it's pretty straight-forward. Some of the language is really old and odd, but that's okay. I get the points he is trying to make.

I'm going home to stay for a while next Saturday. Pastor's "other" church is going to start having a contemporary worship on the last Saturday of the month during June, July, and August, and I'm interested in what it will be like. Also, I need to watch Howard and Sunscreen during July while their normal babysitter and her husband are on vacation in Florida.

Oh! And in reflecting on this month, I am happy to report that I have felt quite useful for several days. Not only did I do roofing/shingling/and yardwork at a seminary friend's house, I also was asked by someone in Admissions to take a prospective student to lunch and a driving tour of the town. I did that on a gorgeous day, and we also went to see a movie: Kung Fu Panda. I wouldn't have chosen it on my own, but it was fairly entertaining. I'm just happy because I got to do things that are valuable. Weehaw. Good times.

Anyway, I need to go to bed. I've not slept well the past couple of nights. I don't know what it is. The air conditioning vent in my room has been making weird noises when it comes on, but I don't know if the squeaking would be enough to wake me up or not. Maybe my mind is just processing things. Who knows?

Have a delightful day. I hope that it is sunny and warm where you are. Happy Summer.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A quick thought...

There is a saying out there, I think it began in Buddhism, but I'm not sure. It says, "Life is suffering."

This line was in "Lamb," and it got me thinking. Does it mean that life (as a state of being)=suffering? Or, could it mean that the people and creatures that have life in them are suffering? There's a difference. The first one is more of an individualistic thing. When I live, I am suffering (some times more than others, as I can imagine is the case with everyone). That's the nature of life. It can't be perfect because we live in a fallen and broken world. I think there is an inate goodness in most people, but I also think that there is hatred and contempt and meanness in the world, too.

The latter explanation for "Life is suffering," is one that takes into account all people, creatures, plants, and everything that lives. Life is the noun of everything that lives in this sense. we all are suffering under the weight of our own shortcomings and those of others. Life all around us suffers, not in an individual way, but in a way that unites us with each other in strife, in pain, and in humiliation.

So, honestly, I think that Life=suffering could be both. Since I'm fond of thinking in relation to communities, I'm more apt to think about the second explanation. And in this, it is interesting to me to think about Christ coming to live among us. Life (in the individual sense) for him became suffering. The eternal Word that came and lived in Jesus experienced what humanity faces all the time. Senselessness. Pain. Grief. Jesus was beaten and executed like a criminal. Life for him was suffering.

And then, on the other hand, Christ came because of the collective suffering of all of humanity; lost in its own wilderness. Jesus, why did you come to Earth? Because the people and creatures of this planet suffer. Because Jesus could offer something, not necessarily to make life easier or more pleasant, but because of love. And love makes hardships easier to bear.

As Christians are called to show Christ to the world in word and deed, may we find our call as ones to bear hardship with others, to carry burdens with those we encounter, to love those in our midst who are friendless and outcast, knowing that life is suffering.

And so it came to pass...

That Grandma went back to the home. That woman is like a bouncy ball. She can recuperate like nobody's business. Thank you for any and all prayers you said for her.

Anyway, what have I been up to? Oh, not too much. J and I watched "All Dogs Go To Heaven" on the 17th of this month. We were in the mood for nostalgia or something. Gotta love the Old School movies. Yeah.

I'm still reading "Lamb," and I am enjoying it thoroughly. There are some holes to it and what not, but it's fiction. And the things I'm finding are relatively small. And the overall awesomeness of the book makes up for them. Seriously, I suggest this book. It's a bit long, but it's an easy read.

The flood waters seem to be receeding a little bit where we are. A friend of mine and her husband, (who I also consider a friend) were evacuated, but I think they were able to go back and see what was up today. Here's hoping and praying things aren't as bad as they could be.

Well, I am going to stop writing this post, since it is just little blurbs about what is up. I'm going to post a "thinking" post soon, probably. Peace out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Well, shoot.

YS called me this morning. She said that Grandma is in the hospital again. She had a heart attack, and now she has those germs that are really had to treat (MRCA, aka Merca). I think they're planning on sending her back to the home soon, but I'm not sure. Sis and YS are going to visit tonight. They're goin to have to gown up because of the germs, but they're going. Makes me glad I visited Granny the last time I was in town. I love my Grandma. A lot. I thought it was kinda jerky that my OB didn't call and let me know, but whatever.

BiL also threw Sis a surprise birthday party that they forgot to invite me to. Thanks a frickin' lot. Jeez. Howard (who is 2), was having a good time because the party was at the bowling alley where BiL and Sis do league bowling. Howard was picking up 14 lb balls and trying to roll them down the lane. The way it sounded, he was being really cute. Sis and BiL want to take him bowling someday soon so he'll learn a bit about it and not try to walk down the lanes, messing up the oil patterns and stuff. I wish I would have known about the party, but I didn't, so I guess I need to get over it. Slightly irked, but oh well. I'll live.

Anyway, if you would, I'd sincerely appreciate your prayers for Grandma; for peace, strength, and comfort, or whatever you see fit to pray for. I trust you. I'm out.

I didn't lie

So, I said in my last post that I have lots of ideas for new posts. It's true, but this post is not any of those ideas. It is just me rambling.

J loaned me his laptop because he works at night on the weekends. I appreciate having a computer to use in the privacy of my own room. It's not like I'm doing anything inappropriate, but it's nice to be able to check my email and do Facebook and stuff whenever I want (at night) and not have to worry about the library closing and people all looking over my shoulder and what not (not like they would; I'm just paranoid). I ordered my new computer, and I think that it might be down at the FedEx depot or something. I'm not 100% sure, but it's possible because there was a taped message from them on the big doors leading into the main academic building the other day. That makes me think that it might be my new laptop. I hope so.

Anyway, I'm reading another book right now. It's called, "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal." It's a pretty funny book. I like it a lot. It's about this guy who gets called forth from the dust of the earth 2000 years after his life and death so that he can write a Gospel of what Jesus was like as a kid. The man who was brought forth is Jesus' best childhood friend. While it's not a thing like the Canonical Scriptures, and it's fiction, it's still a good read because it just is. I can't quite put my finger on why I like it, but I do. It's funny, the author obviously researched and thought about what he was writing, and it's wholly entertaining. So far, I recommend it. Anyone out there had the pleasure of reading this book? And if so, what'd you think of it?

Okay, well, this has been a pretty light post. I need to find the sheet of paper I was writing my blogging ideas on so that I can remember what I was thinking. I've been thinking about a lot of things lately, and so no one idea is sticking in my head.

Oh yeah! And I got to see a good friend of mine today! She was heading home after having been evacuated because of the flooding. She and her husband were going from her mom and dad's house to her husband's Mom's place. They had to go through SeminaryTown due to a detour in a major road, and so called to meet up for lunch. I had a good time, and was so thankful to get to spend time with my pals. Pals are cool. So, thanks for stopping through and calling us, Friend! yay!

Last, but not least, I wanted to write a little bit about last week's sermon. The Gospel Lesson was Matthew 9:9-13; and 18-26. The pastor at the church I attend out here focused a bit on the Pharisees and how they talked about Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners. In the course of his sermon, he quoted the chorus to the song "Anthem," by Leonard Cohen. Here is the chorus:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

The way I took the sermon, everyone is flawed and cracked, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It reminded me of the passage about how God's power is made perfect in weakness because we are all weak, and that is where God is shown. So, God can be made known through our individual cracks. And God's light shines through those who are not perfect. It's kind of like how I think God can use a person's experiences; even the less than happy ones, to reveal God's self. It's cool. Without these cracks, we might appear perfect, and people might find themselves reticent to acknowledge Christ because they do not feel worthy. The truth is, Christ calls us without our having individual merit. And through the cracks, we can see that Christ loves and lives for us. It was a good sermon and I'm not doing it justice.

Anyway, I'm going to go read some more of my book now. Have a great day, y'all.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Hello Friends. I'm back to Seminary a wee bit sunburned, but happy to have done good work. I've not posted in a while, but I have pretty good reason. My computer is pretty much a piece of junk. haha. It no longer allows me onto the Internet. I have a new computer on order, but I don't know when it will arrive. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Also, I was downstate earlier this week helping a friend do yardwork. We also fixed some of the roof on her shed and reshingled most of it before we were rained out. My friend took me past a river about 6 miles from her house and there were houses half under water. I can't even imagine what that'd be like. I'm confident they'd appreciate your prayers. There is flooding in much of the midwest. Yikes.

Anyway, I don't know how often I'll be able to blog until I get the new computer, which is a bummer, because I've had lots of ideas lately. But, I don't really feel comfortable doing this in the library. Privacy issues and what not... Alas. I hope you all are staying dry. Peace out.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Summertime has obviously come to schools all around. Summertime is made known in school breaks, in warmer temperatures, and in the chlorine smell of pools that are being treated so people won't get sick from germs. As I've gotten older, summertime has changed for me. I no longer throw water balloons at people on the last day of school. I don't ride my bike around town like a little weirdo filled to the brim with excitement. And mostly, I don't look around and say, "Weehaw! 3 months of no responsibilities!"

While I have fewer responsibilities during the summer, they're not gone completely. Right now, I have few things I "have" to do. I'm going to work for a friend next week. I'll be tooling around in the yard, and doing some work on the shed with her. I'm really looking forward to it. That sort of thing makes me feel useful. And I need to feel useful. I miss the manual labor that I am "spared" by living in a dormitory where there is a grounds crew to do all that stuff. I miss fixing the doorframe on the old back porch after a good hard rain soaks into it and pulls the nails out of it and the wood that holds it in place. I miss sitting out on the deck steps, wearing my paint and grass-stained, slightly holey, tools in the pockets to make my work more efficient, carpenter jeans, cutting up pieces of orange plastic to put into my weedwhacker. And I miss having someone to do these things for, knowing that they taught me the work ethic by example, but who was too old and didn't quite understand the technology to do the work for herself.

So, while my friend is far from incapable of doing these things for herself, I am incredibly grateful that she is giving me this opportunity to work, to get my hands dirty, and to feel like a useful person again.

But don't get me wrong-I know I am a useful person of more worth than many sparrows. I know that I have gifts and talents and proclivities that make me valuable and treasured in the eyes of many. Sometimes it's just nice to have a reminder that is made tangible by sore muscles and a sunburned neck; by the smell of gasoline and fresh cut weeds and grass.

It's an interesting thing to think about; this whole question of what makes us feel useful. One of the last times I saw my advisor this past semester (she likes to see us once a month to check in on life, seminary, and whatever else), she asked me, "What makes your spirit sing?" I was somewhat taken aback by the question, and so my quick answer was, "laughing." I've been thinking some about that question, and I've come to recognize that one reason I have a difficult time answering it is because I don't like the way it's phrased. It's seems so foundationally based on emotion that I just think it a bit too flighty to give any credence to it. But it's not well enough to rephrase the question into, "What makes you happy?" Because happy is an emotion too, and not a very thorough one. Sometimes I am happy, and sometimes I'm not, but I always have joy. So, while this is a rough translation of the question, "What makes your spirit sing?" into "Trish-ese," I would like to put it out there... Perhaps I could do more searching for the answer if the question were phrased, "What makes you feel valuable?"

Earlier I mentioned that manual labor makes me feel valuable. However, it's more than just using mind and muscle together to accomplish a task. The draw for me, I think, comes from acting in service to others; even if indirectly. I was at my house a few weeks ago (not "home," but the place I lived for 24 years), and I found a book I read several years back. I thought that it might make for an interesting re-read, considering everything I've learned the last couple of years, and the last year and a half in particular. The book is called, "The Rapture of Canaan," and is about this fundamentalist Christian group with a very stern leader. Sometimes the book had me laughing because of the ridiculousness of what was being said, sometimes it made me angry because things like that probably happen places in even our own society, and sometimes it just made me think about life. The book did a good job of drawing me in to the story, and I even have found myself slipping into talking like a country bumpkin lately.

Reading "The Rapture of Canaan" has made me feel valuable. Not just because it's a good story, but because I read it for me. College really did a good job of stomping my love of reading right out of me. Some of the stuff at Seminary is much more interesting, but the fact that it is assigned reading is my problem. But, now that it is summertime, I can read for me again. The neat thing is, though, that despite the VAST differences in theology between the people in the book I just finished reading again and me, is that it reinforced some of my own beliefs and starkly put some ideas out there for me to ponder. One of the most important lines in the whole book, in my opinion states,

"Sorrow is a silent place."

That's something to think about, isn't it? The main character, Ninah, had been out with her grandma, Nanna, looking for her grandpa, who was the leader of the community and church. Grandpa had had a stroke, but was still able to move about. Somedays he was more confused than others, but Nanna just kept watching over him, even when he was violent. The day Grandpa went off, the whole community went out looking for him, but Ninah and Nanna went secretly because the community was treating Nanna the way our society has a tendency of treating older folks in the face of stress or fear: like an invalid. So, Nanna was sad when they couldn't find him, obviously, but Ninah didn't say anything because she realized, "Sorrow's a silent place."

How true, and how scarcely followed is this thought. I'm guilty of it myself. When there's sadness in someone's life, I try to say something of comfort. Not something like, "Oh, he's in a better place," but something else. I try not to dismiss their pain because pain is a very real part of human existence. But I think I might do well to remember that silence can be just as comforting. Sometimes, the presence of someone I love is enough to make me feel better, and I think if they tried talking, it would take away from that. Absolute silence isn't necessary, but I'm going to try not to just spout off words for the sake of breaking the silence.

I remember at the end of my first full-time semester here at Seminary, I got some bad news regarding Ma. I meandered downstairs to one of my friends' rooms and she was with another good friend. And I told them and sat on her bed for a spell. They talked some, but were also silent a good lick of the time. And that was so valuable. I appreciated their care and concern, and I appreciate them.

Many of my friends have gone off to Clinical Pastoral Education this summer. Most of them are in hospital settings where they have an assigned floor, but are required to do trauma visits and what not as well. Because I've already done CPE, I am still here, able to plan out my summer as I wish. It is my hope and prayer for them that their experiences in their clinical settings will be fruitful for them; that they will learn the power of their voices to bring the hope of Christ into the midst of pain. But I hope even more that they will learn the power of silence; not silence that speaks of apathy or confusion, but silence that conveys presence and grace. Because despite all of my own feelings, worth does not come from doing any particular set of tasks or anything. Worth comes from God and God's claim on our lives as beloved people for whom Jesus lived, died, and resurrected. We are all the valued people of God. Our mere presence is valuable and respecting the "simple" presence of the "other" is valuable because God is at work through all of creation-even silence. And for this, I give thanks.

Monday, June 02, 2008

More Weird Dreams

Alright, last night/this morning, I had another really weird dream.

The dream was that the world was doomed, and "they" needed me to save it. But, the only way to save the world was for me to ride on the outside of this INCREDIBLY slowly moving old train with huge bicycle chains from some unknown place to Decatur, Illinois. But the thing is, I had to start at a specific time, and then be in Decatur in about and hour and a half. In all reality, that would be impossible because I got the idea that the starting place was from Seminary or at least home. But, I did it, and the world was saved. But as soon as I got done saving the world by riding on the slow train, I was taken to some church where they were having the funeral for one of my friends (who has been dead for almost 10 years). It was like her death was new. Her family asked me and a guy in my class at Seminary to do some readings for the funeral. Her family is and always has been friends with my family, so I could see why they'd ask me in the dream, but they probably have no idea who my friend is. But, we both agreed. Everyone was all crying and stuff, and my dead friend's grandma was at the funeral too, but she's been dead for probably about 8 years or so. So, it came time for me to go up to the lectern to read, and I just stood there while my Seminary friend read. Every couple of words, we would say the word together, but in the dream, I got the idea that this was how it was supposed to be. Then I woke up.

I don't really know what to think about all this dreaming. The chain thing could be because J and I went to a museum near a body of water that is near to us and we got to board a dredging ship. While walking around near the boats/ships and body of water, we saw a HUGE chain that looked like a bicycle chain on steroids. So, I don't know where the train came in, but that could be where I got the chain. And the dream about the funeral could be because some friends and I went to a park with flowers and memorial gardens and stuff yesterday and there are big granite benches with sayings on them. That makes me think of cemeteries because my dad's tombstone is a bench that has his name, my mom's name, and a child's name they lost on the top and dates of birth (and death for those who are dead). There is some other "life" information on the tombstone, too. So, I'm thinking that garden made me think of funerals. However, I haven't dreamt about my dead friend in a couple of years. So, it was just kind of weird. I don't know. I was at the cemetery recently (What with Memorial Day and all) and I drove past my friend's grave, so maybe that was stuck in my brain.

I don't know why I wasn't reading the whole reading at the funeral in my dream though. My friend who was reading while I stood up there is a nice guy. He's only ticked me off once, and it wasn't a big thing. I'm wondering if my mind is saying, "Stop letting people put words in your mouth/speak for you when you have your own things to say." I don't know.

Anyway, the dream really wasn't upsetting. It just has my noggin going is all. Interesting stuff... Ha. I need to go though. Peace out, y'all.