Tuesday, February 21, 2017

eskimo summer


     There's a name for it when you get warm weather in the fall when it's supposed to be getting colder -- they call that Indian summer. So it seems like there oughta be a name for the days like these ones, when it's warm as spring and you can go outside without a jacket and it's only mid-February. It should be called Eskimo summer.

    Last Saturday my and my squad drove through sunshine to meet our awesome friends and then we went farther into the glaring orange sunset to see an indoor rodeo. We cheered for the hot cowboys like we always do, and walked around the parking lot in the dark to drool over all the dually Powerstrokes and Cummins, and we made best friends with the kids in the car next to us while we waited in traffic to leave, laughing through rolled-down windows, shivering in cold February air because it had been so warm earlier we all forgot to wear coats.

     Sunday, the church pews were covered in gold, and we threw off our long-sleeved shirts as soon as we left the building. The sun shone like a spotlight and I soaked it up like a thirsty desert flower. I filled a bucket with sudsy water and washed my truck for the first time since I've had it. It felt just like spring. It felt like waking up after a long time of living half-mast, like somebody handed me a brand new chance at everything. Spring always feels like that.

     ....but it's still only February, which is why I'm confused. Next week it'll probably snow again and I'll be all messed up. It's that Eskimo summer thing.

    You don't think about the snow that's coming next week, though, when it's like 60 frickin degrees and you're wearing a t-shirt and driving your truck down a country road with your two best friends in the world squished in the seat next to you.

     These last few days have been pretty wonderful. 

     Spring is coming, friends.


     What does spring make you think of? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

when my people pray

the sky is pink - we must take a picture.
      People talk about love languages. I don't know for sure what mine is -- maybe acts of service. But one thing I've realized is, nothing makes me feel loved so much as when somebody prays for me.

     There are all sorts of definitions for what prayer is. For some even the word is super intimidating. I know when I was younger, at church or bright lights or whatever, when I heard, "Emma, would you pray?" it was about the same thing as "Emma, would you go stand on those tracks until the next train comes?" I'd heard so many people pray -- I didn't know all those words. They sounded stupid when I said them. No, I can't pray for you. I don't know how.

     So I was never much of a pray-er. Not out loud anyway. I got bored in church when the pastor's prayer went on too long (or what I presumed to declare too long) and I tried to avoid praying whenever I could. Well, one good thing about getting older is you learn stuff you didn't understand before.What I didn't see before is that prayer is about the best thing we humans have got going for us. Prayer is the distinct honor and sacred privilege of talking with the Lord. It's a weapon, it's a balm, and it's a gift. It's the gift part I've seen in the last week.

     I had an interview last week over the phone with a guy in Colorado. I hate talking on the phone, even to my friends. (It's not you; it's the phone.) But I really want this position, so I was all ready to give all the right answers. When the call came I was prepared. I thought. But I wasn't. Because the first thing he did was say a prayer for us, for me -- over the phone -- and I was so impressed and humbled and overwhelmed with his kindness and the fact that he was praying for me, some person he didn't even know, over the freaking phone, was just too much for my soul to handle. My cup runneth over. I started to cry.

    Last night my sister and I were at rehearsal for worship on Sunday. There's always a prayer time before we start. Good old J. O. -- Pastor wasn't there so he took over leading the prayer, and he asked us specifically if we had anything we'd like to pray about. He asked after our family. And then he prayed for us -- those two girls who've been coming for six months, the ones in cowboy boots, the shy one and the one who plays the violin.

    I was tired. I don't have a hard life or anything but I started a job last week and I'm taking a college class somewhere other than my own house for the first time in my life and I'm trying to keep up with the expectations everybody has of me, and when I write it down it sounds really trivial but the truth is I'm just tired. When he prayed, it was better than eight more hours of sleep, and it was better than being given a perfect score on an essay, and it was better than any other method of relief, because it was straight to God the Father -- who cares -- from somebody with such a golden heart who cares, about little old me and my folks. Like how.

    When people pray for me it lifts a weight. It pulls back a curtain and lets light in. It's so noticeable, you can't mistake it. It's what they call a peace that transcends all else.

    I'm learning to value prayer a lot more than I used to. Part of that is learning how to receive it and give it as a gift -- one of the most important parts. It's a lot easier than you might think. It's a lot easier than I used to think, and the rewards are sweeter than anything else can bring.

    So I can pray for you, because you prayed for me, and because He listens to all of us and knows when we need it most.


P.S. Happy Valentine's Day a day late!