Friday, November 21, 2008

Heart on my sleeve

I can't help it sometimes... my emotions are a banner for everyone to read. In order to escape the inevitable interrogation, I have to run and hide.

I received a weighty compliment today in an area where I feel insecure at best... and had to leave the office so that I could shed my tears without embarrassment.

It's so gratifying when you put your heart into something to have it received so well... A little more work and it will be ready to share.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Sadness squeezes through the cracks of life sometimes. Sometimes it rushes through in overwhelming torrents.

I love Christmas. I can remember it as one time in a year full of screwed up family life when my parents actually seemed like the parents they should be, and when us siblings banded together in hope of good presents and good food, and the fun of getting to see our cousins and run wild at my grandparents house.

We had multiple traditions. There was the Advent wreath and the reading of different scriptures pertaining to the birth of Christ (a grand tradition that most non-denominational churches miss out on). Each week another candle would be lit, and we would fight over who would get to use the snuffer.

There was the Christmas choir. Each year, our youth and handbell choir would practice and then perform musical selections for the season. Sometimes we acted out a play. I always sang a solo...

One of my favorite traditions was our "live nativity." For a week or so leading up to Christmas, every evening, sometimes 3 times a night, the youth from my church would dress up and act out the nativity story. We had a timed audio track narrated by my dad over dramatic Christmas music on loud speakers set in the trees. Certain songs still bring those memories back so strongly. We had musty costumes, robes and head dresses, staffs and a manger. Set up outdoors in full view of the busy street, we would walk through the story for the benefit of passersby. Sometimes I was a shepherd, sometimes I was Mary... always we were freezing cold by the last performance. There was usually hot apple cider waiting for us in the fellowship hall.

All these festivities led up to the climactic moment when we celebrated the birth of Jesus at our midnight Christmas eve service. All those activities somehow added up to family.

The sadness for me is... there is less of this now than there used to be... Living far away from the ones you love is not easy, and I feel very alone this year.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

An ego is a fragile thing

So, I've been riding horses for a year... and god knows, I'm still a beginner. But nothing ever stings as much as an ego reminded.

Firstly, the horse I usually ride, Trevor, collapsed this week. No worries, everything is fine... apparently he was either narcoleptic or he was not in the mood to ride and so faked us all out by falling down on the ground and refusing to get up for 10 minutes or so. I panicked, of course, thinking I had killed him... or at least that he had died under my care. Neither prospect was something I was looking forward to having to reckon with. After laying on the ground for more than 10 minutes with his eyes rolled back in his head, my instructor waved a cookie in front of him, and he popped right back up.

Needless to say, I was shaken thoroughly.

Then today we went to volunteer at a facility that gives riding lessons to handicapped people. I was very excited about doing this, and happy to be of help. Each special rider has at least 3 people attending him: two along side and one leading the horse. Because I have been riding for a year, they had me lead a horse.

All went well until the end of the day... the rider was a little more advanced than earlier in the day, so we did some more advanced things, like trotting. I would trot with the horse and the instructor/leader of the facility and Noah trotted alongside to help the rider maintain his balance.

But something happened to spook the horse... and he bucked a little and knocked all 4 of us to the ground... yes the handicapped rider fell off the horse. Somehow I managed to hold on to the horse, and pop back up to make sure he didn't take off willy nilly around the arena (there were others riding at the same time). It took 2 of us to calm him down.

The rider appears to have been unhurt, but scared (thank god he's not hurt)... Noah got stepped on a little... and I'm sore from being yanked around by a 1000 pound guinea pig. I'm so frustrated that my horse was the one that had the incident, and have felt like the biggest loser all day. How could I let that happen?

I'm trying to tell myself it wasn't my fault and things just happen. But I feel terrible, incompetent, foolish... and I almost quit riding right there. How does one not blame one's self for something like that? It seems useless to blame the horse... and not comforting at all to say "things like that just happen."

Anyhow, I didn't quit riding... I'm going in the morning... and hoping my bruised ego doesn't take another beating, or if it does that the beating will kill it so I won't have to mind any more.

Lord, make me humble and steer me clear from danger...