Wednesday, July 30, 2008

your one wild and precious life...

We had a little poetry slam tonight. I was going to read this poem, mostly because I love the last few lines, but I forgot to print it off. So I am posting it here.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear? 

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-- 

the one who has flung herself out of the grass, 

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, 

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-- 

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. 

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. 

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. 

I don't know exactly what a prayer is. 

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down 

into the grass, how to kneel in the grass, 

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, 

which is what I have been doing all day. 

Tell me, what else should I have done? 

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? 

Tell me, what is is you plan to do 

With your one wild and precious life? 

~Mary Oliver 

Saturday, July 26, 2008

the bridge

with friends in town over the past weeks I was able to get some great pics of the amazing city i live in. i played with this one (obviously) and I wanted to share.
more will come in time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

the cost of not being a hypocrite $2

hi how are you
hungry- i need a burger
i am sorry what did you say
i need a burger- will you buy me a burger- from jack in the box
sure, my name is Sarah
hi i am steve- you know what is cheaper than a burger- rice and sweet and sour sauce- can i have that?
sure, i will get it for you
(walk in the building, order food, pay $2, go outside realize that he can't use chop sticks, go back inside get fork and napkin, go back outside)

what do you do for a living
I work with spiritual formation
oh, that is cool, what do you do
I teach people about living in the way of Jesus, you know feed the hungry and stuff
(and I don't feel like a hypocrite because he has rice)

His toothless smile was intense and honest. He asked if he could use my phone to call his mother, reluctantly I dialed the number he gave me. He asked her for money. She didn't even know where he was and he asked her for money. That was hard to watch. Before I left him I told him about Page Street where he could volunteer and get a meal for free, and some groceries. The prospect of food was really exciting for him. The entire time we were talking I was holding my fresh coffee. I had just eaten Indian food, and watched a movie. It was a good day, and even if by some crazy social standard he didn't deserve to have me buy his meal, I have to say that as I told him what I did for a living I was relieved that I knew it was true. I encourage people to live in the Way of Jesus, I host work shops that focus on the teachings of Christ, and sometimes when I am lucky, I get a chance to meet people, ask them how they are, and feed the hungry.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sweet Pain

"... the more I think about loneliness, the more I think that the wound of loneliness is like the Grand Canyon-- a deep incision in the surface of our existence which has become an inexhaustible source of beauty and self-understanding.
Therefore I would like to voice loudly and clearly what might seem unpopular and maybe even disturbing: The Christian way of life does not take away our loneliness; it protects and cherishes it as a precious gift. Sometimes it seems as if we do everything possible to avoid the painful confrontation with our basic human loneliness, and allow ourselves to be trapped by false gods promising immediate satisfaction and quick relief. But perhaps the painful awareness of loneliness is an invitation to transcend our limitations and look beyond the boundaries of our existence. The awareness of loneliness might be a gift we must protect and guard, because our loneliness reveals to us an inner emptiness that can be destructive when misunderstood, but filled with promise for [those] who can tolerate its sweet pain." 

The Wounded Healer, Henri J. M. Nouwen

Going to 7 elementary schools, feeling that I did not fit at my conservative college, and having a spirit set to roam I have dreamed of a day when the ache in my heart will be soothed. Even still, with each year, each adventure, each life changing friendship, each person who deeply loves me, and each person I love, I have learned that loneliness is at the core of life. No matter how busy my day is there will be some brief moment when I know that I am alone. Part of me knows that there is more to this feeling, that nothing will fully take it away, and that I might not want to loose it. It is in the sweet pain that I am most connected with all of humanity, most able to share in the suffering of the world, and most able to participate in the healing process. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Suz and I hit up the DNA Lounge with my friends Leah, Charlyn and Jeff. it is a crazy place, kind of gothish, complete with legal Absinthe (I did not partake in it)- funny that SF seems to have missed the memo that the drink is illegal everywhere else in the US- all kinds of laws don't apply to us San Franciscans. Looking around the dance floor, experiencing the house band, rocking out to the DJ's I feel that I saw a deeper part of my city. Jumping around and singing at the top of my lungs I saw a mix of people whose stories I will never know but I am still sure that they are powerful. I cannot put it into words, but that mashup of people affected my experience as much as the music did. It was as if everything in the world separated us and nothing did at the same time.
here is a photo of the after effects of dancing:

we are all sweaty and my hair is messed up...
maybe this is why baptist think dancing is a sin? it has to be a sin to look this good!!!

btw: I am excited about hosting another Texas friend this week! I am overwhelmed by how much I am loved, and by the opportunity I have to share wild my city!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

But I'm still glad that I came

i wasn't even thinking of moving to San Francisco when i got this CD, and although I love this town i often feel this way about my new home so here are some lyrics that describe my life:

Ballad Of San Francisco


So I'm walking down the street somewhere outside of San Francisco 
But, I don't really know my way around 
And I'd love to stay a day or two and get into some trouble
But tomorrow I'll be in another town 
There's at least one coffee bar for every single couple 
And there's at least a couple in this place 
Strange the things you notice when the walls are closing in 
And the walls are closing in on me today 

So where, oh where, can I find someone, anyone 
'Cause there's no way outta here 
Well, here is where I live and so I guess that means 
The carrot's gonna dangle for at least another year 

I love anonymity and I love being noticed 
Just the same as anybody else 
Years ago I told you how I loved to be alone 
These days I'd be perjuring myself 

It's like you gave me up like I gave up drinking coffee 
So I guess I would have done the same 
Now I know I'm lost somewhere outside of San Francisco 
But I'm still glad that I came

Monday, July 7, 2008

Green Slavery? and Independence Day...

Thursday morning before I ran to catch the bus for work, and with the best of intentions, I set up out to make arrangements to rent a Prius. Christen's flight was scheduled to arrive at 11 pm and we were journeying to the mountains for a Independence Day getaway at Adam's family cabin. The computer flashed an error message; I called the rental company; I was appalled by how much the rental was going to cost me; I decided that doing something good for the environment was worth the extra $12; I busted out the plastic (because that is all they take); and everything was set. 

Enter Leah to save the day- she decided to come along and drive her car. With the fabulously cheaper change in plans, and a superb addition to the road crew, midmorning on Friday we left the fog behind and hit the road. 

So did I mention the best of intentions? Because what I meant by that is that I almost supported slavery. This afternoon I read on the Not For Sale website about forced labor in Japan on the Toyota Prius: taking away passports, forcing workers to live in overpriced apartments (so they end up owing all their money to their employers and cannot actually make any for themselves), deporting workers who try to leave the apartments or transfer factories, paying them less than a third of minimum wage, forcing them to work 16 hour days- 7 days a week.

Not For Sale said it on their site and I have to say here: concern for the environment has to include concerns for humanity and human rights. 

By the way the weekend was glorious! Thanks Adam and the Klein family for hosting us! 


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Memories in the making!

The pictures scrolling across my laptop screen remind me of the adventurous life I have had.
The photos of arms linked, glasses raised, candles lit in prayer, exposed ruins, sunsets, beaches, mountains, and most of all friends- these images remind me that I posses the gift of life.
Still as I reflect on those moments I know that in those moments I was so completely unaware of how miraculous those moments were. I was often thinking of the next phase, the next place, or the people who were not there. BUT those were glorious moments. As Lela drank her first legal glasses of wine. As I hugged friends at an outdoor concert waring a shirt declaring that I was willing to be displaced for a night in honor of those that have been abandoned for years. As my niece hunted for her first Easter eggs. My life was happening all around me. It is all the little moments that are often the most extraordinary. 
I am posting the lyrics of one of my favorite songs because it reminds me of this truth so often.

Her name was written on the photograph,
right next to her red, sunburnt face,
it all had happened in that long tall grass,
about a mile from her old place,
I can't remember how it started and if it lasted that day in the sun.

We said that we were going to study hard,
we held our books instead of hands,
she held a blanket over cans of beer,
I can't deny I was so full of fear.

It's just another story caught up in another photograph I found.
and it seems like another person lived that life a great many years ago from now,

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.
when I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

And there's the first time that I tried that stuff,
I think I look a little green,
I remember throwing up behind a bush,
and I found it hard to use my feet,
and who's that easily led little boy who's really off his head?

It was the same night that I kissed that girl,
the tall one with the auburn hair,
I remember laughing coz to kiss me,
she had to sit down on a chair!
she tasted like the schnapps she'd drunk,
and the cigarette she'd stolen from her mum.

And it's just another story caught up in another photograph I found.

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.
When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

~Jamie Cullum~

I just wanted to take a moment to remember the importance of being present. Being here and being now.

I am waiting in eager anticipation for a visit from a college friend. We are heading to the mountains. Memories are in the making! 

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