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Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm Back

Yes, it's true. I have come back a little bit older and with a few more stamps in my passport, but I am back. It's quite a strange feeling actually, especially since I feel like I am not coming back to the same place I left, nor do I feel like I entirely belong here anymore. My space seems to have disappeared. But enough of that now. I am content for the moment to sit here and sip tea out of the mug I found late one night by the side of a bench and to stir it occasionally with a small spoon that also came to me one late night in Holland as I stood next to a church older than my nation with three people I am honored to call my friends. I sit here and drink, and let myself become saturated in memories. You see, I discovered on this trip that I am quite thoroughly addicted to tea, but not quite in the way one might think. Although I like the tea itself a great deal, it is not for the tea that I drink it now. I drink it for the memories and for the meditation. Tea for me is like a morning of sharply soft sunlight, or like a rainstorm, or like a body of water under a gray sky. It makes me think, it makes me become contemplative, quiet, thoughtful. The very ritual of making the tea, of watching it steep, of adding the sugar and quiets me. It calms me. It leaves me in a place where, as the bittersweetness slowly disappears from the cup, I can be still and know myself and think softly and remember. That is why I made this cup of tea, in its mug of rememberances and with its spoon of memories. I made it to remember and to be still and to know myself in the quiet of the morning. Perhaps you should try it sometime. Who knows?

Who knows...

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Short Telegram

In Netherlands *stop* Loving it *stop* Wee bit tired *stop* Good food here *stop* Want some tea *stop* Bike no longer hurts rear *stop* In need of laundromat *stop* Alyssa everywhere *stop* Lots of ducks *stop* George still short *stop* Be back soon *stop* Make me fudge *stop*

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Prayer in the Night

"Turn to me and be gracious to me,
       for I am lonely and afflicted.

The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
       free me from my anguish.

Look upon my affliction and my distress
       and take away all my sins.

See how my enemies have increased
       and how fiercely they hate me!

Guard my life and rescue me;
       let me not be put to shame,
       for I take refuge in you.

May integrity and uprightness protect me,
       because my hope is in you."

-Psalm 25:16-21

God led me to this passage late last night. I was up searching for something I could hold on to that would help keep Him closer to me, because I was ashamed of how much sin I had fallen in to just that day and I have been feeling the hurt of some things in my life much more acutely in these past days, almost as if I had tried to stitch up an old wound myself and this past week I burst the stitches again. Then the Lord showed me this prayer, and it was the cry of my heart. It was what I have been seeking Him for in my life, what I long for Him to do in my life in this season. He had given me a prayer to hold on to, but He wasn't finished with me yet. He still had a promise to remind me of. In my Bible, right on the opposite page from this passage happens to be one of my favorite passages in the Bible and one that, as many of you probably know, God has woven into my soul in this season. After I had read and prayed the passage above, God turned my eyes back to these verses that I had skipped over and He told me that this was His answer to my prayer:

"You prepare a table before me
       in the presence of my enemies.
       You anoint my head with oil;
       my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
       all the days of my life,
       and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

-Psalm 23:5-6

except He read it to me, over me. "I prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies..."
My God is a good God, and I pray I never lose sight of that, no matter how thick a haze of pain or conflict I am called to endure.

I would appreciate all of your prayers for me, especially since the Holland team (of which I am a part) leaves in a little less than two weeks, and seeing how there will probably be plenty of spiritual warfafre there (or not, for our God takes care of us) I would rather not bring any with me. Thank you all so much. God bless y'all. Take care.

"I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living."

Psalm 27:13