Singleness is the new black

G:

Like the president of Russia deeming the Olympic ceremonies open, I deem singleness the new black.

Cue torch:

olympic torch

Because let’s face it: singleness is like glitter at a crafts table.

It’s everywhere.

Now more than ever, people are getting married later in life. Now more than ever, articles about singleness are spreading like the bubonic plague. Now more than ever, singleness isn’t a curse. It’s OK.

And dare I say it, it’s COOL.

Sure, there are a host of reasons why our culture is seeing a plethora of singles: couples are already cohabitating, marriage isn’t viewed as necessary anymore, college grads are crippled by student loans, etc. But there are a host of different reasons You love singleness: we have unprecedented amounts of time to serve You in ways you created us uniquely for right now.

While our culture may view singleness as cool in their own eyes, I see singleness as cool from Your eyes.

I’m sensing a Paul revival a la 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 in light of 7:8:

Singleness: it’s all good.

Your happily single child,

m

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ON ANATOMICALLY INCORRECT HEARTS

heart (1)

G:

Well, it’s February.

Which means that M&Ms are now pink and red. And sugar cookies have received (limited edition) anatomically incorrect heart donations.

But here’s the thing: those darn heart shapes are like an epidemic—they’re everywhere. And everyone’s contaminated.

But the contamination of consumerism isn’t all that alarms me. And it’s not even those giant stuffed bears that have come out of hibernation for $40. It’s the fact that love has lost its meaning. Love has become so overly simplified and cheapened.

Just like the shape of the heart.

Love has come to mean butterflies and sparks and fireworks. One night stands. Lust. Celebrity marriages that don’t even last a month.

But the heart is more than just a circle resting on a golf tee wishing he were a camel (just go with it*). The heart is complex, there are valves and chambers and lots of things I don’t remember from health class in middle school.

And isn’t love so much more intricate and meaningful than sparks and chocolate? Doesn’t love come in many forms? Eros. Philos. Agape. It comes in the form of a husband and wife. It finds itself between friends. It pours unconditionally from You.

Isn’t love more than just a fleeting feeling? Isn’t it a choice? It’s selfless, sacrificial, and ditto everything that Paul said (1 Corinthians 13).

But I get it—Pillsbury would never do well with a sugar cookie with an anatomically correct heart inside it. It would be horrifying looking and confusing and the kids would cry because they don’t understand why their cookie is so ugly and moms all over the world would have to appease their kids’ shrieks and tears by covering the cookie up with pink frosting. I get it. I do.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we celebrated where love comes from and what it really means in all its forms? Wouldn’t it be great if we were all contagious with a love that meant something? A love that wasn’t cheap. A love that wasn’t dummied down like the heart into a simple shape.

The heart is more than a simple clip-art image. And love is so much more than one day in February.

Your child,

m

* Because I’m not sure you got it:

anatomy of a heart

** On second thought, never mind.

Conversations that carry a lot of wait

my-life-is-buffering

G:

I feel like you and I have had three very distinct conversations over my lifetime.

There’s the “Hello, can you hear me now?” conversation:

m: “Hey God, it’s me. m.”

[Silence]

m: “Hey God, not sure if you heard me the first time. It’s me, m!”

[Silence]

m: “Are we having a bad connection? Perhaps you’re on the prayer line with another person right now? Maybe I should pray back later?”

[Silence]

m: “OK—just humor me. Send me a sign that I will have a new job by June. Have my favorite song come on the radio. Or a knock on my apartment door. Have my phone ring… now!”

[Silence]

m: “I just realized my phone was on silent. Let’s try this again… and GO!”

[Silence]

And the “Is the neon blinking light not obvious enough” conversation:

m: “So, I’ve been thinking…”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But I have this great idea!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But if I—”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But how long do I have to wait?!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “Have you seen the white hairs popping up on my head?! Do I need to start asking for a walker for my birthday? Some orthopedic shoes? Dentures?!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “GUYS DO NOT MAKE OUT WITH GIRLS WHO HAVE DENTURES!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “Okay, listen. Have you seen what happens to me when it’s 6:00 PM and I haven’t had any dinner yet and my blood sugar is low and so is my patience? Hm?”

G: “Have you read any of the Old Testament?”

m: “Touché.”

And then sometimes there’s the “I hear what you’re saying and I’m actually OK with it” conversation:

m: “Sup, G!”

G: “Yo, lil’ m.”

m: “I’ve been thinking. I have a few ideas of what this next year will look like. Writing wise. Job wise. Church wise.”

G: “Don’t make any plans. Mine are better.”

m: “You know what, you are probably right.”

G: “I’m always right. Foresight 20/20.”

m: “Right eye -7.5 and left eye -6.5. Hindsight 20/20.”

G: “Which is why you need me—you are almost legally blind.”

m: (sings) “’Twas blind but now I see!!”

[Silence]

m: “G?”

G: “You’ll sing better when you get to heaven.”

M: “OK, so the plan is to just wait and let you lead me where you want me to go.”

G: “That’s the plan.”

m: “Jeremiah 29:11!”

G: “Thanks, I know– helped Jeremiah write it. Divine inspiration.”

Today, I’m happy with you just telling me to wait.

Your child,

m

Why I’m glad God is not an admissions counselor

admissions

G:

If you were an admissions counselor, I would be automatically denied because I failed to post this letter on my usual time on my usual day.

Reason for denial: can’t make deadlines.

If you were an admissions counselor, I’d call your office and you’d answer:

G: “Hello this is Heaven’s Office of Admissions, this is God. How can I help you?”

m: “Hi. My name is m. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be talking to you right now. I’ve wanted nothing more than to go to Heaven since I was a little kid. I have heavenly paraphernalia plastered all over my room, I’m the owner of at least 5 WWJD bracelets, and I have a Jesus fish on my bumper sticker. I’m a diehard Heaven Christians fan!”

G: “Did you just use ‘Christians’ as a mascot?”

m: “Yes. No. Maybe. Yes.”

G: “When would you be looking to start?”

m: “Well, as much as I know I should want to start any time, I’d be okay with pushing it off until it’s the right time to go.”

G: “We do run on a rolling admissions basis.”

m: “Great!”

G: “For those who qualify.”

m: “Oh.”

G: “What’s your GPA?”

m: “Um…”

G: “Our baseline is a 4.0.”

[Silence]

G: “Hello? Are you still there?”

m: “Yes, sorry. I just stopped breathing for a second.”

G: “Well don’t do that just yet. We haven’t finished the application process yet.”

m: “Do you make exceptions on a case by case basis at all?”

G: “I’m pulling up your transcripts now and I see you got a D in gym class.”

m: “My sneakers didn’t fit right. My big toe was popping out of the top. It affected my kickball skills.”

G: “You failed home economics.”

m: “The oven temperature was clearly off. And you honestly couldn’t even taste the plastic wrapper in the cake. It melted away because of the excessive heat.”

G: “I’m afraid that given your academic history, you wouldn’t be able to handle the demands of this institution.”

m: “But what if I sent you some references?”

G: “Your mother doesn’t count.”

m: “But!”

G: “I’m just checking my e-mail now and I see you sent me your statement of purpose already:

Hell God,

I’m sexting you my statement of porpoises.

m

Sent from my iPhone”

m: “OH NO!”

G: “Oh yes.”

m: “@#$% auto correct!”

G: “You just swore.”

m: “Oh @#$#@%. I just swore on the phone with God. And @#$% I just did it again.”

G: “I’d like to thank you for your call and for your interest, but I’m afraid we can’t accept you at this time. I do wish you the best in your future endeavors.”

m: “But where else is there?”

G: “The only other option is a program far, far south. I hope you like hot weather.”

m: “BUT!”

[click]

Thankfully this is not how you roll. Getting into Heaven is actually easier than getting into Harvard.

Thankfully you are NOT an admissions counselor. And if you were, you would be the worst admissions counselor ever—you let anybody in who believes in your Son.

And you do have unbeatable retention rates.

Your child,

– m

Explore. Dream. Discover.

G:

Well, I’m six days into a new year and a lot of monumental things have taken place:

1)      I finally have a smart phone

2)      I bought an electric blanket since I never turn my heat on

3)      I am now the proud owner of a blender (SMOOTHIESSSSSSSSSS)

My quality of life has exponentially changed.

You know I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. While it would be a good idea to set a goal of ingesting more leafy greenery into my digestive system, I always become more reflective in a new year than proactive. I think about what was, what may be. But I never really set any fast and hard deadlines or goals for the new year.

I just like to see what happens.

The other day I was looking at the dashboard on my MacBook right next to the Chi Pet widget I forgot to water four years ago:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.27.02 AM

And I noticed a sticky note with a quote on it I’ve been neglecting to look at as much as my Chi Pet:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.27.11 AM

There was a reason I liked it four years ago and a reason it still resonates with me today. I don’t want to be idle in the safe harbor of comfort and familiarity. I’ve always wanted to set sail into the unknown and discover what’s waiting there for me. To discover what You have waiting there for me.

Following your will for me is setting sail into the unknown. And I know I’d be remiss if I didn’t step out in faith and let your winds catch my sails and take me where You want me.

I want to explore, dream, and discover your plans—your wonderful plans for me.

I want to make that my goal this year. To step out in faith, to free myself from the safe harbor. To take advantage of every opportunity that You present to me. To grow by becoming uncomfortable, stretched, challenged. It’s a lot scarier than green leafy vegetables, but a lot more rewarding.

It’s definitely no coincidence that right next to the quote by Mark Twain on my dashboard is this verse:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.31.10 AM

I’m excited to see what will happen this year because I know you are going to lead me when I’m looking to you to guide me. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.

So lead on, Master Navigator. Put on a pirate hat, perhaps a parrot on your shoulder and let’s set sail.

My quality of life is going to exponentially change.

Your child,

m

ON HAVING A HAPPY NEW YEAR

new year

photo: timescity.com

G:

I’m assuming your laugh is a hearty one—one that shakes the clouds, maybe even causes small earthquakes in California (just the ones that make your glass of water wobble, of course).

I’m sure you laughed when my good friend and I were sitting on the couch in my apartment this time last year. We were both 100% sure that 2013 was going to be a great year.

It wasn’t.

2013 was a year marked with heartache from broken relationships, loss of beloved family members, inopportune illness, and chronic stress.

Six months in, my friend and I agreed:

2013 sucked.

A year later we’re sitting on the same seats, on the same couch, having the same conversation about 2014. Except this time there’s hot chocolate. And I got new socks. I’m biting my lip as if to hold back any positive adjectives that want to jump out of my mouth to describe 2014. As if “happy” or “great” or “exciting” are death sentences before the year even begins. RIP 2014—you’ve flat lined before the clock even had a chance to strike midnight on New Year’s Eve.

I’m just about to take out any adjectives whatsoever and remark, “well it will be a year!” when I realize that maybe, just maybe, 2013 wasn’t so bad after all. My friend expresses the thoughts I’m feeling and suddenly clarity occurs like someone finally found the light switch after fumbling around a dark room.

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This past year was full of trials and stress and utter exhaustion, but we learned that through it all You work for the good. Because we love You. Because we turned to You every day for the past twelve months.

In the heartache of broken relationships, there came healing. In the loss of loved ones, there came comfort. In illness, there came health. In chronic stress, there came rest.

Because just like my mom, you have a way of pointing out “character building experiences” (Romans 5:3-5). In these experiences I became closer to You. In these experiences You refined me.

Because what if having a “happy” new year doesn’t mean “happy” in the conventional sense—in the sense of rainbows and butterflies and new jobs with higher salaries and romantic engagements with huge diamond rings that weigh down your left hand and luxurious trips around the world on a cruise line that doesn’t lose power or have someone murdered on it—what if having a “happy” new year meant letting You work your magic of creating good from all things. After all, you are The Heavenly Alchemist, making something of worth out of something unworthy.

As long as I turn to You in all things, You’ll make good from all things. ALL things.

You make happy new years from seemingly sucky new years.

Looking back, maybe you weren’t laughing at all when my friend and I were chatting on my couch. Maybe you were agreeing with us.

I’m 100% sure that 2014 is going to be great year, too.

Your child,

m

It’s Christmas Eve EVE!!!

christmas eve eve

Photo: Eloise at Christmastime

G:

(GASPS) It’s Christmas Eve EVE!!!!

I wonder what the anticipation of Jesus’ birthday on earth is like in heaven.

Is there a giant countdown somewhere? Do the angels check off dates on their calendars? Does anyone even need a calendar? What would a calendar for “eternity” look like?

I wonder if at midnight of the 25th balloons fall from the sky and the heavenly hosts burst out their instruments (I’m assuming all those born without musical genes, coughmecough, will suddenly be blessed with musical talent immediately upon entering the heavenly gates) and perform a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

And then Jesus will blow out over 2000 candles on a really large sheet cake.

And nobody would be able to use trick candles because omniscience does not lend well to surprises.

I would think that the anticipation of the day when You took a really huge demotion from heaven to earth, to dwell among us in human form so that You could ultimately bring us back to You, would be cause for a pretty raucous celebration.

Here on earth, I want to get excited as the day of Emmanuel, God with us, approaches. I should be checking off the days on my calendar in anticipation.

I can’t celebrate the day in which you came to earth with harps or a guitar or a flute or even a kazoo, but I can celebrate it with song of excitement and joy and thankfulness in my heart.

It’s Christmas Eve EVE!!!!!

Your child,

m

My Grown Up Christmas List

G:

The best Christmas present I ever received was a doll house my dad made for me. Two stories, the shingled roof was taller than my seven-year-old self. There were bay windows with sheer curtains. Wallpaper, crown molding, and hardwood floors. Electricity that lit up wall sconces and table lamps. My Barbies were in heaven, and so was I.

And then there was the Christmas present of yourself as a baby in a manger. There were shepherds with their sheep. A heavenly host singing heavenly melodies. Wise men and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You gave the gift of your son, so we could ultimately be in heaven with you.

As I look over my Christmas list full of gifts that don’t last, I know there should be a better way to give gifts. There should be a better way to give gifts like you did.

You gave yourself.

Maybe it’s giving my time instead of giving a shirt on sale from Sears. Maybe it’s making a homemade card with heartfelt words instead of a gift card to Starbucks. Maybe it’s making a doll house instead of buying one.

Maybe it just means giving myself to others like you did for me.

Your child,

m