Friday, November 30, 2012

She Said Yes

She said yes to him. It took a while. He had waited patiently. Every day he hoped she would see him for who he truly was: the one who would love her the best. He was jealous for her. Would tear the world apart to find her. He wanted to be the only.

They started out just friends. Went to the same Sunday school. Spent some time talking together. He would tell her stories and she would ask him questions. She thought it was like every other relationship. He would disappoint her and she would disappoint him. She broke promises she made. He would stop speaking to her.

But it wasn't really like that. He never stopped loving her, no matter what she did to him. He was always there, waiting outside the door, waiting for her fits of rage to subside. She didn't know, and he wouldn't tell her. He wanted her to love him on her own. He wanted her to choose him.

She grew up and went to college, and for a short while, they weren't on speaking terms. That's what happens after high school, right? People grow apart. He wasn't going to give up though, even if she wouldn't answer any of his calls. She wrote mean things about him in her journal and tried to block out what she knew was the truth about him.

One day he sent her a CD. She listened to it once, twice, a third time. It was then that she decided she wanted him back. The music had changed her. It had reminded her of the truth. She gave him a call and they patched things up. He took her back immediately.

Things were okay after that. There were the usual ups and downs, the roller coaster ride of relationships. After a while though, things started to spiral downward. He didn't show up when she needed him to. She felt all alone. She knew he had a caring nature, but she started to believe he cared about everyone but her. Pretty soon, she only looked for what was wrong with their relationship. She tried convincing him they should end it. He could go love someone else then.

But the truth was, he couldn't stop loving her. The truth was, he knew in his heart that they would end up together. And he wouldn't give up. "I will wait one year or I will wait five. Or even fifty if I have to. You decide." That's what he'd say. "You think a lot of things about me that aren't true. But one day you'll see me in a different way." It used to infuriate her. She wasn't convinced.

One day though, she was in a bad place. She called all of her friends, but none of them answered. Her family wasn't there either. She needed someone, and she didn't know who else to call. He picked up on the first ring. She blubbered all her problems to him. He showed up with warm arms and chocolate chip cookies. "Listen to me," he said gently. "I want you to do something for me. Do you think you could do something for me?"
"I guess maybe," she said.
"Let me love you. Look for the good. Just try it."

And then there was the day that she said yes. He popped the question, unexpectedly. People might have thought she was crazy. "Look how he's treated you" they might say. "Do you really think things will change?" She figured they had to. It had never worked when she asked him to follow her life plans. Maybe she should do this. Say yes. Commit, even if it was hard. It was the only thing she hadn't tried. It wasn't even necessarily that she wanted to say yes. It was that she knew she couldn't say no.

"You don't have to," he said. He made it so easy to back out and take the easy road. But she knew he cared. She knew he wanted this. So she fought for it. She said "yes, and I will change what I do to make you the first priority."

"But do you really want me?" he asked. "Do you want to love me now for reals?" He gave her time to decide in her heart. Her heart knew. In fact, her heart was burning for him. They weren't meant just to be casual acquaintances or long term friends. They were meant to be in love.

After some time passed, he told her "You know that time when we were fighting? When you thought I didn't care about you anymore? That broke my heart. I never stopped loving you. I knew you cried tears at night, and I wanted so badly for it to be me. I wanted it to be me with the salty pillowcase. I wanted it to be me with all the hurt. But you had practically given up on us. You wouldn't let me take any of it. I had to wait for you to reach the bottom, the very deepest pit of your soul."

"It worked," she said. "It totally sucked, but it worked. I don't want to ever do that again."

"I know," he said. "But you're mine. You're mine, and I love you, and that will never change. I will love you forever. I love to see you wake up in the mornings, and I smile when your hair gets all tangled up and you lose bobby pins in it and find them two days later, and I adore the way you care for children, and I want to be with you every moment of every single day. And then when the days end, I want to be with you forever after that. Someday I'm going to get you the most beautiful house painted with so much turquoise, and there will be typewriters everywhere and so many books it will put Belle from Beauty and the Beast to shame."

"I need you to know something," she said. "I don't think I've told you this before."
"What's that?" he said. But he already knew what she was going to say.
"You're mine," she said. "You're mine, you're mine, you're mine. And I love you. I love you and you're mine."
He smiled. "I'm so glad you said yes."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Raking Leaves with a fork

When I was a child, I was tortured every fall with manual labor--the kind that made your back ache and puts blisters on your hands. Just when the weed picking of the summer ended, the leaves turned and fell to their death, waiting for me to take them to their proper burial ground. I would have preferred just to leave the crispy skeletons lying there, but my mother had this thing about not wanting all the grass to die. Pshh, aesthetics.

I was remembering all this childhood torture because I just came in from raking the leaves off my yard. I scooped up all the ones that were actually on the grass, but I left the ones on the edges in the bark chips. This is because I had no room left in my yard debris bin. I will have to wait until Monday afternoon (after the garbage gets picked up) to finish the job. Provided it doesn't rain on Monday, which it most likely will.

When I set out to rake leaves, I bundled up. I had on sweatpants, a sweatshirt, a coat, and rubber boots. By the time I had raked up three piles, I was sweating. I had forgotten how much exertion leaf raking takes. Also, it wasn't 40 degrees outside like I had imagined. The process of leave raking wasn't as gruesome as I had remembered it as a child. But then again, I didn't have over 4,000 square feet of lawn to rake this time.

Growing up, leaf raking was ridiculous. We were both blessed and cursed to have four lawns, one on each side of the house. I'm not Michael Phelps, and I've never swam in an Olympic sized pool, but I imagine that at least two of the lawns were each as large as an Olympic sized pool. Besides all this grass, we lived in an area surrounded by oak and maple trees, which are both deciduous, in case you live in LA and know nothing about trees other than palms. We also had many fir trees nearby, which are non-deciduous. Oh how I had wished our house was surrounded by Douglas Firs instead of Maples. Maple trees shed a lot of leaves, and they are big, heavy leaves.

Raking up the leaves definitely took a least a week, and on some days my sister and I were out there raking for three hours or more. We would rake the leaves into huge piles on tarps, and then carry the tarps to the beginning edge of the woods to a place called "The Pit." As far as I know, my family's been throwing organic matter into The Pit for 23 years, and it's still not full. The Pit is the place where we would dump grass clippings, horse manure, food scraps, weeds, rocks, branches, and leaves. You never wanted to get too close to the edge, for fear you might fall in.

It was a lot of work to shake out the leaves on that tarp. Dragging it there wasn't fun either. A year or two after my sister got her pony, we decided to put him to work. We rigged up this contraption with a rope around his chest, and Hawk would pull our giant pile of leaves for us. He had to work for his hay. Hawk was a good, sturdy pony, and he liked working with us. For a treat we'd let him nibble the grass. Hawk was the type of pony that had limited access to green grass, because he was greedy and would eat until he got sick. Kind of like me with a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

When I moved away to college I was secretly very pleased that I wouldn't be home until Thanksgiving. This meant that I missed leaf raking. No more hours of back breaking work. In retrospect, I was obviously a terrible person for being happy about this, because it just meant that my poor mother had to do all the work by herself. So that shows you what kind of person I really was.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

those Christian stories you don't believe

Maybe you know a Christian who has told you a remarkable story about how they received a word from God. They just knew. Like, they were sitting across from a woman on a first date and the guy hears God tell him this is the girl he is going to marry. And two years later they're hitched. Or like, the person knew God wanted them to give $1,427 to a missionary, and two years later when that person is in their own financial trouble, an old friend mails them a check for $1,427.

I've heard stories like these. You want to believe them, but you have this feeling of "really? yeah right. That's cool..but for reals?"

Here is my Christian story that you might not believe. It's a little story, but it's still weird.

Tuesday night I came out of the gym. I was walking in the parking lot to my car when all of a sudden the name Malik came into my mind. I got the feeling that I needed to pray for the name, whoever it was.

I said something like "God, you know who Malik is. You know what he needs. I pray that you are with him right now and you take care of him. Take care of Malik. Actually, take care of all the Maliks in the world. You know him."

I normally don't do weird things like this. Names don't just pop into my brain on the typical Monday afternoon. God doesn't call my cell phone after dinner just to chat.

Thursday night I had the TV on and the news was going. I wasn't really paying attention because I was busy looking at things on Pinterest, but after I heard the name Malik and looked up instantly. I heard this story. An 11 year old boy in Georgia was attacked by pit bulls while trying to save his little sister. It happened Monday, the day before I said my prayer.

Maleik Carr saved his 5 year old sister Jalia.
I just stared at the screen. And then as soon as the news clip was over I googled his name to find the story. Was this weird? Yes. Does God do crazy things? Yes. Do I feel kind of strange sharing this with you? You bet. But I also thought it was cool and things like this don't happen to me. So I thought you might want to know.

Do you have your own Christian story people don't believe?

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