28 December 2009


I think about boundaries a fair amount, in the context of a handful of relationships. Some friends recently introduced me to this book, and I intend to read it sometime. I wonder about freedom in Christ, and about how to love people. I wonder when my boundaries are good and right and healthy, and when I'm living as if grace weren't real and powerful and redemption deeply possible. I am in this for the long haul, after all.

24 December 2009

Living with Integrity

One of the themes of the last few months for me has been the idea of living with integrity. In everything. Feeling convicted about that in different spheres of my life this fall and how all-encompassing that can be. And how it can be exhausting to pursue that on your own strength. But good and humbling to be convicted of new ways that I don't live with integrity--new revelations of how I need Jesus.

Some time ago, my friend introduced me to this blog by a friend of hers. For whatever reason, the last few posts only just showed up in my google reader feed a couple days ago, but here are a couple excerpts that I found encouraging:

God grew in those moments (or maybe I finally shrank). I realized how big he was, and how small I was. He is in control and I can enjoy breathing. I can enjoy Him. Nothing is required of me. I am accepted by that which is greater than me. And I am safe there.

Intimacy with Christ often leads us to go backwards in comparison with what the world values. Though God may want to teach much through me, give much, love much, and perform much at some point, I appreciate so much this emphasis on being unimportant, unwise, and irrelevant.

Community is always around, and it has been my pride that has hindered me from experiencing it. I believe a lie that others care about me only for what I do, and not who I am. In reality, I believe that lie about myself: I am only valuable for what I do. I have based my own value in my productivity, instead of my relationships.

It's Christmas Eve. I plan on seeing Where The Wild Things Are this afternoon at the second run theater near my home, and then my mother and I will be picking my brother up from the airport. We've been a family of three for over ten years now. It still feels a little strange. We have a lot in common, and a lot that's different, of course. Family is so interesting. It happens in so many different ways, and then there's this whole other story of being adopted into God's family, becoming co-heirs with Jesus. But family is that weird thing that you don't choose, for all its blessings and dysfunctions.

I've neglected the beauty and anticipation of Advent this year. And suddenly Christmas is here. I do want Jesus to come and restore all things once and for all. But there are things that I want to see happen before then, right? Ways for the Kingdom to come and take shape around me and in my life and in the lives of those I love, before the end of our time. Maybe you know what I mean.

Here he comes, let us adore him.

23 December 2009

Night Vision

I think I dozed off even before the plane took off from the Nashville airport last night, and about an hour into the flight, I woke up somewhere over the Chesapeake, I think. It was all craggy like that.

It was a really gorgeous view--there was a bit of haze, and we were high enough that you couldn't make out any moving lights from cars, just this foreign landscape of pockets of city lights against the pitch black of water as we moved up the Atlantic coastline.

Everything looked so still, and there was this illusion of moving slowly, flying so far up. But then as we passed over one city--maybe Baltimore?--there were a couple planes flying below us, and you could see just how fast we were all going. Shortly thereafter, the pilot told us to keep an eye out for Philadelphia and then New York, and it was really just a matter of minutes from the announcement before I recognized Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Times Square was super bright, even from that far away.

I don't remember the last time that I had a night flight. For whatever reason, it made me think a bit about death (I do tend to think about death fairly easily). Not that think that I'm supposed to die anytime soon, but I don't think I'm that afraid of it, for the most part. I think about the inevitability of my family dying, or my friends, or myself.

The views from the plane last night made me think of the endless grey city at the start of C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce." Maybe it was the anonymity of floating so high above. But here it was really lovely to see, taking in miles and miles all around.

22 December 2009


The main character in Avatar and I share a birthday. I'm about 150 years older than he is.

True story.

Also: the dreaded/cryptic CHECK ENGINE light came on in my car on my way to work this morning. I don't even remember the last time that's happened. Sigh. I'll just have to deal with it when I get back to town next week.

21 December 2009

Hello Good-bye

I saw Avatar tonight with a few friends, in 3-D (non-IMAX). I had moderate expectations, and I liked it well enough. I wasn't over-cheesed. It wasn't a mind-blowing spectacle, but I enjoyed the ride. Lots of pretty colors to look at.

I also said good-bye to a friend tonight for the third or fourth time in as many days. The last few days have been a protracted packing up and saying good-bye to Nashville for her as she gets ready to move to Denver. I guess it's been a little less traumatic each time, but it still sucks. I leave for home tomorrow right after work (still need to finish packing myself), so I don't think I will see her until she comes back to visit in April. In the meantime, I have a couple ounces of triple sec in a mini-tupperware to remember her by.

Good-bye. God be with you.

20 December 2009


A few months ago, I looked at a friend of mine's blogroll and saw that I had been added to the list with the accompanying blurblet, "Hitoshi - Honesty and wisdom." How flattering!

Then a few weeks ago, I looked there again and saw that my blurblet had changed to "Hitoshi - The occasional entry." How true!

It's been over two months since the last post, and this is certainly not a resolution to post more frequently. But I have, amazingly, a wide open Sunday with no obligations for today's church service, and I'm looking forward to just being able to show up. So I'll spend a bit of time here.

The usual re-cap: lots of holiday parties and some great shows, both playing and watching. Day job has been very full and busy. I managed to make it through the entire day after Thanksgiving without getting out of my PJs. I have no idea when the last time that happened was.

Life overall feels stable--I'm not counting on that or anything, but I appreciate it in this season. I head back to MA on Tuesday for a little less than a week at home. A high school friend of mine is getting married in the Boston area the day after Christmas, so that should be a fun time. I'm looking forward to going home, but it's kinda snuck up on me in the crazy busy-ness of the month. A reflective season of Advent this has not been.

What am I doing here in Nashville? Lately, for various reasons and excuses, I've been keeping God at bay. There have been a few stretches of discipline in my devotions, but for the most part it's been a dry season.

I'm not really sure what to make of 2009. It was downright terrible up until the day after Easter. Then it's been the usual everything since then. Lots of ways that I'm content and grateful, lots of ways that I'm not.

What's the point? Keep on doing life and growing in the grace and goodness of God, being sanctified and changed, fighting the long defeat wherever we happen to be? I'm fairly confident that I'm supposed to be in Nashville. But I'm definitely lacking perspective right now on where I've been and what God is doing and where he's leading me. I don't feel like I'm changing.

I think I'm weary, maybe. And I'm not necessarily finding my rest in Jesus, or anywhere, for that matter. I find myself often wishing for a "pause" button so that I can get things done or take a nap. So I'm laboring, and striving, and some of that is good, and some of that is just spinning my wheels.

I do not have my stuff together. That's a given. And there are seasons when I'm pretty ok with that. But now is a time when I'm more unsettled by it. The usual identity issues--girls, music--where I look for validation and meaning in my life. Clearly, that's not working out for me, and I am grateful, honestly, cause I don't want to ever forget that I need need need this good and faithful God over every part of my life. Tiresome as that can sometimes feel.

Lately I think one of my main overarching/underlying struggles is that I live more by fear than by love. Sometimes I see it, and I preach the gospel to myself and remind myself the ways that "perfect love casts out fear." But I stumble on that one a lot, walking in fear instead of love.

My brain is an instant replay machine, with the repeat button stuck. I feel like my strong, incessant memory problem has gotten worse over the course of this year. Harder and harder to just let something happen and move on. Constantly replaying and parsing.

How have I grown in good ways this year? I don't know. Maybe straightforwardness and matter-of-factness in some things. Is the difference between boldness and foolishness just in the outcome?

I'm weary, I think that's it. 2010 feels like it's going to be more of the same. But I do have hope for God's sovereignty over it all.