Thursday, February 14, 2013


Just as everything was starting to make sense and the life plan had been officially approved, I have felt the need to redirect my life. Ugg. It's not even just a me feeling. It's kind of like a God feeling. I hate it when He does that. They happen way too frequently, I think. Maybe that's some sort of indication on the direction my life is going. That's actually probably quite feasible.

I think my life GPS is probably operated by the Allstate Mayhem Guy. I'm about 85% confident that I'm right on that one. Trust me.

And so, the question becomes, "Where, in the name of all that is holy, do I go from here?" In the last year I have had so many certainties become uncertainties and vice versa. What I thought I was going to do has changed so many times that my head is left spinning out of control. I am not going to bore you with details. Those who know will know and those who do not must resort to reading between the lines. Sweet, omnipotent power that comes as the author of this blog!

Yet, here I am, poised between two very good things and several other pretty good things. Some divine signage is appreciated, but it becomes mildly inconvenient when said signage tells you to take the exit you passed 45 miles ago. The thought process goes something like, "Are you kidding me?!? Why didn't you just tell me I needed that exit? Now, you seriously want me to turn around? Do you have any idea how ridiculously inefficient this is? I'm almost to the exit I want to take. Why don't I just stick to that one?" 

But no. That's not how these things work apparently. Also, I'm not entirely as cynical about this redirection as my driving dialogue with God would suggest. I appreciate that doors have opened up in several avenues to accomplish whatever needs to be done. Sometimes, I get so busy with life plans and figuring things out that I forget where the best direction comes from. I forget to listen for divine help. I forget that the course corrections that have already come in my life have turned out for better than I could have anticipated.

Maybe, it is not me being redirected by the Mayhem Guy GPS, but rather me serving as the GPS that reroutes and recalculates every five minutes. I know where I want to go, and I think that my destination is also God's destination for me. Wrong again. Choice exists, but often that choice is guided by our social, religious, biological, and geographical contexts. That's sociology. It happens. Context influences the decisions we make and the ability we have to make such decisions. My context has changed about 100 times in the last year. Yes, that is an accurate number. 

In the words of Coldplay, "I don't know which way I'm going. I don't know what I'll become." 

In the end, that's where we stand -- somewhere between the abyss of the unknown and the valley of the known. We see what lies before us, and yet so much of it remains hidden, buried in the vast expanse of horizon or the darkness of depth. All that remains is to decide which we pursue, which direction to take, whether or not to listen to the life plan GPS. In that spirit, enjoy the wonderful Allstate GPS commercial. Good luck.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Us Against the World

This is pretty much how I feel today. I'm thinking that Tuesdays are a good day to just sort of slow it down. Thoughts? Impressions?

Through chaos as it swirls, it's us against the world. 

There is phenomenal power in music -- power to express our unspoken desires and concerns, power to speak to our souls, power to calm the chaos.

I just want to be there when the lightening strikes and the saints go marching in.

Tonight I know that it all has to begin again.

After a series of life chats with myself and others, I realize that it does indeed all have to begin again. This was not a redirection I anticipated. It has created greater chaos and confusing. These are fun times, I tell you...not really. I kind of hate it...and love it...Oh, sweet confusion!

Through chaos as it swirls, it's us against the world.

So whatever you do, don't let go.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Elephants and Giraffes

You know how everyone tells you that the last semester of your last year of schooling is supposed to be easy, relaxing, and liberating?


To quote Joe Biden, such an idea is simply "malarky."

Instead, I find myself 1) in a state of seemingly permanent exhaustion, 2) fluctuating between states of constant stress, confusion, and worry, 3) with a profound sense of loathing for Persuasive Writing, 4) making way too many lists, 5) beginning and ending such lists with phrases like "Elephants and giraffes!"

This serves to remind me that it's important to take things one at a time.

Ask me how well I'm doing at putting that into practice.

My response?

Blow it out your ear!

In the midst of all of these things is Teach For America, graduate school, research, presentations for the Pacific Sociological Association conference, and a myriad of concerns over sense of self, self-identity, and the issue of self-actualization. Damn you, Maslow and your hierarchy of needs!

But, as a friend reminds me frequently, the best way to achieve anything is to do it one step, or one bite at a time. This friend asked me once how you would go about eating an elephant. I retorted that elephants are probably a protected species, so eating one would probably land you in a sketchy African prison. Giraffes were obviously the next victim of choice. Again, I responded that giraffes are probably also protected. Since I have no intention of ever ending up in prison (sketchy or otherwise), eating an elephant or giraffe is simply out of the question.

The point, however, was (and is) not lost. Shel Silverstein once wrote a poem about a girl who determined to eat a whale. It took her 89 years, but she did it. One bite at a time. Despite the naysayers, the doubters, and the detractors. One bite at a time.

Morals of the story: 1) Don't ever ask me how to eat an elephant, giraffe, or other large animal that may or may not be a protected species. 2) Never bite off more than you can chew (handy in the case of actually trying to eat an elephant, I would imagine). 3) In such a case that you fail to heed #2, always remember elephants and giraffes.

Finally, I leave you with this video because everybody needs a little pep talk every once in a while. Also, "NOT COOL ROBERT FROST!!" basically sums up some of my feelings currently.