Sunday, October 30, 2011

Back in Bloomington #6-Hair

I am committing to a post a day during the month of November as a practice in discipline. As it is 12:05 AM on November 1st, might as well get to it!

During this journey we are attempting to save money every way possible so that I can continue to be the full time caregiver for our daughter Eleonore.

I thought I would take one for the team in August, and with the seriousness and determination of Rosie the Riveter attempted to dye my own hair for the first time in close to five years, blonde streak and all.

Sometimes saving money doesn't help the family "team" because there is something to the old adage "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".

I was frustrated, and knew it was going to take a lot of money to fix my mistake. It got me thinking. . .


Such a vast aray of things span from this topic. I feel like I could write a book under the headline.

But what to write about? Haircut disasters?You have already read about the adventure that was my eyebrow journey in Jr. High. What about the bikini wax that I got a few days before my wedding resulting in me using the word Ooftah for the first time. . .well, the bikini wax can wait for another time.

In Jr. High I am quite confident I was a glutton for punishment/self humiliation.
Right before a sleepover, I decided to "trim" my own hair. It was about shoulder length at the time. And maybe I didn't "trim" it. Maybe I thought it was a good idea to add layers as well. Thirteen year old adding layers to her hair with blunt kitchen scissors=brilliant.

I remember it not looking that bad in my opinion, but when my dear friend Laura called to see when I would get to our friend Lauren's house, I shared the news that I had trimmed my own hair. With great exasperation she exclaimed that we would need to fix it as soon as I got there. When I did get there my friends seemed to be waiting with baited breath. . .

Shannon grabbed the scissors.

They thought it made the most sense to begin at the highest layer I had cut.

 To me this was near my chin.

To Shannon, Lauren and Laura, it was near my eyes.

They made me turn away from the mirror and made the first fell swoop.

A simultaneous squeal was let out  and as I tried to turn around, I was quickly shoved into the bathtub so they could finish their deed (you might be asking how/why I didn't fight back? Lauren and Shannon would go on to be part of the State Championship Softball Team for Normal Community High School, they were strong. I did the plays and was on the basketball team because the school hoped there might be an ounce of potential in this 5'11 beanpole. There wasn't.).

When they finally let me rise out of the tub, it was a sight to behold.

I said we needed to call my parents immediately (I have always struggled with guilt, some people think Catholic/Jewish guilt is the worst. It's not, United Methodist guilt is the one that bites you in the "tookis").

Shannon, brave one that she was, called my parents.

I quote:

"We gave Meredith a haircut, it looks amazing. She looks just like Cameron Diaz."

My Best Friend's Wedding was a Jr. High Sleepover staple

I couldn't agree more.
Cameron Diaz with poop brown hair that she let someone inebriated fashion into an uneven boy butt-cut.

Just like Cameron Diaz.

My parents didn't let me get it fixed for a couple of weeks. . .
I had to wonder if that was how Cameron Diaz got punished for bad behavior.

My hair eventually grew back, and in between now and then I have had a few impulse bang cuttings, but never anything that would harken back to the dramatic drastic nature of the "Cameron Diaz" cut.

The dye job was my first disaster in quite a while.

I've questioned God a lot in this journey.
A whole lot.
About a lot of things.
Our conversations are probably entertaining on the outside looking in.
And for the life of me, I didn't understand, while on top of all the other "learning experiences" we are going through, the cherry on top would be my hair.

Eleonore in her pilot cap that day.
Mindy gave her a yogurt bite
"tear drop". See why I need this woman in
my everyday life?
I was moaning and groaning about this to my dear friend Mindy who was "Back in Bloomington" from Portland visiting her family and friends. Sidenote-I am praying for God's guidance and provision in Mindy's life, while praying for this I also understand that God wishes to grant us the desires of our hearts, my desire is that Mindy moves back to Bloomington and works in community and ministry with us. If you would like to pray that too, it would be much appreciated. No really, pray that. I want her here! While we sat at The Coffee Hound, an incredibly awesome looking young woman in a blue hawaiian print caftan walked by pushing a stroller (check out her blog, you would be intimidated too). She saw Eleonore through the window in one of her "signature" pilot caps, and exclaimed through the window that she would have to come in. She introduced herself, her husband and her adorable 10 month old son Wolfgang. I couldn't help but stare at her hair. It was amazing. Half black and half bleach blonde. I had to ask where she got her hair done, and she said "Oh, I do it, I do hair". She gave me her number and we agreed to do a play date. I was so intimidated by her, I didn't know what to do. Eventually I mustered up the courage to text her (lots of gumption in texting, right?), and we did set up a play date.

There is nothing more to say other than God is faithful in ways we can never imagine. Not only do I have someone to do my hair and EYEBROWS (and do them INCREDIBLY well), I have an AMAZING new friend, as does Eleonore, as does Nate in Deb's husband Greg.

A bunch of "wild and crazy guys" out and about Halloween Night!
God continues to show me that Nate and I cannot and will not do this alone.
That not only is He in every little detail, but community will be in every little detail.
And it might not look how we expect it to.
It might look even more amazing than we can imagine.
The church is a living breathing organism if we allow it to be, of sharing gifts and talents to lift each other, and sustain one another.

Friendship and laughter are amazing gifts Deb has given me, and her talent with hair is just "the cherry on top."

I am convinced more than ever that God is in the details.

Seriously, can you not when you see how fabulous my hair looks?

peace to you,

Wolfgang and Eleonore enjoying their community! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back in Bloomington #5-Albert

I wrote this over a month ago and wasn't able to finish till now. 

There has been a lot weighing on my mind lately. I think any parent is in a constant state of looking at the world around them with a newfound lens of "What does this mean for my child?".

It can be overwhelming if you take that too far. It can consume you.

But there is a fine line and a grey area where for brief moments you can see with the hopefulness and the heartache of a child. Which I have come to see as life in its purest form.

My husband as his "Day Job", works as a residential counselor at a Boys Home for addiction and behavior rehabilitation. His "Night Job" is church planting, which is why we moved back to Bloomington.

This past week one of the boys from the home were on an extended home visit. He was also two weeks from completing the program/graduating High School. A young man who knew what he wanted to do with his life, who all the other boys looked up to.

While at home, his mother caught him drinking, told him she was taking him back to the Home, where inevitably the leaders would be told, and he would have to start the program over again. In his compliant nature, he packed up his things, went to the car, then told his mother if he was going to be there for a longer time, he would like to have his slippers. He ran upstairs to his room, took out a shotgun, and killed himself.

As a parent the questions seem endless. For a while I thought my crying would be endless.

That boy was someone's Eleonore.
That little boy. . .

And then my view broadens, and my questions as a Christian become endless.

This decision was made in a split second.

In that split second, where was the Hope that is central to the Christian Faith?

And then I begin to judge.

I begin to judge the church, I begin to judge those who call themselves Christians. I begin to judge myself.

How often am I guilty of not exasperating myself in my need to share the Hope that is Christ Risen?

It is of course much, much more complicated than judging and asking those questions.

I was on pinterest the same week. Oh man, I love this website! So fun and inspirational.

One of my "boards" is a place to put all of the lovely quotes that are fashioned into art on said site. The one that hit home in light of this boy's death was this:

Practical and straightforward in it's nature, this Albert Einstein quote struck through to the base of the problem.

If you tell someone that they aren't good enough, will never be good enough for the love of Christ, and you judge them by this, and don't share what is CENTRAL to the message of Christ, they will never be able to experience the Hope and Love of Christ. If you don't name them for what they are. This idea of naming comes from my favorite author Madeleine L'Engle, and it consistently and persistently rings true with my theology and world outlook.

I see it as an epidemic in our society. We are not naming the children, who are becoming unnamed adults, and we ourselves are not claiming our names.

I have a friend who recently started a sports team. She shared with me about her confusion of community within this sports team.

"I feel more a sense of community on my team, than I have in a church in a long time."

And I can't do anything but nod my head in agreement and apologize for the Christian Church and what it has become (which is a full time job when it comes down to it).

If we Christians cannot hold one another up in the knowledge and hope of the risen Christ, then how DARE we look upon the world in judgement.

I struggle with this on a daily basis. The house that sits across from ours is not the "loveliest". A seven unit victorian mansion that has seen better days, and holds so much sorrow and heartache.

I often don't recognize the strung out that enter and exit this place. Some of the men who are tenants work on the house to pay their rent. I noticed that they had been staring at me quite a bit (I do say "Hi" when I see them and make eye contact, as they are neighbors) but this was getting uncomfortable (seeing them in the reflection of the window staring etc.) I feel completely safe, more than anything I don't want other women being treated this way.

Nate went over to talk to them about it.

The landlord proceeds to say:

 "She's a pretty woman in a poor neighborhood, she needs to get used to it."

No words are fit to respond to this.
I become enraged.

It's a perfect example of a cyclical cycle that if we aren't careful we can all find ourselves trapped in.

Because no one named the Landlord, no one cared and nurtured him and taught him the value of humanity, he cannot name anyone. In fact he allows people to live under his roof and continue in processes that not only don't "name" but actually "un-name" them, consistently de-humanizing themselves. And in the process he is de-humanizing himself. Thus a woman doesn't have humanity, she is thought of as an object to look at, un-naming her (me), and when I am "un-named" if I'm not careful, it takes away my ability to name, and so I begin to only see those men with eyes of disgust and hatred, rather than seeing them for what they are, un-named, un-nurtured, children of God (there is nothing wrong with being wise and safe, but it is still important to see them as human).

When I do this, and enter into this cycle, am I any better than the influence and judgment that brought this young boy to a place of ultimate hopelessness and desperation, where he thought his choices were gone?

No, I'm not.

Where does it stop/start?

With YOU and with ME.

Making a decision, to exasperate ourselves in sharing the Hope of the risen Christ, and letting that define how we care for EVERYONE we encounter.

This decision becomes even more vital when I see my child, and I see that my influence will directly decide how she values humanity and values creation. It's a scary and yet ultimately hopeful privilege.

 Einstein hits the American Christian Church on the head once again with this one:

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. 
-Albert Einstein

Let us make a decision to start filling the beautiful creation of God with the Hope we have been given, let us not be "a sorry lot".

It might be crazy what we see.

peace to you,