Tonight was one of those special nights. Where everything comes together so well that you want to cry for joy and laugh so hard and have it never end. I've been hanging out pretty much every week for the past 6 with Mee, Por, Jeab, Yi-fang, and Kris. (We said 'good-bye' to Pu and Ryan at the end of June.) Tonight we decided we wanted to talk through some of the things that Jesus said and which are recorded in Matthew 6. Having ended only a few hours ago the discussion is still fresh in my mind -- and let me say that when you have one of those heart-to-heart talks, where everyone's listening and learning and discovering, it's hard to forget! Collectively we caught a beautiful glimpse of our God and his provision in so many ways. Perhaps this lesson connects with me strongly now because my grandfather died earlier this week. Perhaps it's because I'm staring down the barrel (in a good, God-has-provided kind of way of course!) of a career decision in the next ten days. Perhaps it's because I won't be in Norman much longer and I am fighting nostalgia, longing for closure with great friends while seeking to maximize every second in their company. Perhaps it's because I have a lot more work to do before I defend my dissertation (but I want to be done now!). Perhaps it's because I have an interview next week, followed by a funeral and extended time with extended family, which itself is followed by a week at my parents' house, capped off with a (much needed!) week-long stint at the beach with my parents, aunt & uncle, and then bro's at the weekend. Perhaps it's because I remember my friends from months and years past and want to reconnect with the love they showered upon me. Perhaps it's because people elsewhere are hurting, lonely, hungry, or otherwise in need, and part of my heart cannot help but empathize and desire to do something, in some way, to bless them.
Whatever the reason, I loved talking out the provision from God. "Who among you can, by worrying, add even one hour to his life?" "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, but rather store up for yourself treasures in heaven." "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." God controls even the details of life and death, and yup, I believe that! I believe that my heart is set on heavenly things (even with all the crap [selfishness, doubt, taking my sense of security & self-worth from my knowledge, professional titles/awards, friends, physical abilities, and savings] that I know goes on in there). So tonight, after the cards have been put away (I was king 3 times! Whoop!), the dishes washed, Mee and Por returned to Heidi's house, my friends' blogs caught-up with, and the praise music blasting (as much as possible but not to disturb my Jordanian neighbors below with their 2 one-year-olds!) ... now my soul is at rest, at peace, even with all the "perhaps's" listed above still awaiting resolution. Here are a few things that I think are neat, especially if they work out:
- I really want to visit Trygve (Norwegian friend in Graz, once called "the cute guy in the red coat" by my nameless Italian-American chica ;) and travel around a few countries that I haven't visited yet
- I connected with this group called "Latin American Ministries" (LAM) and they are amazing. Reading their stories has set my dreamer-phase on overdrive. I still vividly recall the faces of the Guatemalan kids. I wonder how it's possible to leverage whatever future career (professor?) into blessing those amazing kids, either in Guatemala or elsewhere?
- I wonder how my roommates and friends from Graz are doing. Haven't really been good at keeping in touch, which I guess is a peril of being my friend: I live heavily in the moment .. which is to your advantage if you have me at present -- you get my mostly undivided attention. But if someone else grabs that friendship, unfortunately they claim top-spot and get my focus. I guess this is a little strange, but I've realized it's how I operate. Just ask my Angolan friends from last summer ... they got all of me last summer but now I rarely see them (not from lack of want!)
- I would really LOVE to visit my friend Mohammed in Isfahan (Esfahan), Iran, whom I met at the CCME conference in Istanbul last November. I think it would also be sweet to go to N. Africa to visit one of my American friends.
- I've been quickly reminded that my skills at ultimate Frisbee are okay, but not stellar like I might have hoped. I've played 4 times now with the club team from OU, and their skills far surpass mine. I enjoy it but often get lost in the shuffle... making bad cuts to get the disc, or getting burned on defense (either through my own tiredness/out-of-shape-ness, or through a deftly-executed cut to the disc). It's during those times that I remember why I prefer to play with less-serious players, who still try hard but don't mind throwing the disc to everyone on the team!
I think this is one of the most personal (and longest, and perhaps lesser-organized) posts yet, so thanks for reading through it. As Enter the Worship Circle says, "Let my heart ... sing for You ... and not remain silent!! Dance, dance, my soul, there's no reason for you to weep; Dance, dance, my soul, make music to your king." Amen, and good night!