Thursday, June 27, 2013

We, OYAN

Here's a tiny taste of what's been mulling through my head for well over a week, a large tangle of half-thoughts that need corralled and pinned down.

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We are global. Spread throughout the world, the continents, the countries, states, and provinces.  And yet, we are connected. The epitome of our connectedness is when we congregate under the Kansas sun.
                It’s amazing, the threads of love, kindness and acceptance that weave through this group.
                No, we aren’t perfect. Yes, we have issues. Spats. Differences. Flame-wars. But beneath that—in spite of that—God is working in, around, above and through us. One analogy of life is that of a tapestry, and as God weaves our own personal tapestries, He’s running threads of each one of us through this tapestry called “OYAN,” and through our tapestries, OYAN winds its way. It looks tangled, crazy, far-fetched and sometimes painful from the view we see now. Someday, however, we’ll see it right-side-up, and it will be stunning.
                My deepest friendships exist because of OYAN. Much of my life since 2009 has been shaped by this beautiful mess of quirky people.
                I wonder if our teacher and his wife, both our mentors, ever imagined this happening. Did Dan and Carrol Schawbauer envision their box of three books, stack of DVDs, and web forum would explode this much? That they would be known affectionately as “Mr. and Mrs. S” to hundreds of young people that look up to them like a favorite aunt and uncle or a second set of parents? Did they know that their first tiny workshop hosted in a hotel would expand and take over an entire college campus? That teens from around the world would flock to their workshops year after year, coming to deepen their talents, friendships, and that in doing so would also deepen their relationship with God?
                Did any of us ever imagine that a writing curriculum would rock our world?
                I didn’t.
                He cried that last night, Mr. S.
                I did too, in the prayer circle, the muggy Kansas summer surrounding us like a hug, the sky overhead a soft black. People praying aloud, praying for Mr. and Mrs. S. and their newest dream, a creative arts foundation. Praying for each other and that praying morphing into singing—hearts praying as hymns and worship songs rose above us and melted into the night.
                It’s amazing. Amid the classes, the craziness, the costumes. Amongst all the baggage we carry, the tough things life has thrown into our teeth. In the middle of us—of our mess, this knot of fragile misfits with a love for the stories inside of us and a desire to share them—inside of all of that, it’s beautiful.
                We are beautiful.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Little Things

Anyone that knows me probably knows I tend to be impatient, sometimes pessimistic, and that I hate getting stuck behind slow vehicles.

This morning I got stuck behind a pickup pulling a fertilizer tank. At first it annoyed me because the driver was being so slow. I watched the liquid fertilizer slosh around inside the tank of opaque plastic, tapped my hand against the steering wheel, took a swig of my cappuccino, and wondered if I should risk passing him.

Then I realized, no, I shouldn't. I was a mile from my house, not in any hurry, and that it was good for me to wind up creeping along behind this farmer.

It's a mind-game I make myself play sometimes. Try to find the good points inside of the frustrating, annoying, things that come up, in hopes that it will help me regain a sense of optimism.

Anyway, the good that I discovered while out-and-about this morning...

 - Going beneath the speed limit meant that the farmer was being careful. He didn't want to have a wreck and spill potentially flammable material all over the road/catch his vehicle or other vehicles on fire.

 - His being on the road in the first place meant our nation's farmers are growing the crops that help keep this country stable and fed.

- I was being forced to be patient.

I kept going...

- The ache in my neck meant my chiropractor is doing her job in correcting my spine.

- The money spent at the appointment meant that life isn't meant to be a free ride, that hard work and paying people what their skills are worth is good.

- Taking a slight detour due to traffic near a poorly-placed gas station exit meant that the economy, while depressed, is still chugging along, and that people have jobs to go to and business to conduct.

- The cappuccino in my hand, the gas in my car, and the phone in my pocket meant I am capable of earning money, holding down a job, and paying a number of my own expenses.

I felt a lot better after realizing those things. And...by that time, I was home.

What good can you find in the next inconvenience that comes your way?