I love the fact that I have a Chinese roommate. Lin listens to really cool music: the lyrics of a Chinese pop song are so much more definite and dut-dut-dut strong when compared to how western music flows and pools together. Also, every time she warms up any kind of Chinese food, the room smells fantastic and the aroma makes my mouth water. She’s been sick lately, so the other night I offered her a cough drop. I was shocked to discover that she had never heard of a cough drop. I gave her one and explained what it does and what you’re supposed to do with it. Well, about two minutes later, I hear her crunching the cough drop. I don’t think she understood me when I said she was supposed to suck on it, but I couldn’t stop her and explain further because I was just laughing way too hard 🙂
Okay, so for the past week or so my mother has been taunting me with “you’re going to get something in the mail soon but it’s not from me and I’m not telling you what it is.” What!? You can’t just tease me like that! Nevertheless I waited patiently for it to come, and today it finally arrived. Charlene was with me when I picked it up from the post office. It was a large cardboard box, and the sender was a wonderful family friend 😀
Charlene and I went back to my dorm and I opened the package while she did her homework. When I opened the box, I automatically knew that my day was about to be made. The first thing I saw was a Snoopy stuffed animal. There was a card on top; I read it and I just felt so loved and so blessed. God has really given me some amazing people in my life 🙂 The rest of the contents of the box made me even more excited: leopard-print, fuzzy, boot slippers, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios (yum!), lotion and shower gel (smelled fantastic), a Christmas CD of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, athletic wear, a Tupperware of homemade fudge (no words), and a Peanuts book titled Be Yourself. The book was filled with pictures of the Peanuts gang helping each other out, being friends, and, well, being themselves :D. This whole gift really encouraged me to stay strong in God and in myself. It’s so easy sometimes to forget where you’ve come from, how you’ve been raised, and who you’ve left behind, even if it’s only for a little while.
I’ve been trying to find a place to buy stamps forever because I have like four or five letters that need to be written and sent out. Well, Charlene told me today that there was a post office right on Myrtle, a thirty second walk from my dorm….brilliant. Anyway, before I left to go to Maria’s house, I went and bought some stamps. It’s weird: everything in the city seems to be more expensive than in the sticks, but a book of stamps is cheaper.
Tonight, me and some of the church girls had a movie night. I got to Maria’s house to help get food ready and dishes washed and yata-yata-yata. I made rice-crispy treats while Maria made a cake for Rebecca’s birthday. Rebecca’s character makes me laugh. A lot of people her age just brush off their birthday’s and try to be totally indifferent to their own feelings of wanting to be the center of attention. Rebecca, yesterday, said “ATTENTION: tomorrow is my birthday. Thank you, you may continue.” The ladies at my church are just so different and every one of their characters are absolutely unique. They’re all awesome 🙂
Maria, after icing the cake, had a bowl of frosting leftover. I’m sure you can guess what happened. We pulled out graham crackers and chocolate chips and smeared the icing onto the crackers and sprinkled on the chips and ate it. I felt a little sick after a while, but it was so worth it. All the ladies came and we ate food and started the movie. The movie we watched was called Unconditional, starring Michael Ealy. First of all, I would like to say that Michael Ealy is a very attractive man, AND he’s a great actor. The storyline is about a girl named Sam and a boy named Joe. The two of them were childhood friends, but had grown up and separated over time. Finally, they’re brought back together after Sam’s husband was murdered in Joe’s neighborhood. As Joe runs a build-up program for at-risk kids with his neighbor, Denise, he struggles with maintaining his health, living with two nonfunctional kidneys. Sam is an illustrator and children’s book writer, but after the murder of her husband has lost her spark and her hope. Being reunited with Joe and becoming a part of his program, she discovers that even when there is a storm, the sun is still shining up above the darkness of the clouds. The sun is God’s love, something that can never be taken away, no matter how heavy the rain, how ominous the sky, or how distraught your heart. This movie made me jump up and freak out and cry and laugh all at once. After the movie was over, we all sat around and analyzed it. We were mostly upset that Sam and Joe didn’t end up together, but then we realized the important part of the movie was that God’s love reigned true in the end.
It was really late, and, as usual, I was thinking about the fear of walking to the subway station by myself. God, as always, blessed me with two of the girls taking the same train I was and the three of us walking together, laughing and talking about all sorts of things. Despite how frustrating the subway system may be sometimes, God has used it countless times to remind me that He’s in control, that He’s here for me. God is totally in New York City, just like He’s present everywhere else.
Maria sent me home with a whole bag of rice-crispy treats. I certainly wasn’t going to eat them, so as I walked across campus I “just-happened” to run into some of my friends. Then through the hallway I knocked on the doors of people I knew and offered them some of the treats. By the time I reached my room, all of them were gone 🙂
I was reminded of my purpose of living day by day on this earth. I’m not meant to know the future; I’m not meant to have a solid plan. The world expects me to have a huge intricate plan concerning my future. The world expects me to worry about money and have a successful job and climb the corporate ladder. The world wants me, especially as a woman, to be independent and proud. But that’s not at all what God wants…
God wants me to live with the sun, to wake up when it rises and to fall asleep when it sets, to stay in today rather than trying to live through tomorrow. God wants me to trust Him to provide for me, to just work hard at what I’m doing right now. God wants me to dependent on Him, to be humbled to the point where I lean on Him for small things like time to spend with Him to bigger things like knowing what to do when I’m challenged, when I’m unsure, when I’m afraid. God wants my dependence.
Being dependent is hard! It’s really difficult. But if you practice being dependent, it becomes easier. I think that’s one of the reason why I like being here: I have to be dependent on God. When you are dependent on Him, when you trust Him to do what He promised, He comes through in ridiculous ways. Sometimes His ways are subtle. Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” All you have to do is actively look for Him. Search for the light in a dark situation. Search for the innocence in a place of impurity. Search for the grace in a heart without mercy. You will find Him. Other times He uses neon signs to show Himself to you. Things like this include the simplicity of nature. “You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.” (Psalm 104:10,11, ESV). Just the way a river provides life to nature shows God’s presence, shows His power and glory.
But then there are times when you can’t find God. You look all around you and see nothing but hurt, desperation, and pain. That’s when you are reminded that God is in you. The Holy Spirit is the presence of the Lord, when all else fails. When it seems like He’s not there, you can be comforted by His presence within your heart. This is when God can show Himself through you. This is when the Holy Spirit is able to “be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” 🙂