Today was the first day in a long time I could travel somewhere without having to factor in the time it would take the G-train to get to the station. It was weird.
But before I go there, I want to describe in the most eloquent way I can manage the splendor and fellowship that characterized yesterday, the activity that left me so exhausted that I got home and fell asleep before I opened my bedroom door half way.
I woke up, spent an hour or so talking to God, just hanging out with Him, taking time before the day began to get my mind refreshed and ready for anything, and to remind myself He can handle the anything that I might not be ready for.
Around ten I headed out to visit Hannah and Grandma Pat. It’s weird: I was very aware of how still the air was. There was almost no wind, at least not compared to the perpetually windy streets of New York City. For a moment I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, but then I arrived at Grandma Pat’s house and everything was all good 🙂
We basically just talked all day, about everything from men to marriage to surgery to nursing homes to food to family. Around the time Hannah and I were making lunch (I got to make lunch with Hannah :D), my Pastor from my hometown church and his wife came over and we talked with them too. I had been wanting to discuss the concept of the negative connotations that came with fundamentalism, so it was a total God thing that they came over 🙂
Fundamentalism, technically speaking, means “to live by and adhere to basic truths,” and it’s often implied that these truths are those of the Bible. There are cases (many cases), however, where the prefix hyper- comes into play, and you have the groundwork for a very negative perspective on fundamentalism. I had never been introduced to the derogatory term “fundy” until I lived in The City. I had only been called it once, and the grounds for the person calling me that weren’t laid properly, and it really stung. Regardless, I wanted to see what my small town pastor had to say about a Big City word.
We discussed this matter for a very long time, opening many cans of worms and getting lots of bites. We ventured into Calvinism, we discussed Reformed Theology, we discussed John Piper, we discussed C.S. Lewis, and we discussed the body of Christ. By the end of our talk, I was fully charged and I felt like I better understood exactly what kind of battle is going on within my own camp.
Pastor Dan and Julie (those are their names :)) left, and Hannah and I went for a walk so Grandma Pat could take a nap. It was beautiful outside: it was supposed to rain, but I guess God had other plans 🙂 We went and got ice-cream at Stewarts’, eating it on a bench outside of the library.
While we were walking towards the library, we’d passed a girl standing next to the road, looking upset with a distraught expression plastered on her face. I felt like we should stop and ask her if she was okay, but we passed by. Hannah commented that she looked upset. And then, while we were sitting on the bench, we decided we should’ve stopped and talked to her, and we very creepily got up and walked back to where she was standing, looking around street corners and other ways without being able to find her.
I hope she’s okay 😦
Eventually, after traveling to get the mail, we went inside the library, down into the basement where the small museum is. It was much cooler in there, and there were dresses and tea sets on display above old trunks and dusty glass cases.
After that we headed up to the library part of the library and we scanned the books. I stood in one section and just smelled the books, because books smell amazing. I found a mammoth dictionary that’s bigger than the one I have, but obviously I couldn’t take it home with me…which was rather upsetting, for I do love dictionaries.
After a while we headed back to Grandma Pat’s house (I remember doing laundry but I can’t remember if we did it after or before the walk), and we are grapes in the kitchen and talked some more. Grandma Pat came in eventually, a smile on her face.
At one point, I was holding a bowl of grapes and Hannah took it from me, put it on the island, and gave me one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever received from her. She said it was from Uncle Doug, who’s been in Kuwait for quite some time now, missed by all of us. I hugged her back, saying my hug was from him to her. And it was then, in that moment, that I realized just how loved I am, or maybe not realized the full measure of it, but I realized that I’m so much more loved than I think.
My mother came to the house shortly afterwards to bring me back home to eat dinner before all of us ladies headed out to the movies. Later on we did go to said movies and we watched Moms’ Night Out.
You. Reader. Go watch this movie.
That is all.
We left the theatre laughing, and the conversations coming home were fruitful and thought-provoking.
This morning I woke up early and drove Mom to work. I spent most of the day cleaning and unpacking (yes, still) before going to get Gracie and Jimmy from school at two. I drove in my bare feet with the windows rolled down. My iPod playlist, as I drove, jumped from TobyMac to Metallica to Mozart…Hm.
When I brought Gracie and Jimmy home, they began to fight, which they do a lot because they’re so close in age and they’re both going through “that phase.” While I has talking to God this morning, I prayed that He would give me the perspective and the patience and the self control to not totally lose my temper with them, because, when it comes to my siblings, my temper is rather short. Surely enough, when they began to pick at each other, I went to say something and my mouth was closed.
God: This is something they need to work out together.
After I went and picked Mom up from work, the four of us went out to Frankie’s for dinner, the one fancy restaurant in town. And not only is it “fancy” but it’s legitimately Sicilian, and the owner and his family are well-known and well-loved in our community. Everybody welcomed me back and asked me how I was and how school had been, because literally everyone knows me here. In the past two days, I’ve seen just how much my little town is like the Shire.
Mom and I dropped Gracie and Jimmy of at home after dinner (which was delicious and relatively uneventful, save my battle with a straw and Jimmy being ignorant of who Harry Connick Jr. is….I was appalled) and we headed out to go grocery shopping. This is one of those things I missed during the school year, going grocery shopping with my mother. We got everything on the list and I bought a new journal. Buying a new journal, for me, is a monumental occasion.
Each journal I finish kind of symbolizes a new “chapter” in my life, a new phase, whatever you wish to call it. It’s almost like another book in a series, and the protagonist are me and God, with many other characters coming in and going out. It’s my favorite story to write 🙂
We stopped at Stewarts’ on the way home and Mom and I had a candid battle with gallons of one percent milk 🙂 When we got home and put all of the groceries away, I had to do the nasty task of trying to remove a splinter lodged deep in Gracie’s finger. She has a very low pain tolerance, whereas I, I think, have a very high tolerance for pain (probably because I just fall over things and run into stuff so often that I’m kind of used to it). So, while I was trying to get the splinter out, I wasn’t really thinking about how much pain she could handle. Let’s just say she didn’t let me get it all the way out It’s moments like these that I wonder what kind of mother I’ll be.
Gracie and I did Just Dance and then she and my brother got ready for bed. I did Zumba for a while, jumped in the shower, got changed, did laundry, and, while doing the laundry, I began to further study the battle happening in my own camp during this spiritual war.
I decided to take on Calvinism and Reformed Theology.
Now, my knowledge of these subjects are limited, so I’m venturing out to expand my knowledge of them. Accept their concepts and ideas? Probably not, because I don’t believe most of what they’re preaching is biblical, though something can certainly be salvaged from this exploration.
I began reading an article written by John Piper. After talking with my pastor and thinking more about seeing the state of the body of Christ, seeing how divided it is, I want to learn whats dividing us exactly, and how to encourage unity among my peers. We’ll see how this goes.
While I read the article, I talked to God and had my Bible open. I’m no theologian, and I’m no scholar, but God knows His own word pretty well. So, whether you agree with Calvinism or you desire fundamentalism or you just don’t really care, underneath all of the -isms is God saying what He’s been saying from the very beginning: “Follow Me.”
“but test everything; hold fast what is good.” —1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV