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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

determined joy.

Dear FH,

(Who will have to either deal with my stubbornness or learn to manipulate it to your own advantage).

There are two things I am a strong purveyor of: joy and truth.

One day, maybe, if I'm brave enough, I'll get a tattoo on my right foot.  It will say "rejoice in truth."  After all, it's what love does.

I'm beginning to find, unfortunately, that there are more things in this life to become bitter about, rather than rejoice in.  Bitterness is such a strong seed, it takes root in even the most brittle places.  It quickly squelches, obliterates any traces of joy.

We have a little term for this in the restaurant industry.  It's called "being in the weeds."  This happens to the best of us.  Guests keep filtering in during the afternoon lunch or evening dinner rush.  You literally begin drowning in coffee and ice tea refills, picking up empty plates, greeting new guests, cashing out old ones, keeping food balanced on trays above your shoulder and praying that you don't slip and fall (something that, you will learn, is in my nature).

It's a whirlwind of welcome, thank you, how may I assist you?, it would be my pleasure, the restroom is right over this way, our lunch buffet is 16.95, yes gratuity is included, no beverages are not included, do you need change?, have a wonderful day, come join us again soon. 

And there is little time for thinking or doing anything else.

Similarly, you can slip into the weeds of bitterness in your own life.

It would be super easy for someone, for me, for you, to just sort of melt into a habit of looking at life through bitterly-rimmed glasses.  I was prepared for a day at work "in the weeds," just yesterday.  I was running a few minutes late (proof of my aforementioned need for a five minute buffer) because I was sitting in my little red toyota in the employee parking lot.  Praying.

"Lord, give me grace among the fire of this day.  Either that, or make it a super easy day." 

FH, nothing in this lifetime will ever be super easy.  But grace is always there when you need it the most desperately.

As soon as I breezed through the employee entrance, the madness began.  I smiled at my boss as I tied my apron and prepared mentally for the day ahead.

"Good morning!" I said with all the enthusiasm I could muster.  I was in a good mood.  I began praying a lot more when I began working here.

"Our buffet runner isn't here, I need you to help set up the buffet outside," my boss said to me in a near panic.

I smiled back at him, and gave him a second chance.

"Good morning" I said again.  My only reply.

He stopped, looked me in the eye with a short smile and said, "Sorry, good morning."

I turned and began brewing coffee for the lunch hour.  And so it began.

And, FH, I wasn't perfect.  I may try to convince you that I am in the beginning of our relationship, but you'll very quickly come to find that I am not.  I was impatient, I lost sight of joy.  My fuse line of patience ran rather short. 

Nonetheless, I worked the rest of the day, clearing tables, resetting silverware, counting money and listening to my dear coworkers as best I could.  Trying not to fall into the weeds of bitterness, and searching for joy in serving.

I was determined to find joy in the midst of stress, pressure and doing the dirty work.

I hope you'll trust and fight for this determination for joy by my side.  That our love for one another will rejoice in truth.  Together.


Monday, December 5, 2011

get after it

Dear You-Know-Who,

(Who may need to give me a kick in the you-know-what every once in a while)

It's Monday of the last week of my second-to-last semester of graduate school.  Motivation is low, and procrastination is at its all-time high.  I believe you will come to know that I have set the record for putting off important things in order to accomplish menial tasks, like painting my fingernails and dying my hair darker.  Both of which I have done today.

This is why I refer to myself as the latest procrastination sensation.

The fact that I'm sitting here, reclining in my worn-out, faded striped chair, still in my pajamas and slippers at 2:30 in the afternoon, listening to Christmas music, drinking Vanilla Coke and eating M&Ms is proof positive of this phenomenon.

BUT, I do have my schoolbook in my lap as a rest for my computer, so you can't say that I'm not at least thinking about the things I need to do.

Today got off to a rough start (speaking from a strictly productivity standpoint) when I read an e-mail from my professor's graduate assistant informing all of the students in our class that our paper (which I had originally thought was due tomorrow) is actually not due for a few more days.

"Oh man," I thought to myself.  "Simultaneously awesome and awful news."

You'd think I'd be rejoicing right?  But, the lack of pressure and timeliness of this assignment means I won't get anything done today at all.  I had every intention of cranking this sucker out today.  But now, I just know I'm going to wait 'til Friday after my 10 p.m. shift to put the finishing touches on it.

It's due at midnight.  See the problem?

A friend of mine who is a third-year law student, and pretty awesome at the whole not-procrastinating thing, asked me how my paper was coming along a few minutes ago.  Through a string of texts, I explained to him my thought-process of putting off completing the writing of my analysis of our homo-liturgic selves, and how humans are more than mere animalistic thoughts and actions (see, doesn't it sound like some mumbo-jumbo I should be putting off?  I mean, come on!).

A few texts in, here is the conversation that ensued:

...So, I'm writing today with no pressure.  God is good to me. 

He sure is.  Why not get it out of the way?

'Cause then I wouldn't be me.  I'm gunna give it all I got.  Maybe give myself a 2000 word goal.  Learning from you, I guess. 

Get after it. 

Those three words struck me.  I asked him if I could borrow his words for creative purposes, and he assured me his royalty rates were reasonable.  Then the whole thing turned into a light debate about fair use and copyright law.  Typical.

Side note: Future Husband, I've just revealed what a hopeless nerd I really am.  But, I guess you knew what you were getting yourself into.

Anyways, that particular verbiage really evoked such an interesting idea of passion.  I need to sit down and "get after" this assignment, give it all I've got, and be done with it.

It really made me wish and think for a moment that there's really nothing in my life that I am "getting after."  I get caught in the chaos, and get too mentally exhausted to get after anything.

And really, if you could look at me right now with my hair frazzled and piled on my head, a few loose curls falling over my blue eyes that are hiding behind my "makes-me-look-smart" glasses, and snuggled in the crook of my recliner you wouldn't consider me a woman who "gets after" much.

Which, I'm sure if you could actually see the picture I painted for you, there would be very little motivation for anyone to get after this.

But, it just made me realize I need someone in my life - the man I'm writing for - to be a reminder to chase after my dreams and calling.  Even when I don't particularly feel as though I have a dream to sleep along side of or even a basic goal to conquer.   I need to wake up, recover from my past and get after the things in my life worth waiting, working and writing for.

Today I'm hoping that you're a man who will be filled with enough passion to get after your own dreams, as well as encourage me when I'm down, and alleviate my fear of failure by helping me push through my procrastination.

And I guess all of this will be apparent when I meet you.  When the day comes that you realize you want to get after a lifetime spent with me...
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