Monday, May 19, 2008

Prince Caspian

I liked it.

Thoughts I had during the movie that were not necessarily about the movie itself:

-From now on, I think I will re-read the book before the movie comes out. I couldn’t remember exactly who a few of the characters were or whether some of the events kept with the storyline of the book or not. So, apparently I need the refresher.

-I am deeply irritated by people who talk out loud in a movie theater. My irritation grows when they are not even saying anything significant, like when they point out every single time they see a lion on the screen (sculpted, painted, real, etc.), or make comments like “That water is pretty,” “It’s a cat!” or “Do you think the movie is over?” Definitely NOT a fan of the peanut gallery.

On to the movie itself….

It has been a while since I cried at a movie. A long time, actually. But I found myself in tears both during the movie and later that evening as I reflected on certain scenes during a time of worship at my church. The scene that really struck me was the one with the white witch. Here is High King Peter who ought to know better, strong, independent, victorious in battle against creatures of every kind, and here he is, being enticed by the very thing he had striven so hard to defeat. There have been times in his life where he has had an honest hate for the wretched being, but now, suddenly, she looks like a valid answer to his problems.

Enter Edmund. The moment the White Witch came crashing down, revealing Edmund standing there with his sword, I just about lost it. What a beautiful picture of community. He was busy fighting his own battle with the wolfish-hairy-beast thing, saw his brother flirting with temptation and stepped in to intervene. He then says to Peter, “I know, you had it all sorted,” which at first seemed like a pretty low jab to me, but later, as I was thinking about it, it seems more like his brotherly way of saying, “Man, I’ve been there before and it SUCKS. But I’ve got your back and you don’t have to do this alone.” This is a redeeming moment for Edmund and is a powerful expression of hope. Just because you fall under the spell of the witch for a period of time doesn’t mean that you will be subject to her wily ways forever.

As Edmund steps away, there stands the image of Aslan which had been obstructed by the wall of ice. I found that to be a powerful moment, too, but I can’t quite figure out exactly what meaning I attach to that. It struck a deep chord in me, but I can not find the words to explain to myself what or why.

As the scene ended, I felt as though I had stood as an outsider, watching my life get summed up in a five minute movie clip. I was frustrated with Peter’s stupidity which I could see so clearly from my comfortable theater seat, yet I understand how beautiful that outstretched hand can look. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my “Edmunds,” those who have taken a moment to step away from battling their own demons to drive a sword through my wall of ice, helping me fight my battles and also offering the hope that I do not have to succumb to the witch’s spell forever.

A theme that I found deeply meaningful was that of Aslan’s absence. I have felt an absence of Christ’s presence for a period of time now, so that theme resonated deeply with me. Lucy offered some suggestions to her siblings, like maybe they weren’t looking, or maybe they didn’t want to see him, two very different ideas, both of which I spent some serious time reflecting on. I relate to Peter’s hard-hearted response when he says, “I think we waited for Aslan long enough,” and decides to go on and do things on his own.

But even Lucy, who is looking and who wants to see Aslan, experiences his absence. At the end, we discover that Aslan was waiting for her to come to him, even if it meant overcoming her fear and going alone. But until that happy reunion, Lucy is stuck in the waiting period with the rest of them. I could imagine their hearts crying out,

“Aslan, where are you?
Don’t you see that we are surrounding by our enemies?
Don’t you see that there is no hope for victory here?
Did you call us back to Narnia simply to perish?
Why don’t you come to rescue us?
We know you CAN, it just seems like you WON’T.
We can’t do this alone, but it seems as though you have left us with no other choice.”

They know he has the power to deliver. He has done it before and they want him to do it again. But, as he tells Lucy, things don’t necessarily happen the same way twice.

Even as Lucy waits, she does not lose hope. As she wonders where Aslan is, she still trusts. She seems to believe that he is coming to deliver them even though she does not understand why he has not come already or what exactly he is doing.

Three last (shorter) thoughts:

- I loved the reunion between Lucy and Aslan. We did an exercise in one of my classes recently where we were to create an image of Christ in our minds, and when I did it, he had his back turned on me. It was a devastating feeling that nearly took my breath away. Contrast that with the warm, loving reunion between Lucy and Aslan. No explanations are given. No dire cry for help. Just Lucy sinking into the lion’s mane as he rolls over, wraps a giant, gentle paw around her, and expresses his joy through a deep, growling laughter. My favorite line from the first movie is, “Of course he’s not tame, but he is good.” I fear the lion, focusing all my attention on the fact that he is NOT tame, and I often forget that he is good. That scene was a beautiful picture of the truth of Christ for me. How I long to sink into the mane of the mighty lion! (In light of the reflections we have been doing in class on Rembrandt’s painting of The Prodigal Son, I also had a lot of thoughts revolving around the fact that Aslan embraced Lucy. A lot of what I have been writing for class involves the father embracing the prodigal and the prodigal allowing himself to be embraced. But that is a whole ‘nother post….or four…..)

-During the scene when the bear attacked Lucy, I liked the line “You get treated like a dumb animal long enough, you start to act like one.” There is a deep psychological truth to that statement.

-I also liked that Aslan restored Reepicheeps tail, “not for the sake of [his] dignity but for the love of [his] people.” What a great reminder that our gifts are not given to us for our own good, but for the good of others and ought to be used in a way that reflects that.

That is all. I agreed with my movie-going mates that it was not as overtly theological as the first, but none of the books from here on out are. I still found it deeply meaningful.

Like I said at the beginning…..I liked it……

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How I FEEL about my blog

Today I got up earlier than I usually do after I work a night shift and when my alarm went off, instead of hearing music, a man was speaking. I am not entirely sure who it was. It sounded a bit like Chuck Swindoll, although I was still so tired and groggy at that point, it could have been Gilbert Godfrey and I might not have known it.

I was extremely tired, so I did not get up right away. I was being so lazy, I did not even turn my alarm off. I just let the man speak while I laid in bed trying to convince myself that I had gotten enough rest to make it through the day. The man was talking about five levels of communication (picture concentric circles) which we human use. The five are as follows:

5 – Cliché: These are the conversations that include lines like “How are you doing?,” “What did you do this summer?,” and “We should get together sometime.” I abhor this type of communication and avoid it at all costs.

4 – Sharing of Facts and Events: This level of communication consists of sharing factual information about events in your life, telling stories, comparing schedules and gossiping. 95% of my conversations with my family consist of this type of communication.

3 – Sharing of Ideas and Judgments: This involves more risk than the previous level. Sharing your ideas and judgments involves the possibility of others having different ideas or judgments, potentially creating a situation of disagreement.

2 – Sharing of Feelings: Again, the risk is greater at this level. Not only are you sharing your ideas and judgments, but you include information about your deeper, internal reaction to those ideas. I prefer to operate on this level.

1 – Peak Communication: This level consists of completely open and honest communication. Nothing is hidden. There is a deep intimacy and sharing of self. I can think of eight people with whom I have this kind of relationship, five with whom I have no reservations and three with whom I still have a slight fear of judgment. I am satisfied with having eight of these relationships in my life….enough to not have dependence on one person but not so many that I become that person who tells everybody everything.

As I was listening to the broadcast, I came to the realization that I may be dissatisfied with my blog because most of it consists of level 3 and 4 communication, whereas I find the most meaning in level 2. However, most of what I express at level 2 feels too intimate to share over an electronic medium. There is too much risk for misinterpretation. So I resort to telling stories and sharing links to things I like which leaves me feeling like my blog doesn’t really say anything worthwhile because, let’s be honest, it doesn’t.

I am not threatening to stop blogging. I am simply sharing something that I found incredibly insightful regarding why I do not feel like my blog even comes close to accurately representing the internal workings of my heart and mind.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thinking about what it means to be missional....

As an introvert who leans toward reformed theology, I find this interesting.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

3 am

devastating emotions.
tortured heart.
an interesting life overlooked by disinterested people.
unloved? or unlovable?
two different words.
is it intrinsic?
or is it just a fallen world?
does it matter? they both hurt.

always seeking; never sought.
reserving myself for those genuinely interested
until gripped by the fear that they are content with my absence.
unbearable loneliness.
so i whore my thoughts on anyone who will listen.
forcing them to know me.

tired of answering my own questions.
tired of making the calls.
tired of generating topics.
tired of initiating.

God came to seek and save.
my God came to SEEK.
how do i respond to that God
when I don't know what it means to be sought?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Beautiful, Wonderful, Marvelous Week

I am sitting at work reflecting on what an incredible week I just had and I thought I would record a few of the events here lest I move on with life and forget how very blessed I am.

Sat night I went over to Rach and Linds' house for a pseudo-birthday party since Rach had been out of town the weekend before. We ate dinner together and then spent the evening watching House, playing games, and just generally vegging out. We had some good conversation about topics ranging from popcorn-induced indigestion to political candidates and the war in Iraq. All in all, it was a beautifully relaxing night with two wonderful friends. I spent the night there and woke Sunday morning feeling rested despite the late night and early morning.

Sun morning I checked out a new church. There is a small Mennonite church in town that my friends Sarah and Justin have been attending, so I met them there. I didn't realize just how small it actually was! There were 17 people there (if you counted the 2 infants) and each one of those individuals was absolutely oozing the love of Christ. I have never felt so welcomed as a newcomer in a church before! It was incredible. What a STARK contrast to my experience last week! (That's a whole 'nother story.....I went to a Greek Orthodox service, but before I found the service I was looking for, I wound up in a different service, I still have no idea what it was, and it was one of the most awkward experiences I have ever had in my entire life....but I would rather not waste space telling that story here). At the end of the service, a gentleman came up to me and gave me these two little pieces of paper that had been folded into a boat and a little paper-airplane man that one of his children had made for me. They said "To Eva, From Simon" on them. How adorable!! I love that this is a church and a family that were raising their kids such that a six year old wanted to make a gift for the guest in church. It was absolutely precious. I was also struck by the relationships between the people....even after just a few hours with them, I could sense that they truly "do life" together. I do not know yet if I want to attend there permanently, but I will definitely be back to see them again.

Sun afternoon I worked on a paper that taught me a lot about myself and my image of God. It was extremely meaningful for me.

I spent Monday afternoon with a friend in the cities who I haven't seen in quite a while. There are not a lot of men who I feel truly comfortable around, but this individual is one of my absolute favorite people that I know. He is a true gentleman and he treats me SO well. We went walking for about 3 hours, caught up on each other's lives and had an interesting conversation about marriage, sacrifice, cross-gendered friendships and so on. The way he speaks and acts makes me feel SO valued as a person and I truly appreciated my time with him.

Class Monday night was amazing. We talked about how psychology and spirituality affect each other (if you agree that they affect each other, which I do) and about gender, sexuality and ministry. Interesting conversation, especially piggybacked on the conversation about relationships that I had earlier that afternoon.

We also did an exercise where we sat for a while in silence and then formed an image of God in our mind. Images speak powerfully to me, so I was excited to see what image my mind would form. When I tried to picture Christ, he had his back turned on me. Now, this was not necessarily a "good" part of my week, but, rather, was so devastating it nearly took my breath away. However, it was also very enlightening and the experience has been on my mind constantly ever since. I am learning some significant things from it.

I saw my sister after class on Monday. That always makes me happy.

Tuesday morning I had a friend over for lunch. She was my RA freshman year at Bethel and is living in Rochester now. I had not talked to her since before she got married. I LOVE having people into my home and it was wonderful to catch up with her.

I worked Tuesday night and I had the easiest night I think I will ever have in my nursing career. I only had two patients....TWO PATIENTS!....and my workload between 11pm-7am consisted of 1 set of vitals and a blood sugar. It was absolutely unreal. I got SO much homework done!!!!

Wednesday, after I woke up, I went to BWW with some girls that always go out for dinner on Wednesday nights. Linds and I walked to BWW from my house which wasn't far, but it was long enough to enjoy a decent conversation and to get outside for a little while. Dinner was also fun. We had some new faces join us and it was nice to spend some time with some girls that I don't get to see very often.

Thurs was the kicker. Pretty much, the whole day absolutely rocked. I started the day with a great workout that left me feeling energized and ready for the day. I went on a 2 hour walk with Nicolette who I had not seen in WAY too long and it was nice to catch up and hear a bit about her life. I found out that she is planning on moving in with me this summer and I am SOOOO excited. I think it will be an absolute blessing to have her around. Also, I have someone who may want to move in this fall and I think the summer thing will be a good trial-run to see how it would be having someone live in the house. I have someone living with me temporarily right now, but it seems different because she is only there during the week and it doesn't feel like she has really "settled in" since it is so short term. I have really enjoyed having her around when she is there, but I think it will feel different when it is more "full-time" and it is someone whose home is in this community.

After spending the morning with Nicolette, I ran to get some groceries and then met up with Linds. We also walked for a couple hours and then sat in Dunn Bros and continued to talk. Man, I love that girl! Much like Sat night, our conversation ranged from hott actors to the free will debate. I am like a bottomless pit when it comes to time spent with her....I could never get enough!

After staying at DB's longer than I probably should have, I ran home quick, changed clothes (I was still in my gym clothes...ick!) and headed over to Sarah and Justin's for dinner. They recently had a beautiful baby girl and it was fun to get in some quality baby-holding time. They made bison burgers for dinner which were fabulous and after we ate we went for a walk! I should have been wearing a pedometer that day!!! We pushed Milly around in a beautiful baby carriage and marveled at some of the gorgeous houses on Pill Hill. I hadn't been up in that area is fabulous! I always enjoy my time with them.....Justin's whole face lights up when he laughs and Sarah is SO friendly and caring. They are truly authentic people with no pretenses about them. I love spending time with them!!!

When I got home, I spent a considerable amount of time working on birthday presents for Rach and Linds. As a matter of fact, I was up until 5:00, but that was partially intentional because I was pre-work-weekend and wanted to adjust my sleep schedule accordingly. I am so stinkin' excited about these birthday presents it about makes me giddy. They are proving to be slightly more time-consuming than I originally thought they would be, but I am enjoying every minute of it. I have found that to be the case with me and presents generally....the gifts I enjoy giving are not expensive monetarily, but they take up copious amounts of my time. I enjoy that, though, because the reason they seem to take time is because of the thought put into them. The family slideshow, the calendar, and now these b-day presents.....they are created specifically for the people they are given to and could never be found in a store. I like that.'s been fun.

Fri before work, I went to Rach and Linds' place to grill, but it was raining so we just made dinner inside. The food was good and the company was great, as always.

Before work tonight, I worked a little more on the b-day gifts and then spent some time reflecting on my hopes/plans to go to Africa this fall....I was feeling uncertain about the whole thing and praying for clearer direction/guidance on what is going on. I got to work tonight and I met this nurse from Tanzania who is absolutely filled with the Spirit and gave me some great wisdom and encouragement without even knowing it, specifically in regards to the whole Africa thing. We had an amazing discussion about the Church, incarnational ministry, needs overseas, how we seek God, how he responds, and more. It absolutely blew me away.'s been a good week. : ) Now, I must go finish my reading.

Also, I will make a conscious effort to make shorter posts more frequently instead of writing one novella a month. But no promises.