Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Grace and the Guthrie

My journal entries do not often make it to places of public viewing. That is partially for privacy's sake and partially because I generally use a different writing style in my journal and it is not as easy and/or entertaining to read. That being said, I wrote a journal entry on Sunday evening that sounded an awful lot like a blog post to me. Maybe I chose the wrong medium*. Or maybe my creative writing neurons were inspired by N.D. Wilson's "Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl" (which I HIGHLY recommend) and it spilled over into my journal. Regardless of the reason, a blog post written - even if written in a journal - should prolly be posted. And so it shall be.

*In retrospect, it may be a good thing this post did not make it's way directly to my blog. If it had, it likely would have ended up with some ridiculously cheesy title like "The Storm Within" or "The Drama-Causing Drama." What providence.


2nd biggest storm in Rochester's history. The roof of the Metrodome collapsed. Someone probably died on the road today. I spent 20 minutes of my afternoon crying because I couldn't make it to Minneapolis to see "The Christmas Carol" at the Guthrie with my sisters.

I am curled up in my sweats next to the heat of my fireplace reading N.D. Wilson's "Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl" by the soft glow of my Christmas tree as I watch the sun set over a snowy horizon and I am feeling very blessed in my disappointment.

It is amazing how narrow my perspective has gotten. It is disgusting how ego-centric my world is.

I just had a profoundly first-world emotional crisis.

I'm not saying there is no room for grace in disappointment here. I LOVE my sisters. I love theater. I have been excited for this particular night for over a month. It was my Christmas present. I am going to feel something.

So I wept. I wept over lost entertainment as I stared out the window at 18 inches of entertainment that fell last night. And I learned that when the veil of control is ripped from my face, the sting makes my eyes water.

I don't like having my plans messed with. I don't like being reminded that I do not exert absolute control over my own life. I don't have time for displays of divine power. I had a show to see.

So I cried. I cried tears of sadness and disappointment. Valid tears. But also tears of self-pity. Tears of frustration. Tears of anger. I was a two-year-old and I was not getting what I wanted.

I was whining.

I was forced to trade the beauty of a stage for the beauty of wind-cut snowdrifts and I was not satisfied. God's stage was not enough. I wanted a human stage tonight. I wanted to see the story I was expecting, not the one I am currently being told. This story about a God of power and beauty, a God who can stop entire cities overnight, a God who can foil your plans for the day and top it off with an orange sky burning up a white horizon thereby making your soul sing, a God who created fire in all of its eye-drawing mystery and comforting warmth - this is not the story I wanted. This story makes me feel small. Vulnerable. Humbled.

The seats at the Guthrie are very comfortable.

I am still disappointed that I am missing the play, and yet I can't help but feel God's hand of blessing all around me. I was fully prepared to feel pouty all night; rather, in spite of myself, my eyes have been opened to another drama unfolding around me. Except this time I am not relaxing comfortably in the audience. This time I am on center stage. And, if you pay close enough attention, you will find beauty in the story. Even in the shadowy parts. Even in the disappointment. More beauty than you will know what to do with.

This night did not turn out how I expected. I wanted ghosts. I got grace. I wanted to watch Scrooge change but I was transformed instead. I wanted to be inspired by his changed perspective. I wasn't expecting to actually have to change mine.

I wanted to be reminded that there is grace for people like him. Instead, I was destroyed (in the best sense) by the truth that there is grace for people like me, too.

This is not what I wanted. This is not what I had planned. This beauty. This display of power. This reminder of my own small-ness. This was not how I intended on spending my evening.

And yet as I read about the beauty of God's Art (sidenote: this is in reference to N.D. Wilson's view of the world. Read the book. Seriously.), as I ponder how numb I have become to the world's marvels, as I try to learn something about the Artist from the snowdrift in front of my garage, I wonder if this is not the best story for my night afterall.

It has only been two hours since I made my tear-laden decision to stay home. I am amazed at how different I feel. I am still disappointed. There's no doubt about that. But I am also surprisingly content.

I didn't get to go to the Guthrie tonight. Instead, I learned that I have a faith issue and I was reminded in a myriad of ways that I am loved and known by my Creator. It might not have been as much "fun," but these lessons from the shadows will probably serve me better as my own story unfolds.

I guess I'll go to the Guthrie next year. And, should my memory be blessed with a vivid recollection of this night, I may even see a bit more of myself on that stage. I may not feel as removed in the comfort of my theater seat. It may make for an even better story.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good News/Bad News

Good News: Much to my delight, I found $5 in my coat pocket twice in the past week.

Bad News: It was the same $5 both times.

Ridiculous News: I still put it back in my pocket after the second time that I found it. (To my credit, I didn't have access to my wallet at the time). Maybe I'll "find" it again next week...