i like to eat liver

31 05 2007

i like to eat liver. i like soup that’s been made with liver, i like friend onions with liver, i like boiled liver, fried liver, sauteed liver, grilled liver, i like liver sausages, fish livers and chicken livers, i like the smell of livers cooking, and i especially like to hear the sound of them frying on the fire. i like liver quite a bit.

my mum loves liver as much as i do. she has to be careful though, because she has hypertension and can’t eat things that are high in cholesterol. my dad, on the other hand, will eat liver only if my mum forces him to, like when there is absolutely nothing left in the fridge. my dad hates being late – he drilled the importance of being on time early on into all three of us: “it is better to be five minutes early than one minute late” – and would stop everything he’d be doing to give us a lift any place if it looks like we’re going to be late and can’t drive ourselves. my mum, on the other hand, was surnamed ‘lau’ before she became a manchester, and the joke that the name lau is actually an acronym for ‘late as usual’ is so applicable it’s not even regarded as a joke anymore.

i once waited two hours for her to show up, and each time i called her i felt more and more irritated, whereas her answer was always, “i’m nearly there.”

when i look at my parents, i see me. i have my mum’s appearance, my dad’s temperament, my mum’s and my dad’s personality and sense of humour, a love of reading from nowhere i can tell, and a love for theatre from the same.

so my identity is, i am somewhat taken aback to conclude, closely tied with my parents’. and a day will come when they won’t be the anchors to whom i am bound, and i fear that i will be left bereft.

and that is why we are so fortunate that who we are is not just determined by who our parents are.

st. augustine once famously prayed, “grant me chastity and continence, but not yet” which cracks me up (but that’s not the point i’m trying to get at so we’ll leave that for another time) also wrote,
you have made us for yourself, o lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

whilst reading it, the thought that has become a cliche, that there is a ‘God-shaped hole’ in all of us, comes to mind. but at the same time, the language of it – our heart is restless – is so apt, so lyrical, that our eyes are drawn to it, and our hearts open to the truth of it. i think there are moments that we can find, in every day and every situation, where God, or something He has created, just becomes real for us. whether we acknowledge it or not, however, is another matter altogether.

we’re made to be beings who are just… different… and when we live in this world, we’re blinded by the bright lights and big sounds, the textures, tastes and desires that we’re told to long for, to want. but this word, ‘want,’ means several things, according to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ (go to this page and click on the little speaker button for a good laugh. okay well it amuses me, anyway):

v.tr.
1.
a. To desire greatly; wish for: They want to leave. She wants a glass of water.
b. To desire (someone to do something): I want you to clean your room.
2.
a. To request the presence or assistance of: You are wanted by your office.
b. To seek with intent to capture: The fugitive is wanted by the police.
3. To have an inclination toward; like: Say what you want, but be tactful.
4. Informal To be obliged (to do something): You want to be careful on the ice.
5. To be without; lack.
6. To be in need of; require: “‘Your hair wants cutting,’ said the Hatter” Lewis Carroll.
v.intr.
1. To have need: wants for nothing.
2. To be destitute or needy.
3. To be disposed; wish: Call me daily if you want.
n.
1. The condition or quality of lacking something usual or necessary: stayed home for want of anything better to do.
2. Pressing need; destitution: lives in want.
3. Something desired: a person of few wants and needs.
4. A defect of character; a fault.

we can want in the sense of desiring something or we can want in the sense of lacking something. when we find what we’re looking for, we’re no longer wanting for it. and this is what it’s all about. this is why i like liver. because i am like my parents, and i am made in the image of God. who i am is not determined simply by my parents; who i am is the result of God’s creative genius. [because] we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (ephesians 2:10). beautiful.





an ocean flows from you

29 05 2007

how we act determines the kind of world we’re creating. when i read this line in rob bell’s ‘sex god’, i had a mindchange moment.

we’re going through this series in oasis about injustice in the world, and i thought about all of this, because we’re to ‘shine like stars’ in this world of darkness (another phrase that sticks in my head and churns everything up – the preconceptions, the ideas and the thoughts).

how do we shine in this world, being part of it, living out a kingdom life where God’s love is lived through our actions and words, and still be apart from the dirt and grime that’s here too? every day is a challenge to live in the footsteps of Jesus, and His example of how to live life is a radical one.

i read on a friend’s blog yesterday that he’s reading ‘the irresistible revolution’ by shane claiborne. we’re “ordinary radicals” because we’re part of this world as much as people who have no idea about and don’t want to know about this God so many people have put their faith in but simultaneously, we’re to be apart from it too, seeking revolution in this darkness, in this injustice. does that make sense? and the more we’re unloving, judgemental, critical and hypocritical, the further away and lost a world already lost gets.

it’s time to put down our picket fences, our walls, the “us-ness” we’ve become so comfortable with. it’s time to start truly loving and serving the people that God’s put around us. and when we start loving people like we’re loving God, the change to this world will be impossible to ignore, to disregard. life will be lived again, addictions broken, fear killed and hearts healed.

it’s time for revolution.





something about the day

22 05 2007

in the lesson this afternoon, which i had forgotten about from being too busily writing my appraisal, i shared with my students that a lot of things need to be taken into consideration for the next year. some of them freaked out a little, thinking that i wouldn’t be teaching them english, and my heart was a little glad, to be honest. it would have sucked if they had come to the conclusion that i wouldn’t be teaching them any more, and then felt happy about it. last year’s experience was horrible, and i wouldn’t even chalk it down to inexperience. i wouldn’t want a repeat of that to happen again, ever. i really need this class to be honest with me, even though i know that telling them to be real with me is not going to avail much; it really requires the foundation of honesty to be there. And how else can this be built but for an example to be set for it?

one thing that has been raised recently is how much they’re learning, compared with how much input i’m giving. a lot of my time and energy has been put into marking their essays and providing written feedback, but it’s been very frustrating to realise that they are not really learning from it, and they aren’t even improving. this is a particular problem, as my boss(es) said this morning, because i seem really withdrawn this year, and i have been very lonely at work. they said that this may be because i spend far too much time planning and reflecting and investing in the classes i teach (which will not belong to me for necessarily more than one year) and not enough time thinking of the bigger picture: the performance of all students in the form, and the performance of all students in the school. my head nearly exploded at this – the implications are too huge. i’m barely managing as it is, and you want me to think about other classes too??

but last year, even with three classes, it seemed much easier and much more enjoyable. this year, however… i mean, there are aspects of it that i have simply loved, but other things about it have been devastating and hard to cope with.

i had shared with them this morning that although i see the need for friends and people one trusts at work, it’s difficult to ensure that what you share ends with the person with whom you share. it’s difficult to ensure that it stays where you want it to, especially nowadays, when so much is going beneath the surface. i would say that this is the most frustrating aspect of this academic year.

well okay, ONE of the most frustrating aspects, if i’m being totally honest.

in the meeting, i said some days i love this work and i love being with this age group and i love being here. and other days i want to quit and become a biophysicist (unless the very name of that particular position is an oxymoron) or an electrical engineer. my boss actually scoffed. i didn’t think that was a sound one could make and not burst one’s vocal chords. she said i wouldn’t be able to get a job in the field and then went on to say, “why not p.r.? you’d make a lot more money doing p.r. than what you’re making now.” ideas, ideas… and that was entertaining to witness.

things will be alright though.

it’s just a little stress and pressure; what’s the big deal?





Gearshift

15 05 2007

When laughter blasts out from the Tomorrows
my heart swells, becomes large, and I know this is right.
My hands work and my head races,
speeding with the ideas for shedding light on the many things on the List.
Trying to swerve to avoid the familiarity of the past,
I lapse into what is comfortable,
“An hour and ten minutes of stand-up comedy.”
We laugh until our sides hurt, and when I leave,
I wonder how much they have gleaned.

Because these Tomorrows are our responsibility.

The fear, the slow-motion fear, swells deep in me,
and I drag my steps. The rumble of the Tomorrows,
involved in their worlds and ideas, is a Stop sign.
Waiting at the lights, I silently hum to myself,
a low, ceaseless drone of reassurance.
Tomorrow, things will run smoothly and
the established regulations will be clear.
These tickets of fear, of hesitation and of doubt will not be issued
when life is flowing smoothly once again.

Because these Tomorrows are their own.

But a chance meeting on the road to Research and Preparation
introduces doubt, which grows, festers and converges
on the regions of the mind which are most congested.
This meeting, the beginning of roads not visible at this distance,
is terrifying in its implications. What ifs and buts abound and I hesitate.
The meter runs, and a decision made to wait.
Because leaving now would be irresponsible, and childish.
Because I know, still, that the choice is great, and the load heavy
for too many reasons. So I wait, sometimes patiently, sometimes not.

Because these Tomorrows may be my future?





"this is about that"

12 05 2007

we’re in this time where who we “are” is defined by the degree to which our clothes are revealing, or the shape we are. at different times in history, it’s been defined by an assortment of things: the size of a woman’s behind, the way a person walks, the sound of their voice, the fragility of personality and so on, and for some, this is known as ‘sexiness’. and so, we have a generation of girls who take to heart the latter half of the well-known motto regarding having and flaunting, and show and show and show. and we have a generation of young men who swagger and strut and look at things that will rot in their heads to prove the media’s version of masculinity in themselves. we are told every time we switch on the television, log on to the internet, glance at a billboard, open a newspaper, that we will lead happy, fulfilled lives with every dream having become true if we buy this product, or dress in this way, or walk like this, or touch him/her like this.

and then i read on a blog this morning that godliness is what is truly sexy. it actually said, godliness = sexiness. i have to admit, i was a little taken aback. how can that be true, since our sexual identity isn’t something we talk about? or nurture. except for maybe a few select individuals. there are people we know who perhaps do not emanate physical attractiveness, but the god-attractiveness that’s in them draws us unconsciously near like the smell of fresh baked cookies draws young children. it’s something about them, which we can’t quite put our finger on, that is just so wonderful to look at, to experience, and we just want to be close to them.

i recently finished ‘sex god: exploring the endless connections between sexuality and spirituality’ by rob bell, the guy who wrote ‘velvet elvis‘ and it was very good. he is quite possibly the king of short sentences, but he packs a right hook into them and all eh. he wrote in the introduction, “you can’t talk about sexuality without talking about how we were made. and that will inevitably lead you to who made us. at some point you have to talk about God.” and yeah, it’s because all this talk about sex ultimately leads you right back to God.

maybe our perspectives would change when we realise that sexiness isn’t about how much skin we’re showing, but how much of God’s love we’re showing in our actions, lives and words.