10.30.2012

Enough

The other day some friends stopped by to drop something off and my husband invited them in. He offered them a seat and then he glanced toward me and suggested we make a fresh batch of coffee.

I looked back at him with my mouth pressed shut and those eyes women make when they're trying to convey an important message without words, and then I shook my head “no”, ever so slightly. You'd think that since we've been married forfreakingever he would immediately know that I was trying to quietly discourage him from offering coffee to our guests.

Instead, he blurted, “What. Is there no coffee? Do you not want to make coffee? WHAT IS IT?!”

And then I got all huffy because he sucks so bad at reading my mind and I said, “We only have ONE coffee cup!” (Which is a lie, because we have two, but my coffee was already in one of them.)

The point is, we didn't have enough to go around and, in the end, we had to manage with the two appropriately sized mugs and two tiny tea cups which I had recently picked up at a thrift store for 50 cents. All because, somehow, for the three months since we've been back we've gotten by with only two mugs. That's just all we needed.

See, our family has been liberated from material possessions twice in last five years - And it was good. It was very good. So, upon reentry to the U.S., we have been really careful not to accumulate a bunch of crap just for the sake of having a bunch of crap. That means we don't have an extra anything; not a sheet set, not a mixing bowl, and not a coffee mug. There's room in our closets, space under our sinks, and a few empty drawers in our little house. Some of our cupboards are literally bare.

Yet, somehow, in the last few months, we've hosted overnight guests on three occasions, we've shared plenty of meals with family and friends, and we've opened our home to a child in need. And, somehow, we did it without enough coffee cups.

It's, like, pretty much a miracle. Like, loaves and fishes and junk...

Yes, we've had to get creative. And, yes, we've had to call on our community to lend a blanket or pillow or a casserole dish, at times. But we're learning to live with enough, and when you start to learn that lesson, then living with excess starts to feel kinda... gross.

Don't get me wrong, we have a few nice things and a chill little house in the suburbs. If you walked in, you'd probably feel like we're living pretty well. Because we are. Just don't ask for a toothpick, or weed whacker, or a pancake griddle - cause we've been managing without 'em til now, and we're pretty dang serious about this whole “living within our means” thing.

You can, however, ask for a cup of coffee... if you come alone.

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To be honest, I'm still struggling to figure out what is enough. How about you? Ever wish you could just ditch all your crap and start from scratch

10.18.2012

Fortune Cookie Faith

I bought chinese food for dinner at a grocery store deli the other night.

It was pretty bad. But you probably could have guessed that, y'know, since it was “Chinese” food made by a grocery store deli and not, saaaay, actual Chinese people. Nevertheless, we filled our bellies with soggy noodles, greasy rice, and a hearty serving of MSG - and when we were done we reached into the bottom of the plastic bag it came home in, past no less than 30 packets of soy sauce and a pile of crumpled napkins, to fish out our fortune cookies.

Man, we love fortune cookies! Actually, we just love the fortunes... the cookies are sort of meh. 

Anyway.

One by one, we cracked our cookies and slid out those little strips, filled with words of wisdom, to take turns reading our fortunes aloud. As it turns out, according to the cookies, one of my boys is “destined for greatness” while his younger brother will “fall on hard times”. Bummer for him, huh. 

My oldest got some life advice about being a good friend, and then I got his little gem...


And at first I thought, “That is too true, Fortune Cookie. Too true!”

But then I was like, “Wait a minute... What if I take up jogging and give up meth?!”

And then the wisdom of the fortune cookie broke down before my eyes. All those lucky numbers and pithy prophecies went right down the drain as I came up with one example after another of things in the "take up/give up" equation that could actually enrich my life:

What if I take up golf and give up doughnuts?
What if I take up knitting and give up abusing small animals?
What if I take up an instrument and give up poison blow darts?
What if I take up reading and give up Bejeweled Blitz... I'm kidding, of course. That would be ridiculous.

But you see what I mean? The statement itself, while initially good, just doesn't hold up to any kind of scrutiny. Naturally, this isn't a huge surprise because, really? It's a fortune cookie. And fortune cookies probably shouldn't be taken too seriously.

I'm telling you this because sometimes, (between posting love letters to food and pictures of my cat) I say dumb things on Twitter and Facebook; like little quips about faith and life and junk... And sometimes people want to turn those 140 characters into more than they were ever meant to be. Sometimes people want to get into theological debates over silly things that weren't intended to do more than, maybe, stir a man's soul a bit.

I'm pretty sure I've never read a life changing tweetNot one. And I'm certain I've never written one.

That's because the fullness of the Gospel will never be captured in a single sentence. Or a paragraph. Or a clever blog post. Or even a tacky three page Bible tract.

Instead, it lays itself out over a lifetime; threading its way between morning and night, quietly abiding our self created chaos and gently bearing our indiscretions. It seeps into our bones over time. It nurtures us slowly, whispering light into our dark places and shoring up our weak spots.

Grace doesn't fit in a fortune cookie.

And the whole grand scope of Redemption can't really be conjured into a couple of words on the internet.

My life, your life... our real (everyday, sucky, messed up, occasionally super-rad, and awesome) lives are the true flag-bearers of our Faith. And that's HUGE. Too huge, in fact, to pack inside familiar platitudes, snarky @replies, or delicate golden cookies. 

I'm so cool with tweeting and blogging about Faith. I love it. I really do. But we should all be careful not make how we're talking about it bigger and more important than how we're living it. 

Now, please RT this. *snickers*

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Ever had a random fortune cookie change your life? (Not gonna lie; it would be kind of awesome and hilarious if someone said "yes".)