Disaster

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The morning after

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

In an effort to distract myself from the early polls, last night I watched “Believe,” a 2013 documentary about Justin Bieber. Before you deem this an unpatriotic use of my time on the evening of an unprecedented election, remember that based on Trump’s non-existent qualifications, Bieber has a shot at being president someday too.

Given the option, I’d choose Bieber.

At 3am, I was still awake, gutted and reeling from the outcome of the night. A few despairing texts with friends were exchanged – but ultimately, I was alone with the thoughts in my head, thoughts that amounted to a single line from Justin Bieber’s song “Baby,” over and over and over: Shake me ‘til you wake me from this bad dream.

I have never been overtly political, especially online, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think deeply about the issues and have strong feelings about candidates – candidates on both sides of the aisle. I’m generally a left-leaning moderate, tempered by the fact that I’m a staunch capitalist. Whether on the presidential or the local scale, I have voted Republican, Democrat, and Third Party.

(Let it be known that I have never voted for anyone representing the Legal Marijuana Now party. Cool name, though – straight to the point.)

(I’ve also never smoked marijuana. Honestly, I can hardly believe it myself.)

In the case of the year 2016, I cast my vote for president based on the conviction that (and please read my tone here to be steady, not hysterical) Donald Trump has shown himself to be an arrogant, sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic demagogue who, given his attacks on [name any vulnerable community], being endorsed by the KKK, and his pending rape trial (okay just a tiny bit hysterical), is utterly unfit for the presidency of the United States of America. He represents hatred. He represents greed.

And now he represents our country.

Like many of you, I am astonished; I was naïve enough to believe that this would never actually happen. This morning I sat with my friend Stacey on the front porch while our dogs played in the yard, and we didn’t know what to say.

To my African-American nephew, all of my friends of color, my LGBTQ friends, my Muslim friends, my immigrant neighbors, my fellow women, and every child who is watching this burning wreckage, I am with you. My marching orders are to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, none of which are passive. But I have often been passive. I am so sorry.

Onward, arms linked. We are in this together, now more than ever.

After the fire

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

If you hadn’t heard, Colorado is burning.  There are at least a dozen separate fires racing across the state, some in very close proximity to major cities.  In Colorado Springs alone, 32,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. 

The images are astounding: smoke billowing from hillsides, flames licking the sky, familiar landmarks in the path of the blaze.  I hear about the “thousands of acres” that are on fire, and it’s hard to comprehend just how large an area we’re dealing with, or how long it may take to get it under control; the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins has been burning for 18 days.  Depending on which way the wind is blowing, Denver has often been enveloped in a haze.

For as stunning and alarming as the fire itself is, as I scroll through photo slideshows online, I’m more taken with the images of the aftermath: barren hillsides, burned-out tree trunks, quiet devastation.  After being ravaged, a small amount of clean-up can be done – but then, the only thing left to do is wait: for new growth, for new life, for a new season. 

And waiting can be so hard.

I’m in a season of waiting right now.  It’s tough, because my culture has conditioned me to expect quick results and instant relief – but I’ve weathered enough to know that this just can’t be the case all of the time.  If you’ve gone through a fire, it takes a long time to rebuild.

The last time I was in Nashville, I saw my friend Brynn Sanchez.  If you don’t know Brynn, you’re missing out, because she is one of the top humans on the planet.  She told me about singer/songwriter Audrey Assad, and later sent me one of her tracks.  Since then, “Show Me” has played at least 3 times a day – early in the morning, driving home from work, before bed.  As one who struggles with the concept of prayer (which is another post entirely), this song has been my heartbeat.

“Bring me back to life – but not before you show me how to die.”

My heart breaks for my state, and for the people whose homes have burned.  I am so sad for the death of dreams, and I feel for their long road ahead.

But I hope for redemption of what has been lost.

Things will feel better one day.  Things will BE better one day.  New life is on its way.  It just takes time.

The saddest day

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I know.  You have been nervously refreshing the page every moment since last Friday, awaiting an update as to the Honda’s fate.

Well, people, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that I’m alive.

The bad news is that if oil were blood, my engine would be the beaches of Normandy.

The burning rubber smell of last week was due to an oil leak on par with the BP debacle of 2010 – but I had that under control, and it wasn’t the Honda’s demise.  The unrelated, unexpected, and ultimate downfall came when the timing belt snapped, and there was internal damage to the engine.

The good news is that this happened Sunday morning 8 miles outside of Kansas City, and I’ve been able to stay with my brother and sister-in-law and nephews.

The bad news is that I will never drive the Honda again.

I will never drive the Honda again.

This isn’t how I imagined it would happen.  After all I’ve been through with and in this small-but-mighty car, I envisioned the end to be the engine catching on fire, or hitting a bighorn sheep or something.  I kind of hoped for a more spectacular blaze of glory.  Instead, death came quickly and silently, rolling the Honda to a quiet stop on the shoulder of I-70.

The nail in the coffin was the price quote for a full repair.  Dude, if I had that much money, I would buy Christian Bale to CARRY ME AROUND.

So just after it’s 21st birthday, I am selling my beloved Honda for salvage.  The money I’ll get isn’t enough to cover what I’ve spent in the last 24 hours.  I know, it’s just money.  But still – lame, right?

As for me, I am stranded in Kansas City.

And I haven’t been home for 6 weeks.

I’ll let you figure out how I’m doing.

Rest in peace, old Honda friend.  Here’s to the good times.

Bailing (water, and out of Nashville)

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Now, you know I love me some Nashville, but two weeks is a long, long time to be away from home.  After 14 days of suitcase-living, I will board a plane tonight, and head westward back to Denver.  I am grateful for the time I’ve had here with my Tennessee family, but ready to get back to my ever-loving routine.

I hope the thrice-stolen Honda is still parked where I left it.

For those of you who don’t live in the area (or… don’t pay attention to the national news), you may not know that this weekend, Nashville got 18″ of rain – over 25% of the average yearly amount in just two days.  Having lived in the Northwest, I thought that I was used to a lot of rain – but the storms in the Southeast are truly astonishing.  I have never, ever seen so much rain in my life – for 48 hours, it was unrelenting, turning the streets into rivers and basements into swimming pools.  Everything flooded.  Buildings went floating down the interstate.  People were being rescued from their homes in canoes.  So many people lost so much.

But I watched the people that I love jump into action on behalf of others.  Bailing water from basements, checking in with each other to make sure they had what they needed, braving the flooded streets to give each other (um, me) rides…  It reminds me that in my two short years in Nashville, I somehow became a part of a true community, one that tangibly demonstrates servanthood and selflessness.  I saw it offered to others, and I felt it offered to myself.

I am ready to leave today.  But I will never get used to saying goodbye.

Prayers in the dark

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

I was awake from 2-5am for no real reason at all.  I just woke up out of a dead sleep, and my eyes stayed open for three hours.

I tried all sorts of things – reading, watching a movie, thinking about boring things, tossing and turning, changing the temperature, changing my blanket situation, moving out to the living room for awhile – but nothing worked.  Thoughts were racing through my head – stress, mostly, I think.

I had a lot of heavy things on my mind last night – Haiti being the biggest.  I’m a bit slow on the uptake, not having a TV; I knew that Haiti had been hit by an earthquake, but I had no idea the actual extent of the tragedy until I started reading articles and watching CNN.com videos last night.

If it hadn’t been for chemotherapy, my parents and my sister Sarah would have been in Haiti right now.

Sarah spent last summer working with Mission of Hope in Haiti, and fell in love with the people.  The plan had been to take my parents back with her in January – right now.  It’s a sweet mercy and a complete mystery why things happen the way they do.

These were the kids whose prayers were mine last night.  It’s important for me to see their faces.

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haiti

wendolyn