Jim’s Pants

Today I am wearing my old pair of denim skinny jeans.  My closet has now expanded to include other pairs of skinny jeans, but these are the only classic blue denim.  I’ve had them for years.  Probably way longer than anyone should ever keep a pair of Target jeans around.  And I think its officially time for them to retire.  I just washed them, so they should have that newly washed denim feel.  They should be a little too tight to put on, relaxing as the day passes.  But no…it’s 10:45 am and they’ve been stretched too big since about 9:00.  Sigh.  Apparently these jeans are tired.  And it’s time to put them to bed.

Goodbye skinny jeans.

Goodbye to the pants that went with me to the Tiger Hill Pagoda.  Goodbye to the pants that sat on the city wall of Xian and climbed the Great Wall.

Goodbye to the pants that have been at every college I have.  Truman, ISU, NIU…these pants have walked on every campus.

These pants have been thrown on the floor of 5 different living spaces.  Apartments, houses, and dorms.  Probably more when you think of all the places they stayed on a more temporary basis.

My first pair of skinny jeans.  My first break-out from my fear of my short stubby legs.  I’ll never go back.

These pants have seen a lot.  Its time for them to go.  But I wonder what they’ll miss.

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I hear the people sing

I saw Les Miserables this weekend with my roommates.  It was my second time seeing the film.  I think I liked it better the second time because I knew what to expect from the film, so I could focus more on the beautiful cinematography, the areas of the musical they chose to highlight, Enjolras, etc.  One of the things that stuck with me from this viewing was the “heaven” Jean Valjean (and many of our other notable heroes from the film) finds after his death.  Spoiler alert, I guess.

Heaven is the barricade.  But its not the sad, lonely barricade of the ill-fated revolution. It is rebellion the way it was supposed to be.  The city has risen to its feet and joined our heroes behind the wall, singing the music of a people who will not be slaves again.  This is what the revolutionaries of the ABC cafe had hoped for.  They intended their barricade to be a spark that would set Paris ablaze.  It was to be a call to arms, a sign, a rallying point that would wake the people of France from their slumber to hear the cries of the poor, the oppressed, the enslaved.

It didn’t happen that night, but in Valjean’s sleep we see that dream become real.  We see the city on its feet, the city at the barricade.  We see the road of  injustice barred and we hear a people shouting for freedom, for love, for hope.  At first it seems jarringly violent, to see heaven as the site of a rebellion, a place of battle and death and war.  It seems at odds with the words they sing that we will walk behind the plowshare, we will put away the sword.

And then you notice…no one at the barricade has a weapon.  No one has a gun.  No one has ammunition.  They stand in peace, a powerful force simply because of their numbers.  There is no army in the world that could have overcome that barricade.  It was too strong.  There were too many people who believed in it, too many standing behind the barricade having given their lives to the cause of justice and love.  This is how we overcome; this is how we triumph.  We stand together.  We become a light in the darkness, a spark that sets weary hearts ablaze and we stand.  No weapons, no war.  Just love and faith that the world could be made righteous.

Heaven is a rebellion.  It is a revolution.  It is light coming into a dark world, a world that would do anything to snuff it out.  Heaven says that the poor will sit at the right hand of God.  Heaven says that love is always right and hope will never disappoint.  This revolution started small and for a moment, it may have seemed like all has failed.  But if we open our eyes, if we stand together, I know we’ll find that heaven is a barricade and that we will hear our voices raised in song.

Damn their warnings, damn their lies
They will see the people rise.

Still in bed

Its hard to get started this morning. So I made a list.  Of things I love.

  • Sepia photographs.  Forever.
  • Making eggs.  Scrambled.  Fried.  Omelets. Hard boiled.  Anything.
  • Bearded men with pony tails on top of their heads.  Suspenders encouraged.
  • Hymns
  • Rain.  Especially when it is warm out.
  • Worn ladders.  Anything stacked.
  • Dark hair with a fringe.  Zooey or Michelle.
  • Animals.  Especially wet dogs.
  • Football matches.
  • Stars in a midnight blue sky.
  • Old books.
  • Warm summer air.  Flowers, fields.  Cities.  Gardens.  Streetlamps.
  • Backpacks.
  • Notebooks, journals, and stationary.
  • Getting mail.  Especially postcards.
  • Mellow music.  Alexi Murdoch, Bon Iver, Pearl and the Beard.  Anything that is rich.
  • Sleeping anywhere but in a bed.
  • My family.
  • Board games.  I love all board games.
  • Themed parties.  Any excuse to get together with my friends.
  • Birthdays.
  • Farmer’s markets and small local businesses.
  • Grocery stores.  Small ones.
  • Tee shirts.  Embarrassing but true.
  • Water.  Lakes, ponds, oceans, rivers, streams, fountains.  Anything that is wet and moving.

Today I have a lot to do.  And I’m exhausted inside.  This helps.

Acts

This is just an off-the-cuff thought, but what if we started running our denominations (parishes, synods, whatever word you want to use for your particular resurrection of the Christ) more like they did in the early church?  Not so much asking individuals to share their wealth (can’t get too socialist here) but rather asking the different congregations to do that. How many small or rural congregations (and of course, some urban) are struggling for resources while the latest mega church opens another coffee shop or builds a new worship arena fit to hold 10,000?  Maybe part of being part of the church means looking out for the church.  Not just individuals, but the actual other bodies that we claim to support through common sacraments and creeds and statements of faith?  This doesn’t even have to start crossing theological boundaries.   The ELCA has both Fjeldberg and Lutheran Church of Hope.  Is it the duties of our brothers and sisters to look out for the differing bodies of believers who may be in need?

I need to think about this more.

Frustration

Today I am really frustrated with my doctors and the situation I am in.  I am sick and while its not life threatening or troubling, it really does make it difficult to go about my daily routine.  Its been ongoing for nearly 3 weeks now with only a few days of real relief.  I saw a doctor out here for it on Friday and he gave me a prescription which unfortunately has done nothing for me.

I’m still sick.  The only change is I know am experiencing side effects from the medication including weight gain, so I feel like a puffy junior high girl again; lack of sleep, so I am running on an average of 3 hours of sleep a day; and reduced ability to heal from wounds so all cuts, scrapes, and bruises on my body are sticking out like sore thumbs (to mix my body metaphors).

I feel so gross.  And still sick.  Thanks a heap doctor.  It’s not like I had anything important to get done this week.  Hey capstone, you’re just going to have to wait until I can stop worrying about these golf-ball sized tonsils in my throat, and then we’ll see about getting you done.

I just can’t wait until the “losing contact with reality” side effect kicks in. No joke.  That’s one of the side effects.  And since everything else has been happening to me, why not that one?? Anxietttyyyyyy.

Resolutions

I don’t really like New Year’s resolutions.  Frankly, I don’t really like New Year’s Eve.  But this year, I’m trying it.  Or something.  Probably on my resolution list should be writing my papers instead of writing in my blogs.

  • Be who I want to be, instead of who I am.  I know its important to find out who you are.  But sometimes maybe its even more important to decide who you want to be.  Aristotle (and I think Shaquille O’Neal) said that excellence is not an act but a habit.  We become who we are by making decisions.  I’ll be making decisions this year.  And maybe it will change week by week, maybe it won’t ever shape me into something rigid or firm, but I think it will be good for me.  
  • Eat locally.  It can be a full time job to eat healthy, especially if you’re interested in things like raw milk or organic.  I have friends who have devoted their whole lives to this.  I can’t go that far yet.  Or maybe ever.  But I want to invest some of my life into this.  Maybe I actually will start that garden I’ve talked about.  I’ll catch at least the beginning of the farmer’s market season.  Local is important to me.  Healthy, local, delicious.  At some point this year, I will even buy a share in a CSA.  So let it be written…
  • DO YOGA.  Even though the world seems to be conspiring against me on this (every yoga class offered at the rec is at the same time as class…damn it!) But I will start doing yoga.  I will I will I will.  And I’ll learn more than just the downward dog and cobra poses.

I think these goals are achievable, but also will require effort.  Also, I should make a resolution to put my next NYE champagne in a champagne glass instead of an owl mug.  That could be my most important resolution.