Friday, December 16, 2005

Reminders of faithfulness

Hello to my few and faithful blog readers. I came across this piece on my friend Ben's blog, delighted to find that I had wormed my way into my friend from Idaho's internet maunderings. Read his post entitled "Artistic Liberties," a piece about an adventure taken in the fall of 2000, when we were younger, more adventurous, and for the first time, very far away from home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Everyone needs a happy-list

What does it mean to be on my way "home?" I think my upcoming visit to Winnipeg will tell me a lot about this feeling. Or is it a truth? Indeed homefulness has inspired many an adage, truism, proverb: It's where the heart is. You take it with you. It's where you decide to be. I have learned many of these things for myself, that there is a home in every place, every thing, every idea, and every person I've ever loved. If I live a life of movement through the vistas surrounding me, whether by choice or circumstance, I will have to leave home many more times. I will have to close more doors, I will have to accomodate homelessness, I will have to part with more mugs, picture frames and potted plants. I would rather this perpetual loss than utter isolation, insulation, the locked door of the heart.

Last weekend I was putting eggs florentine in front of my favorite regulars, a gregarious couple, also Vancouver transplants. Robert remarked to me: When you come back to Vancouver for the first time it will then begin to feel like home." I wonder if home is about returning--that sense of the familiar that you begin to hone--about imbedding yourself into a place.

I just finished attending a class on biblical "re-readings" with a Regent College professor, Dave Diewert. The other day, after finishing up my 5am shift at JJ Bean, I grabbed my book and found a cozy corner of the cafe. Dave came in shortly after, and close by, sipping his coffee. It's so easy to ignore people you recognize, laziness the best excuse for not introducing yourself, choosing private comfort over connection. I was glad that I said hello. We sat and chatted for awhile, and many of his own words could've come out of my mouth: "Sometimes when you move from something instead of into something you find yourself asking 'what am I doing here?' " I have asked myself that many times. But then again, the way I understand my surroundings changes every day. So reason isn't really a reliable guide. But then again, neither are feelings. So instead, I am left with placing my trust in the mysterious marriage of the two.

I remarked at how in a city as transient as this one, connection is elusive. The ties that bind us are much more tenuous. How does community happen among exiles and runaways? The modern city: a yawning mouth catching so many errant flies. (see artwork--Jordan Bent--Vancouver artist discovered at November's red-letter Eastside Culture Crawl). When I was twenty years old someone spoke words to me that still reverberate: "The tensions of home and away will be with you your entire life." Yes, the Christian life has its prophecies, divinings, palm-readings of a sort.

The other day at work I was talking with a friend about dreams, and the untapped knowledge latent in them. I was marveling at how much of our life we spend asleep, and I said "we're only really alive for like 45 years! That's scary!" But you're not dead when you're sleeping, she replied. So we're only conscious for half our life. I think of how quick God's people were, in the ancient times, to see a divine hand in their dreams. I think about how science, psycology, pop self-help theories, have co-opted God's canvases for their own mediums. Have arenas where God once played, spoke, danced with us, been stolen for other means?

The sense of freedom I feel right now is tantamount to the options at hand. I heard something in a sermon once, something about how the amount of options available is inverseley proportional to human choice. Translation: the more possibilities, the less actual freedom. It sounds backwards, but the truth is that your choice will end up being more random. If I stand in a bike shop looking out over a potential 1000, my choice will be random. If I stand in front of 4, my decision will be both more informed, and more intimate.

Speaking of bikes, I've finally acquired a "new" one. It's an old Nishiki hybrid. It feels so good to be hybrid myself, again. Adding a genius of a machine to the strength of my body, two efficient wheels to these sticks of legs. To feel the curves and contours of the land underneath me as I circle the sparkling city at 2 am. I feel invincible on a bike. As my bitterness at property crime wanes, I can finally hope that whoever is riding my former two bikes is as happy as I am. And that I am smarter for it.

Everyone needs a happy-list. One to keep around for those days when the soul gets dreary, when a cup of tea isn't enought and friends seem far away. One to remind you of what life is about. I started one once, but I've forgotten where it went. Last Sunday I was perfectly content and begun another in my head: Farmer's markets in December/soup on the stove made from what you already have in the cupboard/an indulgent bath after a run/the smell of lavender/Yo Yo Ma on the stereo/a visit home just around the corner/a new Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie to watch from Marla/dark chocolate in the drawer/three new messages on the phone/a clean bathroom and freshly-done laundry/the smell of beeswax/lapsang souchong tea steaming beside me/moving impossibly slowly.

Current musical obsessions: Over the Rhine and the Innocence Mission. Current favorite lyric: "I'm a mirror, you're a mirror too." (by The Super Furry Animals)

Good thing these blog entried aren't essays, because I definitely do not stick to a thesis! Rather, this is a place to try ideas. Please leave comments on anything I've said, I really value them!