So far the most welcome change has been sleep.
Second is not having to write up any more REFLECTIONS!!!
And I just want you to doubters to know that I talked with one of my Furman-alum friends in grad school, and he said that it's MUCH easier than Furman was. That made me feel a lot of relief.
Enough about me and my sense of being an overwhelmed underachiever. I need to savor some of that sleep I was just talkin' about, so this will brief. I just got back from the last stop on the Andrew Peterson Behold the Lamb Christmas Concert Tour-- a free concert (packed out!) at North Hills Community Church in Taylors. It was wonderful music...a great portrayal of the most compelling, meaningful "tall tale" ever told. God incarnate. The Unslumbering One of Israel lulled to sleep by an exausted teenage girl. Prophecies unfolding left and right, but in was that NO one expected them to occur. Every "type" fulfilled: the exodus, the exile, the prophets, the cry of every human heart, all crying one word: Deliverance!! And God answers with the cry of a hungry peasant-baby... where is THIS story going?? The angels didn't even understand. The page-turner of all history.
If you haven't heard the CD, I highly recommend it! The True Tall of Jesus the Christ, set beautifully to music. And you can even memorize all His ancestors (Matthew's Begats)! But I digress.
---Edit: Where this post was actually going... =D----
I stayed around a little afterwards with Gloves (aka Joseph Dowsley), Britt & Sarah (and Joseph's buddy Patrick), to talk to the artists. Andy Gullahorn is quite hilarious. So while they're happy to sign whatever we shove at them (CDs, posters, small children), and to smile & talk to us for a while, I know we're just faces in a crowd to them. I don't much like not being memorable. However, I am acknowledging that reality-- if I met Derek Webb on the street tomorrow, he wouldn't know the difference between me and a Viking (minus the pointy hat).
The past week I've been struggling with feeling "left out" of relationships-- whether it's running into that same old music-major-clique-brick-wall at the Singers Party, or enduring yet another class devoted to discussing Tour (which I did not go on), or getting the shaft from friends, or realizing that sometimes people aren't willing to change, or finding among old papers collaborations between myself and those I once counted so dear... people who have moved on and moved apart... it all's fallen into the simmering discontented sadness of my soul. I've felt off-kilter all week, unsure of why I feel what I feel, or even what exactly I'm feeling. Only that something isn't right. So I've been primed to pick up on the the sense of alienation, of separation, and therefore know better than to put too much stock in it. I don't like not being memorable, though. I don't like being expendable, excludable... worse! laughable. I want to be remembered, admired... made much of.
And I find myself another face in the crowd.
What do I do with that? Do I go the route of Rosamund, and whisper fiercely to myself that "I am Somebody! Quite likely the ONLY Somebody in the whole kingdom!" (George MacDonald's The Lost Princess)? Two things I think of, summarized into one: I want to be remembered? Let me remember who I am-- a sinner, saved by grace. I amn't memorable, really... in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty expendable, except, oh yeah- for the level of ignonimity I aquired in taking part in the slaying of God's Son. Not exactly the memorability I wanted. Reading through Chronicles has impressed on me the dangers of pride-- of thinking higher of myself than I ought. I'm a sinner. What have I done to be proud of?
It's that second part that I treasure: "saved by grace." Sandra McCracken sang tonight "take all my regrets, give me grace instead." How well she sings the human heart! Oh for more humility to admit that I have regrets, mistakes, shortcomings, and ask only for grace, not some way to fix it all and come out the hero! Why do I worry about being "left out" when I've got Heaven promised to me!? Why do I wonder about feeling "unloved" when He pursues me every day, and pours out grace on me? How can I wonder where to fit in, when He's put me in covenantal communities where they HAVE to make room for me? (the church) A face in the crowd? Maybe. But He knows my name, and He is writing my story. Let me live for His glory.
"...and as you stand there shivering with your hands bunched in your pockets suddenly you remember that you're standing on a rock in the middle of space. Suddenly the notion that there's a Someone who made it all and knows us all no longer seems quite so far-fetched; indeed, it seems too good to be false."
--Andrew Peterson, liner notes to Love & Thunder
--Andrew Peterson, liner notes to Love & Thunder