Catching Hope

Looking for the grace of God that surrounds us

Holding A Miracle

In keeping with yesterday’s post, here is one of my favorite YouTube videos.¬† I think it helped me realize that we don’t have to look too far for inspiration! Enjoy!

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The Inspiration to be Found

I forgot about this part of being in school again. At least, if I didn’t forget it, I laughed it off as part of a past life.

Old habits die hard, I guess. (Mom, take a deep breath and don’t cringe too badly!) ūüôā¬† It is the second night I have been up into the wee hours of the morning…I have had enough caffeine today to kill a small elephant, my contact lenses are just about glued in place, and I am not quite sure I can finish everything on time.

It is in moments like these that I need inspiration.

As I took a deep breath, rubbed my shriveled, dried-out eyeballs, ran my fingers through my tangled hair, and tried to regain a sense of perspective, I thought to myself that I needed inspiration badly.

Then I realized–I have had an entire week full of it. For that matter, a life full of it.

Everyone enters the world the same way, when it comes right down to it–nobody is totally grown in a test tube (yet anyway!). It’s a funny, wonder-inducing, truly miraculous thought (when you look at it at 2 am, anyway): everyone has literally been a part of someone else.

It was at this point I realized the inspiration I need–rather, the miracle I hope everyone can see–is that of Life.

I don’t need to look for motivation for my school assignments. I just need to look at my fat little smiling babies at work….down the street at the panhandlers on the corners….the masses of people that swarm out of the sanctuary when church is done…or in the mirror, even.

This is because where there is Life, there is a Miracle. God took man out of the dust and breathed life in to him, and that life created other lives, which created others, and so on and so forth.  And I get the privilege to study exactly how life grows life, and (Lord willing) someday I get to help usher some of this life in to the world.

So in the end, I realize–I don’t need to look for inspiration. It’s right in front of me, in front of you, all the time: the Miracle that is Life.¬† What a gift this is, that God has given us!

p.s. Mom, I am going to bed now. *hug* ūüėČ

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Doorbells, and the End of the World.

So it seemed to be, anyway, as I was getting ready for bed at 1:00 am on a Friday night not too many weeks ago.  The end of the world, that is.

*Note: this post is dedicated to my dear roommate Rachel, who was not home to witness it and to whom I refuse to give the pleasure of a re-enactment for the sake of photographs.

I am not even sure it has been a long enough time for me to recover.  Even as I write this I am feeling my fingers tense up and my heart rate increase.  Two weeks ago on Friday night I thought the end of my world had come.

The doorbell rang.

Sounds innocent, right?  HOWever keep in mind it was the middle of the night.  In a still-somewhat ghetto neighborhood.

When I was little I was taught to NEVER, never never never answer the door after dark.  Especially when I was home alone.

Which I was, at this particular hour on this particular Friday. ¬†Rachel was working and Sarah had left a note that she was staying at a friend’s house overnight.

So, being the good little city-living person that I am, I let the doorbell alone and didn’t go to look who it was. ¬†I figured it was either a kid or a drunk person and they would go away.

They didn’t.

After a few minutes of constant doorbell-ringing, my head started a slight spin.  This slight spin soon turned into a downright downward spiral of irrational panic.

That’s right. Panic, folks. ¬†Sheer terror. ¬†As I thought about the fact that people who want to break in to houses often ring the doorbell several times to make sure no one was home before they kick the door in.

As I saw the pickup truck parked directly in front of the house.  The getaway car, of course.  Lots of room for everything they were going to steal.  Were they (*gasp!) armed??  Knives? Guns? Anything?

The pitch of my voice and the speed of my speech heightened as I called my Superhero Daddy. (“What do I do? what do I do??….*gasp* …ringing….*gasp*[pitch of voice increases] they’re in the back now….I think there’s two of them…oh daddy I can hear them….*gasp*…”)

The tremor in my voice increased as I then called 911 and panickedly told the operator that I thought I was about to get broken in to.

“What do I do while I wait for the police?”, my little voice eeked out (by this time the pitch of my voice was at a pure squeak).

Apparently there’s nothing TO do while you wait for the police, except call if anything changes. ¬†Or so the operator told me.

The doorbell kept ringing.  Whoever It was, was going from the back door to the front door, back and forth, back and forth.

I got back on the phone with Superhero Dad, waiting for the inevitable. ¬†My little chipmunk voice now pretty much could only peep out, “It’s still going, it’s still going….what do I do?” over and over again.

(*pace* squeak out some unintelligible expression of fear into the phone* pace* repeat.)

That’s how the next 1o minutes went, mostly.

Except when I was planning my Official Escape, which was to go on to my porch roof via my bedroom window and let the Perps take whatever they wanted (I, rather brilliantly, had locked myself in my bedroom). ¬†I attempted this escape just prior to calling the cops. ¬†Did I not mention that before? ¬†You see, it just so happens that around the time Superhero Dad mentioned calling the police (about three minutes into the doorbell-ringing) I was slurking around on the roof trying to determine the best place to avoid being seen by the Unknown Creep (should I close the window behind me so they don’t know I’m here??? but how would I get back IN once they were gone…) and it then struck me that the neighbors, if awake, might just call the cops on ME for suspiciously prowling around on my own roof. ¬†Despite the red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodie, it probably looked somewhat suspicious.

Besides, what if the Crazy-Eyed Assailant/s could HEAR me talk on the roof?

So I slunk back in. I left the window unlocked and ready to go just in case.

Where was I? ¬†Oh, yes. ¬†(*pace*squeak*pace*squeak…..)

Now Superhero asks if there are any lights on at the neighbors. ¬†There are. ¬†He calls that neighbor from another line, who shines a flashlight on the Lone Blatant Decrier of Justice (by this time I have determined that there is indeed only one of them, judging by the time in between front and back doorbells). ¬†The Fearsome Criminale doesn’t answer.

*pace*squeak*pace*squeak (“oh daddy, can you PLEASE ask him to come and see who it is???”)

Daddy asks the Kind Neighbor. Kind Neighbor gets dressed and goes out to see what the trouble is.  (Despite the lights, I guess he was in bed after all. oops.)

Muffled voices. ¬†Female voice….familiar voice….

Sudden wave of relief mixed with ocean rush of adrenaline leaving my body.

Sudden thought that I had better call 911 back and tell them not to come. ¬†This was fortunate, for my roommate at least. ¬†Because the Nefarious Personage was not a criminal at all. ¬†It was my roommate who didn’t have her keys or her phone when she got dropped off earlier than she expected.

I let her in (poor thing was freezing), then spent the next hour trying to realize that no, I was not about to get attacked and yes, I could indeed now close and lock the window.

Everyone was finally in bed (Superhero Dad and Mom, Poor Half-Frozen Roommate, Kind Neighbor and Rather-Foolish-Feeling-Yet-Still-Totally-Freaked-Out-Me).  And then there was a garage fire across the alley.  I missed it, because even though the sirens were close I decided we had had enough for one night.

I cannot quite laugh about this yet. ¬†Perhaps in three months. ¬†Or maybe three years, considering how elevated my adrenaline levels were and how ridiculously out of control the old “Fight or Flight” response was. ¬†Perhaps you will laugh, though. ¬†Or maybe you will (or should) cry.

Point of this story is, it was not the end of the world, as I so highly suspected at the time.

I am sorry don’t have any major applications to life on this one. ¬†Except to say that I am glad my sympathetic nervous system is intact. ¬†Or was, at least, before this incident.

The only other thing I can think of is just perhaps some little word of wisdom, something having to do with red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodies and not sneaking around on porch roofs. ¬†I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.

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The Face on the Side of the Road

The man who always stands at the corner of the freeway exit and 11th Avenue, holding his pleading sign up to passers-by, has a face.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what he looks like, because my glances at him are furtive–studying him for brief moments in time while he looks the other way. ¬†I don’t want to meet his gaze.

I have, once or twice.

And I never know what to do.

Because I know that behind the face is a man.  And that the man has a story that is as real as my own is.

My heart hurts, because I know this–and yet I don’t do anything. ¬†I have the constant struggle–do I look the other way? ¬†Do I smile? ¬†Do I hand out a dollar or two, if I happen to have the cash?

I like to tell myself that I want to know his story. ¬†I think, in many ways, I do. ¬†But part of me assumes that it will be like so many other’s stories, who do what he does to earn a living. ¬†Maybe it wouldn’t be true. ¬†It can’t be trusted, right? ¬†Because if he told me his story, it would be to get something out of me, wouldn’t it?

Or would it?

It is probably not wise, as a single woman alone, to stop my car and start talking to the man on the side of the road.  But sometimes I wish I could.  There is as much hope for this man as there was to me, when I was a lost sinner.  In that way, we are no different.  We are both human, made in the image of God.  We both desperately need Jesus.

My car again pulls up to the same intersection.  I stop at the corner; he is there and he is looking the other way.  I steal a glance in his direction, just in time to catch his eye.  This time, I turn my gaze and appear to pretend I never saw him.  And then I am ashamed, as my conscience pricks and my heart begins to feel a sting.

Lord, give me eyes to see as You see. ¬†Give me your heart. ¬†Give me grace to react as You would. ¬†To love as You do. ¬†And don’t ever let me forget that behind each face on the side of the road is a person, with a story, that You made and that You love.

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Haiti Update Four: His Eye is on the Sparrow

Our God answers prayer. ¬†In fact, He answers prayers I haven’t even prayed yet….Two examples:

1. ¬†I need several pairs of scrubs to bring with me–I am planning on wearing scrubs pretty much most of the time while there. ¬†But unfortunately, I didn’t have any old scrubs I wanted to bring with me, as I am wanting to leave what I wear down in Haiti. ¬†Thrift stores were charging ridiculous amounts of money for used scrubs…. So, I prayed. ¬†And my mom prayed. ¬†And at our medical supply “packing party” last night, someone brought three huge bags of scrubs to bring down–from which I found 6 pairs of scrubs that I can wear and then leave down there. ¬†They are even cute! : ) ¬†The Lord is very, very gracious.

2. ¬†I was feeling overwhelmed today, with everything to do and the possibility of two full days of work. ¬†This morning, when I talked to my scheduler, she had only given me a half-day of work today–which I was technically supposed to get but wasn’t sure if I would because of patient volume.

The Lord is gracious, even in the little things!

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What’s left

I’m having a bit of a hard time lately–it seems that much of what I have had security and happiness in has had major change, has left, or is leaving. ¬†From my small, human, often faith-less perspective, these changes are not good and I can’t be happy with them in the end.¬†I could give a list of all the things that have changed or are gone, but this isn’t a pity party. ¬†It is simply an acknowledgement that life is often full of hard times, loss, and change.

What’s left?

What’s left is Christ. ¬†And I am trying to hold on to him as tightly as I can, because it feels like there’s not much else.

That’s the point, I guess, isn’t it? ¬†Holding to Christ. ¬†Trusting Him that He knows what is best and will bring ultimate happiness. ¬†Even as my heart aches.

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