The things you probably are wondering about and the great white north

I took that test. Thanks for your prayers and good thoughts. It went okay. Not great, but not terrible. The guy proctoring my test told me that he heard that I needed a 78-80% to pass. I think that if Jesus wants me to pass, then that’s what I got. We’ll see in two to four weeks.

After the deathmarch of not-so-breakish break that was the lead-up to the test itself my buddy Andrew and I went to Canada for a few days. We visited great people like JJ Kissinger, my friend Bethany Meckelberg, and her roommates. We saw Whiterock, Langley, and Vancouver BC. A few things that I noticed:

1) Canada has interesting issues with signage. They have over-the-top signage for stores and such. If you’re looking for something, you will not miss it. If you do, you are an idiot or you are visually impaired…Or you might be lost and confused as to what a “winners” store means. You will find BC in general. It’s marked by the “Best Place on Earth” sign. Really. Canada also provides you with useful signs if you are making a right turn. At one intersection we passed 4-6 right hand turn signs, each about 15 feet apart. Just in case you missed one or five of them.

On the other hand Canada definitely does a mediocre job of posting important signs that tell you where you are going/where you are. Driving through downtown Vancouver, I got lost for 5 minute stretches without reassuring signs telling me I was going the right way. If not for the map and my faithful navigator Andrew, I would have been lost in China town and died. Periodically, right after I would lose all hope a sign would appear telling me that I was in fact going towards highway 1-mapleleaf (as opposed to highway 1A).

There happen to be several 88 Streets in Langley. East, West, and a street that you think is 88th…

2) Canada has cheap sushi. Bless them.

3) The University of British Columbia can be qualified as its own city. It has a hospital, lots of food, Canadians, and other things that cities have. It also has a fortress of learning. It’s this building that resembles a fortress, but on the inside it is 3 levels of people studying for classes as though the world is ending or not depending on the amount of studying that happens. There are strange levels of silence. There’s the “why are you walking with shoes in a somewhat normal volume?” level, there’s the “Everyone be real quiet, but whispering is okay.” level, and there’s the “I’m in the corner, no one cares, so I will be a quiet chatty Kathy” level. Fascinating place. Needless to say, Andrew and I stumbled into the first one right off the bat as we discovered what the building was about. In the midst of ugly looks we realized the need for silence before Canadian students broke the silence to tell us to shut up in an ironic fashion.

D) Langley is really close to mountains. You get there and BOOM! There’s a mountain in your face. You can see the pointy top. You feel like you can touch the summit. As a result of the mountain, it’s balls cold too. Langley also has a Tim Horton’s doughnuts that nearly seals its claim on being a Canadians only establishment by not accepting Visa. Only mastercard. Bah.

E) Canadian college students make wonderful hosts and are very kind.

F) Whiterock makes you sick in the winter if you don’t have a jacket when you’re out on the pier.

That’s it for lettered observations. I also went to Regent College (the seminary on the UBC campus) It’s a building that looks nice and is small. I think lots of good learning happens there though.

My break officially ends tomorrow with class. Know that being at home was good, but I did feel a bit of displacement for some reason. It might have been the unnecessary amount of sleep I got. I slept a lot.

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Something you can pray about

so, tomorrow my dad, mom, and I are driving to Olympia, WA so I can take my medical interpreter’s certification exam. The oral test (i.e. I have to speak in Spanish proficiently). If I pass this test I am certified in the State of Washington to be a medical interpreter. That would mean super good things for the year to come (God willing). So, if you happen to be reading this before 3:15 on March 24th. Send up a prayer for me. If you aren’t the praying sort than perhaps you should think positive thoughts or something like that…maybe God listens to people who aren’t even talking to Him.

Bellingham.

I have returned to Bellingham for the span of time before next quarter that is Spring Break. The break itself doesn’t feel so “break-ish”. I spent several hours studying for yet another test this afternoon. It is necessary so that I can pass (medical interpreter’s certification exam: The oral exam. I get to speak Spanish in a manner that proves I don’t suck.)

On the other hand. I did wake up at noon, watch 3 movies (2 with my parents), and eat tasty food. So, perhaps it’s still a break after all.

The recent thing that I have been pondering is whether I return to Seattle after the Summer or if I should stay in Bellingham. Both have pros and cons, but as of yet I have not made a definitive jump one way or another. To be honest I am leaning towards coming back to Seattle. You can pray for me though. Maybe God will tip me off…

When I get to Bellingham my world seems to shrink a bit. I felt larger than usual today as I walked out in the backyard. No real reason why…I just did. I even shaved my beard off.

I watched this film called “Children of duder” or something like that. Honestly, I didn’t really pay attention to the title. It’s about this british journalist who goes to China prior to WW2 and helps a bunch of Chinese orphans survive and learn to be human beings (I will spoil the film soon, so if you plan on seeing it skip this paragraph.). He dies at the end after falling in love with war-hardened foxy nurse lady. Balls. I always end films of this sort expecting the ending to be good. Like all good movies should make great efforts to accomplish. I dunno why. I guess I see movies about guys falling in love with women of their dreams and accomplishing cool things and I want the story to end in a good way. When hero dies at the end…it makes me unhappy.

I think that is one of the things that I love about Jesus. This isn’t why I believe in the resurrection, but it just happens to be one of those things in life that is as good as it sounds: Jesus died, but then came back to life. Jesus fulfilled in the gospel that part of me (and hopefully you) that screams at the end of sad movies wanting the ending to be what we expect. I WANT the film to end with an uplifting moment. I want more than the crappy reality this life has to offer. I do feel unfulfilled when heroes die at the end of stories, but when I look at Jesus I realize that all the things I’m jones-ing for in films happened in real life.

The worst thing ever happened: Jesus died. BUT then He came back and He came back better than ever. His death was necessary for Him to be who He is. His death was part of the fulfillment of His life and then afterward that life lives on in us through the Holy Spirit. If that isn’t the best ending/non-ending to any story I don’t know what is. I for one don’t walk away from reading the gospels and think “I wish that had ended differently.” I walk away thinking: “He has risen indeed. What’re we doing today Jesus?”

Hey world. More things happened to me that you should know.

I was in Pike Place market the other day with my mom. We were walking up these stairs when this elderly asain gentleman holding a to-go box stopped me.

He said, “Hey tall guy!” I looked at him said “Hi.” we shook hands.

He then looked at me and said, “You don’t belong here.”

Playing along with him I said “You’re right.” and something else along the lines of “I’m too tall.”

He then said, “I’m from Seattle.” He said this as if I was trying to tell him that he wasn’t in fact from Seattle. “I’m from Seattle.”

I replied with something like “Great! Well, I’ve gotta go.” Then my mom and I went and got food upstairs.

That was it. I’ve been thinking about that. Do any of us belong here? The bible says our citizenship is in Heaven. I guess that means that he was right, but he doesn’t belong here either.

Well, back to the drawing board.

So. I opened a letter today. For a while now I have been talking about this internship with a church that I had applied for. I’m sure many of you knew. Some of you didn’t. Nonetheless, I managed to put all of my eggs in this basket, sincerely feeling like there was a pretty good chance of me getting it based on my interviews and whatnot.

Today I opened one of those letters. You know the sort. The one that opens with the “Thank you for…” but ends with the “I regret to inform you…” Yes. You guessed it. I didn’t get the internship. Here are my thoughts regarding the matter:

1) I prayed that the people would select the person God wanted to have the job. It turned out that it wasn’t me.

2) I am currently one of those kids who, following college is “not sure what will do”.

3) I am not overly worried…yet.

Let’s break those down. Firstly. I was really frustrated, moody, and a bit depressed when I got the letter. But after some time mellowing out I came to be able to reflect on these 3 things. Point one is just one of those things. I mean really. When you pray for God’s will to be done and the thing that happens isn’t what you’d like…I think that (in this case especially) what you pray for happened. It just didn’t happen to be something you liked. My friend Andrew Ryan pointed out just now that “you kinda shoot yourself in the foot with those prayers, but at the same time it’s a very worthwhile and humble thing to pray.” I can be okay with that.

Point two, shows the irritation I have at being where I am. It also mirrors what my parents and multiple other people will no doubt point out with questions that will start with “What will….” or “How will…” or better yet “You need to…” These questions typically end with frustrated looks at you like you don’t really know how much it worries them that you don’t have a plan. Well. No I don’t have a plan. Jesus does though. I want to know what that plan is. I want to live that plan while I am awake today and tomorrow as well. That might not be good enough for lots of people, but it’ll do for me.

Point three. It’s true. Right now I have finals in several days. I have things that call for my attention in more pressing ways. I also have an oral examination for my medical interpreter’s certification coming up after finals. See? There are more things that are more in my face at the moment. To be honest, I might worry later. For now though I think that God’s got something. I don’t know what it is, but whatever the case…I can always worry about that later.

I guess in the end I may have been thinking about this internship in terms of it being another stage to protect myself from actually getting into life and getting dirty living it thoroughly. Not to say that I will start doing terrible things, but perhaps it’s easier to be Christian when we are surrounded by Christians…maybe it’s time I start learning how to live a witness in real life that isn’t just a little bubble in Queen Anne.

That being said, I don’t think that I will stay out of Seattle next year. I don’t have a really good reason to do so. Honestly. I think if God wants me to, I will come back. I will live with a few of you (hopefully) and be that graduated friend who is still around. I know I appreciate those sorts of people in my life. Maybe I can be that for you.

Whatever the case may be. I repeat the title knowing that Jesus will help me draw new ideas out of the confusing mess that is life: “Well, back to the drawing board.”

So tired.

It’s been some time since I blogged while I was this tired. Today has been a whirlwind of getting up later than usual, writing paper, going to class, and generally feeling a bit out of place.

I think most of it stems from this idea that I am wrassling with of what it looks like to live every moment with Jesus who is inside you, surrounding you, and guiding you (if you listen) all the time. I feel like there should be more of a yellow-brick road sort of sensation sometimes, but as my friends Bob’s facebook status said after I talked to him about it “God seems very vague and flowy”. Not to say that God is a truth that is vague and flowy in a fabricated postmodern way. Assume orthodox Christianity when I say this. Then think for a moment. God is all around you. God guides you. God is there when it doesn’t feel like it. Doesn’t that blow your mind a bit? It’s like the reality of God is so intertwined with the reality we experience that we either take Him for granted or have no idea how to begin to wrap our minds around Him. I suppose that’s a good place to be.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t exactly serve as an entirely comforting thing. The biggness and (for lack of a better way to phrase it) “flowyness” of God scares and confuses me. Admittedly, in the best way possible. But really, God is with us in every moment. Every single moment. We don’t live a second apart from Him, but we can live entire lives apart from owning this fact. The question I have is somewhat based in my desire to be able to grasp what I should do before I do it. What does it mean to follow Jesus in every moment? Yes, we ought to apply scripture to most things. But what does it look like to follow Jesus in making a sandwich? In playing videogames with friends? He’s there. Does He want to play Mario Kart?

Yes. That last question was a bit silly. Yet, the question remains. What does it mean to follow Christ in the tedious things of everyday life? Furthermore, how do we learn about this in a way that doesn’t spiral out of control and make us pharisees who are more concerned about living every moment “the right way” instead of people who simply want to find God where He is?

I’ve been taking this great class called discipleship. It’s well-worth it. I encourage you to take it. However, I find that the amount of things we are being given to work with is too much. Honestly. I don’t know how to apply everything a really wise man of God has learned in a lifetime in the space of a quarter. Sometimes I feel like I want to make this silly bar of “what I ought to be doing” and hold myself to that as a result…but I don’t know that that is really giving myself grace. How do I learn valuable things about the faith while still letting my faith be a process that doesn’t feature me constantly measuring myself? Riddle me this…

The things that happen to me that you must know.

Real quick. Class starts soon. Had to write this down. I walked into the library today. As I walked through the doors I noticed this guy in a leather jacket and sunglasses just looking at me. I looked back at him. As I went through the door he came closer and asked “Are you Richard?” I said, “No.” Then he said “okay.” and resumed standing.

Who is Richard? Did I just see a spy? Should I have claimed to be Richard? Hmm….Well that’s about it. I just thought that was worth pointing out.