Friday, April 27, 2012

Growing in Maturity

I think when I was younger, I assumed that life at 28 would be settled and almost boring. I mean, really, don’t you already have it all figured out by then?

But we don’t, do we? When I look around, I see so many of my friends in very complicated situations. My heart rejoices with those who are getting their dream jobs and starting that special relationship they have wanted for so long. I grieve with those who are suffering with the tidal waves of rocky marriages and post partum depression. Life is just plain complicated.

I’ve been thinking about what it means to grow older and how in our culture there is such a negative stigma with aging. It doesn’t take much cultural observation to see that our cultures (in the States and Chile) look down on aging. “Fight it!” the culture tells us.  There is something sad about getting old, seeing the years pass you by, your body doesn’t work as well as it used to. But in older (and wiser) cultures, there was honor in aging. I’d like to get some of that back.

What if our goal wasn’t to stay young forever? What if instead of dedicating time to fighting the aging process, we pursued maturity where we are? How do you feel about the word “maturity”? Is it a negative word for you? Do you shy away from it? Or is maturity something you seek in life?

My pastor Cristobal, who is one of my nearest and dearest people here, after working with me for 10 months made a passing comment about my age. It turns out he thought I was considerably older than I am. He thought I was 34 or so. Um… no. 28 years old. I think many 28 year olds would find such a suggestion an insult. Don’t we want to be 25 again? But really and truly I was so encouraged by his mistake. The first thing that came to mind was that he thought I was mature enough to be in my mid thirties. After working so closely with me, seeing my successes and failures, he thought I had the maturity to be 34 years old. What a compliment! It actually made me relax. I am on a good track.

I know my mother thinks I’m being silly when I say that I like gray hairs, but I think any fear I have in getting older is that I am not mature enough to be older. I have this image in my mind about what a woman in her late 20s should look like. She should have her life put together in such and such way. Do I measure up to those standards? Am I good enough to be considered a “grown up”? I think so. And I think the more I focus myself on pursing maturity wherever I am, the more content I will be with what I have. And the more content I am with what I have, the more I will live out of joy and not out of fear.

So bring on the gray hair! It doesn’t scare me, it’s a crown of wisdom. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The heart never forgets

A friend of mine just broke up with her boyfriend. I was chatting with her, trying to love her from afar. It got me thinking about my own break up oh so many years ago. I thought I'd take a moment to look back on some of the emails from my time with Jason. As soon as I typed in his name to search for those emails, I felt a wave of nausea rush over me. I pushed through it and opened the emails that held the conversations between Jason and me... far from love letters, but little notes that made me remember all that I felt for him. After a minute or two, I was so overwhelmed with nausea that I had to stop, close my computer and walk away.
Such an intense reaction to reopening up the past made me wonder. What does it look like to move on? I'm not in love with Jason anymore (obviously). I still wish the best for him, hope that he is doing well, and somewhere deep in my heart I still love him. Given the chance to be with him again, no thanks. Yet, I have such a strong reaction to reading those emails.
I was reflecting on all this with my friend Magda. And she reminded me that God knows how my heart and what my heart can and can't handle. I've seen over the last few years how incredibly sensitive I am. My heart is so easily affected, for better or worse. God knows that and He reigns over my heart.
When I was younger I naively prayed that God would guard my heart and keep all the "extras" away. That He would keep me away from all the other guys until "my man" came. Little did I know how well God would answer that prayer!
As much as sometime I get frustrated or embarrassed by my lack of dating relationships, I realize how affected I am by those relationships and I see the hand of God in keeping me. There are few guys (really, few) that I have loved. And the recovery time for my heart after one of those guys is longer than I'd like to admit.

So Lord, be faithful to me. 
Be King and Lord of my heart. 
May I find my deepest joy and satisfaction in You. 
And may Your love be the hope of my heart

Friday, April 20, 2012

The legacy of my Mormor

Yesterday I realized that I inherited something from my Mormor. "Mormor" means mother's mother in Swedish and it's what we call our grandmas in my mother's family. My mormor came over from Sweden when she was a girl. I have never been close to her. I hate to admit that when she died a few years ago, I was living in Chile and I was more upset about my mom being sad than the actual loss of my mormor. Part of my distance to my mormor might be geographical, she always lived on the other side of the country. Or it might have been other factors. But whatever it was, we never shared a close relationship.

My mother told me stories about her. I knew she had been an archivist in the field of physics. I knew she had found love later in life with my grandpa John. I knew that the women in our family are strong and commanding women and that she was the root of that legacy. But I until yesterday, I hadn't realized that I had inherited something even more particular from my mormor.
My friend Danielle is studying library science at UCLA and she mentioned that she was reading an article for a class that might be about my mormor's contribution to the world of archiving. I shouldn't be surprised, my family tends to pop in strange places like academic articles about archiving. But it struck me as my mom mentioned my mormor "liked organizing things, and she adored brilliant men" that maybe I inherited more than just my hair color from her.

As I've gotten older, there are parts of my personality and character that are coming out. With my new job as coordinator at the English institute, I have realized all the more how much I love organizing and administrating. In the last 5 months, I have created and implemented a new English program for one of our major clients. I have a team of 9 teachers working for me and about 70 students in the classes. It's a ton of work (14-16 hour days were the norm for about 3 weeks) but I love it. I love the multi-tasking that is required. I love making order out of chaos. I love seeing something I created work well. Maybe, just maybe, I get this from my mormor.

And as far as adoring brilliant men... yep. I've always known that a man's brain is more attractive to me than his face. I would love to find a man who I can listen to and marvel at. There is little sexier than a brilliant man.

While I wasn't very close to my mormor while she was here with us, it makes me smile to think that I may have something special of hers. A little piece of her legacy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

what I would if I could...

I'm not sure where to start. First would be a confession that I am just plain BAD at keeping up this blog. It comes and goes in seasons. But I think often about what I would write if I did write a blog post.
Some of the ideas are:
-how I have little patience for other people's change but require others to be very patient with me.
-how I have learned that I am more gringa than I want to admit and I might need to just stop fighting that
-how I am learning to say "no" to various things in life (responsibilities that I tend to take on even though I don't need to)
-what an incredibly sweet time I had on the church retreat this weekend and how God challenged me to count the cost of following Him and to believe that having Him truly is worth everything

Those are just some of the ideas that come to mind. But for now... I'll head to bed. GOODNIGHT!