something bizarre happened the other day; something that had me stop dead in my obnoxious, unnecessarily busy tracks. i'd like to share.

lucas and i moved apartments two days ago. we worked a full and normal monday day, came home, boxed a few last things, and headed a few km's northeast for our new, 13th and main street vancouver, home. the night of the unloading, after all of our friends minions left, we only had enough steam to unfold a few blankets, set up our bed in some manner, and fall asleep. so the next morning, naturally, we woke up to a massive pile of what use to be, and hopefully will be again, our "life" sitting somewhere between the bathroom, hallway, kitchen and livingroom. lucas volunteered to go to, what will now be, our neighborhood cafe, 49th parallel, to get us some tea and coffee.

as we are heading out, i'm doing my usual routine of running around turning off what seems like every light in the apartment (of course, while still managing to give lucas the why don't you ever turn the lights off? glares). i close the door and start to lock the bolt in with our new key.

did i turn off my flat iron? yes, but i should unplug it.
[i run into the bedroom to unplug it. lucas is just ignoring me somewhere in the hallway i think.]

again, i go to leave, this time completely locking the bolt, walking a few steps down the hall and immediately stopping and turning around.

i need to check everything.

i have to give a side-bar note here: i am not the kind of person that weirdly obsesses about forgetting to do things after i leave the house and stresses about it all day until i find out it's okay. yes, i check things over and am cautious, but what i did next was out of character for me.

i unlocked the bolt of our door and headed straight for the stove in our new kitchen. we hadn't used the stove, but something felt off.
atop the stove sits a roll of papertowel and a pile of reusable grocery bags that lucas must have thrown there just before to make room for something. i quickly remove everything from the top of the stove to check that the burners are turned off and, to my complete disturbance, one of the back burner knobs had accidentally been turned on. as i leaned in to turn it off, i felt the intense and very real heat rising from the burner. i instantly got a pit in my stomach.

as i quadrupole made sure everything else was okay, it struck me what could have just happened, but didn't.
i suddenly felt like i won the lottery -- like i was just given something that i shouldn't have been given.
in my mind, i just went from having one of the worst-days-of-my-life to having a typical moving day of unpacking a bunch of things we own into an apartment that we rent. i was so thankful that day for whatever illogical discernment god gave me to check that everything was okay.

what i realized that day, as the reality sunk in of how close our lives came to being a bit more of a mess than we even could have imagined, is that we really don't realize how many times we win the lottery. this day, it happened to be obvious. we happened to be aware of what god had just kept us from. but we don't always know.

i often fail to recognize this hedge of protection around me. sometimes the hedge comes in the nothingness -- like stoplights, forgetting your phone, and stopping to get gas; and once in a while, it will be completely unrecognizable in face of adversity. what this incident made me realize is that we don't know when or how god is weaving an even bigger plan into the little list of ones we make every day (that, yes, do feel important so much of the time!)

that day, amidst the chaos of the move, we got an email from a friend of ours whose wife just survived through a double mastectomy surgery the morning before:

"we felt such peace this morning on the way to the hospital as god has truly shown us what it means to be joyful in all circumstances. [she] has also been an amazing patient and I’m so proud of her. god is totally carrying her as she gives herself up to his control."

and here's where i realize that even if i hadn't gone back to check the stove, that the control still isn't in my hands and nor should it be. i am so thankful for the people in my life who lead me by example of what it means to trust the process -- not complain about their circumstance, not try and pretend like everything is okay, and not blindly adopt the notion that god isn't specifically holding them in that moment just as he was holding me in the moment that our apartment building didn't burn down; just as he was holding our dear friend as she underwent that surgery.

what it comes down to is knowing that ultimately, the lottery doesn't always look how we think it will look.

most of the time, it's hard.

it's hard to trust and know that my plans aren't always the best plans. but i take these reminders, and i hold on to them so tightly. i keep them in my pocket as best as i can just for those days and those moments to come that it won't feel like i'm winning the lottery.


rediscovering the meaning

i have to start somewhere.

writing, to any degree and in any form, is like a muscle that, once it stops being used, it loses it's strength. it has the potential to get back into shape, but the hard part is moving when it feels so weak. you remember how rewarding it can be when it's being used all the time, but the vague memory doesn't inspire you enough to get through that awkward and uncertain period where you're unsure you'll ever feel as strong as you use to feel. so you just leave it, like an uncharted terrain. untapped. unopened. unused...

along the way -- somewhere between dropping out of school for two years indefinitely, falling in love, getting married, finding employment at one of my favorite operations in the city of vancouver (the bar method), and realizing that i don't want to be a teacher, i found myself with less meaning. not that my life stopped having meaning, but more that i simply seemed to have lost the attitude to see it. somewhere in the midst of "settling down" with a life-partner and semi-permanent job, i adopted the "day-in-day-out" attitude towards life rather than seeing the fun, never-ending awaiting adventure and potential all around me. that, indirectly, gave me this sense that i have nothing to write about. 

and it feels strange to attribute my lack of creative juices, or my lack of proclivity to create, to things that are such blessings -- a consistent schedule, marriage, + a job i love. but when i reflect on a past entry, i remember that i am affectionately addicted to newness. in the midst of finding things that make me feel secure and fulfilled, i lost my ability to see the world as a colorful spectrum of feelings, ideas, and thoughts. because that's what blogging was for me -- my insights about the everyday. nothing revolutionizing but, to me, those humble observations were what made me understand; what made me feel alive.

writing has been a therapist to me. it's just a symbol, or a manifestation, of what my heart already knows. when i let the words come out, and i see them and read them back to myself, i gain perspective and understanding. allowing others to take part in it with me (hence a public blog as opposed to a private journal), i feel like i walk with them in my acumen, and that's therapeutic to me as well.

the best way for me to re-approach something that use to come as a second nature is to intentionally try and find the meaning, the beauty, and god, in those things that have become seemingly ordinary to my soul. it doesn't mean i have to lead a more full life with explosions, concerts, and confetti (although that does sound like a fun day), but just that i have to ask god, and allow him, to open my eyes to see things through that lens that gives me back my passion for the day.

so i need to begin, again. i need to give myself permission to try. even if the results aren't groundbreaking at first, i desire to regain my muscle, not just to write, but more than that, to see life and others as more breath-taking and lovely than how they often appear at first glance.