I Wonder as I Wander

My mom used to sing this song every year during the Christmas season.

I remember for a while when I was very young I disliked it. It was too haunting, too eerie, for a time when I wanted pealing bells and tinkling chimes.

But even though I didn’t like it, every time she went up– for that one note– I got chills. Dislike changed to toleration, and even enjoyment of the tradition of it, the sameness, and what that meant. Like the Coca-cola commercials or the Hess truck jingle.

This year I think about that song all the time.

It came into my mind while I ran this morning (not the greatest tune for running, in case you were curious).

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus, the Savior, did come for to die
For poor Orn’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander
out under the sky. 

I wonder that too. I wonder a lot of things.

For months we’ve been ‘in limbo.’

Tomorrow that might change.

Even now, I’m desperate to reach out and grab it, to set the dates and fix the timeline and guarantee it. I can’t, but I want to.

But that’s why I had to write tonight.

If this thing tomorrow pans out…

and if it means that we’ll have new things to learn and try and do,

I want so much to remember this time, this directionless, foggy, frustrating time. I want to remember how thick and fast the lessons have come, how faithfully Jesus has shown me where I’m wrong, and how incredibly he’s provided even in my failings, even when I’ve been gloomy and faithless and judgey and frustrated.

Whatever comes next, I want to remember that he’s been with me through the wandering. I wonder what he’s going to do next…  

   

Ten Things Tuesday: You’ve Got Mail

I just finished writing this and I need to warn you about how many italics and feelings you are about to confront. I am not apologizing for them, I am just warning you that they are there. 

We’re still in Washington. It’s still beautiful. I have applied for more jobs than I can remember. Nate has had some health problems the past month that has made us sorely miss the health care we had in South Korea.

I have watched You’ve Got Mail twice in two days. Nate’s parents have a lot of channels and it keeps coming on. It’s on again and I’m recording it to watch later.

I love You’ve Got Mail.

Actually? forget Limbo week 3. let’s talk about You’ve Got Mail.

  1. It occupies the highest position in my holy trinity of Meg Ryan films (the other two being French Kiss and Sleepless in Seattle, duh.)
  2. Nora Ephron. The writing. It’s genius. It’s commentary on how words and writing connect us and help us grow, but how love needs more than that. Listen: Shopgirl and NY152 fall in love through writing. But that’s all they have. They just trade sweet and witty editorials that are so real and lovely and relatable, on things like school supplies and Starbucks, and Pride and Prejudice.
    (via)
    But the reality is that due to the medium of communication they never really have conversations. So technically it’s all platonic, and all nothing. But of course it isn’t. Because (next point)
  3. Kathleen Kelly (always Kathleen Kelly, first name and last name. Always.) and her boyfriend Frank (the endearingly horrible Greg Kinnear) only talk about each other, and at each other. Frank is a writer, obsessed with old technology but mostly with the sound of his own voice. Words words words you guys! It’s all so true. They break up. Duh.
    (This breakup is much easier to deal with than the way she played Walter in Sleepless in Seattle.)

    #teamwalter (via)
  4. When Joe Fox starts “tweaking” his relationship with Kathleen Kelly (the objectionable parts of which I will mention later), the two of them fall in love– as themselves. All the chemistry that existed when they were writing emails came to life in their face-to-face conversations. Which is the real romance of the story, and the least believable part, and the part about which I am most willing to suspend my disbelief.
  5. The whole premise, watched in 2015, is so unbelievably antiquated, dangerous, and improbable. Now sitcoms and movies joke about online dating every 30 seconds, and entire shows are built around online predators, and chat rooms are NOT DESIRABLE PLACES TO MEET NICE NON-MURDER PEOPLE. The dial-up sound! The idea that you couldn’t communicate with someone if you were trapped in an elevator! Aol in general.
    But two things most especially stand out as emblematic of how far removed this whole film is from us now: first, the ethernet cable that Kathleen Kelly’s laptop is anchored to during the “go to the matresses” chat (simply as a jarring reminder that once upon a time, if you wanted to relax in bed with your laptop and Surf the ‘Net, as the youths say, you had to have a cable long enough to accommodate you UGH and be super careful that you didn’t accidentally yank the cord out and break the plastic tab that kept it stuck in there UGH FLASHBACKS UGH.)
  6. And secondly, and so so sadly: the idea that any bookstore would be that popular today, or that one opening would be that much of a big deal. I know. I hate it too. Frank was right! stupid modernity! stupid tablet readers! stupid wifi!
  7. Now for objections: I get the willies thinking about how downright manipulative Joe Fox is through this whole “tweaking” phase. Not telling Kathleen Kelly who he is is just so shady. The scene where he brings her daisies? adorable. Yet the tucking her into bed and shushing her?! Sir. You have overstepped yo’ bounds. And at the end, when he drops “for as long as we both shall live” on her? Confusing her deliberately! Why does he look so sad when he knows he’s about to blow her mind in like, 2 hours? What would he have done if she said, in that moment, “sure, just let me go blow off NY152, i like you better!” WHAT? You are playing dangerous games, Mr. F-o-x.
  8. Aside from the shushing and whatnot, the fact that both of these characters in long-term relationships “wandered” into chat rooms and struck up this correspondence is sketch to the maxx. Indefensible. Even though Frank and Patricia are equally selfish, terrible people. Two wrongs. No rights.
  9. Okay, and can we talk about the secondary characters? Patricia as Parker Posey in particular. I can’t eat a Tic-tac without thinking of her. Everyone knows a Frank. And George, and Birdie, and Jillian, and Christina. The City itself! The Weather and the Seasons. Meg Ryan’s Haircut. Dave Chapelle for One Scene. The Man in the Opera Cloak in the cafe. Brinkley!
  10. THE SOUNDTRACK. I was/am obsessed with the music in this. It’s how I found out about Harry Nilsson (and subsequently suggested “The Puppy Song” as the recessional at one of my best friend’s weddings and they played it and it was the happiest thing you’ve ever seen). I get angry watching this movie on TV because they cut out the credits and that’s where Carole King sings “You Could’ve Been Anyone At All” and I catch all the feelings. ALSO: On the soundtrack for sale, Nilsson’s movie rendition of “I guess the Lord must be in New York City” is replaced by Sinead O’Connor’s cover and that makes me feel rage.
    STAY IN YOUR LANE, SINEAD.

    ahem.
    I have to close this with one last item:

  11. I will never really forgive Joe Fox for closing The Shop Around the Corner.
    (via)

That CAVIAR is a GARNISH.

sigh.

Blerg.

We are in the process of probably being almost apartment-scammed on Craigslist.

Thank the Lord Nate and I are the buddy-cop duo of scammers’ nightmares.

I have lost track of how many job applications I’ve sent off today.

(Already been rejected for one. I didn’t pass their test. Rude.)

I ate lemon cake for breakfast. (From yesterday.)

I haven’t showered in two days.

I’m wearing Nate’s mom’s baseball hat. (sorry Josie.)

Outside it is windy and glorious. I’m inside.

(There is a .1% chance that the apartment thing is legit. In which case, hooray!)

(but it’s almost for sure a scam you guys.)

I’m trying really hard not to eat the rest of the lemon cake for lunch.

So hard you guys.

So. hard.

  
 

Ten Things Tuesday: Limbo no.2

Our original date for leaving Seattle was October 17. This coming Saturday.  That’s looking on pace to whoosh right by us.

Since our income situation is what you might call dubious, naturally apartment complexes are hesitant to extend a big ol’welcome to the Family Pagaard. We’re hunting and emailing and calling and praying.

I’ve scattered a handful of resumes and cover letters across the fallow fields of internet job sites, with more to come. Just floating that bread out on the waters. Just holding on to the promises and the Love that is behind them.

Just not looking directly at the ol’ bank balance for the next little while. Sort of sideways. Squinting.

So here’s 10 more things about life in limbo:

  1. Lucy the #sexistgoldenretriever has taken to biting her tail hairs. It’s gross. If we leave the bathroom door open she runs in and eats my old makeup wipes from the trash. it’s gross. If she’s out of the cage and not being watched, she destroys things. Like the first day we were here, when she went for my mother-in-law’s crocheted lace tablecloth.
  2. #RIPLaceTablecloth
  3. Seattle in the fall! People…I didn’t know. I have a Thing for Fall. (I know everyone does, I know I’m not special. OKAY.) It’s SO beautiful. the trees and the wind and the rain and the mountains. MOUNTAINS. We had mountains in Korea but not like this. I can’t seem to process that it’s really fall, really October. We left Korea in the summer, went to Europe in the summer…I don’t know why this change of season is so shocking to me.
  4. (but I can guess.) It’s still not really sunk in that we aren’t returning to Korea, since we haven’t really had a chance to settle anywhere.
  5. Today I’ll be baking with Josie! One benefit of staying here (among many) is that my MIL loves to bake like I do. Lemon cake is on the menu tonight y’all. Deb’s of Smitten Kitchen, obviously. Is there any other choice?
  6. Whenever I have an abundance of time on my hands, I paint my nails. These are the colors of choice at the moment: Yo Soy, Undercover, and Profoundly Purple.
  7. Nate and I had two evenings out in Seattle last week! We did all the touristy things and took a thousand pictures.            
  8. On Friday we met up with Nate’s old friends Soonja and Dane and they took us to Rock Creek, where I had one of the best, most exciting meals of. my. life. No exaggeration. Also no exaggeration? I did not actually recognize 86% of the words on the menu, but every single bite was delicious. The tuna tartare. I die.
  9. I’m running out of this stuff, which I love and should have bought backups of before I left Korea. I got on sale there and nearly choked when I saw what it costs here. You know what this means? Beauty blog research time. #anyexcuse
  10. I disconnected this blog from Facebook and Twitter. I’ll maybe post about why next week.

No idea what next week’s gonna look like, or the rest of this one…but I know who does. and that never changes. Thank God.

 

Pilgrim Way

  

 Yesterday I made a little list about what it’s like to live in limbo, since we’re between homes-jobs-places at the moment.

It’s a weird sort of way to live and a new way to me. I’ve been wrestling with how to think of it since we left Korea.

It’s an adventure!

It’s a honeymoon!

It’s a vacation!

Well, yes. To all of those.

But that wears off after a week or two.

And then you’re just living with family, talking big about Plans and Dreams that are, so far, non-existent.

After a while, you start to feel like you’re dreaming. Where are we? What life is this? 

It’s hard to stay focused on anything when you have nothing to do but look around. When you’re in-between communities. When there are a thousand tiny tasks to do–and you do them, but they seem to dissolve and disappear as they’re accomplished.

Since we left Korea I read Pilgrim’s Progress for the first time in a million years, and since we arrived at my in-laws’ I found an old favorite again: Hind’s Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard’s incredibly moving, convicting story of Fear and trust and Love. I ripped through it in two days and have heavily hinted to Nate that he needs to get on it, because I need someone to talk about it with. The books are similar: heavy on the allegory and symbolism and Scripture. The movement from lost to found and everything the comes between. Journey stories.

Two things have stayed with me, lodged in my brain and directing my thoughts and prayers these days.

First are the houses. Places of rest along the King’s Highway, on the road to the Celestial City. This is where the pilgrims take a break from the harsh conditions of the road, where they’re protected from enemies and have space to reckon with themselves.

Second are the altars. Whenever Much-afraid encounters obstacles or enemies, she stops and builds an altar. She builds with whatever she can find. She offers whatever was being challenged: her will, her desires, her very heart.

That’s where we are.

On purpose.

For the first time, we have no demands on our time other than what we create.

And a thousand things want to devour that time. I can feel their pull. Stay in bed a little longer. Read another blog. Watch another cooking show. Go for a walk. Send another email. 

I give in to those daily. Several times a day. And sometimes, in some seasons, it’s hard to hear anything else. But here, it’s different. Here, I’m hyperaware that the only thing in the whole world holding me back from the presence of Jesus is me. My choices. My desires. This is always true, but it’s never been more starkly clear than right now.

What do I really want? 

What can I offer

What do I need to see here?

And on the way, as I ask, as days pass, maybe I’m learning things I didn’t know. Maybe in the unknown, in the fear, in the going, I’m picking up pebbles, memorial stone that He will somehow transform one day.