Monday, September 17, 2012

a dose of perspective

today was kind of a lousy day. not the kind of bad day I know a lot of people have -- ones with sick family members or accidents or not having enough to eat -- but rather a 1st world, petty-ish kind of bad day.

an overwhelming sense of inadequacy at my job, coupled with a horrible day in the academic world, led to feeling like a pretty crappy person.

I often judge myself based on my performance at things, and sometimes based on others' reactions to me and the work I do, and I'm realizing this is not a good pattern. and not how God judges me (thankfully!)

as I was driving away from a super frustrating moment and feeling pretty downright disappointed in myself, I'm pretty sure God gave me a dose of perspective.

what meaning does all this have, Ashley? um...a lot. duh, God. this is my life. hellllooo!
really? the meaning of your life revolves around your job and school? will you remember this in a month? maybe!! especially if I fail a class! please. (sometimes my God voice is a little sarcastic/sassy).

when this life is over, will today matter? it won't. not the things that bothered me about it, anyway.

a man I work with had an accident this weekend. he is OK, but injured himself and is recovering at home. he sent an e-mail out telling what happened, and I'm pretty sure it was more cheery than 90% of the e-mails I send. he told us what happened, but then proceeded to tell us how it could have been worse. how grateful he was that it wasn't worse. what he learned from the experience.

this is a man who is always shining the light of Christ. so, of course, he would turn this seemingly cruddy situation into a glory for Him. what an example.

tonight at a Bible study I'm doing, this line hit me: God lets us see sparks of divine love in people.

I know this to be true by the kind of love I've been shown by friends and family. and I think seeing His love in other people's attitudes and actions (like said co-worker) is also a gift from Him.

today was not my favorite, but today isn't my life. today isn't my life's meaning. and God-willing, I have tomorrow to help be a spark of divine love.

Friday, September 14, 2012

a strong dose of nostalgia

lately I've been nostalgic. it happens quite a lot, actually, but even more so today...

this I almost got choked up thinking about video rental stores. do you remember these? of course you do, but in ten years I wonder if many people will. or maybe they will scratch their heads and give a delayed "yeahhhh!".

or maybe it will be the new way to determine how old someone is -- did you walk the halls of movie gallery and blockbuster? yes? woohoo! you win the over-30 prize. now please move on to discussing shows from your youth, including saved by the bell, full house, clarissa explains it all, fraggle rock, etc. etc.

earlier in the day I went to lunch and got into a conversation about 9/11. our first reactions, where we were, what that time in our lives was like and how we probably didn't get what all it meant in those moments. more memories came flooding back. more nostalgia.

and I felt myself drift back into my high school life. walking the halls of BHS....walking around all the aisles of movie gallery. watching the previews for new movies on the TVs as we tried to find the last copy of that new release. or trying to decide which scary movie looked the scariest. and then if we wanted skittles or mike & ikes at the counter when we checked out. and no, we didn't want insurance on our rental. and yes, we WILL rewind. promise.

these memories make me a little teary-eyed if I think on them long. because the little things end up being the things that memories really are made of -  the things that our lives are comprised of. and I am so very lucky enough to have a wonderful family and wonderful friends and such happy, happy memories.

and on top of all this nostalgia and almost an ache for the past, a conversation at dinner tonight put it all into perspective for me.

a friend of mine started talking about a child who a family at her church has kind of taken in. she was saying how the boy lately has just wanted to give up. he doesn't want to try at school or attempt to reach goals, he just wants to quit. because that is the example he's been given. that is what the men in his life do.

and it made me sad for him. and all the other children like him. and all the other people who might not find nostalgia wonderful. who might not like to look back on their childhood memories, because they're less than pleasant. because they don't involve trips to movie gallery or blockbuster.

yes, sometimes nostalgia makes my heart ache. today I wanted to be in bryan, ohio, going on a walk with my mom, eating a homemade dinner with my family, topped off by a special recipe pumpkin cookie from chief supermarket. I wanted to rent a movie with my friends and drink pop with a twizzler straw in megan's basement. I wanted to play cards and watch a disney movie so we could walk to our cars in the dark after foolishly watching "I still know what you did last summer". I wanted to go to a high school football game, go to pizza hut afterwards, and laugh until my belly hurt. and while all these things seem simple and childish, they are so absolutely amazing it's hard to put into words how much they mean to me.

and I wish everyone could have it.