Part One: Why am I such an American?

At 5:00 last Friday, I pulled up outside David’s apartment and nearly ran up to the front door, leaving all my stuff in the car, itching to get going, get on the road. We’d be driving late into the night, just me and my favorite person.

I opened the door to find him asleep on the couch, “Rise and shine, babe. Time to get on the road.”

He opened he eye wearily and muttered, “How mad will you be if I can’t go?”

“Ha.ha. Very funny. Seriously, get up. You can sleep in the car. Where are your bags?”

At which point he was like, no really, I have [insert long list of actually very important PhD things that need to be done] and I can’t get that done if I go away for the weekend.

“You could do it in the car” (lie)

“You can always work on it tomorrow. There will be so much time” (bigger lie)

To say that I was disappointed would blow straight past understatement into big, fat I’m-sugar-coating-because-I-don’t-want-to-look-bad lie territory.

I literally couldn’t stop crying. I just sat on the floor in his room and ugly cried. It was a little bit missing him and a little bit exhaustion. But mostly I just kept thinking about 7 hours. in the car. alone. again.

And then I remembered those heart searing stories from Haiti, posted just a few hours earlier, and I felt like such a selfish American. I want so badly for the knowledge of their suffering  – of rape camps and of parents begging strangers to take their children – I want it to matter.

I want awareness to sing louder than the constant, clanging, cacophony of my expectations, to reach deep inside the tangled, mess of my desires and clear some space, leave an empty place on the floor where I might notice, might remember how blessed I am.

Because I realized I was crying over the fact that I had to get in my car and listen to music, to see people that I love who love me, so that I could receive gifts and food in celebration of the fact that I get to marry this really awesome person who is currently sitting beside me and rubbing my back and letting me cry about it.

And that realization just about undid me.

I finally stopped crying. And my parents met me in Dallas, so I wouldn’t have to drive the whole way by myself. And the whole weekend was lovely and fun and kind*. And I just couldn’t escape the knowledge of how beautifully blessed I am.

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In the Old Testament, God makes three promises to Abraham, promises that echo through generations that follow: he promises descendants and he promises a home. And he promises that because of those blessings, all the nations of the world will be blessed in turn.

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Maybe that is the key: to have hands open, willing to receive, with humility and with thanks. To recognize, to remember all that you are given beyond what you deserve. And to have fists unclenched, generous, ready to surrender, to hand over your blessings so that they might bless exponentially.

If we can learn to do that here, everyday, maybe that generosity could reach even into the heart of suffering.

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Tomorrow there will be part 2 of my weekend: What I learned about Jesus at a wedding shower. And there will be pictures!

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*An aside: At dinner Saturday night, David’s dad made a joke exactly the way David would have, down to the facial expression. And I missed him in a laughing sad-happy sort of way.

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