Sunday, November 28, 2010

Intentional Destruction

A car crash crumpled my husband's car into the shape of a big red accordion, and I am grateful.

It was around nine years ago that I ran that car head-on at 45mph into a concrete barrier. Then, with maneuvers that seemed to defy the laws of physics, I managed to flip the vehicle around as it continued to barrel down the offramp so we hit the same barrier, in reverse, perhaps fifty yards further down. Seatbelts held us steady as airbags deployed during initial impact. When we finally came to a stop some seconds later, we were very quiet.

I was shaken by the experience. My nose was bruised and my lip was bleeding a little from being hit by the airbag. But that's all! It was amazing. The EMT who happened to be first on the scene very much expected to find us badly injured. The police officer who came later for the accident report sounded suspicious when we told him we were the two in the car, because he didn't see how that could have been true.

How did we survive so well? Because the car was designed with its passengers as the priority. The car, as it was created to do, crumpled like an accordion each time it hit the concrete barrier. And because the car absorbed so much of the impact, our bodies didn't have to. It totaled the car, of course. But it was worth the loss.

The people who make cars have many goals -- physical comfort, low gas consumption, safety, reasonable cost, attractiveness, durability, and so forth. They could have made a car that kept its shape beautifully... but at a personal cost much higher than that of the car. I'm glad they didn't.

This has reminded me of life lately. I have various goals and they sometimes are mutually exclusive, which often becomes particularly apparent in times of crisis/stress/etc. I need to consistently re-examine my values and make intentional choices consistent with them. When I do this, I am far more likely to absorb unplanned impacts in the right ways.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quiet Beauty of Maybe

I don't know what it is, but I almost always wake up absurdly early on the mornings we're at District Team Retreat in Cascade. I gave up a few years ago on trying to go back to sleep, so I laze around a bit, then meander over to the big lodge to sip a hot beverage and take pictures as I watch the sun come up.

Trinity Pines
This is one of my first photos on a chilly September morning this year. There isn't much to look at, really -- it's mostly dark, and the landscape mostly consists of vague outlines. The colors on the horizon are pretty, I suppose.

But that's not why I like it.

I like this photo because it speaks to me of hope and fresh starts, loosening my grip on the past and leaning toward the future. I am reminded to look ahead with intention, recognizing potential and entering the day with a sense of expectancy.

This image represents for me the quiet beauty of "maybe."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marking Time

I was thinking this morning about time...
"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.' And it was so." (Genesis 1:14-15, emphasis mine)

God created the concept of time, and it is a very good gift. We see it in the apparent movement of the sun, in the phases of the moon, in the changing weather. These huge -- astronomical -- shifts are reminders that each moment is unique and temporary. The world will never again be quite like it is in this moment... or in this one... or in this one... Recognizing the passage of time can create a healthy urgency to make the most of each moment we're given.

Along with a sense of change, these same signs provide a sense of stable consistency. It is snowing pretty good right now, but I trust that warm weather will eventually return. Night has fallen, but I have full confidence the sun will come up again soon. At 7:25am tomorrow, in fact. The cycles of time give me hope, reassuring me of new starts.

Truth be told, I am not enthusiastic about the cold. I am grateful, though, for time, and for seasons to mark it. That alone is worth some blizzardy weather.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not Time to Panic

We received a catalog in the mail yesterday. It's too early for Christmas music yet, but it's okay to have decorations and shopping stuff available. These things take time. I get that.

It's not the existence of the catalog that got to me, but the urgency implied: "Last Minute!" Unless they've got the world's worst shipping service, I'm thinking they define "last minute" very differently than I do.

In a season too often frenzied and rushed, let's not add to the craziness - in our catalogs, spending, overbooked schedules, unrealistic expectations, or whatever. There is far more to Christmas!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I woke early yesterday, probably around 4:30am, and set about getting ready. There was a very full day ahead -- CPE group first thing, flight to Boise soon after, car rental/driving, meeting, various calls and texts and emails, return trip. Our flight back to SLC landed around 8:30pm. We got in the car and headed home.

And suddenly, it was quiet. Beautifully, gloriously, stunningly quiet. After the busyness of the day, and especially the people and noise of the airport and plane, the quietness created a space to breathe.

I needed that.