Perfect The Way You Are

When I was 7, my grandma came from China to help raise me since both my parents were working full time jobs. As part of our daily routine, I would walk home from school during lunch and we would watch Mr. Rogers together over whatever delicious meal she prepared. Neither of us knew English well enough to understand what he was saying, but even kid me understood that Mr. Rogers was saying something important when he looked at the camera and sang, “I’m glad that you are the way you are.”

Adult me had completely forgotten about that idea until I heard it again in the recent documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

That film got me good. I was inconsolable after finishing it, mainly because they included a snippet of Fred Rogers’ 2002 Dartmouth commencement speech.

Seriously watch the whole thing, but if nothing else, the most important line for me was:

You don’t ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you.

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Hatred isn’t the opposite of love.

Cowardice is.

Just needed to get that off my chest. (The aftermath of the election sucks.)
It comes from a place of fear, of needing to pull your treasures close for fear that they might get lost in the sea that is our world so broken and mended that it’s more tape than substance. There’s nothing wrong with fear in itself–wasn’t Jesus himself fearful that night before the crucifixion? But cowardice, when we are so paralyzed by fear that we can’t look hardship in the eyes, is what destroys us.

Cowardice is what says that a man is less for the color of his skin, the tiles on his house, or the quality of his soul because we’re fearful of the implications of embracing a difference. We convince ourselves that we are righteous, and in so doing carefully, artfully water those vines of hatred that tear us apart from the inside out.

Cowardice is what persuades us to set a man on fire for fear of our own treasures getting too cold, but love gives us the strength to burn so that another can sleep more comfortably. Theres no need for me to rattle on about love because everyone talks about it, but I want to make just one point: Can’t we just love one another and stop being jerks? That’s literally the bible in a nutshell. Is it really that hard??


Oh, wait, I’m not actually done. šŸ˜›
Here’s the bible verse that our pastor talked about last week that got me thinking about what love means in context of all the toxic sludge that’s been slung around recently.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

And here’s the song that goes along with it. It’s called “Brother” by The Brilliance. 

This post is a bit melodramatic. Election week 2016 and 2016 itself has been a rough time. But hey, my God is not so small that a bad year is enough to overshadow him… so I suppose that’s a consolation.


Making Space

Ahhh, it’s beginning again. Breathe in, and you can smell the iCals and the anticipation in the air as Olin gears up for another semester of accomplishments and memories.

AsĀ I ink in the white spaces of my calendar with all my plans, I realize that being overcommitted is a very real thing, and that my time is becoming quite a precious commodity.Ā I’m no longer able to throw hours at activities like a teenager with her first credit card. Anything not on my calendar is not on my mind… which is kind of sucky, because God is very clearly not on my calendar.

Prayer has always been an on the spur of the moment sort of thing like other spur of the moment things. I like guitar, so when I have lots of time I play lots of guitar. When I don’t, well, my guitar gets dusty and really flat. But I can’t afford to let my relationship with God get dusty and flat–how else I can make sure I’m building my life the way He wants me to? There’s a saying that if something is important for you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.

No more excuses! God is on my calendar, and I’ll have time for Him, even if it means taking a minutes from other places.


One of Us

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us?
Just a stranger on a bus, trying to make his way home?

-Eric Bazilian (But sung by Joan Osborne)
Music video is kind of creepy–er outdated, but hey, play it in another tab and read this instead of watching it.

I was mulling over a conversation with my mother the other day, when this song came up on a Spotify generated playlist. I liked the melody, so I sought it out and played it a couple more times, before the meaning of the words actually sunk in.

See, when I pray, I’m praying to a great heavenly Father or to a majestic God on his all-powerful cosmic throne.Ā I’d like to think that if God were “one of us”, I’d be able to recognize him right away due to his sheer presence. And if I were to meet him, well, I would most definitely be on my best behavior. If God wanted to borrow a dollar, I’d give him a twenty and tell him not to worry about it.

Yet, what if I couldn’t recognize him? What if God was that man I pretended not to see huddled on that street corner? What if God was the person sleeping under the makeshift igloo on that muddy Cambridge curb? Would God have watched me with sad eyes as I briskly walked by to attend to something more important?

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A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

If there was one trait I could pick from Jesus to make mine, I would choose his patience. His inexplicable ability to remain calm under a heavy fire of irritating things is both admirable and enviable. Enviable because we’re all humansĀ in a real world, and we all have to cooperate with people whom we might not really like to get stuff done.

As I’m making my way through college, I find myself working on a lot of group projects. Inevitably, I’ve had to work with some people who are the mushrooms in my salad of life. Of course, mushrooms are a great nutritional food that everyone should love, but itā€™s an unfortunate truth that mushrooms and I are incompatibleā€¦ Iā€™d much rather work with people who are lettuce.

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Talent Show God of More

Our Bible verse:

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise

Psalm 51:16-17


Back in high school, talent shows were both the most beautiful and most terrifying kind of events. AnĀ average student believing they have a unique talent submits that uniqueness to a panel of judges who deem whether that uniqueness is good enough to merit a place in the show. This filtering results in a beautiful arrangement of individuals who were thoroughly amazing, butĀ leavesĀ others with a gentle refusal because ā€œtheir rendition of Lady Gagaā€™s latest was great, but just missing a little somethingā€”just not quite good enoughā€.

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