Thursday, January 26, 2006

From a Distance

So Dallas was NOT just a bunch of old white men. I realized as soon as I arrived that I was, in fact, wrong in my assumptions. My apologies to old white Lutheran male pastors everywhere. It was really fun to be there and I didn't realize how many pastors I know in this state. As soon as I walked into the hotel lobby, it was like, "Lauren! How are you? Where are you going to seminary?" etc. This greeting was repeated many times throughout the conference, and I appreciate the fact that 1) I have so many people interested in my future, and 2) I am blessed to know so many different pastors from all over Texas through all sorts of different ways. Although after about the fourth inquiry as to where I was going to seminary, I got a little tired of it. You see, most people didn't stop after I answered. They didn't say anything like, "Oh, that's great--God will lead you to where you should go." No, these men and women who preach and teach of God and God's leading proceeded to explain to me their version of God's call for my life. "You should really check out *insert one's seminary alma mater here*." One man practically forced to me to follow him to the seminary display tables and shoved his alma mater's catalog and viewbook into my hands. All I could think was, ". . .but I don't want want to go to Iowa." ha ha

Not that I don't think God works through others to guide us. God worked through others to guide me to the seminaries I'm most interested in currently. And really, who knows? I could end up in Iowa, and I don't want to shrug it off completely. But it just got tiring to hear everyone's personal opinions. To some I replied, "Well, there are eight ELCA seminaries for a reason, I guess, huh? Different ones attract different people, and they're all good schools." Anyway, that's my rant about that. And really, who can blame someone for pushing his or her own school? I push TLU when kids are talking to me about college. But I don't bash their other choices. And I don't push it unless I truly think it would be a good fit for them.

During worship one day, I experienced a very meaningful moment in which I called to memory many of the faces who have shaped who I am today--specifically, those who have shaped my call to ministry. From people in my family to pastors and various lay people, I was moved by how God has orchestrated certain meetings and relationships in my life. Some of the pastors at this conference I'd only had brief conversations with at camp last summer, others I worked with on youth projects, and still others guided me as a child back home in Arlington. To be in the same room with many of them was very powerful. The Spirit was very present. And always is. This is easy to forget, but oh-so-true.

Yes, even in our mundane routines of life, God is active and alive. Find some way to hold onto that--however is best for you. Because I think when we cease to recognize this significant truth, we slowly (sometimes quickly) lose sight of the wonder and power that surpasses this world in which we currently live. Our time here is fleeting and really oftentimes disappointing--why not be intentional about noticing the mysterious presence of the One who's constantly there but drowned out by everything else that demands our attention?

Okay, you're thinking, enough of this spiritual stuff, Lauren. :)

In other news, Courtney is moving out in two weeks and I am bummed. B.U.M.M.E.D. (As I was typing that out, I remembered the old BUM Equipment logos from the 90s? 80s? Funny.) She's moving to Kingsville to be with her grandmother, who's pretty sick, for a little while. Every time we talk about her leaving, we get tears in our eyes. The other night, I heard her shuffling around in the living room and got out of bed to see what was up. She started crying and we went into her bedroom where she got into her bed and, through tears and sniffles, asked me to sing her a song. I didn't think I'd be able to. But what came to my head immediately was "From a Distance"--that old song by that lady, I can't remember her name, but it was super popular when I was in like sixth grade. And really, the only lyrics I knew were "from a distance." The rest of the time I was like, "la la la la la." Anyway, it's really hard and sad right now. This weekend I have nothing planned and we're hoping to spend a lot of it together doing the silly things we do. Because Lauren and Courtney may never live together again. And that makes the world a bit of a sadder place, I think.

Adios, mis amigos. Have fun out there.


Blogger trishy said...

a little present from trishy so you can sing your song. I cry for the both of you...

Bette Midler - From A Distance

From a distance, the world looks blue and green
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
and the eagle takes to flight.
From a distance there is harmony
and it echoes through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.
From a distance, we all have enough
And no one is in need.
There are no guns, no bombs, no diseases,
No hungry mouths to feed.
From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They're the songs of every man.
God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.
From a distance, you look like my friend
Even though we are at war.
From a distance I cannot comprehend
What all the fighting is for.
From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land.
It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
It's the heart of every man.
God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Thank you, dear!! I actually did remember the "God is watching us" part, too. So basically I just kept singing that over and over.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I want you to know that I am so proud of you... I know we've been talking about you going to seminary for months, but I guess a part of me is blocking the fact that you will be preparing to be an ordained minister of God. You are truly an instrument of His grace... through your laughter and humor, your deep compassion and love for those you encounter, your giving spirit and your seeking heart... you amaze me lauren and I know that God will guide you to the right seminary. I know Court isn't the only one who will miss you when you go away. We all love you! (Even those old white men)

9:42 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Em, did you know you're one of the people who came to mind while reflecting on significant people in my life?

I love you so.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Yeah, you're right. I was thinking, "enough with the spiritual stuff" and also "because it's boring as ass". : )

3:54 PM  
Blogger Me Over Here said...

Hey Lauren, so many epiphanies! That's all I've got for's been a long week!

5:19 PM  

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