Sunday, November 22, 2009

Deep in thought after a night working at a local homeless organization.

It is so odd how we see the things we want to see.
You can live in Oxford for months before you notice a homeless person.
You can live for years and never do something to change the brokenness around you.

And I say this as an introspective view... it is so easy for me to do nothing.

Why do you think that we hide from what Jesus called us to? When we are called to the least of these, why is it that we forego our cross and tiptoe away? I used to believe it was due to my own laziness. It is simply easier to care about only myself.

Yet, I discovered something else tonight. The starting point is not my own selfishness. Underneath the self-interest, there is a deep fear of loving someone other than myself. To show that I care, to be vulnerable... it opens to the probability of making mistakes. There is something terrifying about talking to older, homeless men for an hour. The question always runs through my mind, "What do you really want?" Each person wants to be recognized as a human being... not some lower class write-off. At the same time, I want to be recognized as a human being also.

And, perhaps that is the irony of loving people. We all just want to be humanized again. And only Jesus' love poured out from people willing to pick up their crosses can do this.

Maybe that is why I find it so easy to disengage from the pain around me.

The path that Jesus walked was hard.
But also beautiful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I wrote this last week on a scrap of paper at a local cafe...

Right now I am sitting with two lovely friends in Georgina’s coffee shop, a hidden treasure within Oxford’s Covered Market.


There is nothing quite so wonderful as sipping on a creamy cup (frosted in whipped cream) when you are laughing with such enjoyable friends. The Beatles playing in the background. The tap tap of computer keyboards. Bleak House criticisms spread out over the wooden table. Red and nearly obnoxious pink walls. A decoupaged ceiling. I love it here.

Just thought I'd share that with you.

PS - This is my friend Kate, who is fabulous. She has such a wonderful sense of humor and reminds me of Andrei as a childhood friend. Here we are sharing nachos (which, from what I can tell, are a RARE delicacy in England.) These were good. Not Mexican by any means... but good. Also, notice in the picture above that Kate is attempting to steal my drink. Shameless...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just a quick addition to the last post:
(Also dedicated to Dr. Nystrom)

President Carter, a fellow of Mansfield, visited the college recently, since he believes (like I do) that the library is incomparable in beauty. Here he is in the Senior Common Room, and one can see the bottom of C.H. Dodd's portrait in the photo.

This blog is dedicated to the honorable Doctor Reverend David Nystrom.
As you can see, Dr. Nystrom, I have successfully discovered the infamous portrait of C.H. Dodd in Mansfield College. It looks just like the one you have hanging at home.

It was no simple maneuver to enter within the fortified walls of the College. (Actually, it was much easier than I thought it would be.) Usually, the public and even other students from surrounding Oxford colleges are not allowed in the building, but they made an exception. I believe the exception was granted in part to the ridiculous story I told them. The porter did give me a funny look when I said, "Er... I'm here to find the portrait of C.H. Dodd for the Dean of Theology at my university back home. He wants a photo of it." He picked up "the tele" and rang the librarian, telling her, "I have this young woman from America here who wants to see a portrait..." I love how he needed to include the prepositional clause, "from America."

The librarian, Mrs. Alma, was so endearing and hospitable. She showed me the portrait, the library, and bestowed all manner of souvenirs on me. She only asks in return for the full story of how a duplicate portrait is hanging on Dr. David Nystrom's wall in California. I concur. And the question is, were two portraits painted? Or is one the original, while the other is a reproduction? They look identical to me.

I unfortunately did not bring my camera. It was rather a spontaneous adventure to Mansfield College. Hopefully I will go back soon (I received an invitation back to visit!) and take some photos of the grounds and the library. The library is the most beautiful I have seen.

Hoping that this blog will so please the honorable Doctor Reverend David Nystrom. Also hoping to be able to visit the honorable Doctor Reverend David Nystrom when I am home for a month in December. I miss your classes.

PS - the librarian knew of you. That was exciting!
PPS - Lavender toed socks?

Seize the day,

Friday, October 23, 2009

A list of the random things about this odd city I am privileged enough to live in...

1) The giant hill I live on. It is steeper and longer than my hill at home. It makes me say my prayers as I cycle up it.

2) Wearing a skirt and heels while I cycle up said hill. This qualifies for the "Only in Oxford, you'll see..." list. Only in this strange town would you see so many women riding around in dresses, skirts, heels, etc. on bicycles. Remind me not to join this crazy club of cyclers. It's too cold.

3) Apple trees in strange places. I went running yesterday - ran through busy city, through residential, then ended in a beautiful open field. All in a span of ten minutes time. Then I climbed through a hole in a hedge only to be in an Eden of apple trees. I won't need to buy apples for a long time. At that point, I needed a plastic bag to load up. And, as Murphy's law would have it, that moment was the only one where I could not find a littered bag. Where is litter when you need it?!

PS - I love my tutorials. Expound later.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Such a hilarious, wonderful morning.

So... it is someone's birthday today here at the Vines, and I thought I would whip up a batch of chocolate chippers for him. Not so.

Sometimes I wonder if God just wants to have a quick laugh and sabotages my plans for comic relief. The cookies were a wreck. Not sure what happened... one moment they looked normal, then the next, they melted all over the cookie sheet. Something like pancakes. Lest they burn the oven, I chose to yank them out. But, when you buy a minute and select number of groceries, even melted, pancakey cookies are salvageable. I scooped the dough-like substance back into the bowl, added some ingredients and made a brownie cake. The birthday boy won't even know that his lovely nutella brownie was a complete blunder. Hopefully.

Thought I'd share that with you.

Now, on to those papers. Notice the plural. Shakespeare, ready or not, here I come.

PS- Blogs to be posted: handstands and climbing the walls at the Vines, starring Child! And Mia's visit to C.S. Lewis' home at the Kilns.

Also, I'd love to just write and write about how wonderful Jane Eyre is. Perhaps I will spare you.

Seize the day, my friends!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Needed to make a quick post before this lecture begins.

You might find it interesting that I go to class with Susan Pevinsee from the movie, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Strange... huh?

But, I am in England. It's bound to happen.