Tag Archives: life

The Tinder Blog part 2

Prerequisite reading for this blog is this blog.


It’s been so long. How long…? God, I don’t even remember. Come on, when was my last date? I mean real date. Where we were both equally aware that it was a date. No ambiguity. Can I seriously not remember? This is pathetic. Come on, think. Two…three years ago? Goodness, that is pitiful. Let’s not say that aloud. Ever. Ok, how do I even do this? One step at a time, I guess. Just be myself. All the clichés Ok, I can do this. Step one: get dressed.

Check. Ok. Done. Adequate. See? I can do this. Make-up…hair…done. 

Step two: figure out where the hell this place is. How is it possible that some ‘newly arrived passer-by’ knows more about the local hot spots than I do? That probably has something to do with the no dates for the past three years. Moving on. 

Ok. Dropped a pin. I can do this. Breathe in. Breathe out.

You are pretty. You are smart. You are a cool girl. 

Oh god. Shut up. 

Of course I’m here 20 minutes early. That doesn’t seem eager at all. How did that even happen? How is it that I am consistently late to everything and yet manage to make it here 20 minutes early? This is exactly the kind of scenario where my notorious tardiness actually works. Is actually desirable. Naturally, I am early. Oh well. Thank God I have a book. Being early and reading makes me seem cultured, unaffected. Date? What date? Who knows anything about a date? I just came here to read. Well, I should check my phone first, then I will read.  Perfect. He’s running late. This is off to a great start. 

No worries. Play it cool. You are a cool girl. Read your book. 

That’s him. Not the same as his picture… but maybe for the better? Ok, here we go. Stand up. Game on. 

Oh… we greet strangers by hugging in 2017. That’s new. 

You handled that adequately. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Smile. 

This isn’t so bad. Just conversation. You know how to have a conversation. He’s actually pretty cool you know… an artist?! Who would have thought? And he lives in San Francisco…  Peace Corp too? A teacher…? This is exciting. We have a lot we can talk about. Easy. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Smile. 

I wonder when I will have to actually say something about myself? I mean, this is pretty low pressure, just listening, smiling, nodding. Agreeing.  And I’m not even faking my agreements or smiles, I mean… we are actually exceedingly compatible. But does he know that yet? 

Hi man! I’m cool too! I have interesting stories to add to this conversation! Oh well. Getting to know him… getting to know all about him…

Oh, ok. We are changing our seats. Alright. Sure. Why not sit on the same side of the booth? This makes perfect sense. And now I will delicately shimmy myself over closer to that wall. Smiling, smiling. Not awkward at all. 

Oh yea! You lived there for two years…? Great..! 

Oh yea! That’s what you think about Trump…? Ok! 

Oh yea! That’s an interesting art technique…! Sure is! 

Yes, you are an interesting man. 

Yes, you are. 

Mmmhmm.  

Don’t visibly roll your eyes. Smile. Smile. 

Oh. Hand holding. Well that is interesting. Interesting how he has just taken hold of my hand. He just took it. I wonder if he remembers my name! Haha! He hasn’t asked me a single question about myself, but he is holding my hand. He doesn’t know that I have an art studio, but he knows I can paint my fingernails. I actually kind of wish my hands were clammy right now. When does one ever wish for clammy hands? But that would be a good punishment for his just taking hold of my hand. This is hilarious. I will take my hand back now sir, thank you very much. 

Ok, getting the bill. This hasn’t been that bad. I mean, I could have contributed more to the conversation, but not contributing was much easier. Just sit, smile and look pretty. Pretty low pressure. Oh god, how non-feminist was that last thought?” Shoot. Erase that. Oh well, at least he was interesting. I mean, he was a cool guy. This was a good ‘first step’ into the whole dating world. Innocent enough. 

Oh wait. What’s happening? No. He couldn’t possibly… Oh. Yes. He could.  Well, ok. At least now I get to use my voice. Will these be the first words I say to him? Oh come on, you’re being dramatic. You said words… 

Well, fortunately I have no issue deflecting kisses. I am well versed in turning kisses down. What does this say about me? How many kisses have I turned down in my life? Four, five… six… Hey! No time to think about that. It’s deflecting time. Ready-set-deflect!

He took that well. Looks like he’s still in recovery, but that wasn’t too bad. Mr. Cool Guy probably isn’t too used to being shot down. Especially from such docile, agreeable girls. Haha! I am happy to be your first, kind sir. It’s an honor. 

To the motorbike! Over. Finished. I can officially say I have gone on a Tinder date and it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t—wait. What? What is he doing? Again, really? Ok, no problem… one, two… sorry man. 

Oh, don’t look so surprised. Did you think I would change my mind during our two minute walk? Apparently you did. 

No! 

Wow! 

Persistence. 

Third times not the charm, man!

Not tonight, not with this girl. You probably would have realized that I’m not so easy if you would have let me talk.  Now I’m getting annoyed. I’m a pretty stubborn woman. The more you try, the more stubborn I am going to get. 

“Ok, seriously. This is not going to happen. I literally just met you.”

“Yes, but we met on Tinder.”

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the suffering missionary.

There are some groups of people that subscribe to the notion of the ‘suffering missionary’.  You know, the idea that being called overseas as a missionary is a death to your former life of joy and pleasure and a birthing of a life of misery and woe.  This ideology is held by missionaries and laymen alike.

I think the thought pattern is all somehow tangled up in support raising:  If you’re not suffering, then you’re not being used for the purposes of the gospel.. and so you can’t get any money and then you can’t eat… so now you are suffering…and so on…and so forth…

Maybe I’m wrong. Regardless. It should be no surprise, I do not subscribe to this notion.

But today, I am writing to tell you all that I am SUFFERING.

SUUUUFFFFEEERRIINNNG.

Yes.

I have this increasingly intolerable struggle with microscopic red ants.

The freaking things have decided that their new favorite place to live is inside my towel.  So this evening, after an impromptu and uncharacteristic evening shower, I wrapped my vulnerable, wet body into my nice, dry towel and was immediately molested by thousands of the little suckers.

They just go right for it.  I literally just picked 15 of their itty bitty bodies off of my body and am now full of red itchy welts.

WHAT’S MORE is, as I was transcribing this blog in my head and lathering myself with anti-inflammatory/anti-itch cream, I felt a tickle on my foot… I look down there was a HUGE freaking COCKROACH on it.  To which I reacted to by smashing its body several times with my journal. I didn’t even scream. This has become common place.

The struggle is real.

In conclusion, I am suffering, so please send me all of your money.

Thank you.

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Confessions of a Cult Member

Six years ago, as I was preparing to leave the United States for my trip around the world (#worldrace, #11n11) my grandpa gave me a piece of solid advice:

Grandpa: “If they offer you KoolAid… don’t drink it.”

Samara: *eye roll* “Graaaampaaa… it’s not like that…”

And, I can happily report, that it wasn’t (entirely) like that.

However, after living with the Lorensen family for almost four years now, I realize that I may have ignored my grandpa’s advice and have accidentally (willingly) drunk the KoolAid  of the ‘Caleb Lorensen cult’.


I have recently become obsessed with Myers-Briggs personality types.  and I mean obsessed.  Like…I listen to podcasts about personality types on my motorcycle and in the shower.

Because I couldn’t keep my obsession quiet, little bits and pieces of Myers-Briggs wisdom would seep out of me and into our family dinners and conversations.  Eventually the Lorensen’s took the personality test themselves to subdue my curiosity.

The results are as follows:

Samara: ENFP: highly imaginative and free spirited individual that needs help remembering to do normal human things, like showering and putting on clean clothes.

Tracy: ESFJ: the ultimate hostess who is all about caring for and providing for the needs of those around her and can not understand how the ENFP has forgot, once again, where her car keys (cellphone, glasses, motorbike) are.

Caleb: ENFJ: the charming and persuasive cult leader.

Tracy wrote a blog about her life as the wife of a cult leader which includes topics such as: drinking the KoolAid (ie: green juice and smoothies); group think and community living.

So if Tracy is married to a cult leader… I suppose that means I am a full fledged cult member… or a cult leader follower.  This news, my being a member in a cult, was disturbing to me at first.. I mean.. valuing my independence and creativity so highly, but, upon reflection… it may not be all be so bad.

Tracy’s blog covers the most noticeable ways the ‘Caleb Lorensen cult’ has influenced my life.   From dietary habits and work-out regimes to educational pursuits and passions… I am a changed woman.  Her blog is hilarious and you should read it.  Here’s a link: link.

In this blog I will write about a few more subtleties I have noticed in my life since joining the cult.

-Taking on of life mantras:

The Lorensen’s live by a unique set of life values.  There are many and I will not cover them all here…but, the first that comes to mind is ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down’.  I hate this.  But over the years, it has been adopted into my lifestyle.  In fact, the Lorensens exude general lack of shyness about bodily functions—be they farts, burps, poops or periods… bodily functions are not to be ashamed of. Honestly, conforming to this belief system, was not a very difficult one for me and is actually very freeing.  I suggest you pick it up as well.

Another of the Lorensen mantras is that ‘children are assets and not liabilities’. The communal way in which we live our lives over here in Thailand, means I have been given the rare opportunity to actually witness the ins-and-outs of parenting, without actually being a parent, and have therefore, picked up some of their parenting techniques as my own.  The Lorensen’s are not held back by their children, nor do they hold their children back.  Their children are encouraged to explore, be curious, make messes and think for themselves.  This can lead to interesting situations…yes, but it also creates highly creative, confident individuals.  Community living and valuing children… again, ideas that perhaps you pick up with as well.

-Changes in Diet and Exercise:

Again, Tracy already wrote about this in her blog (link)… so I will be brief.  But I want to say, I have never exercised so consistently in my life than I have since living with the Lorensens.  I say this after having NOT exercised consistently since starting my MA program a year ago and the statement is STILL true. As for my diet.. I have been following a no sugar, no carb diet with Tracy for about 9 months now.

The impossible has been made possible via the Caleb Lorensen cult.

-General Boldness:

I used to pride myself with being a sweet, sunshiny girl.  And… I still am.  The difference, however, is since being part of the Caleb Lorensen cult, I have begun to actually take myself more seriously.  I think living under the influence of someone like Caleb… and having him take me seriously, has affected the way I view myself.  I have grown leaps in bounds in my self-confidence.  I have learned how to set effective boundaries and how to say no.  I have also learned how to use my super-power of ‘sweetness’ and ‘like-ability’ to speak hard truths and say hard things to people.  I have become a very bold speaker, standing up not only for the people in my life, but also standing up for myself.

This also comes out in my willingness to state my mind and share unpopular opinions and ideas.  I have found myself playing devil’s advocate in situations where I would have previously just sat quietly.  I have picked up the attitude of the Caleb Lorensen cult and it suits me well.


I could go on an on… from living by sayings like “stop that stinkin’ thinkin,’” “no pressure just opportunity” and “drink good coffee” to pursuing an actual career as an educator, I am a full fledged member or the Caleb Lorensen cult.

I drink the juice and I repeat the mantras  … and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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I don’t like going to church.

 

Yesterday at a staff meeting I took part in one of those ‘getting to know you’ ice breaker games… I’m sure you’ve played it.

Everyone sits in a circle, with just enough chairs for those sitting and one person stands in the middle (there’s no chair for the person in the middle.)  The person in the middle makes a statement like “I like cheese” or “I’m wearing a pink shirt” and everyone who shares the like of cheese or is also wearing a pink shirt has to stand up and then on the count of three, everyone, including the person in the middle runs and tries to find a new chair.  The person left standing is the new ‘man in the middle’.

You’ve played this game.

Anyway, yesterday after a bunch of rounds of this game and lots of crazy running around and getting to know one another, someone in the middle made the statement, “I like going to church”.

Working at a christian school with an entirely christian staff, one can easily assume… everyone stood up.

Everyone, that is, except for me.

Sure, I felt the urge to stand up… Thoughts like, ‘what will people think?’, ‘I’m a missionary…’, ‘I have to like going to church…’, ‘how bad will I look if I don’t stand up?’ flooded my mind, but I was compelled to remain seating.

What’s worse, I thought, lying to please the crowd and save face or being honest and raising a few eyebrows?

After the game was finished another missionary came up to me, she had noticed my being the only person sitting during the ‘I like going to church’ round and she wanted to comment.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but instead of assumed reprimand or the usual questioning of my devotion to God, she said, “Yea… sometimes going to church here is really hard.”

And that’s the truth.

Sometimes, going to church here, is really hard.


Before reading on I need to say, I come from a great church family in Omaha, NE.  The people in that church have become my family and have helped me grow into the person I am.  I love my church in Omaha and while, it’s not perfect and still developing, I would not be where I am or who I am without the love and support of that body of people.


Since living in Thailand I have regularly attended three Thai churches.

The first of the three churches was the most international and the most western.  The sermon was in both English and Thai, the worship was done in full Hillsong style and the Sunday meetings were held in a very air-conditioned, comfortable hotel ballroom. This was like the ‘adjustment’ church, while I was learning Thai.  This church was comfortable, the sermons were predictable and no one talked to you, so you didn’t have to get out of your comfort zone.

But in the end, I think that was the biggest problem with this church.  It definitely served its purpose in its time, but it was extremely comfortable.  There was no ‘community’ aspect to the church, no need to adjust to a new culture, no need to adapt to something unfamiliar… and so, after about 6 months, we (the Lorensens and I) transitioned out.  [No one noticed.]

The second of the three churches was a local Thai church near our home that many of the students from School of Promise attended.  As Caleb and I were both teaching at the school, this church seemed that the natural place for us to land.

The sermon was completely in Thai, there was no air conditioning and everyone ate lunch together that was prepared by members of the church.  At first this seemed ideal.  The church congregation was a community.  Everyone worked together, lived life together and shared church responsibilities together.

Unfortunately, the shiny ideal wrapping of this church quickly wore off and it became apparent that a lot of the ‘community togetherness’ was actually ‘community obligation’ enforced through guilt.  Missing a week of church was followed up by the third degree.  Performance, saving face and adherence to rules were more important than love and compassion.  I left this church after a year of begrudged attendance

The final church I was part of was a church made up of people that I still love and respect very much.  Coming off the bad experience from the last church, this church seemed like a breathe of fresh air.  Again, it was all Thai and very community orientated.  Everyone worked together and for the most part, lived together.  This church was a family and welcomed me in quickly.

But again, after a couple months of attendance, it became clear that the congregation was there out of religious and communal obligation, rather than out of pure satisfaction and joy.  Duty and tradition, adherence to rules was more important than the inner health of the individual members. I said a sad goodbye to this church family after a year.


So there is my church attending history.  I haven’t formally gone to church in the seven months.

What I have done, however, is:

-prayed together with my housemates

-shared meals with my neighbors

-helped get a woman out of an abusive relationship

-worshipped with released criminals

-prayed for my struggling classmates

-loved on kids who don’t get enough attention

-listened to my friends’ burdened hearts

-hung out with the teenagers that I live with

-travelled to Malaysia to be a companion of a lonely friend


I was recently pretty rocked by this blog.

In this blog, the author, talks about how Jesus never actually told us to worship Him–but instead, 29 times, He tells us to follow Him.  He gives a list of things that happen as people lay down their lives (and their religion) to follow Jesus.  This list includes things like: the hungry were fed, the sick were healed, people were loved and discipled and the religious leaders were challenged.

The author also highlights Mark 7:6-9:

And He [Jesus] said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”


How often do we allow the ‘tradition of men’ to keep us blind to the commandments of God?

How often does ‘saving face’ mean that we withhold truth or compassion?

How often do we allow religious duty to smother stopping for the one?

I know I’m guilty.

I know that I often bow to the god of approval from man rather than hone into the God of grace. I know that I often begrudgingly say yes out of fear, rather than be honest with my desires.


So, with all of this going on in my head and my heart, I can confidently say, right now, I don’t like going to church.

But I LOVE being THE church. Following Jesus.  Saying ‘yes’ and ‘here I am God, I’m willing’ and ‘what do you want to do today God?’.  I love smiling at people whom I don’t know and praying for people I just met.  I love getting to be the vessel in which the Holy Spirit flows out of and being surprised in my times of quiet worship alone.  I love being the body of Christ in my neighborhood, with my family…

Following Jesus is uncomfortable. It’s unconventional. It’s unpredictable.  It’s uncontrollable.

Following the law is easier, clear cut, measurable… but it’s not through following the law [and going to church] that we will encounter God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.”

So while I will surely be part of a formal congregation again in the future, for now, I just don’t like going to church.


verses to ponder:

John 14:6; Colossians 2:16-23; Isaiah 29:13

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On Death and Dying and a few thoughts on being a Christian Missionary. 

Death.  The human condition.  or would that be dying?  regardless…

I hadn’t really been exposed to death much before moving to Thailand.  Aside from my great grandma dying when she was quite old and quite ready to die and my cat being put to sleep (which is still perhaps the biggest tragedy of my life)… death hadn’t really affected me.

I suppose there were the few random relatives that I had no connection to but attended funerals out of social responsibility (or just because I was a child and had no choice in the matter).

But that’s it.  I’m not an expert on grief or grieving patterns of the West or even of the grieving patterns of myself.. but it seems that Americans tend to keep grief, death, dying and the process there of to themselves.

We dress in black and go to the funeral and find comfort in the close few around us and cry in private and then continue on as normal.

Moving to Thailand I’ve been exposed to death and dying on a new level.

The neighborhood we live in is filled with old people.  and those old people die.  all the time.  Some of the time I didn’t even know a household housed an old person until the said old person died.

The process of grieving death is quite different here.  Families of the deceased literally close off the street around their house, and invite any and everyone to there house to pay respects to the deceased through drinking, eating and loud Buddhist chanting for three days… until they all, as a community, escort the body (in true parade form) to be cremated at the neighborhood cremation place.  [I’m not being funny.]

Funerals are loud, long and very public.  The process of grieving is in your face.

Living in a neighborhood where your Buddhist neighbors are dying all around you, all the time can get troubling.

As a Christian (missionary) and carrier of the Light of the world—what is my responsibility to my neighbors?

As my neighbors die around me I can’t help but ask, ‘Lord, what will become of him/her?’  Did they know the truth? Had they ever heard the Good News? Did they ever say the prayer? Had they ever been evangelized to or received a Gospel tract?  I don’t know???  But I know that I didn’t give it to them…. (well, I may have, but the number of neighbors I’ve evangelized to verses the number of neighbors that die are not in my favor…)

Is my neighbors’ eternal salvation dependent on my evangelizing to them? I mean…how can they call on Jesus if they haven’t heard of Him and how can they hear of Him if no one tells them… and I’ve been sent to tell them.

But telling them doesn’t seem to work.  Preaching the Bible to people who have no context for Christianity is like speaking Thai to my brother… it doesn’t translate. And in most cases, as soon as anyone finds out I’m a missionary their walls go straight up and I am labelled as a cultural imperialist with impure motives and a desire to control the thoughts and actions of any person who does not share my christian heritage.

There’s a lot working against me.

If my neighbors’ only hope of avoiding eternal damnation is by hearing and decidedly accepting the gospel message from me, I’m really sucking at my job.

I mean, instead of devoting days to door-to-door evangelism, I’ve stuck to fostering deep relationships and building trust.  Instead of microphones and loud speakers, my teammates and I have chosen the quiet and not obviously fruitful route of hospitality.  Instead of defensiveness and imposing viewpoints, we have chosen to be quiet and listen.

Our door is open to convicted criminals and abused wives, gay socialites and hilarious college students. Young and old, rich and poor come into our house, eat our food, share their stories and listen to ours.  Relationships are born and trust is established.

Sure, we’ve had some friends give their lives to the Lord.  But our best, longest and most intimate friends have yet to do so regardless to how many times we’ve prayed for them or shared the Gospel.

And my neighbors are still dying.

If Jamie hadn’t already stolen the title, I think I would label myself ‘the very worst missionary’.

But I’ve come to a place in my missionary life, where I have released the responsibility of my neighbors’ souls to the Lord.  Of course I will listen and obey–continuing to share and pray, but no longer will their eternal fate rest in my hands and my missionary performance. No longer will I decide the fate of people based on my perceptions of their relationship (or lack there of) with the Lord.

God can have that job.

So what is my responsibility?

This is a question I have asked and asked and asked.  And you know what the answer I get is?

It’s to love God, love myself and who God created me to be and to love my neighbors.  To be their friends.  To meet needs when I can.  To pray when I can.  To die to my innate selfishness.  And to die to my reputation.  To be fully present where I am and to invest in the people in front of me.

So that’s what I’m doing (or trying to do…).  Reputation be dammed.  I’m going to love my neighbors to death…

 

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The Gospel

Yesterday, in one of my classes, we were asked to shortly describe ourselves.  My classmates’ self descriptions stated their country of origin and their current profession.  So that would make me: Samara, American, studying TESOL in Thailand.

How very weak that introduction is. How void of the most important parts of my identity.

Samara. Daughter of God. Created to create. Loved to love. Accepted to accept.

I would say that that more accurately describes who I am.

Jesus and I will be celebrating our ten year anniversary pretty soon.  Ten years.  A whole decade.  I cannot believe I’m old enough to be celebrating a decade of anything… but that is a whole other issue.

With this memorial date approaching I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting.

Reflecting on my life. Reflecting on who I was and who I’ve become…and who I was while I was becoming who I became : ) [got that?]

A statement that I’ve been making a lot lately is that “christianity didn’t change my life, my relationship with Jesus changed my life.”

Every time I hear myself say this something jumps inside of me.  That statement is the most true statement I can make.  Nothing has had a more profound impact on me, my life, and who I am, than my relationship with Jesus.

I grew up with christianity.  I grew up with the stories, the rules, the systems, the commands, the expectations… but I didn’t grow up with the reality of the Gospel.  It wasn’t until that Reality became my reality that I was able to experience the freedom that has forever marked my life.

***

I recently finished reading “The Jesus Storybook Bible” with my Thai teacher.

photo.PNG

If you haven’t invested in this children’s Bible yet, you’re missing out.  I have yet to find the Gospel more beautifully illustrated (figuratively and literally).  The authors of this Bible have so beautifully pointed out how God has been working from the beginning of time to get His children back into right relationship with Him.

Every story whispers Jesus’ name.

For God SO loved the world that He sent His Only Son.

It was always God’s plan to send Jesus. Because it was always God’s plan to get His children back.

And who does Jesus pinpoint?  Who does Jesus call out for greatness?  Who does Jesus choose to befriend?

The Extra-Super-Holy-People?

No.

He chose people like me.

People who were lost, depressed, lonely, dirty, poor, addicted, deserted, alone, condemned, guilty, hurting, oppressed, possessed, angry, blind, deaf, dumb, doubting, drunk… the list goes on.

He chose whomever would chose Him. He chose the hungry. He chose the needy.  He chose the difficult.  The unrighteous.  The annoying.

***

I’ve been a missionary for about three and a half years now.

Demonstrating the Gospel is my job. Literally. It’s what I get paid to do.

So often the job demands of newsletter writing and supporter relations tempt me to act like an Extra-Super-Holy-Person.  I mean… that’s what missionaries are supposed to be, right?

My life needs to be clean. structured. organized. predictable. newsletter appropriate. and those knees better be covered… do we even need discuss the shoulders?

Right?

My paycheck depends on it… right?

Wrong.

Jesus’ Gospel wasn’t clean.  Jesus’ life wasn’t structured… organized… predictable and His supporters probably wouldn’t have liked His newsletters.  (He hung out with women and was at parties where people got drunk… I mean… you can’t really write about that kind of stuff…)

For God SO loved the world that He sent His One and Only Son, that WHOMEVER may believe in Him will be saved and have life eternal.

So that’s my Gospel.  Believing in Jesus and receiving that life eternal.  Life eternal starting ten years ago.  Life eternal now.  On earth.  Life eternal full of messes and mistakes and unexpected turns and hiccups and high highs and low lows.

Life eternal, right now.

Life with Jesus.

And that’s what I am in Thailand to share.

Not a good English education. Not an introduction to critical thinking. Not an education full of the creative arts.

I’m here to introduce my friends to Life Eternal. Right now.

Life with Whom you may converse. Life with Whom you may walk. Life with Whom you may be messy and unpredictable.

Life—Who will never change, never leave, never reject.

Life.  Real.  Messy.  Unpredictable.

Life with Jesus. Free. Safe. Abundant.

 

***

I was recently reminded of this video:

Not much I can say after that.

So to end this blog post I want to challenge myself to another ten years. Another ten years of Life.  Another ten years of greater intimacy and greater depth of relationship.  Another ten years of walking with Jesus wherever He may bring me.  Another ten years of saying yes to impossible situations and messy people.  Another ten years of taking risks and looking foolish.  Another ten years of failing and hurting.  Another ten years of Jesus picking me back up. Another ten years of Abundance walking with me.  Protecting me.  Guiding me.  Providing for me.  Another ten years of adventure.

And I challenge you too.

What is the Gospel?

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Woah! I just got hit by a car!

you: “What?”

me: “Yep.”

you: “Really?”

me: “Yes.”

I got hit by a car while driving [with a passenger] on my motorbike…in the rain.

***

My friend Amy Learn came to visit for a week.  She travelled around the world with me on the World Race and now is part of Iris Cambodia.  She took this week to come, catch up, and relax.

And relax we did.

Aside from the necessary elephant riding, we have kept her time here pretty low.

But, Friday–we were going to live large.  See the city, experience Chiang Mai.  And I was going to get a haircut!  Living large!

Haircuts, Thailand and Samara aren’t always the best of friends and so it has been since March that I have put my curly locks into the trust and care of another; but I was reasonably calm about the whole affair and even asked the stylist to blow dry my hair straight.

#straighthairdontcare

After the salon experience was done we walked the streets of the city and thought it only fitting to get a massage.  This was our day.  🙂

A couple hours later we start the decent home in the rain.  No big deal…I drive in the rain regularly.

But that’s when it all happened.  I saw it coming.  I was driving in the ‘motorbike lane’ as a black hatchback starts coming into my lane at a pretty good speed.

My first instinct was to just get to the left, but there was no more space between the curb and I.

Second thought was slam on those brakes…but, there wouldn’t have been enough time, we weren’t going at a reduced speed.  If I slammed the brakes, Amy would fly.

Next and final thought, just try to speed up and get in front of her.

I didn’t know what else to do.  So I went for it.  Unfortunately, she was faster than me and very determined to be in my lane.  Collision.

***

This is where it gets confusing.

Her car took a beating.  My bike is just fine.

The angle at which we were hit—should have cause my bike to fall to the left and hit the curb (potentially trapping our legs between the curb and bike, and causing more injury,) somehow…my bike fell to the right and just tipped over.

The speed at which she hit us, should have caused one (if not both) of us to fly.  There was no flying.

My bike really just tipped over to the right.

Of course, we were on the bike, so having it tip over is no fun and slightly terrifying as you’re laying on the wet pavement watching all the cars zoom by…but I knew at that moment, it could have been so much worse.

I was not strong enough to lift the bike off of us and the lady just sat in her car.

That’s when weird thing number two happened.

This Thai man comes and squats down next to me, asking if I’m ok.

“I’m fine.  I just can’t lift my bike,” I say…in English.  Then he lifts the bike off of me.  At this point my arm is really weak for taking the weight of the fall, and so I couldn’t prop myself up, he lifts me up.

The lady was still in her car…so he goes to talk to her and then moves my motorbike into the parking lot of the gas station and leaves.

Good Samaritan?  perhaps.

Angelic Visitor? perhaps.

I don’t know.  But, I do know that I haven’t been able to stop thinking of him and am very grateful to him.

***

It turned out that, though I was completely mortified by the events and in some decent pain due to the lack of skin on my right leg, that I was in a much calmer state of mind than the lady that hit us.

She was freaked out.

She had admittidly just recieved a phone call and was getting her phone out of her purse when she hit us, she knew she was at fault, apologized and didn’t try to play any games about it.

She went into the gas station purchased all sorts of first aid supplies and cleaned up our wounds and took us home as I was in no shape to drive the bike back, she also gave me her phone number in case I decide that I need to go to the hospital or have any problems.

***

So much for my awesome [straight] hair day.

This wasn’t a fun experience.

Nor something that I want to experience again.

But, despite the fear and feelings of shame (I was driving my friend and we got hit by a car….) this experience has left me with feelings of complete gratitude and awareness of the Lord’s protection.

He was there.  Someone stopped my bike from falling to the left even though she hit us on the right.  Someone kept us on our seats.  And Someone lifted that bike off of our bodies.

Thank you God.  Thank you for taking care of us.  Thank you for your protection.  Thank you for your goodness.

***

here are some awesome pictures:

ImageImage

I really like these two pictures because they really don’t capture any of the reality of what my leg and arm look like.  Instead it just looks like I’m whining about a scarped knee.

 

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