Saturday, November 27, 2010

for Mark

To my brother, the Marine.

You know what's funny, is that when we were younger, I never wanted to hang out with you -- you wanted to hang around my friends when they came over so I herded them away; I wanted you out of the house on my birthdays, etc. etc. Sibling stuff, nothing unusual. You were a younger brother to the max. (Well, not as bad as Matt on Lizzie McGuire, but still pretty obnoxious.) I got mad at the double-standards that go with being an older sibling -- you got to stay up as late as I did, even though you were younger, and you never did the dishes, and all the rules were easier on you because I'd already gone through the system.

But now -- as always happens, I suppose -- I want to hang out with you...and I can't. San Diego's only a couple states away, but it feels awfully far.

I hope you know how proud I am of you. I mean, you're still my obnoxious little brother who doesn't do the dishes and couldn't pick up his dirty clothes to save his life, but at the same time, you've changed. I hate saying this because it sounds so freakin' cheesy, but every now and then, I see what the military sees -- you're a man. It breaks Mom's heart, the way you don't need her to hold your hand or take care of you anymore, and it freaks me out. When did you get so capable?

You should also know that I brag about you all the time. "My little brother -- who's a Marine now, by the way -- could kill a man with his thumb." "My little brother, the Marine, came back saying that boot camp was too easy." My ultimate goal in life (besides being able to do a pull-up) is to be even 1/10th as badass as you are.

Today, I had to be the chill one at the airport. Mom was doing that embarrassing tearing-up thing she does, and I had to be all cool and like, "Come on, look how well he ties his shoes, you know he's gonna be fine. Don't worry!" But I'm thinking the same thing she is.

Yes, you could get time to come home for Christmas -- and you better try as HARD as you POSSIBLY CAN to get that time off! You could also be stationed in Hawaii by that time. Pretty sweet deal, dude...though you'd need to get that six-pack back before hitting the beaches.

However, you could also not come home for Christmas, and you could get stationed somewhere else. Maybe that desert one, 29 palms or whatever; maybe somewhere in the Pacific...maybe Afghanistan.

I have complete confidence in you. I know you know what you're doing; I know you could take down anyone who comes at you. But what about the other guys? What about the people in your platoon who are garbage and don't know what they're doing? What if there's secretly a Private Pyle in your bunch? What if they screw up and you have to go save them and risk your own life?

Oh Mark. I can't dwell on things like this; I just freak myself out and it doesn't do any good, anyway. I guess you should just know how much I love you, and miss you, and want to spend time with you. Whenever I can. I want more jiujitsu lessons, more time reciting the same movie lines together, more time making jokes that fly straight over Mom and Dad's heads. More time smacking you upside the head for caring more about your Droid than about eating dinner as a family!

Someday, I hope to be working in the same place that you're stationed. Meeting for sweet tea in Kabul would make a great story, don't you think?

I love you mucho, widdle brudda. Come home soon and often and always.

Love always,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

oh, how he loves us

This morning, I talked with Kaetochi about what redemption means. (She answered seriously, too, even though I originally posed my question as "You redeem a coupon for pizza; am I the coupon or the pizza?") Last week or the week before, she posted this video on my wall. Tonight then, my good friend Liz (currently serving as an intern here at UPC) spoke at church about the depth and breadth of God's redeeming love...and then we sang How He Loves Us.

This may be going out on a limb here, but I think someone's trying to get my attention.

Liz talked tonight about her imaginary box of "Things God can't or won't redeem." I think a box is too limiting; I may have an ocean tanker filled with those things.

Liz told me another thing almost two years ago--she's quite wise, that girl--that has stuck with me ever since and keeps coming to mind: When I'm feeling on top of things and righteous and Christian, God doesn't love me any more or any less than when I know that I'm the most despicable thing on Earth.

So I know what I'm supposed to know. All that remains is to accept it and live into it and let go of all the things that keep breaking me down.

We are his portion and He is our prize,
drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes.
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.

Love always,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

it's a Switchfoot day.

I wish my parents didn't go to bed so early so I could call my mommy late at night when I'm lonely and unhappy. I also wish I were still a teenager so I'd be justified in all this pointless emo angst. Like, wow.


Are you discontented?
Have you been pushin' hard?
Have you been throwin' down this broken house of cards?
It'll be a day like this one
when the world caves in
when the world caves in
when the world caves in
Is this the new year, or just another desperation?


And I wish I were a better person.

Love always,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

guess some people never grow up

I only have 13 days left of school EVER. This is freaking me out, man. As is the constantly asked question, "So what are you going to do after you graduate?" Maybe I'll just come up with creative answers to avoid it. "I'm joining the circus." "I'm going to lead scuba trips off the coast of Australia." "I'm getting married to my goldfish." "I'm returning to the home planet." Maybe people would leave me alone then...

but probably not.

To celebrate my last remaining days as a college student, I pulled an almost-all-nighter on Thursday. Got home from work stuff at about 11:30, took a shower, did homework until 2:15 then got out of my cozy bed and went to see the 2:50 a.m. showing of Harry Potter. WORTH IT. I haven't seen an HP movie in theaters since the second one came out. This one was beautiful, with sweeping landscapes and lots of wide-angle shots. Although I went with three boys and didn't know that every nerd-boy in the world has a major thing for Emma Watson. Hunh. Weird. (I personally had a thing for the werewolf snatcher. Probably the swamp thing could put on a leather jacket and a British accent and I'd be attracted to him. It's bad.)

Came home at 5:30, finished my homework, slept for two hours and went off to class like a good kid.

I'm not ready for college to be done. I mean yes, I am ready for classes to be over forever. I hate my classes this quarter. Also there's a deadline after which you're not allowed to drop classes, and it was 5 days before I tried to drop my awful awful econ course. Fmylife. But I like this college thing--the ready-made friends, the adaptable sleep schedule, the excuse to eat unhealthily and have adventures late at night...sigh. I hope I've taken full advantage of it.

I'm supposed to hear back from the AP about that internship by the end of this month - so in the next week and a half. We'll see how all this life stuff works out...I'm trying to remember that God's plans are way better than mine.

Love always,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

you could've just propped me up on the table like a mannequin

I have a really good memory. Not eidetic, but still good. I never forget a face, so I have to do that awkward pretend-not-to-know-people-I-see-because-I-know-they-won't-recognize-me thing. I remember conversations I have; I remember what people were wearing; I remember random things people tell me--funny stories, secrets, dreams, hopes, whatever. The more important the person is to me, the more I remember what they say and do. And then I have that annoying ability to recite movies as I watch them, because I remember lines word for word.

Wouldn't it be awesome if everyone had a good memory?

Love always,