Oh my God, I’m cold. I guess I didn’t imagine this on my retreat. 30MPH gusts blowing at me, stinging my face with snow bits. Nature is beautiful yet harsh, and I realize that the City Boy in me is not quite cut out for this. We aren’t in Oakland any more.
Push and pull, move and wait. I’m in a season of waiting, of settling down. One moment moving, one moment heads-down dealing with the day-to-day, one moment being allowed (a little) to plan and to dream.
To be honest? This year felt a little like autopilot. Like I was caught dealing with Life as it happened, doing a zillion different things (like I always do) and realizing that I needed to catch up with the changes. At times, this year felt like waiting for things to happen to me. Does that make sense?
Mike calls me out of the blue.
Years have passed since I’ve last written about Mike. I see him every once in awhile in Berkeley, still. I think about him from time to time – wonder how he’s doing. I catch him out the corner of my eye the week before I leave for vacation, hanging around at Gypsy’s. “Mike!” I call back to him, and he turns around with a big grin on his face. The sidewalks are soaked.
Happy new year!
Immanuel, God with us. Immanuel, God with us. Breath. Breath(e). God is with us.
There are two themes running through my journal lately – one is of intense gratitude: about the things I’ve been given and how much I didn’t deserve them. They are filled with thankfulness about how things have unfurled with Annie. It’s got a lot of awe and wonder at the beauty of the outdoors and the sheer awe of creation.
Oakland, tonight I swam in your streets and felt the cool of your night. I think to myself how I feel strong when the pull stroke feels easy, and think to memorize the tones of the sky at dusk when I pull to the side for air – half the sky a fading incandescent red, the other a fluorescent blue. I find, for a few moments of grace that people shimmer with a quiet mystery when they’re underwater, the light from the pool lamps refracting, flexing, arcing over their bodies. To you, Oakland, I feel a sense of sheepishness, I
San Francisco wraps me up with hot pumice breath and does not let go. She follows me with a sincerity that I cannot shake, offering the fruits of her cacophony as the throaty rumbling of cable cars, as the muted quarreling of European travelers, blue eyed children in tow, as azalea sunbursts lining the steps I jog each afternoon. She orchestrates the movements of ten thousand bicyclists. She punctuates the skies with glass ornaments and fighter-jet jewels. and lures in her prey with the offerings of raven gold parlayed over her streets. She charms me over then just as quickly, she turns
I miss running barefoot – there was something about running with the spring in your step, pushing gingerly against the grass, feeling the strength of the stride move through your legs and through your toes that made you feel powerful, or free, or wild. When I first started early on, I always felt sore and achy at the bottom of my foot, like pinpricks lived there. We’d joke that running the lake barefoot was safe–so long as you didn’t step on the needles. A few times I felt a sharp pain and swore I did step on one… only to find out that I was fine. But as the calluses built, your stride adjusted and you would feel safer, and the stones wouldn’t cut you anymore and you’d run a little faster, leaning into the slicing chill, ignoring the numbness of running on wet grass on the north end of the lake and run home in darkness against the dotted glow of Lake Merritt’s necklace.
I’ve been silent for a long time. Not by any real conscious choice, but because I fill my time with things like work and keys and lost receipts and work and missing the bus and missing appointments and laundry and riding the bus and foraging for dinner.
Really digging Yuna’s vocals. Chill, relaxed R&B sound.
Stuck stuck stuck stuck stuck.
I’ve been wont to complain about how it sucks to be doing my training in the gym. Ever since I tweaked my foot I’ve been feeling caged on the treadmill and elliptical machines. On the machines I can’t think about anything, it’s too stuffy and hot and I’m always dripping with sweat. I’m always staring at numbers, cursed numbers. It makes me remember how I hated running track in high school, and the unforgiving numbers that come with it.
My grandfather (ah gong, or 外公, but we call him gong gong), driven by winds of Communist change, arrived in Taiwan in the 1940s. He was a Fuzhou businessman, 26 at the time. He was a businessman, relatively wealthy and educated, and fled from the incoming Communists.
On the days when the weather is right, I swear I can feel the tickle of young love: the kind that’s radiant, inviting, and easy to fall into. It’s simple and charming and as light as goosefeathers.
If you lean too hard, you’ll go tumbling out of shadows, into the lake. Look, like how the leaves strain against their cuffs in the wind, leaning into the goldenrod breeze. Look at the lovers lean into each other, racing against sundown, lips brushing freckles, freckles brushing blades tickling toes.
The Regeneration interns and I are wrapping up our year here at church. What have I learned?
I’m wrestling a lot these days with the idea of Justice and what it looks like to be a Christian–and a human–in the midst of it.
Ideas I’m toying with:
At about 10AM this morning in the middle of Albert’s sermon, Mrs. Hu bursts into the sanctuary and I hear a flurry of hurried murmuring behind me and the flutter of a hundred heads turning. “Someone call 911!”