9/30/2005

Nichole Nordeman

This is one Christian artist who never fails to impress me. Not with her amazing melodies or her innovative chord progressions, those are pretty standard. But her lyrics and her anthems are so inspiring. I just picked up the new album called, "Brave" and anyone who has ever wondered about silly Christians should let themselves be enlightened by her insights. She's a simple-styled piano player vocalist from Tennessee who rocks and rolls with songs that stick in your heart. She never fails me. Each new album touches on themes that are so poignantly expressed. And she does a cover song on each album. This album it's the Bob Dylan song, "Serve Somebody" the last album was "Time After Time" by Cindy Lauper, I think.

9/15/2005

One Bridesmaid of Ten

I am standing here with nine other bridesmaids watching the small flame in front of me dance and point to Heaven. My heartbeat is powerful enough to make me sway a little and I stare intently at the walkway as dusk approaches. I have been given the great honor of watching for the bridegroom this day and the excitement overwhelms me. We all wonder when he will arrive.
The girl next to me yawns. I elbow her and whisper, "Any minute now."
"I'm not that tired, just a little sleepy," she says back to me, "Why are you whispering?"
"I don't want to ruin the moment when he arrives by having a loud conversation. I know how much you talk so don‘t get me started." I smile at her and give her another poke with my elbow.
She giggles and shoves me a little, "Don't drop your lamp."
"I have quite a firm grip on it, thank you very much."
~~~~~
An hour has passed and our whispers have elevated to loud stories about our lives. I knew it! Put ten girls together and make them wait and what do they do? Suddenly it's a contest to see who has the most exciting thing to say. One of the girls is actually standing in front of us gesturing and making faces. She's telling us something about when the bridegroom invited her to the wedding. It’s almost like she’s bragging, but I’m not going to say anything. I just look past her to show my eager anticipation. I can only think about doing my duty as a bridesmaid. I will hold tight to my lamp until we get to go inside with the rest of the wedding party.

After a while longer one of us decides to sit down and the rest of us follow suit. It does get a little tiring waiting so long. I wonder what’s keeping him. It must be important because, well, bridegrooms don’t tend to be late to their own wedding feast. Maybe we were early! No, it’s got to be nine o’clock by now. I am starting to think we might have the wrong house. I wish I could peek inside and see if they are set up for the feast yet. I can’t hear anything past the big doors.

The girl next to me has fallen asleep. She slides toward me cradling her lamp and rests her head on my arm. I think one girl is actually snoring! The girl that was telling all the stories has started twisting her fingers around her hair. Round and round and…
~~~~~

Trumpets! Oh my God, he’s here! Did I fall asleep? It’s got to be midnight! Well at least he finally approaches. I rub my eyes and try to get my bearings. It seems darker than it should be. Oh no. Why has my flame gone out? I look around and see the other girls getting up and straightening their clothes. A few of them have little pouches with…lamp oil! Oh thank goodness.
I pull the sleeve of the girl next to me, “Can I use some of your lamp oil? Mine has gone out and--”
“But I only have enough to keep the wick lit long enough to…Maybe she has some. I’m sorry.”
So I go over to the other girls and they all have just enough for their own wicks, too. I realize there are four other girls in the same predicament as I am. If we tried to stretch the leftover oil between all of us the lamps might burn out completely before the bridegroom even gets here. What kind of entrance would that be? It’s already a little darker than it should be without five of the lights burning.

“Go to the market and buy some more. Quickly!” It’s the girl who fell asleep on my arm. She’s shoving me this time with a loving urgency. The rest of the girls are already on their way so I follow after them. As we go, I can hear the trumpets getting closer and soon we are running…
~~~~~

The markets weren’t as close as I thought they were. As we head back I know he’s probably already arrived and we might have missed our chance to impress him. But we bought the oil anyway and now just having it makes me feel better. He’ll understand that we simply didn’t realize he was going to be late. I mean, if he was going to take so long he should have warned us or sent messengers or something. That’s what the other girls are talking about too as we carry our little pouches back to the feast.

The girl that was putting on such a great show for us earlier has linked arms with me and another girl. She’s going on and on about how well she knows the man of the evening. Bridegroom this and bridegroom that. You’d think she was the maid of honor!
I start to get hungry and we are only walking since we are all tired from running. I try to speed things up by suggesting we skip. Two of the girls sort of jog behind us and we laugh as we kick dust up onto their dresses. This is actually kind of fun. It beats sitting around…
~~~~~

When we get there the door is closed with no one outside. We all light our lamps and smooth our wind-blown hair. I step up to the door and knock loudly. There’s no answer. Did they forget about us? I knock again and the other girls join me. It’s a thunderous noise but I am not sure if it can even be heard through the massive door. But I think I hear something so I tell the girls to stop the hammering and I press my ear against the door.

“I can hear him,” I whisper, “I think he’s approaching the door.”
“Tell him we’re sorry.”

“Yeah, tell him we are just following his example by being late.”

They all burst into nervous laughter. I press my head into the dense wood of the door straining to hear. In my other ear one of the girls is saying to another, “We should find another party to go to. The way we are dressed shouldn’t go to waste.”

“Shhh!” I hiss, “He’s right by the door.” I slap it with the palm of my hand, “Sir! Open the door for us!”

There is a moment when I think I feel his hand go for the latch. Then a still silence creeps over all of us.

“I don’t know you!” He calls back.

I jerk my head back in disbelief. He doesn’t know us?

“There are five of his bridesmaids out here in the cold and suddenly he doesn’t know us?” The loud one has spoken. Now she’s linking arms with two other girls and they are leaving.

“You’re just going to leave? Just like that?” I ask.

“Why not? He doesn’t know us. So I guess we don’t know him! Let’s go.”

“But it’s dark…” My weak attempt to make them stay. As they prance off I notice that the wind has picked up and the moonlight is barely making it through the dark clouds that move past. Just then I see that my lamp has gone out again. No wonder it’s so dark. But I bought enough oil, it shouldn’t be out already. It’s a stupid lamp anyway and I throw it to the ground.

“Wait for me!” I yell and I leave the bridegroom. I will never know that at that moment he is standing by the door wiping tears from his cheeks.
~~~~~~~~~~~
written by: diana

9/14/2005

Apocolypse Dream #149...

I had a sort of nightmare last night. It didn't leave me with a panicky feeling like nightmare's use to do. Or maybe it wasn't a nightmare as much as just a dream. In any case, if I had a dime for every time I dreamt about the end of the world, I'd be able to buy something I really don't need that's expensive and shiny. What follows is the dream I had last night/early this morning:
...I was walking the Big Bear streets after all the power had been turned off and a plague had come over the world. People had gone to their roofs to die and now they were dead bodies baking in the sun. I was with my mom. The place we walked also looked like the culdesac I grew up on. She walked out onto Talbert Blvd to explore and I wrapped a blanket around me, covering my nose and mouth as if that would protect me from the plague, and chased after her. She acted more like a friend on an adventure than a worried mom. ...It was tempting to loot the little shops but I saw a teenage girl doing it and I was like, "It's a good thing you have that little knick knack now!" all sarcastic and bitter. The thought of stealing from the dead made me sick after I saw it happen first hand. ...Randy was in my dream too. He died this year, in real-life. He shows up now and then in my dreams. He was my boyfriend once when I was 15 and once when I was 17. He kinda symbolizes something in my dreams. I'm not sure what. Or maybe I just miss him and hate that he's dead.

I just wish Jesus would come back, already.

9/13/2005

Glass Darkly

I have been thinking a lot about the second coming today. I really hope it's soon. My soul aches for the day. I'd like to see it in my lifetime, but if I die before that day, I know I will rise and join Him in the sky before all the living. The dead in Christ rise first. But I won't do anything to speed my own death even though the thought of sleeping the time away until Jesus wakes me up is a pleasant one. It's more like a lazy thought, huh? I will follow His guidance and do what He puts in my heart to do even though I can't seem to understand what it means to live on this earth. I know I can sing and that I can get my priorities straight when I want to. I know that sometimes you have to just hold your breath and jump in, trusting that God has your back. I also see how easy it is for humans to obey every other master but the Original Master. The world is full of lies and for a creature that hungers after truth, it can be an utter wasteland. Sometimes I catch myself buying the lies just so I don't feel truth-starved for the moment. "Really? I really CAN be happy and fulfilled if I make that kind of money?" So I buy it and the very nature of lies is thin and sharp like broken glass. You went to reach for reality and instead you got "reality television" and now your knuckles are bleeding. Not to mention you have to replace the box before the kids wake up from their coma screaming for attention or Spongebob and your husband growls at the lack of Monday night Football.

We see now as through a glass darkly, then we will know as we are known. Perseverence for the Kingdom's sake is my path and dream now.

9/08/2005

African Spiritual Expression

Sometimes when I go to church out here in SoCal I am sad that the expression doesn't look more like these people in Africa. Does the joy of the Lord only make us Americans sway a little and loosely clap our hands? If we don't feel the peace and joy of God's amazing grace while we're in corporate worship, when will we feel it?

I know it's not about feelings but I can't help reminding myself that I do feel. But bland guitar and falsetto vibrato do not properly express what I feel when I sing, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord O my soul!"
Maybe I need to join a different church. I am sure God will lead me to one when we finally settle. I don't even mind if I am the only one singing from my toes...well, that's not true. I do mind if I am the only one. I shouldn't mind, though. It's how I sing to the Lord. One day God may plant the zeal and courage in me to burst out in the middle of a sleeping worship service. People might get ad at first, or startled. But perhaps they will hear the genuine love I have for God and how He saves me and keeps me whole.

9/06/2005

Hardening

So the city is hardening me and I feel it. Yesterday I stopped by the grocery store. I asked the checker guy if I could come through the express line and pay with my card instead of cash. He said, "Yeah. We actually take checks too, but we can't put that on the sign because every time someone writes a check here it starts a fight." I was like, "Yeah, gotta fight for those few extra seconds." He said, "It could change your LIFE!" We smiled a little at the stupid people of the world that insist on a faster today to make way for a faster tomorrow. But I got sad and noticed the cynicism and hardness in my chest. It made my groceries a little heavier and the sun a little more blinding.