Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Prince Caspian

This is a little bit of a movie review and a little bit of reflection. "Prince Caspian" was a cinematic success, in my opinion. It didn't feel as epic as its predecessor, but that's actually the nature of the books. LWW is the hallmark story. There are still good lessons in Caspian, though. For one, I see a "faith is believing without seeing" message. None of Lucy's siblings believed her when she said she saw a glimpse of Aslan. So they went about trying to solve the problems of Narnia on their own. After suffering a defeat, Peter sends off Lucy to find Aslan as they hold of the enemy with their remaining forces. Hmmm, how similar to us when we try to solve our own problems until we are defeating and as a last resort, cry out to God.

Second message: waiting on God. Peter wanted to take the fight to the Telmarines and even said "we've waited on Aslan long enough." Then they were defeated and several Narnians lost their lives. If he had waited on Aslan (who later told them nothing happens the way it has before) and believed he would come, how could the story have been different?

I read one review that didn't like how the message depicted that making wrong choices can easily be undone, referring to Lucy's healing potion or Aslan's breath to restore terminal injuries. But I don't prefer to look at it that way. There were consequences to the poor decisions, but the potion sort of represents grace and restoration. Well, Lucy and Edmund have one more adventure in Narnia, but Peter and Susan's time is over. They've learned all they can. Peter, in particular, struck me on a personal level. At the beginning of the story, he was confused and resentful at not going back to Narnia, having lived a lifetime as High King. He was still living in the "fantasy" world. In the end, he recognized the need to live in his own "reality" (though the movie didn't do a great job at resolving that internal conflict).

I can relate because I too wish I could live my fantasy vision for my life. As the credits rolled, I sympathized with Peter because as the story ended it was back to reality for me too. Sometimes I just really like to get lost in stories, particularly in the stressful season of life I'm in. But God has a purpose for everything. My work--though my fantasy would be to not have it--provides my needs, enables me to give, and has the flexibility for me to work often on ministry projects for church. We can't forget to live and God has promised that life would be filled to overflowing for those who follow Him. Now that's a pretty exciting story to be a part of.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Tree for Mom

A Tree for Mom
Originally uploaded by bpeacock22
I planted a tree today, in honor of my mom on Mother's Day. It's a Red Maple.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The secret word is: Conflict. When you hear it, scream real loud!

I seem to be writing more negative posts lately, and I don't really like that, but the truth is, there's been a lot of it lately. It seems it is just that season of my life. We all have them from time to time. I'm grateful for my relationship with God, who enables me to get through these turbulent times. It makes me realize a couple things. One, I don't know how people who don't know God get through difficult situations with no hope for anything else but what is here. Two, knowing God gives me perspective on my troubles--some of it just really doesn't matter.

I think I can describe my little valley in life in one word: conflict. There's lots of it. I had that work conflict dealing with the unscheduled course. (Just an aside here, I have a great boss. She really went to bat for me and settled the situation.) I actually had another work conflict this week. The short of it is, another instructor called me about 15 minutes after I concluded my final exam. She was telling me students were in her office, worried about their grades and she would like to have them. Um, I just left the test! I almost snapped on her, but ended up professionally telling her how frustrated I was that I was getting this call and that I felt like I was being taken advantage of just because I work closely with her. It was just completely inappropriate to do that to me.

Then there was this little snippet regarding a lunch meeting earlier this week. Silly, really, that it came to what it did, but I get a little of where my friend was coming from, even though it was never my intention to cause an intrusion. This and those work conflicts are examples of the things that really don't matter in the big scheme of thing. God has really taught me through experiences like this to resolve them and move on.

There's the emotional conflict. I'm not sure how much I want to just put out there on this blog, but let's just say that to this day I regret a decision I made when a friend came to me to talk about some personal matters. I put on the mask that I always do when I'm scared and I, well, blew it. It sucks and it hurts.

There's the mental conflict. This actually has to do with something that is very dear to me. That's my community group. Ever since we did Stations of the Cross for Easter, I've had a steadily increase discontent. It is evidenced by the fact that when things come up, I don't try to re-arrange my schedule like I would before. There has really been a lack of depth for a while, mainly because of what the group has become. It's an invite-anyone, open-door meeting. Like a house church. That is a needed avenue for people, but as my one source of re-energizing each week, it is not what I need. I'm not comfortable sharing much due to the constant flow of people, and I'm afraid to talk about anything past the "basics" because I'm afraid it won't make sense. The focus has become serving spiritual "milk" and that's great for those who need it! But that's not my place anymore. (More conflict: I get really irritated when I hear ideas for studies that include "what to do about laziness." Get off your #$@, that's what you do!) The people that I have grown with, love, and confide in have started another group. I really want to go with them, but the problem is, it's all couples there. That's not going to do me any good either, if everything is couples-focused. It's not a question of whether I feel welcome, but of relevancy. This is a hard one to deal with. I have no sense of direction.

I'm also in spiritual conflict. Well, I guess that's really the underlying cause of all the conflict I'm having. In the past, I can tell that the quicker I become short with people, the farther I've gotten from God. This time is no exception. I used to have a pretty good devotional regime; but then I kept sleeping in a little longer and got out of it. And for some reason, it doesn't occur to me to pray for the kinds of conflicts that I've listed here. So I become less patient, more bottled up, and less likely to pray still. Yes, LESS likely. It's a paradox that I don't know how to shake. I know that to get back on the right track, I need to spend time with God. But then I'm so pissed about everything I'm dealing with, I don't want to.

Well, enough rambling. Please pray for my family, too. My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer and likely doesn't have long. No surprise, as he has heavily smoked all his life. Pray for painless time and for the ones who are mourning. It breaks my heart to hear/see my mom cry. In the world of good news, my nephews are graduating from high school. Congrats Justin and Garrett!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Have a Nice Day, Unless You Made Other Plans

Weird title, huh? I actually saw that on a church sign this morning. It doesn't really make sense. Who plans to not have a nice day? Sometimes bad days just happen. Which leads me to a little story of work. I don't plan to have bad days at work. Well recently a rather important schedule conflict came to my attention for a handful of students. They needed to take a course that we weren't offering in the first summer term, but if they didn't get it, they would not be able to progress to their next semester. Long story short, we worked very hard to accomodate these students. At first, I suggested that the school extend their deadline for progression, but there were unavoidable issues with that so it was nixed. So a 4-week course was definitely needed. Problem 2: no instructor is available. The only person is the one who teaches the online version, but the school does not do 4-week onlines. Shorten the story again: we end up creating a 4-week online course just for these students. They are agreeable. Good to go. Right?

Wrong. To this point, I have been given the berth to work out a solution. None of the higher administrators were involved. So I thought. The head of the school heard bits and pieces; just enough to have concern, mainly that the students were being forced into a situation where they may fail. So now I'm stressing pretty good, and pretty upset. I don't take work personally most of the time, but after putting SO MUCH into this problem, it was a little hard not to. Especially since we had an agreeable, positive solution and now it was turned around on me negatively. Now I have a meeting with the head of the school and my boss...Great. I'm psyching myself up to go in assertive and strong for the way I handled it. My boss backs me up. We'll see how it goes....