Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Few Good Books

Here is what I want to talk about today: Books. Books. Books.

Sometimes I forget just how much of a reader soul I have, but I am always reminded. Learning things, turning pages, caring about characters who seem so much more than fictional-- I can't live without it. And I get scared of getting swamped with school and homework again and not having much leisure time, because the last twenty-four hours have been ones of literary joy.

I shotgunned The ABC Mysteries by Agatha Christie yesterday afternoon. I had never read an Agatha Christie book before, a fact which will continue to be remedied now. AHHHHH. I can’t. It’s a variation of my weird reverse hipster complex that I haven't read her before-- even though I preach about the importance of everyone reading classics I’m still surprised when an author I haven’t personally read before turns out to be perfection. I require more Poirot in my life. He made a Sherlock Holmes reference, which made me laugh.

Then I went to the library and found some random books that caught my interest and checked out. Happened to look at one of the display tables as I headed out. I saw Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt and was overcome by happiness. Gary Schmidt is the most incredible YA writer I’ve ever read. I grabbed the book and turned around. Usually once I check out that’s it for the day, anything else that looks good gets stuck on my reading list. But for a Gary Schmidt book I would have walked back to the library to check it out. I read that in its entirety last night. INCREDIBLE. How does he even write like that? They're so serious, but so funny and painfully true at the same time. 

Now I've started The Story of Charlotte's Web, which is about E.B. White. After that a biography of Judy Garland is on the nightstand as well as another Agatha Christie mystery.

Reading is life.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thoughts on Surgery

My littlest brother, Joshua, was born with a condition called tricuspid atresia. More information on that can be found at this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002100/. He has already had two surgeries, one at nine days, the second at six months. On July 31 he will go in for what should be the last. It's called the Fontan Procedure.

It's been three years since I last felt this kind of desperate, emotional stress. I always knew that he would need another surgery, but I had forgotten the fear that comes with it. It is constantly at the back of my mind, whispering of the fragility of life.

He is so small. He is so innocent. He is so full of joy and everything that is good. He loves parrots and trucks and Buzz Lightyear. Why him?

Logically I know there is nothing I can do, but my heart weeps to aid him. I want to lie down on the operating table and let them cut open my chest. Leave his alone. Let me feel the pain, let him be healed.

He is not afraid. He doesn't understand what is risked, what is out of necessity coming. I do, and I am. I am too afraid to pace, too frightened to cry. Every prayer I offer is pleading and urgent and focused. "Bless Joshua. Bless Joshua. Lord, bless Joshua." Over and over.

The doctors stand ready to do battle with my brother's heart, wielding their tools like swords against the grasping fingers of Death. I want a way to offer myself, to turn to that cold, black figure and tell him, "I willingly go with you. He is not yours. He will stay and laugh and grow. Take me."

If I die, let me die. Let him live. Bring him home. Bring him home. Bring him home.

We have another month yet. And I have faith in both the skill of the surgeons and the wisdom of my Father and His plan. But it is hard, and I am afraid.

Friday, June 7, 2013

On False Hopes

The scene: Outside my seminary class, junior year of high school

"Eric told me to tell you he's thinking of asking you to the prom."
This was surprising. I didn't expect anyone to invite me and here was Drew telling me that my crush had me on his list. I skipped down the hall on my way to class that day.
Eric didn't ask me to prom. In fact, he didn't even talk to me at the dance.

The scene: The rec room in my dorm, my freshman year of college
"What about Allison?" I asked Freddy. "I was sure you liked her." He sat on the couch next to me, arm around my shoulder.
"I can tell when things are going better with somebody else," he said, giving my hand a squeeze. I was completely surprised by his reciprocation, and it was glorious.
The next day he told me we were "too different." Two weeks later he was dating Allison.

The scene: My house, my birthday
"Steve said he's definitely driving down for cake tonight!" my roommate gushed. She had set us up a few months earlier and knew this news would excite me.
He didn't drive down for cake that night. It's such a small thing, but it mattered to me.

"How do you ignore all the witches? All the curses? All the wolves, all the lies, the false hopes, the goodbyes, the reverses? All the wondering what even worse is still in store?"
"No More"-- Into the Woods

I'd much rather be completely ignored or treated with nothing more than friendly civility than get my hopes up that someone is thinking of me and then realize that I was being foolish. I've fallen for a lot of guys over the years, and I'm pretty skilled at recognizing when somebody isn't interested. But when all he throws me is a tangled knot of mixed signals I start punching pillows and going on long walks trying to figure things out.

There's this boy. (Isn't there always?) The difference is that this one has continued to pay attention to me when he doesn't have to. And he makes my heart do this weird fluttery dance and I have to pace around in circles for a few minutes to calm down. He hasn't asked for my number. He hasn't asked me out. I don't know if he ever will. But he fills me up with hope that maybe, just maybe, it's my turn. But if it's not going to be me, if it's going to be Virginia or Leah or whoever, then I wish he'd just skip straight to that step.

My emotions run wild and to extreme ends of the spectrum, and I wish they'd not invest themselves without my permission. My dating resume doesn't need another experience of falling for somebody that only ever had me in the friendzone. Caring is the first step towards crying, and heaven knows my pillowcases have had enough mascara stains.

"Second best can be worse than not-in-the-running."
The View from Saturday (by E.L. Koningsburg)

**Names have been changed to my old code names. In fact, I'm sad I don't have a tragic story to tell about Bartholomew, just because Bartholomew is my favorite of all my past code names. Seriously-- Bartholomew! How great is that?**