It’s a special thing when girls become friends. They realize that they don’t have to fight every girl out there, and you know what, this one seems pretty cool.

I have been blessed to experience wonderful sisterhoods throughout my life. For me, that feels like a weird thing to say, especially because I feel like I spend a lot of my time around guys, and even within my family I would say that my older brother probably knows more about me than anyone else. But I’m so thankful for my sisters, and the girls who have come alongside me as sisters.
My flesh-and-blood sisters are so patient and honest with me. They’ll take time out of their days to talk and pray and sometimes even cry, but mostly laugh about our lives and how weird things can get. My “sisters” from college are responsible for some of the biggest changes in me. The four of us open each others minds and encourage each other to think in new ways and appreciate new ideas and experiences. My sisters from Camp are people who I trust completely. We’ve cried and complained about annoying campers, and taken awkward pictures and danced without arms (or without legs) and learned to love through emotional stress.

This weekend, I got to experience a new kind of sister-ness. Our ultimate team is like a family, and I think that our relationships are so much stronger and better partially because we do have girls on the team. It just adds a whole new texture to interactions. I’m always afraid that these girls will join and not be there for the right reasons and just screw everything up (and it has happened) but right now, that’s not the case.

We were in Pittsburgh this weekend and it was the first tournament where we actually took more girls besides me. And it was awesome. We didn’t always feel the need to hang out and stand together or sit together, but we had our moments where we’d give each other the nod and crack up laughing. We got to do things as a group of girls instead of by myself. Hannah and I even talked about how we both avoid trying to form “special” relationships with the guys on the team because that’s not what we’re there for.

At the risk of sounding so “basic,” I am so blessed. These girls come from the same place I do, are trying to achieve the same things I am; it was an awesome moment when I realized that I have two new solid relationships that I can absolutely count on. I’m not the only one rolling my eyes when the guys try to sweet talk each other, or that has to leave the room when someone gets out of the shower, or doesn’t get to hear a joke. We’re all excluded together!

It’s a great feeling, having another person or more people to share things with.

 

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I almost panicked the other day. We got our poetry portfolios back in my creative writing class, and our grades with them.  The first page of our portfolio was a prose paragraph, explaining what grade we think is fair and why. I got a 90 out of 100, which is what I asked for, but I was really looking forward to the criticism and advice she gave on each page.

Because I’m lazy (also because I’m swamped) I decided to post a few of those poems for your enjoyment.

Most of these are from prompts. Like this one. We were supposed to look at our desk and free write about our desk, then turn that into a poem. So here.

Survival Mode

The          uneven                  topography         of my desk

makes it hard for me to find

my pen. I’ve searched, I would guess,

through m  i  l  e s   of statues and stamps, and

around acres of homework I’ve revised.

*****

This one my professor really liked, and I really liked, which basically never happens.

Poise

We descend

from dark morning

to grey twilight.

The pale clouds quicken around the sky

like hands on a clock.

Grey fog beats its

bass notes, throbbing as it

seethes.

To live, then,

on this dim globe,

is to seek green trees

when all around

the white winter storms.

*****

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Flannery O’Connor

“She’s a freak.”

An ultimate field is not peaceful. Anything but. And I love it. If you have two teams with 10 plus players on the sidelines and a close game, the odds of at least one person losing their voice before the game is over are high. Raucous, encouraging, vulgar, direct… Energy from your teammates on the side can pull you through a marathon point.

Taking weekends away for tournaments is  like coming up for air. IWU is great, don’t get me wrong. I’ve found the right people and places as I’ve gotten older. But most of the time it feels like I’m  trying to squeeze myself into a too-tight peice of clothing. “It’s like taking off a tight shoe,” says on of P.G. Wodehouse’s American characters, about reverting to her normal speech after spending months pretending to be an Englishwoman.

We talk about God and Jesus and classes and our unit devos and chapel and our intramural teams, but we rarely honestly talk about other things. Like how we’re really doing. How we feel about this person (good or or bad). How much we wish we could do such-and-such (even though we swore it off before we came to school.) How badly we wanted to say -this- when she said -that.- What we “accidentally” thought of when he said that awkward thing.

I’ve heard a lot of stupid, crude, and absolutely hysterical stuff out there. And most of the time, I appreciate it more than I appreciate a lot of the things said in chapel. Sometimes, being cursed at (by an opponent or a teammate) is just the kick in the pants I need to get my head on straight. Innuendo is pretty funny. Hearing a half time speech where every three words is a four letter word because they “shouldn’t be losing” is so encouraging.

I appreciate the honesty. If someone wants to tell me something, I’d rather have it said and get it out of the way. I love that in general, my teammates will be honest about how they’re feeling, even if it’s way too much information. Just the other day, one of the guys was giving us some private information about his pre-marital counseling, and he stopped because he felt awkward. He looked around and shrugged his shoulders. “This isn’t something I’m supposed to be telling people but you’re my teammates so I think it’s fine.”

We’re Christians, on our team. We pray after games (and sometimes during games if we really need it.) But that doesn’t mean that we’re perfect, that we won’t pick fights with that guy who’s making ridiculous calls, that we won’t cuss ourselves out for a stupid play. And I’m proud of that. Everybody is struggling and the opportunity to admit that to someone else can be a powerful thing. There’s a time and a place, right now, for that kind of upfront honesty. The kind of honesty that I get to experience every weekend has to be contained to either total strangers or those closest to you. Both of those are hard places to get to.

I’m not saying that our witness should be based off of our failings. God calls to higher stuff. But I’ve learned that for me, I have to be okay with screwing things up. It’s going to happen. And God can use it to make Himself known.

I wish I worked the 10:00 in the morning shift.

My school gave $1200 dollars to a pizza delivery guy, and I think it’s stupid.

IWU policy is a three times a week chapel, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, so it can get boring real fast. The speaker today stood up and announced that “today’s chapel is going to look a bit different.” Cool.

Turns out the plan was to order a pizza, take up an offering, bring the delivery guy up on stage, and surprise him with the huge “tip” and hundreds of notes written by all the students in chapel. An exciting idea, actually. Like “Extreme Home Makeover,” but without the house. Or the demolition.

So the speaker ordered a pizza, we wrote notes and passed around the green donations baskets, and settled in to wait (and listen to the speaker.) Frankly I don’t remember much about what he said. Somebody texted Matt got a bunch of jokes he showed them to me and we got really distracted for about five minutes (Our favorite: “My girlfriend is like the square root of -100; a 10 but totally imaginary.” Soemthing like that.) I do remember, though, that he was talking about these random people that God puts in our path everyday that we can bless. People that we wouldn’t see otherwise, if we weren’t looking for them.

The delivery guy (James, a gentleman and a scholar) came up on stage and was handed the bag of notes and a cake and $1260 dollars in cash. And a standing ovation. And the speaker laughed and prayed and we clapped some more and sent him off.

Lucky James. Cash and prayer and a memorable work experience.

It pissed me off.

Partially because it really convicted me.

Mostly because it convicted me.

We pray after every practice as a team, and recently the guys have started taking prayer requests. And I know that they’re struggling and I don’t do anything about it. Whether I forget or just feel uncomfortable about it, I don’t tell them that I’m praying for them, or ask them how they’re doing, or just sit down next to them and goof off.

And I bet you don’t either.

But if you were sitting there, in chapel, you would have written the delivery guy a note (probably with a cheesy joke inside. Pun intended.) and you probably would have flipped open your wallet and pulled out a little change.

You don’t even know this guy.

But you know that the girl you had coffee with on Wednesday is struggling through her parents divorce and that guy in your class is dealing with his dad’s suicide and your RA just failed an exam and they’re all in a rough place.

And for some reason, it’s harder to help them than to help this faceless Dominos worker.

Don’t wrong me, I think it’s awesome that we got to help this guy. But in making a big deal over one person, we pass over a lot of people. People that we actually care about.

IWU, I think the service today was in bad taste. I wish, instead of pointing us to those faceless masses out there, those people you -might- run into, that God -probably- put in your life for you to bless, you’d told us to look around and see who’s sitting next to us. Sure, let’s set big goals and shoot for the moon. Let’s partner with God and come up with crazy, loving ways to bless the world. But don’t be a flash in the pan. Even if your motives are so impeccably right, you’ll look like you’re just trying to draw attention to yourself, instead of glory to God.

So go write a note to someone. Those things you keep thinking in your head about how awesome so-and-so is, say them out loud.