A stream of consciousness from today:
On my way home from work, an advertisement on the radio had crashing waves as a sound effect for advertising a summer getaway travel package that you could book from a local travel agent. Though the commercials were soon over and there was a song playing, the sound of crashing waves kept going through my head. It had triggered a memory.
When I was a kid, my family took a few trips to Hawaii since my grandparents had a timeshare. For the latest trip, I was in high school and was concerned more about getting a good tan than I was about many of the touristy activities we were going to do. But on a Sabbath morning, when we went down to the beach for a bit, I decided to make my towel-dwelling, ray-soaking self a bit more productive than just absorbing sunlight. I had a good 20 minute prayer (and for an attention-deficit high-schooler, that was pretty good). I remember praying for God to make my hair not frizz so much, and other silly things, but it turned into a rather profound conversation with my Creator. And the crashing waves and soft breeze just made it all the more meaningful and memorable.
I remember talking to God about how I thought it was cool that he put rhythm into everything. Right before I prayed, I counted the seconds between wave crashes. I started moving my toes to the “beat” that the waves were creating. I remember the timing between the waves slowly getting longer and longer as the shoreline moved with the tide. I started singing songs in my head along with the waves. And I remember thinking that God knew what he was doing when he put in me the desire to be a musician and a dancer, and an appreciator of nature.
Pulling from the theme of the previous blog, I really like how God finds really clever ways to remind us that we are who we are for a reason. That I can take comfort and joy in the simple fact that I am me. Even with all the silly things that I almost hate about myself, I would never give them up if it meant my identity would change. The fact that I cry at most movies, that I laugh a bit too loud, that I sometimes speak out of turn, that sometimes I like people a little too much that I overwhelm them; all those things have been annoyances to me in my life, and yet when I think about what I would be without them, I slowly begin to embrace them. And when I still get a little bit down about the things that aren’t ideal about myself, God reminds me of crashing waves, tapping toes, and warm sunlight, and the acceptance of who I am and what I am moved to do.
Predominantly, I’ve found that most of my life revolves around people and/or rhythm. I’m very shy and introverted, but I love connecting with people and each person I meet immediately becomes meaningful to me. I remember names and faces very well, and my biggest social fault lies on the end of the spectrum that makes me appear nosy. On the rhythm side, I’m always tapping on something, always finding connections in the sounds around me. I remember in 8th grade, my science teacher called me a “child of rhythm” after the end-of-the-year band concert, when I had my first solo snare drum sequence. I find that when NPR plays classical music over the lunch hour, I seem to want to drive faster during heavy snare drum and crash cymbal choruses. Sometimes I think I should have been a choir or band conductor because those movements are just so natural to me (but I’m too afraid of being in front of a lot of people). And there is no morning pick-me-up like my 5:45am jazzercise class, the only exercise routine I have been able to stick with for over a year.
Back on the relational end, I also think of myself in terms of my relationship to my husband. He is all verbal (he is an English teacher, so I guess that comes with the territory), and I am all nonverbal. The messages we receive from each other or people around us vary so much when we both tell our side of things. But once we figured out how each other worked, it’s amazingly perfect the way we complement each other.
Life is a big jigsaw puzzle and we are all shaped differently, and we all fit together differently. (even more on this topic later). I have come to like the shape of my puzzle piece, and the way it fits with others. Thank you, God, for opening the puzzle box, shaking it up, and letting each piece discover where they fit.
(Random though these thoughts are, pieces of these concepts float to my consciousness just about daily. Maybe it is God reminding me that “I am who I am” (go Popeye!) and that I better be true to myself.)
“All together now—applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to the rhythms of his praise.” (Psalm 66:1, The Message Bible)
“… May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors” ( Kings 8:56, The Message Bible)
“…The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn and maintains the rhythm of the seasons, Who sets aside time each year for harvest and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’…(Jeremiah 5:20, The Message Bible)