Wednesday, July 29, 2009

california reality

Tomorrow, I fly out to LAX at 7:40 in the morning, bright and early! I will be in the LA area for 6 days to maid-of-honor in my friend's wedding and then to stay a little longer to sightsee and hang with my cousins. This will be my 7th time as a bridesmaid, my 6th time flying solo, 4th trip to California, 3rd trip to the LA area, 2nd wedding to attend in the LA area, and 1st time to meet my cousins' baby Violet! (Sorry, if I think of what this is the 5th of, I'll add it later)

Sadly, I've been so busy lately, that I haven't had a chance to let the excitement of this trip build. But now that I leave in less than 24 hours, am packed, have my boarding pass printed, my dress altered, my gifts bought, the bachelorette dinner planned, and plans with my cousins are shaping out, I'm definitely getting excited! There will be love and commitment to celebrate, great friends and family to catch up with, new friends to meet, good food, drink, dancing, lingerie, getting nails and hairdid, beaches, yachts, minivans, babies, Knottsberry Farm, highs of 73 degrees, and whatever else comes along!

I'm trying to figure out what to do solo on Monday when my cousins are at work and allow me to drive their awesome minivan. Since this is my 3rd trip to LA, I've already seen a lot of the typically touristy places, Hollywood stuff, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, driven around Bel Air, UCLA, etc. So, I'm definitely open to any suggestions!

Did I mention that it's almost 30 degrees cooler in Huntington Beach than in College Station right now?

Monday, July 20, 2009

tucking in my cloak

This morning, I read in 1 Kings 18 when God answers Elijah's prayers and ends the 3 1/2 year long drought. It's just after God has answered Elijah's prayers and sent down fire to consume the altar on Mount Carmel, demonstrating that the God is Israel is the true living God and Baal is no god at all. After this great display of power, after Elijah prays with his head and his knees to the ground, after Elijah's servant had looked toward the sea six times, on the seventh viewing, he reports a small cloud rising from the sea, Elijah urges the king to ride his chariot down off the mountain before the rain prevents him from leaving. The sky grows dark, the winds howl, and the heavy rain comes down. Elijah is seized by the power of God, he tucks his cloak into his belt, and he runs ahead of the king's chariot 16 miles back to the city! Maybe horses pulling chariots run slower than a man, maybe the terrain was rocky and easier for a man on foot to navigate than horses and chariots, but I believe that this "power of the Lord" was supernatural energy and strength and speed that allowed Elijah to run over a half marathon ahead of the king's chariot, with the heavy rain and storm chasing them from behind.

Leaving campus this afternoon, we saw dark clouds and heard distant rumblings of thunder. I quickly bid my companions goodbye and scurried to unlock my bike. I began pedaling quickly, anxious to make it home before the rain started. I heard a louder clap of thunder behind me, and started pedaling faster. As I found myself furiously biking through campus, I felt a little like Elijah, cloak tucked in, running ahead of the chariot, with the storm coming behind him. Most of me desperately wanted to make it home dry, but a small part of me hoped that the rain would beat me, and that I would be caught in the storm. As I began to imagine this, that desire in me grew. What could be more invigorating right now than this exhilarating ride to escape the rain than to actually be caught in the rain? To be pelted with water, powerless to stop it, unable to be dry until I reached the safety of my home, completely drenched? I did not lower my speed, but as I pressed on, I began to hope that the rain would win this race.

I was victorious. As I sit half an hour later at my dining room table writing this, the rain still has not come. I could feel silly, that I got so worked up about beating the rain that still hasn't arrived, but instead I feel grateful for a few minutes of excitement, for the reminder of God's power through nature's unpredictability, and the ability to feel alive and present.