unreasonable and indispensable

with 6 comments

She sat across the table from me not that long ago. We were talking about something that had just happened – she was talking, really – I was listening, trying to make sense of my thoughts.

She was frustrated. I was too, and tired. Tired of facing the questions that creep around inside, the ones that pop up and hit you when you’re least expecting it. The ones that twist and nag and say things like it doesn’t really matter, anyway and who do you think you are and just go home and go to bed.

Maybe that last one is just me. My thought process often presents this one as a reasonable and well-thought out alternative to living life in the real world…

So I sat and listened. The things she said were true, even though we don’t want them to be, wish that they weren’t. The world around us is a hard place. People don’t change easily, or often. I know all this. And I don’t think that answers are easy – at least they never have come easily for me – and so I don’t give them easily. I was not a lot of help in this conversation, I’m pretty sure.

I mostly watched. And while part of my brain spun with the enormity of the problems we all face, another part just looked. Listened. Tried to find the clue.

I think that day I found it. I don’t know why, when I miss it so many other times.

As I sat across from her, the silver necklace she wore winked in the sunlight. I glanced at it, knowing already what it was – she wears it every day. But I saw, again, the word inscribed there – so tiny that you can’t see it unless you are close enough to it already.

The word she wears, on a thin silver chain around her neck, is hope.

And I thought of how like that word her necklace is. How tiny. How dear. How much I need it to blink in the sun, how much I need to keep it close.


Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

October 9, 2007 at 9:24 am

in case you haven’t heard yet

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This is the reason.

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

September 28, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Posted in uncategorized

sunday morning

with one comment

what’s shaping your life?
what’s shaping mine?

i could look around the room and try to recite
all the unwritten rules that guide our lives

don’t oversleep
go to church
comb your hair
press your shirt
marry the right one
don’t go into debt
keep everybody clean and fed
live on a nice suburban street
it never hurts to keep things neat
so tidy up your little life
keep all that messiness inside
yourself – we don’t really want to know
how you struggle with all those things

like staying with your husband
reaching for a drink
looking at that picture
lying through your teeth

no, all that’s better off ignored

and while we’re ignoring, might as well
ignore some other things too

those messy ones outside our walls
we pretend they don’t exist at all
those ones with addictions and wrecks of lives
unpaid bills and nothing to drive
they live in apartments, trailers, on the street
children with not enough food to eat
dirty clothes, torn up shoes
if only they looked more like me, or you
it’s really their fault
the choices they’ve made

we say to ourselves
in a thousand different ways

now there’s a situation where you turn the other cheek
look the other way
walk right past the weak

because these rules we live by don’t include the messy parts
the parts that look like failing
and we’re not about to start with anything that doesn’t fit or meet the status quo
we’ve shaped ourselves
and shaped our lives
to fit the world we know

and as long as we’re surrounded by good Christians in their pews
basketball for Jesus
the Fox nightly news
as long as we can sit within this bubble we’ve created
and not look in
and not look out
well then, looks like we’ve made it

but –

there still is one more question that should be pulling at our souls

when did Jesus ever say that all of this would make us whole?

if we’re going to live by rules, shouldn’t the rules be set by him?

he says – repent
and – you must be born again

surely you’ve heard that one before
oh, but wait, there’s more

come to me
believe in me
love me
listen to me
abide in me
take up your cross and follow me

these are all too familiar to me
they bounce off the surface and skip away
maybe i’ll change another day

we think we’re doing what’s good and right
what Jesus said to do
but are we?

my life will never change
just stay the same

until I listen, until I choose

to worship God in spirit and truth
rejoice and leap for joy when hated
always pray
do not be anxious
about anything – any thing at all
love my neighbor who doesn’t mow
love my God with all my soul
love even my enemies
hold on to mercy instead of anger
cherish the truth – say yes or no and mean it
do not store your treasure here
but humble yourself through sacrifice
let your light shine for all to see
do this in remembrance of me

these things these things he said to us
and though i’ve heard them all before
it needs to make a difference now
there could be so much more

so i ask
what’s shaping my life?
what’s shaping yours?

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

September 10, 2007 at 9:44 pm

trailer park yoga

with 9 comments

I went to my very first yoga class today, with my friend who is a teeny bit of a fanatic about it. She’s very convincing about things – she got me to try some salad with barley in it once – and after reading about her adventures in Colorado yogaland, I was ready to try it.

In the interest of honesty I should tell you that I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder to start with. This yoga class – which is offered free, twice a week – takes place at a church here in town. Not the church I work at. Not a church I could see myself going to anytime soon. There’s a huge church in a neighboring town that Bryan likes to refer to as Six Flags Over Jesus, and while this particular church isn’t quite as large as that church, it could easily be the Dollywood of the local church scene. We get cards from them every so often, inviting us to a Christmas extravaganza or an Easter spectacle, usually involving a dramatic production paired with a carnival type thing going on outside, complete with rides and XBox giveaways.

It’s – how do I say – a little too WalMart Supercenter for me.

All this profound opinionatedness is based solely on those sporadic postcards, and my keen observations on the two times I had been inside the building, both times for community events that the church had hosted. Their building was bigger than ours, and they obviously had a lot more money to spend on all the things that go inside it than we do.

Not that I’ve thought about it a whole lot. Really.

Anyway, I go into class and as it turns out, the instructor is really nice. Really really nice. Nice enough that you sorta don’t even hate her for being really tall and skinny and pretty (that’s NOT all yoga. Some things just have to be chalked up to great genetics).

And perky. About every minute and a half, she would say my name in class, in a very cheery way, just to make sure I was getting it. The first time she said it – Sarabeth! – she scared me and I kind of fell over. Except that I was already on the ground.

This became a pattern. Sarabeth! we are going to start with a side stretch…Sarabeth! don’t worry if you fall off your bench, we all have…Sarabeth! you may actually die while attempting this next series…

Perky, very perky. And also very kind. She would say things like, that’s ok, just do what you can and beautiful, you’re doing great and you are enjoying this stretch of your lower back / quad muscle / insert any random body part here. These types of encouragements (or, let’s face it, flat out lies) are needed when you feel as though your body is about to betray you by throwing you face first onto the floor.

By the time we were done, I really liked her and I liked the class – this person who was a member of the superficial supercenter church. The same church which allowed us to use their room and yoga mats, blankets, blocks, benches, and bolsters. For free. That’s right, the church bought all that equipment so that this woman could teach her classes to people like me.

In related news, this evening I went to pick up my own new-to-me yoga mat from a fellow freecycler whose husband wasn’t using it anymore. I drove out to get it and ended up in the trailer park where they live.

Really? I thought. Yoga enthusiast lives in a trailer park? I would have never put those two things together.

It’s embarrassing, really, when I run up against these prejudices. Twice in one day – on both ends of the spectrum – my narrow view of the world, of trailer parks, of big flashy churches – got called out of hiding. These are not things I think about with my logical self, they are ugly, petty, jealous, prideful things that lurk in the corners of my heart. And they’re wrong. It’s not like I enjoy admitting this stuff, but my hope is – always – that if I can say this stuff out loud, pin it down on a page, that it won’t be inside me as much anymore.

Or any of us.

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

September 4, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Posted in church, funny, healthy, life

almost famous

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Our latest Baylor Magazine came last week with a picture of Angela Kinsey on the cover.

Yes, we knew she was a fellow alum. Yes, we are freaks about The Office. Yes, we were so very excited.

And stunned. For right there on the cover it says that Angela is a 1994 grad. Which would place her directly between Bryan and me. She was there at the same time as we were. She was a Chi Omega. And we never knew her.

Baylor is big – 12,000 undergrads (I think…and I’m really too lazy to look it up…shame on me, I used to actually recruit for Mecca on the Brazos, I should know those facts like my own children’s birthdays…) but seriously, I thought I knew every Chi Omega there. Or at least the ones who were my age. I mean, I did work for Flash. I had to have taken her picture, the odds are just too high.

Even discounting that, though, wouldn’t you think that someone who has gone on to be a part of a hit TV show would have somehow crossed my radar during the 4 years I went to school and 2 years I worked there? Apparently not.

Speaking of working there, have I ever told you about recruiting at Baylor? There are definitely some peculiarities involved in being employed by the largest Baptist university IN THE WORLD (hey, now there’s a fact I remember! They really like that one). Another day, perhaps.

But not today. Because today is the day that I cannot believe that I don’t know Angela Kinsey.

So close, and yet so far…

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

September 3, 2007 at 10:34 pm

Posted in acting, funny, life

mother of the year

with 8 comments

This afternoon, while driving one of my many laps around this town – school, husband to work, my work, school, orthodontist, back to school, work, lunch, back to school again, orthodontist again, grocery store, back to school once more time, home for a snack, dance, pick up husband from work, pick up from dance – I was talking to my oldest son about playing football in a local league this fall. Of course, the deadline for signing up for this league has passed, but we’re still in discussions about whether or not we’re going to play, because that’s the pace we move in at the Jones’ house. Late.

There is a dilemma involved: he only wants to play if he can play with his friends. Unfortunately, all friends involved happen to be just older enough that he doesn’t fit the age bracket for their team. It doesn’t matter that’s he’s taller than most of them, apparently.

Ok, really I understand the reasons for rules like these, and I generally can’t stand people who try to get around these things in organized activities, like the whole world revolves around them and their kid getting on the team they want. Grow up.

Except that it’s my kid and this is getting in the way of what would be convenient for me, so now we’re those people. The ones trying to get around the rules.

So all this sports talk reminded my younger son of his lifelong desire to play soccer. I want to be a soccer player, he said at his kindergarten graduation, while all the other kids were talking about being policemen and firemen and paleontologists (yes, really. Paleontologist is a very popular career choice for kindergarteners these days). There were a couple of would be basketball players or future NFL stars, but he was the only soccer player. We’ve been telling him all summer that he’ll get to play this fall.

So he says, what about soccer, mom? and I just pick up my cell phone and call the little office to sign up. I’ll just take care of this right now.

So I speak with the nice lady who proceeds to tell me that not only have I missed the sign up deadline by about 3 weeks, the teams actually start practice this very night. And, all the teams are full. There will be no paying the late fee, no apologizing to the coach for missing the first practice, no soccer this fall.

Half the time, I have to say, I think it’s unbelievably stupid for us as parents to spend the kind of time and money that we do on activities like this. Think of all the good that could be done with that money, or all the meals that wouldn’t get missed because of practices, or all the stress I could miss out on because I wouldn’t have to make sure I got to wherever at whatever time with all the correct gear and people in a reasonably sane state. Not to mention that I wouldn’t have to come face to face with all my insecurities about how my child will perform in front of other people.

The other half of the time I think that I spout all that so that I won’t feel so bad about not winning the big award – you know, the one that I keep finding myself trying to win as a mother.

Oh well, it probably wouldn’t look that good in my house, anyway, and who knows what I would even wear to accept it. Better to grab a seat in the back row with Millie (let’s face it, Alison wouldn’t even go) and throw spitballs at the winner.

That’s what I could do with all those school forms I haven’t filled out yet…

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

August 23, 2007 at 11:53 pm

Posted in family, life


with 7 comments

He looked over at me in the gathering dusk, and said, “You know, I used to have a crush on you.”

Excuse me – used to?

I should have known then that he was going to be trouble.

He was my mother’s worst fear about me attending an out of state college: a tall, cute Texas boy. What if I never came back?

But if you know him, you know that of course he brought me back. Like always, like I know he always will. He brings me back.

He knew he wanted to marry me after we laid on the floor at my parent’s home one Christmas, long after everyone else went to bed. We looked at the Christmas lights and dreamed their colors out into the possibilities of a life, home, adventure, kids. That night, he says, I knew. A month later we were engaged.

He asked me to marry him in the front seat of his pickup truck – because I wouldn’t get out and take a walk, it was cold – and I screamed yes and honestly, I was just trying to hug him, I didn’t mean to nearly break his nose. With my elbow.

He should have known I was trouble then.

Right before we were married, he gave me a necklace, based on the words to a song:

If I had a spell of magic

I would make this enchantment for you

A burgundy heart shaped medallion

With a window that you could look through

So that when all the mirrors are angry

With your faults, and all you must do

You could peek through that heart shaped medallion

And see you from my point of view.

Fourteen years later, his point of view is still the way I most like to see myself.

Happy anniversary sweetheart – our adolescent aged marriage can get it’s learner’s permit now. Where shall we go next?

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

August 15, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Posted in bryan