Wednesday, March 16, 2005

what are the odds?

It was like a surprise party where the guest of honor didn't show up. You're rather "bummed out" ... but then you realize ... hey! there's punch and games ... LET'S PARTY!!!

So when I went to our nation's capital this weekend to surprise my friend Rebekah with a visit, I was disheartened that I could never get in touch with her. But, hey ... I was in Washington, D.C. ... Congress was in session ... Judy Garland's ruby slippers were on display ... and Borders Books and Music was calling my name.

I've travelled to many places and rested in the shadow of buildings thousands of years old. But I've never felt such awe as I did at the mere sight of the buildings housing our nation's government much less the monuments dedicated to men and women who sacrificed to mold our nation into what it is today.

Now I understand the significance of those twelve stones piled next to the Jordan River. For generations Israelites would pass that location of divine intervention and their spines would tingle. They envisioned their forefathers climbing down the banks of the river. Casting a glance at that covered piece of sacred funriture that housed God's 10 commandments for mankind, they crossed on dry land to their promised homeland. Years later their children's grandchildren would pass by the sight and reverently touch the stones piled to commemorate the event. Tears would involuntarily spring to their eyes as they thought back to that great moment in their history. Their hearts would swell in silent thanks to God for His grace and mercy shown on this chosen people. Well, that's how I felt anyway when I saw each monument that commemorated historic events in our own nation's history, knowing that God's hand was guiding each moment.

Each morning I rode the Metro into town. That's an adventure in itself ... oh, it was wonderfully safe ... but with the number of people who travel on public transportation you just know something fascinating is bound to happen. For instance, I swear that Jason Bourne boarded my Subway car, sat down across from me, and began reading Victor Hugo. Before I finished writing down the siting in my notebook, I looked up and he was gone. It probably wasn't even Victor Hugo but some sort of 300 page Top-Secret document. But that wasn't what was the most exciting part about my Metro travels.

One morning I was sitting there contemplating the odds of someone walking onto the subway at any random stop and seeing someone they know. I entertained these thoughts because I actually saw it happen ... four times. But never did I dream that it would happen to me.

As I sat there lost in my thoughts ... I heard a voice from the seat just to my right.

"Excuse me, did you go to college in Pensacola?"

No way!

I slowly looked up to see who had spoken to me. The couple sitting there looked like the typical middle aged tourists--fanny packs and all.

"Weren't you in some of their plays. You played a Spider ... and weren't you a Frost Princess or something of the sort?"

"Snow Queen, actually." They both seemed vaguely familiar.

"yes, you helped our son, Jamey, campaign for Student Body president."

GASP! it WAS them! Dr. Charlie Brown and his wife, the most wonderful Bible professor Pensacola Christian College ever had, and parents of my good chum and fellow cast member Jamey Brown. ha ha, Memories flooded back to those good times on and off stage. Jamey and I often joked about our being sucked into the blackhole of being typecast. He was inevitably cast as the old man, and I was destined for roles requiring an elegant seductress (perhaps too strong of a title). Ah, Jamey was one-of-a-kind ... I had a general dislike for the typical Speech majors at PCC -- they were too loud, obnoxious, and would strut around campus speaking to each other in fake British accents. But not Jamey ... he was real.

Oh, and girls ... I've been informed that he still does not have a steady girlfriend ... I'm not certain what the reasons are. I've personally witnessed many girls propose to him on the spot after sampling his abilities as a baker ... I fear he just never took them seriously. If you're interested in a mature, fun-loving Christian young man ... you can't go wrong with Jamey. Plus, his chocolate cupcakes are to DIE for, which almost happened one night backstage as two girls fought over who got the last of Jamey's cupcakes. Oh, and don't let his attending PCC scare you off ... he's just about as normal as anyone else you know ... his sister wears PANTS!

His dad, Charlie Brown (as he was affectionately called) is currently the Vice President of a small Bible College in Florida. Last year he was dismissed from PCC after a witch hunt of sorts. He, along with a few of PCC's more brilliant Bible professors, was asked not to come back after President Horton received a letter from a former student. The student praised specific members of the Bible faculty for helping to strengthen his reformed beliefs. Consequently, these professors were questioned and asked not to return the following school year.

I had sat under the teaching of most of these men of God. Not once did any of them pressure their students to believe one way or another. When it came to the controversial topics in theology they encouraged students to search the Scriptures for themselves. It was their mission for their students to make their faith their own, not their parents', not their pastors', not their Bible teachers'. When asked, they would share Scripture passages and suggest books written on the topic from differnet points of view. I'm not even sure Dr. Brown was actually Calvinist. In a way I found the whole fiasco sadly humorous. Articles, sermons, and even SONGS were written to discredit Calvinism.

As a believer in God's hand of providence ... I can't help but wonder at the "chance" meeting. Well, anyway, besides riding the METRO, I took a trolley tour, visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and went shopping. Ah, H&M my favorite Swedish European clothing store. I wasn't able to visit everything I wanted to. I suppose I'll have to leave the Museum of American Jewish Military History for another visit. Really ... I saw a sign for it ... it left me quite curious ...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

in the dark with a guy

After a particularly horrid week, I decided to treat myself to a seminar on the history of churches here in Savannah. Now who of the people I know wouldn't mind being schlepped along to a boring history presentation? Hmm, Forrest lives only a few blocks from Independent Presbyterian Church, where the seminar was to be held ...

Oh drat! It's already 7 and the doors are closed.

Forrest and I walked up the church steps and tugged on the massive front doors.


What about the two side front doors?


Forrest: "Do you know where it's supposed to be?"

Me: "I thought there would at least be a sign."

We walked around to the side of the building. The lights were on, surely there were people inside.

The side door ... locked.

The basement door ... locked.

What about that one down there? Dare I try? ... the others had been locked.

Gasp! The door actually opened.

We walked up the dark staircase, searched the deserted hallways for signs of life, and finally stopped and pressed our ears against the back door of the sanctuary.

Forrest: "Are they speaking english?"

Me: "I don't think so."

We peaked through the half-closed blinds. The room was filled to capacity with a total of three individuals tuning the newly installed organ.

Sheepishly, we slunk back through the dark corridors to find our way back outside. Boy, did I feel ridiculous! My first time visiting IPC and I was sneaking around in the dark with a guy!

Well, the night wasn't a complete waste of time. I was at least able to organize my box of pictures. While Forrest looked through them, we exchanged tales of our travels. We both agreed that should I move to Rome, I ought to get a Vespa moped so that I can maneuver through the suicidal traffic on my way to meet with my next 'English as a foreign language" student.

Speaking of the English language, together we came up with two sayings that ought to help native English speakers express themselves better. Both involve coming up with an excuse for not doing something.

The first one was: "I'm sorry. I can't do that. That's something Catholics do."

Ha, Ha. You're shocked aren't you? Probably not as shocked as I was when I first heard it. That phrase actually came about thanks to my mother.

When I was a little girl, I asked my mother once or twice, as we stood in line at the grocery store, if we could get a jar of marshmallow cream. All the kids at school were talking about how wonderful it tasted. Couldn't we try it? I don't remember asking again after the first two negative responses, but everytime we stood in line ... there it was ... mocking me as it sat snuggled up against the Wonder Bread.

Reminissing on old times with my mother recently, I jokingly commented how she had a knack for bursting my bubble ... I would see some shiny new gizzmo and wished to purchase it with my allowance.

"Oh, honey, you don't really want that. What would you do with it?"

With that, my mother had successfully channelled my logical side and changed my mind. So instead I just bought grape flavored bubble gum. (Hey, if you saved two wrappers and sent in a dollar bill you could adopt a humpback whale. My whale was named "Salt and Pepper.")

The recent conversation turned toward the marshmallow cream.

"I should have just told you that we don't eat marshmallow cream because Catholics do."


"Well, when I was little it seemed as if everything we couldn't do was because Catholics did it. We couldn't drink alcohol and we couldn't dance ... But as for the marshmallow cream ... well, I just didn't know what you would do with it."

The second saying is a direct translation from the Japanese: "I have something." Pure and simple. I have somthing. "Do you want to go see that movie with us this weekend?"

Sorry, I have something.

"Would you like grits with your breakfast?"

No, thank you. I have something.

It's so versatile. It could mean you have plans, or you have an allergy ... or it could mean you hate that movie, or that grits disgust you. But it remains polite all the same. Sure you may get some odd looks, "What?"

Hmm? What do you mean, What?

And then quickly change the subject. They'll figure it out.