A Story About A Girl: A Random Sunday Memories Event

Grab your popcorn! Get comfy on the sofa!

Just kidding, it’s not that exciting. ;)

I haven’t been blogging my Sunday Memories this year, mainly because the prompts focused on some specific parts of our family which I felt were best kept separate from the great big interwebs. Being my birthday last Sunday, however, the prompt was to write about, well, myself, which I found incredibly difficult. Here’s what I came up with.

There’s an awkward moment when folks find out that I’m trying to write a novel. They ask, “What’s it about?” What’s it about, indeed! Experienced writers encourage amateurs like me to come up with a one or two sentence summary of our plot and memorize it so we’re prepared to answer this question. Of course, breaking a story down into one or two sentences is no easy task. So far, this is what I have:

It’s a story about a girl…

Pretty lame, eh? I’m just not sure how to summarize what’s happening in my story. I don’t know which morsels to reveal to try and interest people; I don’t know which secrets to hide so I don’t give everything away. All I know to say is that it’s a story about a girl.

I feel a very similar awkwardness when people ask me about myself. I could tell you a lot of things about myself, and it would never tell you who I am or what I am passionate about. So far, the only thing I know to say about my life is that “it’s a story about a girl,” and I’m that girl.

But there is one word that describes me well, I think: Longing. I am longing. I am always longing for something: Christmas, music, time to write, to speak with someone, to walk around the island, to finish a novel, to travel, to study, to read more books. I am constantly longing.

I think it comes across as unhappiness, sometimes. It’s not. It’s just a recognition within myself that I am not finished yet. A.W. Tozer talks about Christianity, and this strange phenomenon we see, where our expectation is that we make a decision to follow Christ, and suddenly everything in life falls into place. We are happy, we have clear direction, we have impeccable morals, we are faithful to our churches and to each other, we stop sinning, we stop even wanting to sin, we stop looking for fulfillment in other areas of our lives.

The truth is, it is right for a Christian to long for Christ. It is right that we should desire His presence in Eternity. It is right that we should feel a bit unsatisfied with this world.While He is the Giver of “every good and perfect gift,” that He blesses us with mercies that are “new every morning,” we also stand in an awkward awareness that no blessing on this earth can compare to the fullness and joy of being united with Christ. Our hope is not merely for an easy go of this life, but of the life eternal—which is what we were destined for.

I’ve heard it said also (by C.S. Lewis, I believe) that “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”We think that this life is what it’s all about, but it’s really just the pre-game event. What we are created for, what we are being refined for, is to dwell in the presence of God Almighty for eternity—to live in rightness, to live in wholeness, to live in worship, to live in communion with Christ and with His Body.

It is right that we should long for that.

It is right that we should long for those things that make us more into His likeness.

It is right that we should feel a bit unfulfilled and unsatisfied in this world—it is that grace that keeps us seeking hard after Christ, reminding us how small our brains are, how little we actually know Him. He is, after all, beyond our comprehension. Or, as the Proverb says (chapter 25, verse 2),

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”

So that’s me. That’s Sarah. It’s a story about a girl. Longing.

Forget About It

Forget it. Just forget it.

We forget so many important things. We forget the name of the person we just met. We forget where we left our keys. We forget what day the rent comes out of our checking account. We forget whether we’ve had a tetanus booster recently (though I always seem to remember having it more recently than I actually have). We forget birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions. We forget to write letters. We forget to put a check in the mail. We forget to pull our clothes out of the dryer, and then they get all wrinkled. We forget (admit it, you’ve done it) to brush our teeth before bed. We forget to put on deodorant. We forget to pray before meals. We forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. We forget our cell phone numbers. We forget to reply to that text we received when we were at work. We forget whether Kathryn Russell was our fourth or fifth grade teacher. We forget the exact wording of our favorite passage of scripture. We forget which Wesley was the hymnist. We forget how to drive in the snow. We forget to return library books. We forget to check the air in our tires. We forget, we forget, we forget.

We forget so many things. And yet, when it comes to the things we need to forget (more for our own sakes than anyone else’s), we can’t do it. We can’t forget the harsh word someone spoke to us forty years ago. We can’t forget how hard it was to grow up without one of our parents. We can’t forget the time someone stole from us–money, purity, time. We can’t forget the person who cuts us off in traffic or in line at W@lmart. We can’t forget that one time we lent money to someone and they never paid us back. We can’t forget when someone snaps at us, argues with us, or makes us feel insecure.

This is on my mind today because I am remembering a person and a situation that I honestly thought I’d let go of. So tonight, my prayer is that Christ would continue to recreate me into His likeness and character, that He would teach me to forgive, that He would teach me to forget.

Pax Christi.

My Heart?

Where’s my heart?

I don’t know. I honestly don’t know, folks. I feel so beaten down right now. Every time I think I am getting past the crap, a new wave of crap hits. I am tired. I am discouraged. But since I can make no sense of these battles individually (and it would be both inappropriate and inexcusable to discuss them in this public forum), I thought perhaps the best way to confess to them tonight would be to give you a list of words.You don’t have to understand what is going on with each of them as it pertains to my life (and you won’t…you’ll try, but you won’t). I simply ask you to pray. If you read this, pray. Ask God to meet me in these battles and speak truth and hope to my soul.

cake & family

adoption & abortion

strings & compassion

ishmael & elsie

piper & camels

dew & rhyme

lump & pain

honesty, honesty, honesty



and insignificance

Adam Lay Ybounden

Have you heard this song? Oh…my goodness. Listen to it before you read my post. Please.

Our Fearless Leader sprang this song on us at choir rehearsal last night. I regret to tell you that the experience sent me into a fit of laughter. I thought I would never make it through the song. How embarrassing! It’s also distracting, I know. The last thing the choir needs is someone who can’t stay focused when we’re learning a new piece. But seriously–this piece is ridiculous. Maybe it was just a crazy end to a crazy Monday (after all, I did field several insane phone calls at work yesterday [seriously, I’m going to start keeping tabs to see which question gets the most phone calls–the cheese or the sinus infection]). I digress. I felt terrible, but the song just struck me with the ridiculous stick, and I feel my only recompense is to list the ridiculousness here on my blog. These are the things that kept me in stitches.

  • Ybounden is a ridiculous word. Seriously. Ybounden? Okay. 15th century English, I get it. Still. Ridiculous.
  • Adam lay ybounden, bounden in a bond. Really? Bounden in a bond? Is that how one is bound–with a bond? Brilliant!
  • Four thousand winter thought he not too long. What? That doesn’t even make sense to me. And of course, as our Resident Linguist explained, it makes perfect sense because it’s a reference to the span of time between the Fall in Genesis and the Crucifixion. Okay, but…it doesn’t make sense to my speaking (and singing) parts. At all.
  • As clerkes finden written in their-e book.I know the “e” belongs to “their,” but I have to tell you, my first thought was: “It was written in an e-book?!”
  • Pulsing Light. Fearless Leader said the drone of this piece should feel like a pulsing light. I won’t tell you what Liesl said it sounded like; as for me, I thought it felt like a death march.
  • F. F. F. F. E. D.; D. D. C. C. C.; F. F. F. E. D.; D. D. C. C. E.; etc ad nauseum.  Wow. I love being an alto, but I do grow weary of the F’s and E’s. There are a whole lot of them in an alto line.

All of this being stated, I have to confess to you that the most difficult pieces are those I end up falling in love with. I already love it more than I did last night. This song is not at all ill-written; quite the contrary, it is an astounding piece. Its difficulty is what will leave the audience with goosebumps, if we do it well. I hope we will do it justice! Skempton’s work is impeccable.

I must close, but I need to add that, upon further reflection, I think the death march feeling is effective. We are, after all (I think) talking about the Fall of Man, the Curse, Death. The unsettling nature of the piece (lyrically and musically) suddenly makes sense to me in light of the beautiful resolution (again, lyrically and musically): Deo gratias!

It’s quite theological (aside from the e-book, of course).

Yes, folks…I may just learn to like this one.

Deo gratias!

How to Peel Potatoes

How to Peel Potatoes

AKA: Where’s My Heart? Sunday, September 23, 2012.

Where is my heart today, folks? My heart is a million places.

  • My heart is in Florida. She is struggling with not being able to wrap her arms around her cousin and mourn with her. Much of the family will gather next summer to memorialize my dear Uncle Wayne, and I know it will be much-needed closure. Still, my heart wishes I were with Cindy.
  • My heart is in the yard. There is much to do before the weather gets much cooler.
  • My heart is with my family. There is so much turmoil right now. Or maybe I perceive it as turmoil. I don’t know. All I know is, I see such a need for Christ, more and more, in all our lives. We mistakenly think that once we enter into a relationship with Him, once we know His grace and mercy in our lives, we stop needing Him. Our brains know that we still need Him, but we act as if we don’t. We act as if we are okay when many times we are falling apart. The good news is, if we are honest about our fears and our struggles and the storms that are raging, then Christ is faithful and will speak those words we cling to: Peace, be still. We need some of that, all over again.
  • My heart is in my home. I made potato soup today, which turned out remarkably well (I thought). I tried to keep it close to my mom’s recipe when we were kids, but I had to change one or two things. Still, I think it honored her recipe. But I can’t tell you what secret ingredient I used… :D
  • My heart is in words. I am incredibly behind in my writing. I have letters swirling about in my head, trying to find words, and I’ve neglected them. If you’re one of the letter-recipients, I apologize. I’ll get there. Soon. I promise.
  • My heart is at Choir rehearsal. I know it’s not until tomorrow night. I know I’m a dork. I just…love singing with the Choir. So much. Floyd is an incredible director, and the music we’re doing is both beautiful and challenging.  I’ve already had several moments of feeling like the new music is going to be the end of me–which is a good sign. Those are the best pieces (Zadok proved that: ha…ah…ah…ah…ah…AGH!).
  • My heart is lonely. It’s hard to explain. I won’t try.
  • My heart is enraptured by the love of my uncles. I am so excited for my Hobbit-date with Uncle Bub! Could a girl be any luckier?
  • My heart is in a Healer’s cabin, learning to peel potatoes with a young girl from New Praet. She needs more time, and I am rethinking whether the Old Wick knows she is there. He’s a Prophet, so you’d think he would, right…?
  • My heart is wondering how a Prophet feels and behaves when his prophecies fall empty. How does he redeem his prophetic voice? Does he question himself? His god? My heart is stuck there. Peeling potatoes.
  • My heart is bedding down for the cool season. I’m ready to read some books, bake some cookies, stitch some journals, and enjoy the quiet.
  • My heart is with Bilbo. Riddles in the dark.

What about you, folks? Where is your heart?

Two Questions

I had two questions for my Uncle Wayne that were birthed out of the Family History vacation in April. They came spilling out of odd mentions from Uncles John and Dave, and left me with furrowed brow. My intent was to ask Uncle Wayne.

First, there was mention of Bub being sickly as a child (Bub is Uncle Dave) and needing a blood transfusion. As Uncle John spoke of it, it became Bub’s safety net in many situations. Grandma always sort of protected him, told the older boys not to pick on Dave because he had almost died. Of course, it was so long ago, and they were all children, so Mom, Dave, and John don’t really seem to remember why Dave was sick or what sickness ailed him. This was my first question for Uncle Wayne. Being a few years older than the others, he may have recalled more details about Bub’s near-death experience as a child.

Second, there is a wild legend of Uncle Wayne in his high school football days. Nobody quite recalled those particulars, either, except that Grandpa was so proud of him and would always talk about Uncle Wayne’s infamous touchdown. To hear him tell it, I’ve heard, was a great experience.

These were my two questions for Uncle Wayne–what was David sick with, and what happened at that football game. The first question still has no answer. The second, however, sparked a memory with Uncle Wayne. I offer it here, transcribed from a letter dated August 6th of this year, in Wayne Schmitzer’s own words:

Now about my football career at Frankenmuth High. I started at Frankenmuth at the beginning of my Jr year. Frankenmuth went 4 years without a defeat. We were a class C school, but we played against class B. I would guess the reason we did so well was that we were a farming community. We didn’t have any real big players but they were strong from working on the farms. Now about the play I made. It was during Father’s Day at the game. Mom & Dad were there. Well coach I guess knew this. I normally played defense. But coach put me in the offense to run the ball. Well I made it into the end zone and did a front flip. Dad teased me about that for years. I could still do front flips till I was almost 50. I      have one record at Frankenmuth. Nobody ever scored against me while I was on defense. They may tie it, but never break it.

I can’t even imagine my Uncle Wayne doing a front flip. And believe me, I’ve tried very hard. Still, I imagine he is feeling young and wonderful now that he is home in Heaven. I imagine he’s already done a couple of flips.

Saying Goodbye

Goodbye is so difficult.

Even when we know that death is not final, when we know that Eternity will find us in joyous fellowship with loved ones, even when we know that life will somehow stumble upon us day after day until we have learned how to adjust to the loss…

Goodbye is so difficult.

My Uncle Wayne has gone home today to be with our Lord.

I have grown to love my uncles so fiercely. Without a strong relationship with my own father, their love and acceptance has become pivotal in my life, in shaping my identity (yes, even in my thirties). But Uncle Wayne has always been, to me, this image of a man I could never know. He was so far away (Florida). And I’ll tell you–as children, Florida may as well have been as far away as Pluto. I always wanted to know him. This last year, and especially since my Family History trip to Frankenmuth last April, I have written back and forth a few times with Uncle Wayne and his daughter, my beautiful cousin, Cindy.

I remember reading my first letter from Uncle Wayne. I thought–this man probably didn’t even know who I was. But oh, he did! And he did not withhold one ounce of affection. He wrote as if I’d been his favorite niece since that day I was born thirty-some years ago. He told stories of himself, his brothers, his children, even about his parents. And at the end, he wrote something remarkable: a blessing.

I am not too proud to tell you that it is I who owed him a letter, not the other way around. And I am not too proud to tell you that, although I don’t have enough postage for mail delivery in Heaven, I will probably still write to him. At least once more.

Pray for my family this week, friends. Pray for our peace in his absence. Goodbye is just so difficult.

Maybe I’ll say goodbye tomorrow. Tonight, I am heartsick.