Saturday, October 31, 2009

Clown Make-Up and Joy

Of course there was an award. The best costume of the day would win a $25.00 gift certificate.

I dress up for fun. I find the entire process enjoyable; conception to culmination, there is delight in being in-character. I'm satisfied to push a little on my personal envelope, even as I step out a little beyond my box. I know the outfit rocks. The customers love it as well. Some say they need the laugh, others just stop in their tracks.

I was delighting in the experience, finding joy in the process, until somebody said to me, "You will probably get the award." Suddenly, my focus changed to the award. For some brief moments, it became about getting the prize. When that happened, I felt joy leave, and a heaviness ensue. Now it was all about the competition and the prize. Furthermore, now it was up to others to vote me "Best Costume." The end result of the process wasn't up to me.

This end of joy can come to us just as quickly in the midst of everyday living. One moment we are finding joy in the presence of God, in the fellowship of friends, laughter, wind and Sun. Moments later, perhaps unawares, our focus changes direction, and joy is lost.

I need a new job, that shiny car, the new girls' attention, the 47-inch screen television. These become the goal. My joy is now up to somebody else, and a positive end means getting that goal met.

Joy is found in those things I can change. Joy is found in the process. Joy is found in the present. Joy is satisfied in the future. Ultimately, joy is its own reward.

"...Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sydney Meets the Kat

This time, the body was far better than the voice; and the voice had already caused him some lack of sleep. Not much information in last nights’ telephone call, a vague description and the name of a coffee bar.

Walking across the hard wood floor, his brain was still processing. Golden blonde hair cut shoulder length, blue skirt slit past the knee exposing thigh, followed by shapely legs. “Hello,” he said extending his hand, “Sydney at your service.”
Rising, she stood up to meet him. “Kat with a K. Please be seated.”

Sitting down, he was aware that the rich smell of coffee; chocolate, earthy, nutty, had receded. He was intensely aware of her perfume. Light and sweet, floating gently, hiding itself from full revelation to the senses, like the woman who sat across from him.

“You said you had some crucial information for me,” said Sydney.

“We have Veronica.”

“Damn,” thought Sydney. “Why doesn’t anyone ever kidnap Roscoe? Please explain.”

“As we speak, she is my prisoner. Foolish girl can’t bypass a pass and a drink. She lives still, bound and drugged…”As Sydney drew a breath to speak, Kat (with a K) said, “This time, against her volition.”

“Do you know how much I hate conversations with quotation marks? What do you want?” As he asked the question, he reached for the shortbread. In doing so, his hand met hers, sending electric shock up his arm, while at the same time igniting his brain at the hint of how soft and smooth she was.

Kat stared directly into his eyes. “We need you and Roscoe out of the picture for three days, beginning in two days. Then, when you return, perhaps we can meet for more than coffee.”

He’d wanted to say that Hades could freeze over before he’d enjoy her company, but Kat had got his tongue (and a few other parts) and what he said was, “That would be delightful.” Like espresso acid on a baristas’ hands, she’d already begun to seep into his soul.

Meanwhile, in a warehouse not far away….
She wasn’t sure which was worse, the dryness of her mouth when she was aching with thirst, or the spit that dripped down her neck after they’d poured the water down her throat. She made a mental note to herself not to drink with strangers. The hard, cold cement grew harder and more uncomfortable with each moment. She could not find a comfortable position. Warmth was just out of reach, and cold was ready to completely envelope her.
To be continued…..

Friday, October 16, 2009

Now That Was A Dumb PR Move

This week, Las Vegas is hosting Blog World and Media Expo, in which tons of bloggers and Tweeters will descend upon the city. In this case: What happens in Vegas....gets blogged and tweeted to the rest of the world.

Picture this: A large group of Mommy Bloggers make reservations at a hotel (I believe it was the Renaissance). These bloggers have an incredible network, a coffee klatch online. These are women who are used to networking, whether sharing recipes, raising children, increasing breast-cancer awareness---this is one well networked, large group of bloggers.

Hotels, apparently, like airlines, overbook. Which they did, and in this case told the bloggers-"No room at the inn." Thus alienating all those moms. Moms that won't be checking into any of the Renaissance Hotels the next time they take a family vacation.

Rows and Rows of Lockers

I’m not naked. On one side, a cement ramp rises at a fairly steep slant, the ramp is bordered by a handrail, a thick tube of solid steel. On the other side, rows and rows of lockers. Lockers of the type you see in high schools, or, movies about high schools. The wall of lockers extends, seemingly, forever in both directions. I race along the cement path, seeking to find my locker. I can’t find it. Or I do, and I’ve forgotten the combination. Why race to find my locker? I forgot about a test. A test I must take. To take the test though, I need to get something out of my locker.

I’m not naked, as I said before. Nakedness, the stereotype of bad dreams, would be a slight embarrassment, a minor inconvenience compared to the terror and angst this nightmare produces. I’ve had this particular nightmare, in various forms and in various degrees, going far back as the ramp and rows extend. If life puts me under significant stress, I expect the dream.

I’ve not had it yet this month though. I expect it in the midst of financial fear, a result of not selling a large piece of real estate, coupled with a bad economy, and a job that pays too little. It’s mom’s birthday month too, and I can’t pick up the phone and call her. Can’t call my sister either, she’s not talking to me. So, I expect the dream. Haven’t had it in a while though.

More concrete than the ramp that ascends along the row of lockers is my faith. A faith that’s grown in these last years, through divorce, and child-rearing, and friendships, and richness of life. Walking this path, I’m learning to “cast my anxieties on Him,” because He cares for me. I know that He whom allows the tests, gives me grace to come through the tests. If the dream comes, I shake it off, and press on.

Picture of Lego art by Nathan Sawaya, at Turtle Bay