so, we really do need each other.

I wrote this for PSM’s blog a while back, stumbled across it here recently, and gleaned a lot from former words.

In 1992, a young man named Christopher McCandless started out on an escapade to “find himself.” He grew up in a privileged home and had every opportunity at his feet. Shortly after graduating from Emory University, he took his $26,000 check, donated it to charity, cut up his social security card and license, and headed west. After two years of hitchhiking, hanging out with strangers and moving from state to state, Chris decided to go on an Alaskan adventure “into the wild.” He felt determined not only figure out how to survive in the wilderness, but to do it by himself. People would only hinder his experience.

Upon arriving in Alaska, he found a stranded bus to camp in and tried to feed his appetite from the animals and plants around him. In the movie, Hollywood depicts Chris as arriving with complete awe and almost a sense of purpose; he is finally alone. After several weeks of attempting to survive solo, Chris reached a point where he realized that the happiness he was experiencing was only worthwhile if it was shared with other people. The drama unfolded as he packed his bags, headed back towards civilization, and was suddenly trapped by a river that was once only a stream. The weather had warmed since he last passed it, and there was no way to go across it. His only options were drowning or surviving alone in the abandoned bus, waiting for someone’s arrival.

The tragedy of it all was not Chris’s death that followed only weeks later; it was that he died alone. He had abandoned everyone he knew, everyone that loved him and wanted to help him. He ran scared from community and wanted to prove to himself that he didn’t need people. The movie depicts him writing some last words in one of his favorite books, “Happiness is only worthwhile shared.” He discovered for his need for people, but it was too late. Right before he died, he wrote on a piece of paper, “I have lived a long and happy life. God bless you all.”

Chris refused to be real with anyone, admitted no one, and isolated himself—it ultimately lead to his death. During the Holocaust, Hitler conducted terrible experiments on infants—giving them just enough food and milk to survive, but no nurture or coddling. If the baby cried, they would manage. Every infant died. Not because of physical needs, but because they had been abandoned.

The crazy reality is that no matter how much we try to deny it, we need people. We were created to live in community with each other. Without people, we can never survive, at least not the way God intended. Authenticity is challenging, gut wrenching, and even painful at times. For some reason unbeknownst to me, it does not come naturally. There have been many times in my life where I would much rather choose to be fake, ignore those that want what is best, and run towards those that will just let me be alone. Yet this is not what God intended, either.

Chris ran from home and towards those that would only offer the “wisdom” he wanted to hear. Funny… in my study of Saul, Jonathan, and David, I saw Saul run away from everyone and Jonathan run towards David. David was worthy of being trusted, Saul was not. Without help of those around him, Saul became a madman and ultimately strayed from his very purpose. Jonathan clung tight to his friend David, who ultimately became King and was one that truly pursued the heart of God.

Who do we run from? Are we dying to get out and away from everyone that knows us, loves us, and wants what is best? We desperately need the love of those around us. My prayer is that we would know Him—and in that, we would let others love us.

YOSEMITE

Today I got to experience the beauty that is otherwise known as Yosemite National Park. Really, there are no words–or even pictures–to justify the sites, smells, sounds, etc. All senses are covered. However, here is one picture in a mere attempt to capture just a little bit of how breathtakingly beautiful this place is… it was one of those “holy-crap-is-this-a-real-place-or-am-I-looking-at-a-painting?” moments. Growing up in Indiana, I have to say, I am not used to those.

May I also add, everything is better when this guy is around….

enshallah.

My roommate and long-time best friend, Erin, is my many-language-speaking buddy. She has taught me a lot in this short lifetime… one of which being many different sayings in Arabic, Portuguese, and Spanish. Recently, after overhearing her say “Enshallah” several times to herself, I learned that “Enshallah” means “Lord-willing” in Arabic. So, Lord-willing, I have a lot coming to me… and I am in no way ready for it, but not worried in the least (which is where that Enshallah part comes in).

I’ve never really been a person for “countdown calendars,” but with so many events/major life changes approaching, I felt it would be appropriate.

14 days: Trip to Fresno, CA to see my future in-laws!
48 days: Leaving Indy and moving back to Cincinnati, OH until otherwise indicated…
92 days: Taking a trip to the famous cabin in the boondocks of Indiana to spend time with my long lost friends
144 days: Becoming Mrs. Anne Marie Wilson… if you can think of a good jingle to go with my new name (to give it a little spice), that’d be sweet.
165 days: COLLEGE GRADUATION

Enshallah from here on out.

show choir = cool…what?

I’m thinking of a scenario… surely you’ve had one like this before. You meet someone new, instantly recognize them, but have no idea how or why you know them. Tonight, this happened to me as I was amongst a few new friends that I met several weeks ago. It’s sort of an awkward scenario because you don’t want to be the first person to say, “I know you from somewhere,” in case you really don’t… which would then make you look like a total creeper. Although I knew I had no reason to recognize them, their faces seemed so familiar. During continual conversation, we all realized simultaneously why we recognized each other… we were in show choir at different high schools in Indianapolis.

Embarrassing.

They were not embarrassed, but I was. For the past four years or so, I have been in cities that have absolutely no appreciation for show choir… Cincinnati, OH and Winston-Salem, NC. To them, show choir is for the outcasts and weirdos–and although I was probably both of those things, I was under the delusion in high school that show choir was amazingly cool.

Except… now that I think about how “intense” I thought it was… I get all the more embarrassed. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself.

It brought me down memory lane for a few moments as they asked what competitions I went to, what “shows” I was in, which “row” I claimed, etc. We all laughed and made fun of how strange the “Show Choir World” is, one in which boundaries are foreign and being with the same group of people day and night is completely healthy and normal.

All that to say, I do have show choir to thank for my abilities to dance horribly on command or be in front of people without stagefright. And one day, if I ever have a little girl that says, “Mommy, I want to be in Show Choir,” I will reply with, “Honey, let’s try ballet instead.”

new beginnings.

Alrighty–time for a “new beginning” update. I’ve had quite a few changes in the past week, so I’ll do this thing secretary style and give them a little order.

#1. My computer has been revived. Thanks to having Mark Durham in my life, aka Pater Familia, I can blow up my computer and then have him put it back together. This is not the first time this has happened… last time, laundry detergent was coming out the backend of my MacBook. Yes–I am that good.

#2. I’m a resident of Broadway. Really, it’s fate. Our bathroom still does not have a sink, I’m brushing my teeth in an unfinished kitchen, and my bed has wheels. Did I mention that I live with two of my favorite people in the world, walk next door to have a wardrobe change, and sit on the front porch in the mornings in preparation for the day? Because of all of those things… I love my life.

#3. I’m on staff at Chapel Rock Christian Church. I had my first “official” day today–you know you’re official when you have a nametag and a list of phone extensions for everyone else in the office. I was greeted with a vase full of flowers and an office with a window (very important). Love it so far and I’m anticipating the things to come.

#4. One of my best friends is a no longer a “Miss.” Her wedding was stinkin’ beautiful for all the right reasons… and I even made it through without balling my eyes out, which is a huge step for me. Although my feet had quite a few blisters, beauty is pain. Their ceremony was intimate and just plain lovely. :)

#5. I’m an early riser. I don’t know what it is–the sunlight in my bedroom or a renewed sense of energy, but I have naturally woken up daily around 7am. And it actually feels pretty good.

Welp, that’s all for now. Perhaps I will experience a new beginning coming home from work today as I attempt to fight the traffic of Meridian street for the first time… more tomorrow, or next week. :-)

Just call me Crash Durham.


I’ve had many “firsts” here at Pinedale. First time living in the South… first time sweating in the Spring season… first time having to say, “make that tea UN-sweetened, please.” However, perhaps the most monumental “first” was accomplished last night as I obliviously drove down into a ditch while attempting to make a U-turn.

Yes, I am okay. Yes, my car is alright. No, I wasn’t intoxicated.
Last night as I was waiting for Candace outside the church, I pulled off to the side to get out of the way of those trying to get to the highway. Welp, Candace came out… got in, and I thought, “hmm… I either back up or make a quick U-turn. I’m in a little rabbit, surely this is no big deal.” What I failed to realize was that I was about to make a U-turn into a ginormo ditch, so what was seemingly “no big deal” turned into a tiny problem. The “somewhat-level” grass dropped down. At first, I assumed I just miscalculated and tried to put it in reverse (yes, I really am that dumb). Within seconds, about ten students came running to my car, and one youth leader said, “You’re going to need to call a tow truck.” I looked out my window to the ground and replied, “Wait a minute, are my back wheels in the air?”
Fortunately for me, an elder at Pinedale owns a body shop and came to my rescue. My car is fine, no catastrophic damage done. Funniest part of all? Although I would love to tell you I was dodging a deer or a small child, I really just drove straight down into the ditch thinking it was a flat-level plain.

Will the coffee-addicts please stand up?

Not long ago, I lived with a coffee-addict. I couldn’t stand the smell of coffee, much less the taste. I made fun of her addiction… pretending to be better than her since I didn’t have to rely on caffeinated drinks.

Then I had an 8am class with an incredibly monotone professor, and suddenly, coffee sounded delicious. Every other morning, I headed to the coffee shop before class to grab myself a latte, and soon those lattes became coffee with cream and sugar, and soon after that… I went for the hard stuff–straight-up black coffee.

Now, I have nothing to say for myself. I’d like to blame it on the fact that two of my co-workers get an extra large coffee from Sheetz, but truth is, I did this to myself. I fell victim and now there is absolutely no turning back. I’m full-blown addicted to this poisonous, addictive drink.

For the past few months, I’ve been getting headaches almost every Saturday–and just yesterday I realized the root behind the symptom. I sleep in on Saturdays… forgoing coffee and going straight to lunch with ice water. No caffeine. It is no longer a mystery. I depend on this poisonous, addictive drink–plain and simple.

There are worse things, I suppose. Admitting is the first step to recovery… except, I fully don’t intend on recovering.