Raking the leaves of rich suburban families is an untapped gold mine. I’m surprised more people don’t do this.
Here is the last two weeks of my life, in a run-on paragraph.
After coming back from New Hampshire, my high school friends and I (the family) took some delightful walmart family portrait shots. Somehow we fit nine people in a frame built for six max, and then we ordered copious amounts of 3×5’s at ten dollars each. Oops. I’ve done many chores at the OBrien household as well. I have mopped and swept the floor, cleaned the toilet and the sink and the mirror, moved mattresses around, washed the dishes, taken out the trash, and removed 400 lbs of wet leaves from their ditch. Sweet. Also, I self induced vomitting for the first time in the parking lot of Sheetz after Steve’s little science experiment, conducted in my stomach for that matter, failed. You see, apparently when you chug a litre of diet coke and then immediately swallow Mentos, their is supposed to be a small chemical reaction with the CO2. But no, there wasn’t. The only effect was that my stomach felt like a gold fish bowl. So I had to get all of that out. Yes, yuck. I also helped Gabe move her stuff from her house to her apartment downtown, where she will live blocks away from VCU with Devin. One night we spent three hours out on the Massey farm, where Lauren Tyler Steve Jimmie Myself and Gabe sat around the gasoline campfire, combed the dark woods for branches, told jokes, discussed life plans, and enjoyed the moonlit pond. I left early to take Gabe home. Later in the week, I read Devin and Gabe bedtime stories like I was their grandmother (weird) and hung out with Brent and Jessica too. We played the dizzy running race in the apartment – thinking about it makes me remember the nausea. No thanks. On the day when we went to pick up Gabe’s bed frame from IKEA, they ran out of the model that she had wanted and were getting some on the next day. We tried to bargain with the manager into selling us one of the two identical models they had assembled in the showroom, but no cigar. It’s pretty irrational that they need two of the same bed, I think they were just lazy about it and didn’t want to disassemble it. So we hung out for the rest of the night in DC, retracing my summer of 2005, eating at bertucci’s, enjoying the capitol and the lawn at night, and jumping in and out of empty park fountains. I also had two root canals over break, on my front two teeth. Good gravy, they are almost just as bad as everyone says they are. I am not going to sugar coat it for you. They hurt. I thought that it wouldn’t be so bad, since the noise of the drills doesn’t get me the way it does some people. But, the drilling part sure did. After opening up the back of your teeth, they remove all of the nerves with a spinning-squeegie device. That wasn’t so bad. I had some novacaine, so my face felt like a balloon anyways. But that didn’t stop the pain inside my gums. The dentist had to drill higher up into the gums, farther than my actual tooth cavity reaches. I am not sure why this is necessary. They went a little too high if you ask me. Then they fill the cavity with some kind of composite. And they use a blowtorch to do it. Its never a good feeling when you are underneath the dentist drill and you see fire out of the corner of your eye. I guess they had to cauterize something. Then lastly, we had the CWR summer staff reunion this week. I slept out on the dock with Luke on Friday night, which was terrific. He was really reassuring to talk to. Saturday we had bible study, worship, a frisbee game, a jump in the lake (yes january) time to read my book and then a summer interview. CWR Summer 07. Get pumped.
Now, onto spiritual matters: When I fail to have my quiet times, and sometimes even when I fail to have them early enough, I am exposed to heavy spiritual attack. Othertimes, it happens regardless of my asking the Lord for protection. I hate it. I want it to go away. I suppose I need to know the Lord more intimately, and maybe this is the process that will take me there. Maybe I am learning to appreciate the pain that Christ bore when the world and his father denied him on the cross. Maybe this way, when I take communion, I will understand a fraction of his pain. Other than that, I have no idea why this is happening, why it seems as if God had divinely removed his hands and his blessings and provisions are mere memories of my past. I feel like God has led me up to this point, and has now quit working on my behalf. He has previously answered my prayers but now is just watching my helpless situation. The result: perplexity. Perplexity is the dull ache of frustration – and even being frustrated that I get frustrated. It’s a mess. I have been reading Greg Harris’s “The Cup and the Glory: Lessons on suffering and the glory of God.” It is very relevant to my situation. But the gist of it is: the pain is necessary for your improvement. Wait it out, perservere, and then you will pen quite the testimony. I can only pray that it will be over soon. You could too, if you like.
Another lesson recently: when things don’t work out your way, be ok with that. It seems very elementary – like I should have learned that in middle school. I definitely remember all of the times my parents had tried to drill that into my head. But now that it is happening outside of my immediate family, it is an icy reality that I have had to come to grips with. Patience is a virtue. Patience patience patience.