Frogs and Spiders and Bugs – Oh My!

March 15, 2011

A few days ago I opened the door from the kitchen to the garage to check on my laundry tumbling happily in the dryer.  My foot made it halfway out the door when I yelled, jumped a foot back into the kitchen and slammed the door shut, probably getting a kick in at it before it closed.  I’m a calm, cool and collected person.  Yet when a warty frog gets in my way, I scream like a girl.  Which… well, I am a girl, but not the screechy type.  Yup.  A frog was sitting there in the garage right where I had planned on putting my foot.  It was big.  And ugly.  And hoppy.  That same day my roommate brought her laundry in from the garage and put on her pants only to find a spider on them.  Ugh.  I can’t type that without shuddering.  Bugs and spiders and slimy things are the one area where I am 100%, stereotypically girly.  I scream and run out of the room and ask someone else to kill it.

Wanna know the funny thing?  A couple months ago I saw the same frog in the front yard.  I didn’t scream, yell or panic.  I poked it with a stick and toyed with the idea of keeping it as a pet.  Same happenstance, different location.  It didn’t freak me out to find him in the yard because that was his territory.  But suddenly discovering him in my territory was a different story.

I’m learning a lot about being like that frog.   While the setting changed, Mr. Frog didn’t.  In the yard and in the garage he was just being a frog.  It didn’t bother him or change his stance if someone yelled, screamed, poked him, or wanted to take him home.  He just kept on being his green ol’ self.

I had some metaphorical “frog in the garage” moments this weekend (with me being the frog and other people reacting and circumstances changing).  The first happened Friday night at the bar.  My friend Nancy and I were playing pool (we were both bad and getting kind of bored).  A young man walked past us into the bathroom and yelled at someone else, “My back hurts!”  Nancy and I looked at each other to see if we’d heard the same thing. When he returned from the restroom we put down our pool sticks and introduced ourselves, planning to take care of his back pain.  We didn’t realize then that God’s main target wasn’t this young man, but his friend.  We started praying for his back (yes, in a bar) and his friend walked up and asked if we were having a seance.  He figured out who we were praying to and then purposefully tried to offend us.  That happens quite a bit, but I notice that the offensive people are usually the ones who want to keep hanging out with us.  The attempts at offense are the “frog” reaction.  They see Christians in a bar and think, “Whoa!  What are you doing here?!  Get back in the church!”  No one minds a frog in the yard or a Christian in a church.  But Jesus didn’t tell us to hang out in church or even to build the church.  He said, “Go, spread the kingdom of heaven.”  I’ve learned to embrace people who try to offend me for being the same person outside of the church that I am inside of it.  9 out of 10 times when someone is trying to offend me, the same two things are revealed in them:  they are deeply wounded, and they are desperate to know that God is real.  That’s exactly what happened with this young man.  He sat with us and talked for a while.  He told us his story, one that would rip your heart out.  He told us and then a shocked look shadowed his face and he said, “I don’t know why I told you that!  I never talk about it.”  After his initial shock of Christians in the bar I believe he found something trustworthy in us, and more than that I think he saw God in us.  We got to pray for him and prophesy over him.  He kept saying, “That’s crazy” or “That’s interesting you say that because…”.

It’s funny that I was so comfortable being myself at the bar, because my least successful moment being myself this weekend happened at church.  I want to be like the frog where the circumstances around me don’t change who I am.  I’m not quite there yet.  I was filming Sunday night and just as we went live something happened that threw me off.  I should have asked for a minute to get myself back together, but I trudged on and things went downhill from there.  I was in a funk.  The band didn’t practice, so worship was off.  I completely butchered a shot in a most embarrassing fashion (the embarrassing part being that the whole team is on headsets and heard the dialogue between the director and me).  Afterwards, as we were packing up I grew frustrated by miscommunications and still being a “newbie” and not knowing where anything goes.  I was tired, not in the best mood, and imagining what the director thought of my “off” night.  Funny how thoughts can spiral downward in a short span of time.  Thankfully, I ran into an acquaintance as I was coiling up a few last cords.  He completely encouraged me and reminded me who I was.  He didn’t know I had had a rough night, but God knew, and sent him in my direction. Even when I forget who I am for an evening and lose my “froginess”, God remembers, and people around me know too.  I’m glad they remind me when I need it.

So here’s to being more like Mr. Frog and remembering who I am no matter the situation or people’s reactions.


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Tension… grrrrr….

March 8, 2011
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“Scandal” has a color and it is plastered on my fingernails.  That has nothing to do with my post except that the fresh paint on my pointers is the reason behind my painstakingly slow typing.  Which you wouldn’t know anyway…  but now you do know and can appreciate my labor of love.  On with the blog!

I hear about transition frequently.  It’s one of those “hot topic” words around here.  I generally neglect to acknowledge transition in my life because it is so frequent that it has become  one long wave.  This is coming from the woman who lived in 12 places in 6 years and had about as many jobs.  I know what I’m talking about.  But this last transition introduced an element that I hadn’t experienced to such an intense degree before: TENSION.  I’ve been feeling it for a few weeks now, but was only able to put a label on it last Friday.  On Valentine’s Day I started a new job with Bethel Media.  (That’s the media department of Bethel Church, in case there’s any confusion…)  I am a part time camera operator, video editor, and lighting expert for them.  I wholeheartedly anticipate and relish going to work.  I thought my desired niche was in editing, but I’ve found working behind the camera quite fun.  One of the production teams’ largest tasks is filming and streaming Bethel’s church services.  It’s exhilirating doing a live shoot (and a little scary, considering how many people I know will see it).  That was an unexpected discovery.  I really can’t say enough about my coworkers and bosses.  They’ve all been so welcoming and helpful in every way: from answering my stupid, “Uh, I’ve never done this before”s to stopping by the sound booth before we shoot just to say “hi”.  The whole department is in a transition and we are all figuring out how to be a production team that is based on relationships (God’s kingdom) instead of money (the world’s system).  It all sounds wonderful and like a dream come true, right?  So you want to know where the tension is.

#1:  I realized this today while I was getting the mail.  I had just gotten off the phone with one of my bosses and  I backtracked through my cranial log all the jobs I’ve had the past few years.  They go like this (in receding chronological order)

  • Graphic designer.  Self employed.  I sat in my room or a coffee shop and made things on my computer.
  • Nanny.  Chauffer, to be exact.  The kids needed to get somewhere, I took them.  Almost no supervision.
  • Optician.  Worked there for a year.  We had three employees and for six month there was no manager.  I usually worked alone.
  • Nanny and Nanny again.  Two families.  Young kids.  Me watching them, doing some heimlich maneuvers, and playing “food fight” with plastic food.

That covers my job history since September 2008.  Two and one half years exactly.  That is two and one half years of ZERO team work and next to NO supervision.  Suddenly I find myself thrust into a job situation where team work is essential and team relationships are nurtured and encouraged.  Throw in one manager who is a total verbal communicator (I’m the ultimate internal processor) and me being in strange waters working in such a professional production atmosphere.  Did I mention that I’m pretty independent anyway, so I hate not knowing how to do something and having to ask?

#2: I alluded to the large learning curve.  Large is an understatement.  Sure, I have some media background, and have had a bit of training, but I feel like a Kindergartner going to the 3rd grad class on accident.  They’re using pencils while I’ve still got one of those fat crayons that teachers give to little kids in my hand.  I won’t go into too much depth here.  Feel free to use your imagination.

#3:  Busy.  I have some set hours now.  I’m busy and re-learning how to schedule my time (one perk of self-employment is flexible hours) and say, “no” to things.  This is a good tension.

#4: Media vs. Outreach.  This is where I first identified the tension.  I’m still an intern.  The only reason I had decided to stay in Redding was to stick around next school year and continue to help in the outreach department (then, a few weeks later, I was recruited for this job.  Sneaky, God.  Sneaky).  I love media and my job and want to see the whole Hollywood system rebuilt.  And I love outreach and the church and traveling and teaching and preaching and equipping people.  Shoot.  How?… Wait, maybe… Ugh.  I’m only one person!  How can I have two such different passions?  And they’re both desperately screaming for my attention, affection and time.  I got to the point last week where I was so exhausted, just from life, that I couldn’t make one more phone call or send one more email. And then I had a conversation with someone who shed some light on my plight.  I met with the man who oversees all of the interns.  Each intern meets with him a couple times throughout the year.  He started our conversation by saying, “What can I do for you?”  I was prepared for any question but that one.  I paused and what spilled out, more to my surprise than his, was all this jumble about feeling the tension between media and outreach.  When I paused for a breath, he said without pause, “Don’t choose.  Never choose.”  I stared; he continued.  “Life is too short not to love who you are and what you are doing.  Do both.  It will fluctuate at times where you will do more of one or more of the other, but if you really love both, then never choose.”  He inquired a little more about the practicals of the situation like finances and whatnot, but in the end his advice remained. It took me by surprise and has definitely stuck in my mind and replayed several times.  I know the execution of doing both things will be a bit messy, but I think will be worth it.

That’s really all I have.  No pretty, ribbon-tied summation.  I’ve been feeling a tension, I identified it, and now I’m doing a tight rope walk.  Or maybe a tight rope dance.  I think I’m going to need a lot of grace and this thing will end up looking more like a crazy dance than a walk in the park.

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