Sunday, October 27, 2013

free pizza

silence is my enemy. its in the silence that my head begins to reel. but tonight i sat in it, i soaked it in. i let my thoughts run and flip inside my head.

as i biked home tonight from a long shift at starbucks, it felt like the city was sleeping. it was only 11pm on a sunday night, but Philadelphia was quiet and calm. silence. it was the kind of quiet when you can actually hear the click of the stop lights switch from red to green.

i sat at a red light, and waited for the click.


i didn't move my feet, instead i looked down and saw an overflowing bag of free starbucks food and a dominos box. i was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation.

A couple nights ago, I was talking to some friends about wanting pizza. All I wanted in the world for my free Saturday night was a pizza, a movie and my very terrible attempt at crocheting. In my head, my happiness would only happen if I had Dominos in hand, the best gluten free pizza in Philadelphia - trust me. But I thought about being responsible, and less impulsive and self gratifying and I passed on the g-free slice of heaven, and it was shocking - but I did survive.

I woke up late this morning and headed to New Jersey to meet up with some old friends I used to work with at Wills Eye. We laughed and ran in to corn stalks and away from bees, there was not a cloud in the sky, but there was sun on my face and a fullness in my heart. I was with dear friends who, when I think about them, I get this feeling that can only be described as "warm and fuzzy". I don't know what a fuzzy feeling should feel like, but I know I feel it when I think about these women and their families.

I came home, walked in the door and my mood went from pure bliss to a 5 year-old whiner in a matter of seconds. I had to park half way down the block and I had to work at my second job and I was missing my Sunday night Walking Dead night at a friends house.. Mind you, my legs work fine, so the parking situation was not a big deal and the job is truly a blessing. A blessing I should be overly grateful for, but instead I complain about it with every breath for 2 hours before I go in.

My roommate Lindsey and I were talking about something important to me when I felt like she was being insensitive and I shut down. In hindsight, I was just whining and in a pissy mood for going in to work on a sunday, and taking it out on poor Lindsey (who was already suffering because she had to watch the Eagles terrible loss - read: embarrassing loss). Instead of shutting down as well, she stood up danced in front of me until I couldn't stand it any longer and I had to laugh. She always does that - turns my moods around, even if its her I am mad at - I can't stay mad for long. She doesn't let me sit in my negativity. Life is too short for anyone to sit in negativity, and she won't allow it. For that, I am so grateful for her and for her spirit and the fact I get the privilege of living with her.

We laughed, the Eagles lost, and she even gave me her soup for dinner. I was well on my way to having a better night..

I went in to work, barely making it in on time. In therapy, when your clients don't show up on time repeatedly, it means they don't want to be there. Every time I go into work, I realize I don't want to be there when I clock in with seconds to spare before I am considered "late". They threw me on bar, making drink after drink, the line winding around the store. I was overwhelmed but handling it as long as I kept tunnel vision. I heard a couple customers say "excuse me" but I ignored them, I was scared they might actually need something. Out of sight, out of mind.

I had been at this pace for about 2 hours when I heard "excuse me", but I was still ignoring those words. The man said "umm, Carolyn?" I looked up and saw a Dominos delivery man staring at me. I put down the 3485th pumpkin spice latte I had made that evening and stared at the delivery man, who in turn, stared back at me.

"Yes, I'm Carolyn"
"I have your pizza"
"I didn't order a pizza"
"But I have a pizza for Carolyn"
"But I didn't order a pizza"
"Are you Carolyn?"
"Yes, but I didn't order a pizza, do I need to give you money?"
"No. Paid"
...tears ensued. my shift let me take a break.

It was so nice. My friends bought me pizza. And my favorite kind, Dominos Gluten Free Hawaiian, if you were wondering.

I was so happy.

I was biking home after work and I looked at the pizza box and all the left over salads work was throwing away (which means lunch and dinner for me tomorrow) and I was so overwhelmed. I thought about my roommate, and my friends and my church, my sleeping city. I thought about my lack of hunger, and the glorious morning I spent basking in the sunlight on a hayride with people I love so deeply. I thought about my friends who completed their adoption with their son just 2 days prior, and my friends who recently got married, as well as some who will get married soon. I thought about my family and how blessed I am to have parents who call me so often, just because. I thought about the kids I get to serve at Create every single Wednesday who trust me enough to hug me every time they see me.

I feel so lucky.

I pray often; but tonight, I am praising like I should do more often. I am rolling around the word blessings, sitting in reality of the vast amount I have in my life. I have so much, I feel so full in heart and in life. Things aren't always perfect, and life doesn't always look the way I want it to, but God is present in the good and the bad. He has blessed with me friends I can talk to honestly and I know they will listen and not judge me. I take many things for granted, but tonight I have a thankful heart. Thankful for such good friends and amazing community.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. seriously ya'll.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I am a creature of habit. I don't like change and I really hate when I have no control of the change around me. I know this is not a sexy characteristic, so I hide it the best I know how in front of strangers and new friends...but my old friends know I hate change. I like rhythms, familiarity, that feeling of being comfortable. Gosh, it makes me shudder just thinking about how unadventurous I actually am. The cats out of the bag, I suppose.

There are some serious repercussions of my unadventurous spirit, and some not-so-serious ones.

Not so serious:
Trying new things is really hard and anxiety producing. I talk a lot about the things I want to do, learn, accomplish. But I don't take that leap. There are a couple reasons for this.
  • One: I am not naturally talented, so when I learn things for the first time I look foolish. I don't like looking foolish, obviously.
  • Two: Some times some of my grandiose ideas cost a lot of money. Social workers don't typically make a lot of the green. And I have googled how much those silly rock walls cost for one lesson...and don't get me start on how much it cost to learn how to fly a plane.
  • Three: I am an extrovert. I like doing things with others, but I don't like looking foolish in front of others. I would like to do new things with others. I look foolish when I try new things. I don't try new things in front of others. So I don't try new things. And so on, and so forth.
A little more serious:
I get really sad when there is change in my social circle. People are constantly leaving me in Philadelphia. Which is funny, because I use to threaten all the people of Philadelphia I would leave you first. But I digress. This is a problem because they are no longer part of my routine and instead of thinking of the great things they are going on to, I am selfishly thinking about how they are not part of my daily rhythm and it makes me sad. It is change.

Being comfortable changing thought patterns or negative behaviors (sin) is something I have struggled with for years. When you don't like change, it makes it really hard for the Lord to work in your life to change you and shape your spirit to resemble one more like Jesus. This could also be classified under stubborn, prideful, blind, etc etc.

 I will never forget a life changing moment at Urbana in St. Louis in 2006.  Brenda Salter McNeil (gosh, I really love her) got up and started preaching. That woman was on FIRE with passion. She repeated over and over, "Never settle, because where you settle, you will die". I think in a lot of ways, when we get scared of change, when I push against heart changes that need to happen, when I become lazy instead of picking up a new hobby - I am settling. This is a scary thought because being stagnate causes death, maybe not always physically but definitely emotionally and spiritually.

Instead of being paralyzed with fear of change, I decided to take a step tonight. Just like so long ago in 2006 when I stepped on a mountain for the first time in Colorado and decided to give this whole "snowboarding thing a whirl" (see my first time out with a couple of my patient friends who I looked VERY foolish in front of as it took my 4 hours to get down the mountain the first time)
After I conquered my fear of snowboarding, I even decided to jump out of a plane a couple days later.
It was totally worth looking foolish.
Over the years, I have gotten much better about enduring and even embracing changes such as letting my friends leave me in Philadelphia. My selfishness has dwindled and I have matured (somewhat) in this area. I have started new and big things that have been really scary and then I realize, that was because Jesus' hand was in it. It wasn't from me, it wasn't about me.
There have been, however, many other things I have talked about starting, learning, accomplishing that I have not done anything about. This list includes, but is not limited to, learning the guitar, going to more concerts, learning to crochet, learning how to rock climb, learning how to fly a plane, going kayaking at least once a year, going to a play/symphony during that rush period an hour before, competing in a Tri, visiting California, taking more hip hop classes, trying yoga, taking real pictures, the list (seriously) goes on and on....
So tonight, I bought a ticket to a concert to see one of my favorite bands: The Lone Bellow coming in November to Philadelphia AND........I did this.
Well on my way to not being scared to mess up. Preparing to embrace the foolish look.
Life is too short.