Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I Miss My Rats

So...the past few years have been very, very hard. Actually, "hard" doesn't even begin to describe the angst, frustration, pain, fear, tears, and loss. The last few years have quite simply sucked!

Through it all a few well-meaning folks have begged the question, "So Liz, what are you doing for yourself?" myself...uh... What does one do when doing "something" for oneself?

I've learned a lot about myself over the past few years. I now have a much longer list of things I know I do not enjoy. I do NOT enjoy manicures, sitting for long periods of time sipping coffee and watching the Tower Rats scurry about (more on Tower Rats later), sitting in a darkened theatre watching a scary movie alone with twenty two strangers, having my hair done, shopping alone, or buying make-up! What I most enjoy "doing for myself" is spending time with friends - watching a rented movie, enjoying a good play, driving up the coast, walking on the beach, playing in the snow, talking on the phone, playing a board game, or putting on a show (even the rehearsals bring me joy!). What do I want to do for myself? I want to be surrounded by the people I love the most, trust the deepest, adore completely, admire greatly, and who make me laugh. Relationships bring me joy!

We've lost all the relationships that matter most to us (except for a few extra special family members). The experience of a crisis (or one crisis after another) always brings out the best and worst in people, and believe me, we saw the worst of the worst! All of our energies went into saving the lives of our children and when you don't invest in relationships there is no return. So, some people gave up on us because we weren't available to them anymore. Sadly, we had to turn our backs on some friends and family because having them in our life brought more toxins than healing balms. Relationships bring me joy and right now I am relationship poor and most definitely JOY poor!

Now...the Tower Rats. Every town has one - the neighborhood that boasts the most of everything - art energy, eclectic citizens, interesting architecture, surprisingly good restaurants, great theatre, and colorful characters. In Fresno that neighborhood is called, "The Tower District" because the focal point of the neighborhood is a very old movie theatre/entertainment venue called "The Tower Theatre". The gyspyskirt-wearin', dreadlocks-adorned, skateboard-ridin', don't-need-no-job-to-tie-me-down characters that walk the streets of the neighborhood and hang out in the coffee houses are called "Tower Rats". I envy them. They have each other - in good times, in bad, in joy, in sorrow - they are ever supportive and ever loving towards one another.

The one solitary activity that I do love is reading a good book while sitting in one of the comfy chairs at Barnes and Noble, surrounded by the smell of new books and good coffee. Happily, I still have Barnes and Noble (or Borders when I want to feel old). But I miss knowing that today will bring a welcome phone call, an unexpected coffee for two, a surprise invitation to lunch, or a bit of creative sparring with the creative team I so dearly loved. But mostly, I miss my Rats! :)

Friday, June 2, 2006


"What would Jesus do?" This has become a pop culture mantra among Christians and the letters WWJD can now be found adorning oh-so-attractive and must have art, jewelry, book marks, bumper stickers, and t-shirts. I must we really, really care about what Jesus would do?

I have heard the question, "What would Jesus do?" asked of very small children misbehaving in the supermarket. "Now Timmy, you are acting naughty. Tell me, what would Jesus do if his mommy asked him to stop whining?" Timmy's little tear stained face would get a sheepish grin across his little boy mouth and he would quietly say, "Jesus would stop whining". "You are mommy's good little boy." Pulleeez!!!

Would Jesus make excuses for not confronting a friend who is making bad choices? "I don't feel that the Holy Spirit has given me permission to address that issue right now. The timing just isn't right." Would Jesus tell a child he was no longer welcome to come to church? "You are too hard. I've given you chance after chance, but I just don't want you here anymore."

It makes me crazy when people use something Jesus did as an example for why they are doing something. One that I have been confronted with often is the fact that Jesus called twelve men out of non-ministry type jobs and made them His disciples. People claim they have been "called" and then they find some church who will hire them to be their Junior High School Pastor despite the fact that the week before they were a truck driver. Well...what would Jesus do?'s true...Jesus called working men into His ministry. However, let's not forget that after calling those men He taught those men twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty five days a year, for three years before putting them to work. When God calls us, He calls us to excellence and He calls us to education.

Do we want to give God our very BEST? Hmmm....what would Jesus do?