The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Changing Weather Patterns

So, I just moved to Minnesota.  In every conversation that I have with a native, the topic of weather comes up.

“Have you ever experienced a winter?”

“You don’t know how to drive on snow, do you?”

“Do you have a coat?”

The list could go on.  The inquisitiveness is just one of the things I’ve noticed in this breed of Scandinavian-blooded people called Minnesotans.  There have been a lot of subtleties catch my eye, but none more significant than their phone use…or lack thereof.  This is one of those things that could be associated with their age (most of the people I’ve been spending time with are over 25…I’m fresh out of college).  But I do think that their background plays a hair of a part.

I am use to having half conversations with people.  There is always someone or something at the other end of the cell phone interrupting, butting in.  Whenever there is a dull half of a moment, the phone comes out.  If you are in a group of five people, chances are at least one person is active on their phone…chances are it’s more like three.

But things are different here.  I have whole conversations with people.  I have conversations without ever seeing the phone!  I was beginning to doubt that was possible!  I am so relieved, though, to find out that it is.  So, what does this mean for the breed called Minnesotans?

It means that they are more real and independent.  They don’t require connections to people 24/7.  Instead of losing themselves in a virtual world, they would prefer to invest their time and energy into you (or whoever happens to be standing next to them).  I love that!  These people make me feel like I, an AmeriCorps volunteer hailing from Arkansas, am significant.  It took my best friend and roommate of three years a lot of effort to make me feel that way.

Best Garage Sale Find Ever

 

These people are great.  And, in case you were wondering, I do have a coat.

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On Sharing

Over the past couple of days, I have been thinking about friendships and opening up.  I didn’t realize that this was the theme of my thoughts until last night, though, at a Bible study.  We started discussing how we are all supposed to share in joys and burdens as a part of the family of God…how sharing helps us grow as a family and as an individual.

I suck at sharing.  Well, not all sharing.  I’m really good at sharing crayons, pencils, cookies…but thoughts, feelings, fears?  Not so much.  Right now, I have a gazillion thoughts, feelings, and fears gushing through my brain and no one knows half of them. My roommate knows about some of them…but she has a lot going on too, so I don’t want to burden her.  And to be perfectly honest, I don’t always feel close to the other people in the Christian organization.  That’s really bad considering that I’m on the leadership team.

I just tend to not like burdening people…like my best friend from high school who is getting married next weekend.  We live three hours apart, so our bond isn’t as solid as I would like for it to be.  And, my heart is hurting because I feel like I am missing out on so many beautiful experiences with her.  My roommate has heard about some of my heartaches…but they go so deep that I’m afraid no one will understand.  And if anyone would, well, it’s just a little problem compared to what others have to deal with.  No one needs to hear my concerns about being a bridesmaid, losing my best friend, finishing my projects, completing my piano jury, and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And, even if they did…how would their opinion of me change if they knew all of that?

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Existence

So, I’m sitting at my computer…trying to think of something to write.  It has been quite a while and I have a nice little chunk of time before I need to start chopping up some fruit.  And, if I’m typing, then I will stop stuffing chocolate chips in my mouth.  Yes, semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Unfortunately my mind is blank.  I can’t think of anything deep or complex or even just slightly amusing to share.  My life is surprisingly mellow right now.  I don’t have any big exams or assignments in the next few days.  I didn’t work this morning…I don’t work again until Saturday.

So, instead of just leaving my computer to read or do something productive, I start browsing the internet…trying desperately to find something to spark an idea for words.  I’m wandering…wandering…whoa!  Steve Jobs died.  That’s pretty big news.  The next big news items, right below that headline, deals with Amanda Knox’s recent release.

I realize that these two news items are a pretty big deal but…why?  Why are we, as humans, so obsessed with the lives of people who have no direct relation to us?  I have never met Amanda Knox.  Nothing that happens to her actually affects me.  Now, the same can’t really be said for Jobs (I am currently typing on a snazzy MacBook Pro and, tucked into my backpack, there is an iPod touch…and iPhone is on my Christmas list).  But, is his death really newsworthy enough for the whole nation?  Okay, sure.  Make the argument that his death will drop Apple stock value.  But in the long run, what is his significance?

What is anyone’s significance?

When you stop and think about this great space we live in called “the world”, can you really find any true purpose for your presence here?  Are you doing anything to help anyone?  Will your actions prove to be beneficial in the long run?

If I was to answer these questions about myself…just off the top of my head…NO.  Right now, I am a college student with no career plans to speak of and only vague post-graduation plans (that happens in May…too soon).  My focus is on getting good grades and keeping my apartment clean while my roommate scurries around freaking out about her anatomy test and physics assignment.  Nothing that I do now is impacting the world on a broader, deeper level.  My existence is, when you boil it down, purposeless.  But, then again, that is just from my perspective.

When my roommate got home from a study session last night, we sat (actually, I sat and she stood) in the kitchen talking for a while.  We do things like that often (I like to plop down in our hallway…or a floor anywhere, really).  She came to the conclusion that she is most fulfilled and driven by relationships.  Having a great career is important to her, but it will not be fulfilling in and of itself.  She wants to have someone with whom she can share that success.  I, on the other hand, am terrified of sharing my success/life/house/kitchen/thoughts/fears/loves/desires/bed/etc.  So when I reflect on my purpose, I don’t really look at the people close to me.  I look further out–how do I matter in the world?

Maybe, just maybe though, I should consider my purpose in this apartment and in my family.  I could make the argument that certain members of my extended family couldn’t care less about my existence…but we won’t go there.  I’ll think about my parents and my nana and one of my cousins…I matter to them.  They miss me when I am gone.  And, when my roommate left a little while ago, we bid adieu for 24+ hours due to our hectic/conflicting schedules (I’ll go to bed before she gets home….and leave before she gets up…and get home around 5 pm tomorrow when she leaves to study again…).  That was sad for both of us.  We enjoy one another’s company (most of the time…I don’t always like sharing, remember?).  If I hadn’t been around the past couple of nights, she would have had cereal for dinner.

As I said last night, I am not a relationship-oriented person.  I have to work to make relationships matter to me.  But in the end, once I figure all of that out, relationships are what will give me a purpose.  They are where I will find fulfillment and joy…maybe.

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