Last Saturday I had the opportunity to go to Northwest Portland. I think it is officially my favorite part of the city. I went into all these different shops and encountered all sorts of wonderful people. I met a man named Babik and his cat Simba. He owns a Turkish rug store and I talked with him for a little bit. Before I left, he told me he had something for me….he brought out a Turkish ornament and told me it was from “Me and Simba…from our hearts, for your kindness”. All I had done was have a 5 minute conversation with him. It made my day.
I meet some other very nice people in various shops. Portland is amazing that way, nearly everyone you meet is extremely nice. Every stereotype remaining in my head has been shattered due to my time in Portland. Whether it be 3 thugs walking by and making friendly conversation with you, or your bus driver becoming one of your dearest friends, people in Portland are amazing.
The next day, I went to an event hosted by the place I volunteer at (a homeless shelter). It was an interfaith Thanksgiving, thanking every church who had helped with the shelter. There were all sorts of denominations represented: Islamic, Baha’i, Judaism, Christianity and Mormons. Every person from every faith was so kind and beautiful in the way that they cared for others. It got me to thinking….
The bible says we were knit in our mother’s womb by God. It says we were created in His image. It also says He began a good work in us. Then we were born….and encountered all the results from the fall. Sin.
In almost everyone, I see a quality that is in the image of our maker: whether it is in kindness, artistry, discernment etc. We have qualities of God….he began a good work in us and is faithful to complete it.
But I have found myself reading that verse and getting depressed when I see good people not following the one way to heaven (Christ). I kind of had an epiphany with the meaning behind that verse though. I realized that God is ready to complete that good work in us, if we are willing to give our lives completely and only to Christ as the one true way. He started a good work in all of us by making us in His image; it is up to us to let him complete that good work. It’s our responsibility to inform the world of this.
In other news, I just finished the book Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. In typical Orwellian style, there are a handful of lessons, along with an overarching societal commentary via an enthralling story. This book is essentially his autobiography of when he was (surprise, surprise) down and out in both London and Paris. He points out how society has ostracized and subhumanized the homeless in such a way that everything from their idleness to their sexuality is inadvertently affected. He also talked about the time where he wrote for a Russian communist paper to make some money. It got me to thinking, if it was from that experience that he wrote 1984, discovering the harms of big government through this group, or if he wrote it to cover his tracts (to not be black listed). I tend to think of the former rather than the latter, but it got me thinking just the same. I highly recommend this book if you are an Orwell fan at all.
I had a Planes, Trains and Automobiles kind of Thanksgiving (which turned out to be one epic journey). My roommates (Katie and Hilary) and I left at 3am on Tuesday morning. We drove straight through to Fresno and I crashed there. The next day, I met up with my friend Sharayah who goes to Fresno State and we drove down to so cal. We had fun listening to all sorts of music, but especially the Disney sound tracks. It got me to thinking about how as kids, we had a new Disney animated film come out every year and I just added it to the list on how the 1990’s was the best era to grow up in. It took 7 hours due to the rain and holiday traffic to get there. L I stopped by my friend Serena’s house, to say hi. Her mom has terminal cancer, so I stopped by to say my good byes essentially. I have known her mom for years, a wonderful woman. It is tough to think she will be gone any day now, but I rejoice in the fact that she will no longer be in pain, and that she will be with our Father. It was nice to be with Serena and Desi, to reminisce to get our minds off of the situation. After that, Sharayah dropped me off at home. Got to spend some time with the fam and went to bed. The next day I woke up and we had our Thanksgiving tradition of watching the parade and eating cinnamon rolls. After that we got ready and went and picked up my sister and Skylar (her boyfriend….I know right?) to have Thanksgiving with us. All my relatives met him and loved him. I found myself getting a bit envious, wishing I could bring my man to family events like this. Soon after that though, my Grandpa’s girlfriend Barbara told me how she really wanted me to bring Jerry over during Christmas break. That put a smile on my face, and we planned a day for that and to see the movie Australia together. I love my Grandpa and Barbara. I wouldn’t say my Grandpa picks favorites, but I know that he and I have a special connection, being that we are the only ones in our family to have our B.A.’s (he always brings it up). We have a pretty similar sense of humor and always make sarcastic remarks to each other under our breaths. At the same time, he too is a sentimental fool (where my brother and I get it I suppose). Some of our other relatives are a bit much at times. I saw a bottle of Jack (with a little bit left) on the counter. My sister was talking to one of these relatives with Skylar and I set the bottle next to her. Barbara saw that and couldn’t stop laughing. Then Skylar said “Is that apple juice Emily?” Barbara laughed even more, and the other relatives didn’t get it. It was great. We left the house and drove back to San Clemente. We dropped Skylar off. It was funny to see Skylar next to my dad (towering over him). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my sister ended up with a giant. It is just kind of funny to see I suppose. I came home hung out for a bit and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and my dad took me to the train station. I took a train to LA, a bus to Bakersfield and a train to Fresno. Katie picked me up and we drove back home. Pretty epic traveling for such a short amount of time I deduce, but it was worth it (especially since the whole thing only ended up costing me less than $100).
I sure love my family and continue to pray that God will work a miracle in situations that seem impossible. I know that He works in mysterious ways and that He is the sovereign Lord that loves me no matter how many times I fall. I have so much to be thankful for during this season of thanks. Christmas is officially here. This week my roommies and friends get to buy decorations and a tree and hang up lights and decorations!!! We are hosting a Christmas caroling party….I am so excited!!!!