Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Looking Back

A note comes along that evokes memories twenty years old and to my surprise, they are wrapped in sentiment.  Crinkly, and a bit fragile.  Don't overthink these, I say to myself, or they will crumble away and you'll wonder what the fuss was about.  But glance briefly into this past chapter of your life, and you'll find a smile.

In that chapter that was the transition between the little girl I was and the grown woman I would become,  I see that it was a season of the brightest possibilities, the purest friendships, the sharpest lines.  Nothing was known, and I was certain of everything.  Alternately, I second-guessed my every move while throwing myself into irrevocable trajectories.  The future stretched ahead long and promising, the past a rosy glow, the present a fleeting gift held tenderly in my heart.  I didn't want to grow old while I intensely wanted to grow up.  Anything seemed probable, possible, eventual.  My world was not defined by past choices; it was an open delta with a thousand paths, leading to any sea.

I love that bright-eyed, shiny-hearted, zealous girl-woman.  She is a girl who would not recognize, understand, or maybe even approve of the woman she became.

But this is ok.

How could she have known that cracks can be cherished, that a broken heart grows larger, that being thrown from her high horse would allow her to take her first shaky steps toward grace?

My friend put it well saying, "I find God can take idealism and forge a stronger alloy with mercy and compassion."

I may not be as bright and shiny as I was twenty years ago.  That girl might even call me a bit tarnished. (Yeah, she leaned toward negative labels like that.)  But I'm defining myself as an alloy: a mix of idealism, mercy, compassion, and a few of the broken bits that have gotten left behind along the way.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Front of the Line

Most extroverts love a good party.  They get their mingle on and meet new people and hear new jokes and tell new stories and eventually, make new friends.  They go home happy and filled up with an invigorating anticipation of meeting up with the most interesting of the new, the most favorite of the old, again.

But if you're an introvert, a good party might not hold as much promise.  

As an introvert, I have rediscovered my version of a great party: a new library.

I've recently been hired as a substitute librarian for a large library district and tonight went out to one of their smaller, more remote branches.  This collection doesn't get shipped out to fill any other requests.  In other words, all the newest, hottest titles stay on the shelves until someone local takes them home.

Book buyers who always just buy what they're craving when they want it won't understand, but in library world, patrons usually queue up for the newest, latest titles from the famous, well-loved authors.  So to walk in and see books with waitlists well over a hundred--well now, this was a great party.

Hobnobbing with the hot titles.  Mingling with the nominees.  Everybody dressed up in their finest, covers still shiny, pages still crisp.  They gave me a tour and my eyes kept bugging out as I saw title after title that would ordinarily be a "get in line because you and everyone else wants to read it."

I felt like I had finally made friends with the bouncer and cut in line at a club where all the best people were.

"Can I really take this one home?"

Of course.  Why not?

"Is this one meant for display?"

No, take it.

"I hope I don't seem too greedy."

No.  We love it.  Gets our numbers up!  Check out as many as you want.

So I did.  Almost three bags' worth.
And tonight, in pure introvert fashion, I can't wait to get my read on, meet new people, hear new jokes, hear new stories and eventually, make new friends.