Thursday, November 3, 2016

happy hour with coworkers usually goes like this

Happy hour with coworkers usually goes like this: We sip our first drinks, share anecdotes about our co-workers and dating lives, laugh. I stop after one, they keep going, and halfway through the second drink and throughout the third, words become a little more harsh and stories of boyfriends a little more raw.

Here is how it went last night: The coworker sitting next to me shares about her live-in boyfriend. She is considering leaving him, and by her description, for good reasons. She draws a picture for us of what life is like with him with a story about him bailing on a dinner in West Hollywood with friends, and later, with a text he just sent her. Eventually my sadness and shock show on my face, perhaps read as naiveté. And maybe it is true that these women have more experience in certain areas of life. But what I am really wondering about is why women would let men treat them like this, and what is so bad about being alone that these women seem to be avoiding it with a relationship that’s not really a relationship, and (I am trying to resist this one) are all men like this? I think of what to say to her that has more substance than the trite feminist sentiment, girl, you deserve so much more. But that’s what’s true. She is beautiful and smart and funny and engaging and she is a child of the living God.

Happy hour with coworkers usually goes like this: I come away with the headache that whiskey always gives me and feeling overfull from the greasy food and wondering how so many people think this is life.


Today my sister will give her blood to understand her genes. Specifically, she will find out whether certain mutations that are believed to have caused disease in our dad’s sisters are present in her, and as a result, put her at risk for the same sickness. This has been a conversation my sisters and I have been having for at least a few years now. Do we get tested? What will we do with the information? Better to live not knowing than to live with the information? Which is better, the fear of the unknown, or the fear of the little-bit-more known? What do we do with the possibility of death?

When I woke up this morning, I texted my sister to let her know that I’m praying for her. We exchanged messages back and forth, and what I began thinking about as we texted and as I prayed is the force of life. I’m not talking about life like, these daily happenings all combined make up my life. I’m talking about the breath of God sort of life, the light that appeared when He spoke into darkness and chaos. I think about what that first man and woman might have experienced of life before things like tiredness and depression and disease and un-forgiveness entered the picture. Did they wake up and need coffee? I’m guessing not.


One definition of life: the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. But what kind of change? I want to ask.


I drive to work this morning, drinking my coffee. The sun is in my eyes, but I try to be thankful for it all the same. Life is buzzing all around, in the traffic of people heading to work and school, in the sun climbing the sky and the leaves still clinging to trees. I go over our happy hour conversation even as I mean to be praying for my sister. I am a little embarrassed that I showed my shock and disappointment at my coworkers stories. But then I think about how much I want to know what true life is, that kind of change that’s the process of being made new each day, and how I want to be a bearer of it in the lives of others, and I’m no longer ashamed but glad. And I keep driving into the sun, that never-dying bearer of such bright day light.


(photo: morning light)

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