Friday, February 25, 2011

for just a second

There are some moments in my life where it feels like everything stops, just for a second. And in that second I have an overwhelming feeling that I am living for something more than what I am able to see.

I had one of those moments, tonight. I was standing at the top of a building, on the 64th floor, on a luxurious patio, looking over this City of Angels.

It has been an interesting week, full of wealth and unpredictability.

I've been to a buddhist ceremony, an expensive dinner for American ivy league graduates, and a debriefing session for freelance journalists (and anyone else who could come along for the show). I've been praying my heart out for people in Tripoli and Christchurch, while trying to get my head around the fact that I live in Asia. And I have been listening to the new Radiohead.

There are parts of it that are ephemeral and parts that are eternal.

My heart feels like it is wrestling, trying to understand my own unpredictable life and dying to reach that place of destiny. In many ways, I am wondering what wealth I bring to this time and place. And whether I will come away with things that are going to last.

God only knows. I do wish I'd had my camera on the top of that building. The view of this sprawling city is incredible.

this says it all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

sweet thing

"Sleep tonight, with dreams as sweet as angels wings. And all your dreams will bring you sweeter things. " - Van Morrison (covered by Jeff Buckley).

I am going to spend the next two days on an island in paradise. This is where I tell you how I am tired of being lonely.

I want to go kiteboarding, but it seems a little dangerous to fly into the sky on a kite and a board, without anyone else around. I might still do it, tho. Nobody can stop me, really.

I have a funny feeling that I am supposed to spend some time writing this weekend. I have an idea, but I am unsure what to do with it.

So, please pray for me.

mister tuk-tuk driver

This tuk-tuk has no brakes.

Could have killed us.

But the driver never lost his very-cool expression.

And I loved his florescent orange shades.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

everywhere she goes

I have this memory.

It's from nearly twenty years ago, in April 1991. I was sitting on the side of a fishing junk in Kowloon Bay... fifteen years old... dangling my feet over the edge, watching the sunset... on the way home after a hot day in a little fishing village on a little island... freckles on my sunburned face... and content in the smell of fish and saltwater, poetry pouring through my mind... lost in my own thoughts.

I was listening to a Billy Joel tape that belonged to my friend Ashley House. That was back in the day, when we listened to tapes. That was the first time I ever listened to Billy.

As I listened to the melody and lyrics of "She's got a way about her"... I remember the way the water lapsed against the wood of the fishing junk. And the whirr of the rewind button as I had to listen to it again. It's such a beautiful song: written for his daughter.

It is my favourite memory. One of them, anyway.

The lyrics captured me. I had already spent many years in church. My Dad had been the worship leader. So I spent many Sundays watching people responding to the spirit of God in music. I knew it was real.

But it was the piano man singing this simple song, on a little cassette walkman, on the side of a fishing junk, with my feet in the water of Hong Kong's harbour that profoundly expressed the heart of the Father. I have never forgotten it.

I listened to that same song, tonight...coming home from a hot day in a big law firm in another big Asian city... trying to get my head around another unexpected adventure.

I heard that song like I did the first time. There is always an invitation to go deeper into that place in His heart. And I felt it again, tonight.

I am flying to Vientiane tomorrow morning. I'll be there for two days, back late Thursday night. Vientiane is a city that I know very little about. All I know is that it is on the Mekong River, was established in the 9th Century and has French, Chinese, Soviet and American architecture. I also know that there's a good Italian restaurant, with sweet red wine and fresh made pizzas. And that sounds like a good place to be.

I am in awe of how I ended up with a plane ticket to go. And I hardly know what to expect when I land. But I know that I am a very loved daughter.

"Everywhere she goes, a million dreams of love surround her. Everywhere." - Billy Joel.

Monday, February 14, 2011

pari passu & le rubis précieux

I learned a new phrase, today: pari passu.

It's a financial investment term. It is Latin. It means 'of equal step'.

I like that I learned that phrase on Valentine's Day. It gives me hope that I'll find someone who walks out this life with me. That would be a great big miracle, really.

I'm reading this book to improve my French. It's called "La valée des rubis", par Joseph Kessel... Il s'agit de rubis qui se trouvent dans la jungle birmane. Les rubis sont le pierre précieuse la plus rare, la plus chere...

I can barely understand it. It's just outside my comprehension. But my heart is stirred by everything to do with Burma these days. So, this french story about finding precious rubies, hidden deep in the Burmese jungle... is exactly my kind of story.

And reading it feels like love: it really doesn't matter to me that I don't understand most of it. I am finding that it's worth taking the time with it.

Happy Valentine's Day. May you find what your heart desires, your precious rubies and your next steps.

Les rubis les plus précieux sont en plein cœur.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

living off the map

I am living on Sesame Street.

For the next two weeks, I'm house-sitting at a little house in an ex-pat community of Bangkok.

Everyone who knows me would've been laughing at my half-Thai, half-English directions to the taxi driver.

Sesame Street is not on the map. It's tucked away from the main streets, behind a hard-to-find Soi. And, I get the Thai words for left and right mixed up. So, we went around the houses a few times.

The owner of this house runs a small publishing company, which produces maps. I was looking through her 2011 Writer's Market, picking out publisher's names, thinking of doing some writing and I realized: every desire of my heart is rolling around like a bunch of boggle tiles, falling randomly into place.

I am meeting interesting people who challenge my dreams and assumptions about what can be done in life. It's stretching my tent pegs, so to speak. I am starting to realize that my life could be completely different. There is so much that I want to do.

The truth is: I could probably use a map. I need a visual picture of where I need to go with my life. I know that I can't do it all. I want to know what it looks like, where I am going.

But in the meantime, I have to admit: it is very, very fun to be living right off the map. I am going to Burma, twice in the next two months. I'll go in early March and mid-April. The guy who lives next door to me on Sesame Street is teaching me Burmese. This is the life I asked God for, when I was five years old: to live on Sesame Street and go to poor countries. The free language tutorial and stories from neighbors who have lived and worked there is just bonus.

My decision to go to Burma twice is partly influenced by the war that's started between Thailand and Cambodia. They are fighting about an old french colonial map from the early 1900's. The map has caused confusion over where the border line is between Thai and Khmer territories. The United Nations are becoming involved. Negotiations for peaceful reconciliation are started.

All will be well, once they figure out what the map says. I hope that's soon.