Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Um. Oops.

So, I suck at blogging. Really, really really. I’m so sorry.

See, the thing is that I begin to write an amazing post, but I always want it to be perfect, poignant, and poetic. So, it goes unpublished. NO MORE!!! I shall attempt to return to the land of the bloggers. Here goes!

Life is interesting at the moment! Back in April of 2014 I was given an amazingly busy, high profile Starbucks right on the Oceanfront (like, for serious, the sand is a block away). Since then, life has been a series of insane events. I’m probably going to end up writing a book about my experiences. You will find it in the fiction section because absolutely no one will believe the actual things that I deal with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Have YOU ever called the police and banned a 70 year old man from your business establishment because he missed the toilet in the loo for the 9th straight day in a row? Have YOU ever had to run random locker checks because someone thinks it is funny to hide little bottles of alcohol in people’s belongings? Have YOU ever had a man sit in your place of business and play a banjo really really well?  I think not. Welcome to my life!

To keep things fresh, I moved down to the beach last April as well (like, for serious, the sand is a block away). I found this amazing, hotel-like apartment complex and have really enjoyed living there even though I’m about to move out. You see, I’ve made this friend that we jokingly call Ginger (she’s got red hair, so original on my part) and she and I are going to be roomies! She’s got an adorable little house that looks like I decorated it. SO much win.

We met Ginger at karaoke this summer…oh yes, I’ve become quite the little karaoke singer! I tend to do more mainstream, quiet pieces; but once I brought the whole bar to silence with my heartfelt rendition of “I Who Have Nothing.” Not that the bar was very crowded that night, but still. It was awesome. We also have fun with duets like “Bye, Bye Love,” “Sounds of Silence,” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Oh yes, and there’s a ‘we’ now. I’ve kinda met the most amazing guy ever working down here at the beach, but that’s a post for another day.

So, that’s a quick hit view of life. Things are busy, but pretty routine. Monday is admin day and small group night, Tuesday is Trivia Night (my team is first overall for the season right now!), Wednesdays tend to be pizza/movie night, Thursdays are blissfully unstructured, while Friday through Sunday tend to be a blur of opening shifts and shopping at WalMart. Oh, the glamour.

My store just got a huge remodel, so I will have to do some before/after for you all to enjoy my dominion. Ever heard of the Shamrock Marathon? It’s a pretty big deal around here, so I’m getting ready for that too. Our goal is to do over 1200 transactions March 21 and 22! Each day. We’ve so got this.

Bring it on!

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And That Has Made All The Difference

There is a poem that, like it has for countless others, has always resonated in my mind. It is by the incomparable Robert Frost (Yes, I know he’s an American writer. No, in this case, I don’t mind.), and it speaks to the choices and decisions we make in our lives. It reads as follows: 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

Well, I am at that place in the woods. In less than two weeks I need to make a choice, and I am torn about what to do. Both options lie before me, each having an equal amounts of pros and cons. One path makes me feel more unsure about my future, but the other path locks me into a road I’m not sure I’m willing to be on for much longer.

I’ve put a lot of work and effort into both these ventures, and until now both paths have run, albeit tiringly, smoothly alongside each other. But now, there is a boulder separating one from the other forever, as far as I can see. My first thought was that if I could only figure out which was the one less traveled, I would know what I was to do. But, what defines less traveled? 

With an actual path, it would be the road that is overrun with grass, so long it has been since a human foot has trod on it. It would be the one with a smaller breadth, the one more often left off the maps. It is the one that only a few locals remember, and that even fewer know how to traverse. 

But life is not as clear as a path. Sure, one way is more…shall we say, commercial? But does that make it more traveled? Often on this road so far, I’ve felt very, very alone. And isn’t that the earmark of a road less traveled, that you have few fellow travelers, if indeed any at all? And the other road, it’s “off the beaten path” to be sure. But it is also the safe choice, the road that has been with me the longest. It is the safety net. It is a road I’ve traveled for a long time, a road that I can be pretty sure of where I’ll end up.

So, what if I determine the path less traveled? Does this really help me decide my future? Look at that last stanza. The speaker says that maybe, years and years down the road, he might recount this choice in the woods “with a sigh.” Is this good? Bad? All the speaker really tells us is that by taking the road less traveled, it made all the difference. 

Unfortunately for me, this doesn’t shed any illumination on my dilemma. Any choice, any decision, any stance makes “all the difference” in a life. Is difference a good thing, or a bad thing? Can we say with any certainty that our lives will be truly better if we go one way, than if we go another? Can we ever look back and say “this was the right path”? I think that we want to be able to trust our decisions. We want to say that hindsight is 20/20 and we know for sure that we made a good choice, or that we can see now how we made a bad choice. But, did we really?

We can’t predict the future, and we can’t change the past. We can’t run parallel lives and find out how a different choice truly would have affected our life. So, we create this environment that says if a decision in the past, then we can make definitive calls on how it impacted our lives. However, just as we cannot accurately predict the future, I don’t think that we can absolutely read the past.

Maybe this is the point that Frost wanted to make. Maybe he wanted us to see that we cannot travel two paths as the same person, and we cannot know where the path we did not choose would lead us. All we can do is look, evaluate, and take those first brave steps down the road of our choosing.

Which doesn’t help me decide which path to choose, in the least. 

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New Life

Sometimes it’s really funny how thoughts come together. This Easter season, I’ve been thinking a lot about the significance of new life. Not so much in terms of babies and fresh starts, but in terms of transformation.

You see, about a week ago I found this necklace I’d made and completely forgotten about. It’s a little out of the norm of what I usually wear, but I love it all the same.

Butterflies are often used in Christian circles as a visual representation of the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Butterflies aren’t born, they are made, transformed from awkward earthbound caterpillars to glorious insects able to take flight. The process which turns them from crawling to flying isn’t easy, safe, or effortless. However, the end result is worth all the pain and effort.

Today my pastor preached on the resurrection, and how important it is to the Christian faith to believe that the resurrection really took place. While listening, it dawned on me that in a way, Jesus went through a transformation as well. He started Passion Week as the sacrificial lamb, the One who would take away the sins of the world. It was an important role, vital for the plan of salvation. After His death though, there had to be a transformation.

For Christ to just die for our sins would simply have made atonement for the sins that had come before that moment. His death, therefore, would have been just like the death of any other sacrifice. But something was different about this sacrifice. THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB ROSE FROM THE DEAD. 

Christ rose. He conquered the hold that death had on humanity, He made it possible for all people to access the grace and forgiveness found in the shedding of His blood. He made it possible for us to transform our lives.

So, this Easter, rejoice in His power, love, grace, and mercy…they are for you, from Him. Happy Easter.

50I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:50-58, ESV

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What’s It All About?

A few months back, a friend of a friend died. Though I didn’t know him, I was sad for her and as a show of support Mum and I went to this man’s funeral.

I’ve been to a lot of funerals, and this one was unlike any other. No singing, no photo montages. No songs at all. Instead, the man’s son gave an hour long biography of his father, pausing only to invite certain key figures from his father’s life to come up and speak as well (my friend being one of these people). However, what really struck me was what an awesome life this man led. Really, he did things that most of us can only dream about. It was a good, long, full, exciting life.

Except, I found myself being really sad that I’d never met this man. I’d have loved to hear him tell these stories.

Then, I forgot all about it.

That is, until tonight. Mum and I went over to help our friend with moving some stuff out of the deceased man’s house in preparation for an estate sale. She gave us the grand tour of the house, ending in a room that must have served as a sort of study for this man. Hung all over the walls in this room are commendations, signed prints and pictures, and other documents recording the wonderful things that the man had done.

His family does not want them. They will be sold in the estate sale.

This knocked me sideways. This man devoted his life to a career. He worked really hard doing dangerous and crazy things. He earned rewards and commendations that few people do because of his hard work.

And they will be purchased by a complete stranger for…what use? It won’t conjure up memories of this man for them, they don’t know him. The buyer won’t know what this man did to earn that certificate, or how he was presented with this commendation.

The name on those documents means nothing to them.

What then, is the point of all this? Those things obviously brought joy to him, brought to mind good memories and proud thoughts. Now, they simply are an impersonal collector’s item.

Is this what life comes down to? All the things that defined this man’s life, all the things that made him proud…they are being assessed for their market value. And that’s that.

End of story.

Or is it? Thornton Wilder, in his book The Bridge of San Luis Rey, examined this idea of memories, life, happiness, and love. His summation of the novel is brilliant (SPOILER ALERT!):

But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.

Perhaps he is on to something. Maybe the memories we leave behind are enough. No matter what we do or do not leave behind us, our actions still count for something.

I really hope Wilder is correct.

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