Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yearning for Euphoric Scars


I woke up late today, and as I staggered to the kitchen for some MacCoffee I noticed the dazzling blanket of white snow that covered the neighboring Soviet flats and the twisty branches of the trees outside our window. Yesterday was quite warm and all the ice was melting. One of my students told me an Almaty proverb that goes something like this: The weather in Almaty changes as fast as a woman changes her mind. I got a good chuckle out of it because it is oh so true. However, regardless of weather, exam week is done. I have a stack of papers that are waiting for my red pen of correction. That’ll take up a good 2 hours of my weekend, but I’m glad the tests are made and have been administered. I really don’t want to have to fail people. That will make me sad because I view my classes as a group and if one or two have to stay behind then I will feel as though I am abandoning them. Plus, once they fail they often get so discouraged that they drop out of the program all together.

On a happier note, my clothes are currently in the washing machine and it seems to be working. The stupid thing is just so doggone confusing and the instruction manual is all in Russian. On another happy note, we got paid this week. Not like our actual stipend, but our lunch money. I am currently living off less than $13 a week. Impressed? You should be. I think one thing I need to work on while I am here is my squandering. I have this thing where I love to spend money. I don’t even care what I spend it on I just like to see it go. Something about paper and numbers seem worthless to me. I like to have something tangible. I have issues.

So I started thinking about what my life will be like when I return to the States today. I was thinking what kind of person I will be and then my mind got off on several tangents until I came to the full realization of my life here. I have settled in. From the beginning my mind new this was going to be semi-permanent (6 months) so my brain went into auto-accustom mode. I like it here. Not enough to stay here for the rest of my days, but I like the situation I’m in. It’s a bit hard to explain. I got frustrated today. I decided that the English language doesn’t have enough words. Sometimes I want to explain things and all the words that are common enough for people not to think you’re a complete loon are just not forming what I want to say. Other languages are highly inflected and it seems as if you could describe things better, but I don’t know. I like language, I like that I’m a language teacher. I like Arizona. I like the mountains, and I like coffee. I like that we have the ability to like things and to dislike other things. Words are how you organize your thoughts and how you communicate. They are the bricks of relationships mortared in by actions. It’s a strange thought to think that there are not enough words to go around.

I was reminded in the middle of the night last night that life is filled with jovial moments of proclamations of good news. But, many people tend to overlook these moments because for some reason the bad news tends to stick out in our mind in a more lucid manner. We all love happiness and joy, but they seem to be so transient while pain and gloom leave scars that we’ll never forget. I don’t know why this is. Why don’t we have euphoric scars marking our overly blissful moments? This doesn’t seem like something that is our fault, it just seems to be how things work. God created this world perfect, but He went through a pain that will never be forgotten to restore perfection. The gospel can really turn me inside out sometimes. I guess it’s like the cliché metaphor of crawling in the valley before knowing the true beauty of the mountain. In order to have lasting happiness, we have to experience unhappiness. I don’t understand all of this, but I do know one thing, I want euphoric scars. So when the bad times roll around and cut me deep I can show them my other, bigger scars that have been engraved by euphoria. I don’t want to live in the middle, monotonous stage where nothing ever really happens; I want to get to extreme joy even if it means I have to travel to extreme misery. Am I sure I want to be saying this? I think am, but I got a feeling I will be kicking myself when that misery kicks in. I know one thing, God is good, and one day I am actually going to be able to understand this goodness. One day the ambiguity of this whole situation will be shaken. For now, I’ll just keep smiling and keep living my story.

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