I'm officially five Presidents old now, having lived through Reagan, two Bushes, Clinton, and now Obama. (Man, you feel old when you measure you life in terms of Presidential terms!) Confession number 784: I love inaugurations. Maybe it's the history nerd in me or the sappy patriot or the lover of all things traditional, cultural, and classy, but this stuff just give me chill bumps. I think I'm going to have to make it a life goal to attend one some day.
Today's ceremonies did raise conflicting reactions in me, however. On one hand, it was incredible to see history unfold right before my eyes. It will likely go down as one of the defining moments of my generation and one of those "Where were you...?" memories...right up there with September 11 and the death of Princess Diana. Twas quite a momentous occassion right down to the details. I love that Obama was sworn in on the same Bible Lincoln used in 1861. Yay for rare books and beautiful irony! And while I'm a total sucker for momentous occasions and all things historic, it wasn't all hearts and rainbows today.
I worry that our country may be suffering from celebrity fever. Granted, President Obama is a pretty charismatic guy, and I totally respect him as a classy gentleman who loves his country and has a wonderful, hardworking spirit, but I still cringed a little when I heard all those people chanting his name. Isn't it a bit early to be chanting the man's name just for some (albeit hopeful) campaign promises? What exactly has he actually done in the grand scheme of things so far? I do so hope his presidency is a fabulously successful one because we're in some deep valleys right now, but I can't understand why I'd want to buy an Obama commemorative porcelain plate that advocates the slogan of change for $99.95 when the man just took office today.
I do wish our new President the best of luck, and I am excited about what ideas he might have to change things for the better, but as he said himself in his speech today, no one man can change a country by himself. Change starts with each American, and if we want our economy to look brighter, then we had better stop buying things we can't afford. Poor George Bush has to endure all the blame for the dismal economy that Americans ourselves screwed up in the first place.
Speaking of President Bush, watching the ceremony today, I couldn't help but notice what a crappy job we do of saying thanks to our outgoing presidents. A brief introduction...then we push them onto a helicopter like recluses. What a great way to show gratitude to the men who have the toughest job in the world. I know one thing though: I believe the happiest man in America right now is sitting happily and contently on his back porch on a quiet ranch in Texas and watching the stars with his lovely former First Lady (and, you know, 50 Secret Service guys). Thanks for doing your best, Mr. President, and forgive us for disrespecting you so. Enjoy your retirement! And, Mrs. Bush, I'm proud to join your profession...thanks for making us librarians look so elegant and for constantly reminding the country just how important libraries are...and thanks for bringing classy back!
And to our new President, may God grant you wisdom and strength to make the right decisions for our nation. You're in my prayers. Enjoy your new crib, and get those cute girls a puppy!
I'm so glad God doesn't promise us happiness. What a fleeting, unsatisfactory thing is happiness. Ever-changing. Whimsical. Flighty. One minute it's standing beside you. The next it's gone without a trace, leaving you in the dark.
That's not my God. He's steadfast. True. Trustworthy. Foundational. Everlasting. He doesn't promise we'll never hurt, but thankfully, He does promise to see us through. To hold our hand. To give us a reason to keep going, keep fighting, keep loving, keep serving, keep showing His glory. He promises to never leave us in the dark. In fact, it's impossible for Him to leave us in the dark because He is light. He is hope. He is trust. He is joy.
His joy is staring life and all its hardships, pains, and heartaches square in the eye...and smiling.
A wise professor once told me that true wisdom is not learning how to give up what is bad for what is good but learning how to risk giving up what is good in order to embrace what is best. It's happiness versus joy.
Sorry for the long hiatus from the ol' blog, readers. I've been busy soaking up every ounce of quality free time I could possibly muster while school's out, and I must say, it was indeed a refreshing Christmas break.
I spent a few days in Oxford with the fam then headed to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl for a week with my parents (Staci was on a mission trip to Honduras...sweet!). I actually enjoyed watching Ole Miss regain some confidence in their football program, and it was nice to see Dad so excited again...even if the 50 million "Hotty Toddys" did drive me slightly crazy. Twas a great trip with my parents...harking back to the countless sports trips we made in the past. Ah, memories. Plus as an added bonus, I got to spend three whole days with Jenn and Chris! Man, I wish those kids lived closer because I love me some Carters! I love that you can be away from close friends for a while and just pick up right where you left off. And now that Jenn's married, it's like I've gained another great friend too in the hardcoredness that is Chris Carter. Haha! Fun times in the Big D!
And to top it all off, I just got back from Yoakum/Houston where Kaitlin and I visited Doug and Kat and the Taylor clan. It was beyond wonderful to get to catch up with them and hear how God's using them during the transition time between now and the time when they plan to go on the foreign mission field. They're so faithful to serve Him wholeheartedly wherever He has them even as they wait for a more permanent situation. It's inspiring.
Their pastor in Houston this morning spoke on discontentment, and I was reminded that we can never be content with how close we are to God and that we should be striving each day to know Him more and more and to serve Him sacrificially where we are in the now. It's a lesson I'm taking to heart personally as I finish out my last year of school. I want to give him 110% no matter how ready I am to start a new chapter. He still has abundantly more than I can imagine for me to do here in Baton Rouge, and I can't wait to see what's around the corner this semester. I'm so thankful God has blessed me with such incredible godly mentors and friends like the Taylors to visualize and exemplify that lesson to me as well. (Love you guys! I want to play more Spinner soon!)
That's all for tonight, folks. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
P.S.: Running on hay bales is ENTIRELY too much fun. And I'm a horrible four-wheeler driver. ;)
I'm just your typical twenty-something trying to find His way for my time here, and it's a beautiful journey.
"I'm a reader and a storyteller, and God chose literature and story and poetry as the languages of my spiritual text. To me, the Bible is a manifesto, a guide, a love letter, a story."
---Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines