my Jesus laughs, bro.
my Jesus laughs, bro.

I like blogging Sundays. I think of it as Jesus’ birthday or something heathen-like, despite all my years as a Christian. I’m like, “hey! Jesus! We should have donuts about you today!”

Here’s what happened this Sunday.

My alarm – 8:30am. I had stayed up until 3am talking to bestie in California. So when the alarm broke, I spent thirty minutes fighting the pressure in my bladder and the pressure in my soul to get UP and get DRESSED and go to CHURCH and DRINK UP SOME JESUS LOVING. I also had a volunteer thing scheduled after church. Then at night, I was going to a concert. So I debated – “I could skip church, or skip volunteering. I could just stay in bed. I could watch something on Netflix. Maybe I’m sick…until the concert. I’m not too sick to concert.”

But something compelled me to get up and be like “Rachel, you fool. Your biggest complaint these last two months has been that you have had nothing to do. LETS ROCK THIS SUNDAY!”

So I went to church – and I was EARLY! Like, not just on time. Early. So early, I got a coffee from the cafe. And the message was bomb – the key was about waiting on God’s promises for life, and while we are waiting – am I getting bitter, or am I getting better? I was like, oh, snap. We need to be so filled with our hope and God’s love that people want to be around us.

And i wondered if that was true of me lately…..I want it to be. I think I was there once. I could be there again.

The last song of the service was my JAM – “You’ll Come” – breaking chains and trusting God and living life to the max. Cried cried cried, as per usual. Then I went to get another coffee, and the girl in front of me bought it for me! I was like whoa. Whoa.

differently abled community garden place of awesome.

I went to the volunteer thing my amazing friend Andrea organized. Coolest story – this guy bought all these buildings in this terrible area known for violence and drugs and robberies, and wanted to sell them to be housing for disabled adults, which was exactly what Andrea’s sweet friend wanted to buy and run as a hobby. Can you believe these people exist?

They got grants to build the apartments to fit exactly the needs of each differently abled person and their caretaker (ie wheelchair space, tracking for a mechanism that can move the bodies from room to room, etc.). They also have Duke Divinity students living there for free, in exchange for providing care for the special needs of each person.

just me, hoeing. ho-ing. hoing? is this a hoe? I don’t even know.

They want a big garden to meet food needs, but there was this acre of wire grass. Enter young adults! Andrea got 20-something of us to come out for six hours and rip up all the weeds, sort through the dirt by hand to remove condoms, syringes, trash, weeds, etc., and till the ground. The whole experience was profound – the least of which was realizing I would have never made it as a pioneer, despite all my Laura Ingalls Wilder fantasies.

The manual labor was satisfying, and I knew it was for an awesome cause, but I was struck with the notion that people around the world, both past and present, physically ache like that everyday to bring us our food. Four hours made me want to cry. Incredible.

We met the adults who lived there, who were so excited for the garden, and I was just…there are always many things to say when you meet people who have been confined to a motorized wheelchair their entire lives, using their heads to nod against a receptor that is programmed with automated computer responses about a few ares of their life. People that require 24/7 individual care. That cannot speak or feed themselves or bathe or date or go to a movie or have children. There are many things this makes me feel, but after meeting people like Sloane and Amy, I am mostly reminded to be happy and thankful to know them, to feed off their own enthusiasm for the little things.

I’m still peeling away blisters from the rake and still finding dirt under my nails. But they are good reminders of the blessings I have and the responsibilities I have to give back and give away and give freely.

When in doubt, be someone people want to be around. Like Sasquatch.
When in doubt, be someone people want to be around. Like Sasquatch.

I also made friends, which was fun. And got hit on by this guy…who kept looking out for me and trying to get my number, until I finally asked him how old he thought I was. He said, “25?” and I said “God bless you.” We shared a beer but I think I shocked him with the “almost 30” bit. It was flattering though! He was 23 and a half. Adorable.

And the concert at night was epic.  Live music is so good for the soul.

And today (Monday) I had bartending school, which I really enjoy. And then Crossfit. And I’ve been reading more and working out and just feeling happier. I’ve been busy. I can’t wait for my sister to come and visit, and for my job to start next week. I am starting to think we are really going to get through this.

I don’t feel too far from the rocky bottom I was hitting just a few weeks ago, but to move up and away from it is starting to feel easier.

Here’s to being someone that people want to be around.