The hippos and the yellow birds

In Botswana when we were on our boat safari, we saw a hippo on the shore with a tiny yellow bird on his back.

“Is the bird not afraid of the hippo? It’s gigantic.”

Our guide’s name was Bond. Like James Bond only Bond was his first name. I don’t know if we ever knew his last name. I still think that’s funny because when he said “My name is Bond” I waited for him to add “James Bond” and I wondered if they know who that is in other countries.
Anyways, he explained that the birds eat bugs that live on the hippos like fleas on a dog. Someone else asked if the hippos get annoyed by the birds. But no, they like it, because the bugs bite them, and they have no way to get them off(imagine a hippo scratching itself with its foot like a dog), so they’ll let the birds sit on them all day long. They’ll even walk around and go about their day and the bird just hangs out for the ride and keeps pecking away.

So the birds aren’t hungry and the hippos aren’t itchy and everyone’s happy. And sometimes I think of that out of nowhere and I laugh all over again because it’s adorable.

I don’t have a point today; I just wanted to talk about it.
I love that God made these great big creatures that the rest of nature would be afraid of, but these defenseless little birds love them because that’s where they get their food and the hippos love the birds because that’s the only way they can get rid of the itchy bugs. I feel like there’s a metaphor somewhere in there and I’ll probably think about that and write about it someday.


Only so far.

I remember when it was so easy to get dressed because my closet was a backpack and I only had four shirts. It was extra easy in Bolivia; I’d just get up and put on ALL of my clothes because it was freezing cold there.
That’s all I miss today about the World Race today, because when I’m sick, I just thank God that I have a bed, and a bathtub, and a tv, and a real keyboard to type on(all I had for eleven months was my tablet).

There are streets I picture and can’t remember what countries they were in.
There are some faces in my mind that I can’t remember where I was when I met them.

Any day when I wouldn’t bother with journaling, I’d tell myself “There’s no way I’ll forget this.”
But you do. You forget. You keep living, and you keep forgetting.

Today I was thinking about how sad it would be if your wedding day literally was the happiest day of your life. Why would you want to live fifty or sixty years and never have a happier day? That’s a depressing idea to me.
But don’t I do the same thing with the World Race?
Won’t it be awful if I never have a better year for the rest of my life? To have the best days of my life be over with before I’m halfway to fifty?

That’s just as sad isn’t it?
So I’m not going to let it come true.


You’re gonna run

I think vulnerability is giving someone the power to hurt you and trusting they won’t use it.

I think crying sucks.

I think being sick is annoying

I think doctors are scary

and I think everyone should go to therapy at some point in their life even if they’ve always been healthy.

I used to think the World Race had hardened my heart enough to where I could look at suffering and not be moved.
Now I think it just made my heart strong enough that I can look at suffering and do something about it instead of being emotionally paralyzed by it.

I know Jesus understands me, because when he was suffering, eleven of the people closest to him ran away. Even God turned his back on him. Jesus has known the deepest rejection and loneliness it’s possible for anyone to feel, so that we never have to.

“You’re gonna run, it’s all right, everybody does.”



Tiny things that bring me gigantic joy

1. Pronouncing the word “gigantic” the way Matthew did when he was little
2. Yellow highlighters
3. When friends who aren’t huggers choose to give me an unprovoked hug
4. Reading a book I’ve read so many times that I’ve mostly memorized it
5. Reading a brand new book that can’t be put down
6. When it’s warm enough to sleep barefoot but cool enough to still need my comforter
7. Cats on the internet
8. Dogs anywhere
9. Babies observing smaller babies
10. Customers who will hate on Chipotle with me
11. The old vegetarian couple who come in multiple times a week
12. Making lists
13. Tuesday nights
14. Immediately getting a reply when I text someone
15. Dr Seuss
16. Baths
17. Sidewalk chalk
18. Sunrises
19. Waking up on rainy mornings when I have nowhere to go
20. Sleeping in
21. Going to the movies by myself
22. The Oh Hellos
23. Moe’s queso
24. Playlists that tell stories
25. The smell of a campfire
26. Wearing other people’s hoodies
27. Silence
28. Stars
29. Riding in cars at night
30. Eating cereal at odd hours
31. Meeting other people who still have a flip phone
32. Getting in bed when I’ve just washed my sheets
33. Seabird
34. Scott coming home when he didn’t plan it
35. #ThankYouNoteFridays


Leaping and living again.

I don’t know what it is about extra long Februarys.

Today I was thinking about what my life was like the last February 29th.
February 2nd, 2012 was the climax of my then worst depressive episode.
February 1st of this year was the worst of another record breaker.

At first that made me think life is pretty much the same, and I didn’t like that.
But then I remembered several things at once.
A) 2012 was the best year of my life after the scary first two months and has yet to be matched.
2)I have good friends now who know what’s wrong with me.
D)I wrote a blog last Leap Day.

I went back and read that post. So now, I’m going to write another one of my letters to one of my past selves.

This is a chunk of what I wrote back then. You can read the whole post here if you really want.
I really hope I’m out of college by then. At the moment I have no idea when I’m graduating.
I honestly want to still be at camp. If they ever open a position of “full-time publicist” where I can work there in the summer, and then during the year I’ll go to churches and get them psyched for camp, I have dibs on it; maybe in four years they’ll have one of those. =]
I’d better be married. Seriously. I’ll be almost 25.
And more than anything, I really hope I have a little more direction in my life by then. A lot can happen in four years. If nothing happens in four years, that’ll be a big waste of my life. I want to have done something big for God by then. Right now I’ve done hardly nothing.
So if nothing else, that had better be fixed. I want to live a much more purposeful four years than these past four have been.

Dear 20 year old, self-loathing but slowly becoming un-suicidal Linda,
YOU GET OUT! The toxic people do not succeed in trapping you forever. You WIN. Ten horrible weeks from now you’ll be free.
You had a lot of hopes for today. I felt a little bad for laughing at them, but that’s what I did.
We ARE out of college! If it had taken longer than December 2013, I would have quit, so we would have been out today either way, but we’re out in the way that makes people proud.
We aren’t at camp anymore, at least not in the way you are now. We’ll always be welcome back, but it isn’t the only thing God has for us anymore. I sort of can’t believe I’m saying that.
HA. No dear, we aren’t married. It’s funny because I know how soundly logical it seemed as a college junior to think that you could be within four years. And because I’m afraid God enjoys that joke way too much, I’m not about to venture any guess as to whether I will be on this day in 2020.
But I didn’t laugh at your last paragraph. I couldn’t because I read it and thought what God must have thought as he watched you write it. You had no idea. When you said, “I want to do something big for God,” I don’t think you really believed how big it was really going to be. God saw your dream and said “Here’s that and more.” He gave us eleven big things. We’ve gotten to watch him do so much.
We didn’t waste the last four years, 20. I’m still mad at you for almost not letting me have them, but now whenever I feel like trying that again, I’ll imagine us at 28, on the next Leap Day, thanking me for choosing to live. Because you had no idea what was in store, and you couldn’t make yourself find hope anymore. But it was there and it came to us even though we were too tired to look for it, so I’ll keep choosing to believe that God has four more years of unimaginable grace just like before.
Love, 24 year old, still not married Linda.
PS, sorry I didn’t skydive or bungee jump or even hop down the stairs today. I didn’t read that post in time and had fully forgotten I made that goal. That, I’m genuinely sorry for. I’ll catch you next time.

What do I hope to hear from 28-year-old me? That sounds so old. I’m sure 20 didn’t expect 24 to feel so young.
I hope I did something even bigger than the World Race.
I’ll aim a little lower this year and say I hope I’m at least dating the guy that 32 will be writing to 28 about. But I don’t feel like thinking about being 32; that sounds like 79 to me.
I hope the first two months of 2020 aren’t marked by another episode. I don’t like them.
I’ve come to like surprises too much to make such detailed plans anymore, so that’s all.
Oh, and I hope Jennifer Lawrence has won another Oscar by then, and that I’ve seen the Red Sox play the Yankees. And the skydiving. Seriously, that was the best idea.

That’s it.
Thanks God, for this wonderfully weird day that you give us only every four years. I like to think you made it up just so we’d have a small motivation to reflect on our lives a bit. That’s a fun gift.