Thursday Thoughts, July 28th

There are always at least a few customers every day who are surprised that chips are free.

“Do chips come with that?”
“How much is it for extra chips?”
“WE CAN GET REFILLS ON CHIPS FOR FREE???”(This was an adorable middle-aged couple who’d been joking about how the husband always ate half the wife’s chips while she ate her burrito; I said “You know you can always come ask for more, right?” and you’d think I’d told them we were adding a second Christmas to the calendar)

Once there was a woman who ordered a bowl of queso, and asked if she could pay for a few extra bags of chips because she’d also be getting lots of salsa(which is also free). I told her of course we could give her as many as she needed, but they were free. She says, “Oh no, I need a lot of them, you can’t give that many away, I’m glad to pay for them.” Even after I explained that there’s literally no way to charge her for them, even if we wanted to, she still seemed surprised.

Then there are others who, when I ask if they want chips(if you get a burrito bowl or a salad, we ask; otherwise we’ll automatically put them in your basket), ins

I think God is the same way with grace.

We wonder how much it costs us, what we have to do to earn it, if there’s ever a limit.

Nothing, nothing, and never.
You pay for a meal and get free chips.
Jesus paid for your life and you get free grace.

And unlike when you ask for more chips, and I’m happy to give them to you but also wanting to pitch a small fit because later I’ll have to fry more…Jesus completely and endlessly delights in giving us grace on grace.



Things and lists

Things That Make Me Bounce-worthy Happy
(My friend Casey told me once “Sometimes you get so happy that it’s like you’re wagging a tail you don’t have.” If you know me even a little bit you’ve probably seen the exact bouncing motion I’m talking about and this is one of many qualities that convince people I’m half a puppy)
1. That beautiful phase of watching a new show when you’ve worked into that groove where you feel like the characters are your friends but you’re still learning new things to love about them because you’re still in the first few episodes.
2. Hugs.
3. Spontaneous hangout times, because when they’re planned, people have time to cancel and I have time to look forward to it and then get disappointed. No plans=no hopes. Plus surprises are just the best.
4. When a customer pays for the stranger behind them in line.

Things I’m Determined to Do Someday
(of midlevel importance)
1. Go on a date
2. Hug David Ortiz
3. Catch a ball at a major league game
4. Pay off my student loans

Things That Have Always Been the Same
1. I’ve always had trouble sleeping and I’ve always been a night owl. By that I mean, I was nine months old the first time I ever slept through a full night, and my earliest childhood memories are of lying awake in bed quietly singing entire Chris Rice albums from beginning to end because I could. not. sleep. This was before I could read; once that happened I’d sneak books under my bed and read until my brain finally shut off.
2. I’ve always hated rice.
3. I’m positive I was born with ADD. Most cases are developed, but some people’s brains are that way from day one and anyone who knew me as a child would testify that I’m among the second kind.
4. I’ve always had a good memory, and I’ve always loved when people ask to store things in my head.

Things That Used to be Different
1. I wasn’t always afraid of the dark. That started when I was eight.
2. I used to like chocolate and I can’t remember exactly when I stopped; the first time I remember telling someone I didn’t like it was in ninth grade at a Christmas party, but I’m sure I didn’t just suddenly decide it in that moment.
3. I used to want to live in South Carolina forever and never get on a plane, much less leave the country for eleven months.
4. I used to love journaling, now it’s a chore. Writing I love; recording my day to day life, I dread.

Things I Felt Like Thinking About
1. Now and then I get sad that I had to change my major, because I LOVE learning about anything to do with psychology, I just wasn’t smart enough to write the papers or pass the tests.
2. Sometimes I pretend I don’t remember people’s names so they’ll feel okay if they forgot mine, because I’m aware that I’m abnormally good with names and most people need to meet someone more than once.
3. I think I love Scorpion so much because it’s about a bunch of people who are different but still fit perfectly in their job. I’m Paige in real life even though I wish I was Toby.
4. God put an extra dose of humor in the part of my brain where a sense of direction should be. So I can’t navigate to save my life, but at least I can write a witty story about it once I find my way home.
5. I like TV better than movies because you get to hold onto the characters for longer. Also because I have attachment issues and an obsessive personality…you can spend days watching every episode of a show while a movie is over in a few hours at most.
6. It bothers me just a tad that every other list has only four points and this one has six. Five if you don’t count this one pointing out the numbers.


Birthday resolutions

I don’t like New Years Day. It’s so hard to feel full of hope and ready for a fresh start when it’s bone chillingly cold. All I feel on January 1st is ready for spring. So I’m never in the mood for resolutions when the rest of America is talking about them.

Last year I decided to think of the day before my birthday as my personal New Year’s Eve. The next day I wake up and celebrate and decide the one thing I want to accomplish by my next birthday.
So I turned 24 and pledged to find a community to fill the aching dead space where F Squad had lived.

Last week I was too busy traipsing around the great white north, and armchair managing the Red Sox(I offhandedly said during the All Star game “We should really try to get Drew Pomeranz” and two days later guess who we made a trade for? I’ve rarely been more proud of myself), to really sit down and think about what I wanted out of this next year of my life.
This morning when I woke up and still didn’t feel like leaving my cloud of a bed, after our 15 hour trip home yesterday, I laid there and thought of something I’ve now wanted for twenty years.

This is Tito.
Let me say it one more time because it’s so bizarre to me: this picture was taken twenty years ago. I’ve since learned that bangs don’t work on me.
Tito was from the Dominican Republic. He was staying with my babysitter’s family for a month because he had heart problems and needed surgery in an American hospital, so I got to play with him every Sunday at church and usually a time or two during the week. We were BFFs. Every time we saw each other we would run and yell and hug like we hadn’t been together in a year(I guess when you’re five, a week between Sundays feels like a long time).
But Tito didn’t speak a word of English. This didn’t stop us from talking to each other; he was almost as talkative as I am and neither of us noticed that the other had no idea what we were saying.

Still, I begged my mom every day to teach me more words in Spanish so I could say them to him. I think I told him how old I was every time I saw him, because that was the only whole sentence I knew; otherwise I’d just excitedly point to any new object in the room and yell the word I’d learned. He would laugh and continue rambling in Spanish, not realizing that I hadn’t suddenly become fluent just because I knew the days of the week.
We both cried when it was time for him to go home; I remember he made me a card with a note in Spanish in it, and Rachael had written the English translation on the back. Even though my mom tried to get me to understand that I’d probably never see him again, I was determined to learn ALL the Spanish in case he came back someday.

I never got around to becoming fluent, but I’ve never stopped wanting to learn. Sort of like how I’ve always wished I liked another sport besides baseball; I go through phases and try to get into football or basketball or even hockey, but it’s too hard and I give up after a couple weeks.
Especially after living in South America for four months and loving teaching English in Ecuador, I knew for sure that whatever I ended up doing with my life, I wanted to do it in Spanish.

So, that’s what I’m going to do with 25. Actually try. Study consistently. Turn 26 knowing significantly more than what I learned in high school. And maybe do something with what I already know; I could probably have a lot of fun tutoring high school kids who don’t pay attention in class, because people always get excited when I’m excited.
I don’t know how I haven’t gotten started on this earlier, because my practical* dream job is to work with foster kids whose parents have been deported(did you know that happens? The children are citizens because they were born here, but their parents were here illegally, so they get sent back to their country while their kids have to stay here. I’ll help translate between the legal people and the parents, and the kids and their American foster families). I don’t usually like to tell people that because they always remind me how impossible that is for me, seeing as I got the wrong degree in college. I get that, but Oprah was like 40 when she made it in life, so I’ve got time.

I’m excited about life. 24 was long and dark. 25 looks bright and full.

*My out of my mind, never gonna happen dream job is to teach English to pro baseball players who come from places like the Dominican Republic, or translate for them in interviews. Getting a job in a field in which I have zero knowledge or experience sounds much more doable when you compare it to that.