Are you there, God?

Today’s post is a little later than usual. It’s been a long week so, I took a nap around 2pm and got up at 8. I would have turned around and gone back to sleep, but in my head I heard, “you have to do BEDA” so, I dragged myself out of bed to write this. BEDA motivate!

I read this book a while ago, Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey, it’s very thought provoking and it leads to questions like, “Where is God when bad things happen?”

I read this book about 4 years after I moved to the United States, and now, 9 years later, something connected in my head. That something was about the night we moved here and how I could have been disappointed, or taken it as a bad “omen”, and why I didn’t.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that God doesn’t leave us unprepared. Before we left Guyana we were cleaning out the bookcases and I found this old book, Will the Real Phony Please Stand Up? by Ethel Barrett, I don’t remember what grabbed my attention, maybe it was the name, but I decided to read that book on our flight.

The book touched on the life of Job and one of the things that stood out for me was Job, crying out to God, wanting to know why he had fallen so low. His children were dead, he was poor, his friends had forsaken him, his wife told him to curse God and die and his health was affected. Job didn’t have a clue as to why these things happened, yet he still trusted and believed in God. When God replied to Job, he didn’t tell him why he did what he did, he didn’t clue Job in, saying, “Well done, Job!” and though Job was healed and restored, he was never aware of why the bad thing happened in the first place.

I say that God doesn’t leave us unprepared because, that night, we lost the majority of our money and all of our records, the only exception being our passports. It happened at the airport, when we were meeting our family, when we were celebrating our reunion. We were robbed, it was quick, and they took the most important things. My siblings won’t remember, they were very young, 5 and 7 year olds, but I remember. I remember this event with a clarity that I rarely experience when remembering the past. I remember my emotions and I remember that, upon realizing what happened, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “remember Job”.

I could have felt a negative reaction to the entire thing, “How could you God? Where are you? Are you even listening to me?” or, I could have gone the path that comes easier to me, the apathetic path, “Well, obviously God doesn’t take care about his people, so who cares about him?”. However, I found myself taking a different and unexpected path, “Since I am not privy to your ways, God, I’m going to let this play out and trust that you have it all under control. That you will take care of your people.”

I cannot tell you how I would have reacted if I hadn’t read that book, I feel like it prepared me to face that experience and many more after that. The fact is, bad things happen all the time, to all kinds of people; we live in a fallen world and just because I’m a follower of Christ doesn’t give me a pass to a trouble-free life. The thing that determines my faith is how I react when bad things happen. After that experience, whenever the question comes to mind, “Where are you God? Are you there God?” I always hear him say, “I’m right here. Trust me.”

My Fondness for Les Miserables

To love another person is to see the face of God.

When I moved to the United States, I took a few months of high school to finish off my senior year and to take the SATs for university. I started in the beginning of the second quarter and choir was one of my electives.

The Music teacher was working at the school for four years, so he started with my class – then freshmen – and they all had a very close bond. I was the new comer and I definitely felt it.

He had us do a lot of Broadway music and a lot of latin songs, so in our final concert, he wanted the seniors in the choir to do One Day More from Les Miserables and he held auditions for solo parts. I remembered hesitating, after all I’d only been a senior for a few months, but, I liked the song so I tried out for a part. He was definitely hesitant about me being in it, I could tell by the way he treated me compared to the others. I had this stern faced man, waiting for me to riot, while all the others had this jovial, kind-looking man. Finally, he let me be a part of his senior choir’s solo piece, I sang a few lines of Cosette’s part as he wanted to “make sure everyone got a part.” Despite his hesitance, I fell in love with One Day More, the song stuck with me and even though the Broadway show closed while I was in college, I always held out the hope that it would play again.

Continue reading

The Woman In White: The Narrative of Walter Hartright

The Woman in White

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Have you seen the size of this book? Well, fear not! I’m here to help you, here is The Narrative of Walter Hartright from The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins – the bits that you really need to know.

—————

Walter: My Name is Walter Hartright, I am a poor, drawing teacher!

[Walter meets a woman dressed in white on the streets. He shows her the way to London.]

Random Men: Hark, You there! Have you seen a women dressed in white? She escaped from an asylum. We need to find her.

Walter: I have no idea what you’re talking about. [Runs away!]

Marian: I am Marian Halcombe, I am intelligent, witty, great in conversation and have a GREAT body, but, alas, I am ugly and have a mustache.

Walter: Marian, you are great to talk to. I met a random woman on the street. Some people said she was mad, but I threw them off her trail.

Marian: Oh, she sounds dreadfully familiar. Let me read letters to see how I know of her! BTW, my sister is a million times prettier than I am.

Laura: I’m Laura Fairlie. I’m so pretty, and quiet and gentle and I love drawing and walking with my dog. Oh how pretty are the flowers. Like me!

Walter: I am in love!

Laura: [quiet and gentle]

Walter: Every time we draw together I want to act inappropriately and hold your hand.

Laura: [quiet and gentle]

Marian: I have figured it out! Look, Walter, the woman you met has to be Anne Catherick, a girl who my mother took in and here, she dressed her in white and told her that was the best colour for her.

Walter: Fascinating!

Marian: Wait! The best part, she looks just like …

[Laura, dressed in white stops in front of them]

Walter: Your half-sister! Fascinating! Continue reading

An Open Letter to Yelp’s Email Marketing Team

Dear Yelp Email Marketing Team, 

I was away for the past week and you sent me an email, “Yelp Screams For Ice Cream!”. Since I had my away message up, my mailbox automatically shot you an “Out of the Office” type of email. However, as with most email newsletters, this message was sent to a mailbox that wasn’t being monitored, the address returnto@yelp.com. Typically, this would be OK, except for the fact that that email address keeps bouncing and I end up receiving messages EVERY DAY SINCE THEN letting me know that it will attempt to retry sending again. 

Every time I see the “Yelp Screams For Ice Cream” subject line, I want to scream, not for ice cream, but at your poor message management. In a perfect world, this is how it works, Yelp. 

You send email. You receive OOtO response. You accept return message either to a black-box inbox where messages are discarded since your marketing email is no-reply@yelp.com, OR you receive messages to a working inbox. Either way, my message to you needs to be received or it will bounce and it will keep trying that I will be informed every day and that will make me mad!  

Now, you have an annoyed customer who has to wait 8 more days for the mail system to stop trying to deliver. After 8 days, please be certain that I would not want to receive ANY emails from Yelp in the future. I’m just waiting to hit the “SPAM” button whenever I see your emails in my inbox, because, after this, you are practically spam to me, and I don’t open spam messages to “unsubscribe”. 

Yours Sincerely, 
Shanella