Today started at what can only properly, or rather, sanely, be called an insanely early hour of the morning: 7:00 am. I was meeting a new friend for breakfast at 7:30, because this was the only time we could find that worked for both schedules. Okay, she was cute, too, so that helped in my willingness to wake up, but really, this was truly just a "get to know you" variety of breakfasting. In that vein, it came up in conversation that her roommate had graduated from Minnehaha last year; I didn't recognize the name, but still, neat connection.
I think I've discovered that God's an early riser. My first surprise of the morning happened before breakfast at around 7:20, when I first came into Fireside to wait: I saw someone who, from a distance, looked very much like my best friend, but, as I realised after waving and talking at them, definitely wasn't anyone I even knew. That was awkward.
Ashley and I resumed our weekly Monday morning workout time today, surprise, it turns out we've been in one of the same classes this semester and didn't know it! Well, we're not quite as ignorant as that makes us sound: she's in one section of the class and I'm in the other, so, same class, same teacher, just different time of day. Still, cool! Not so cool, though, the massive "worksheet" that's due Tuesday (tomorrow) comparing the four Gospel Passion narratives. I did mine Saturday night, and it took many hours. Why bring this up? Because in the course of our conversation, Ashley pointed out to me that, listed on the assignment sheet, even, there's a website that could have helped me with the comparing. Hmm, read directions? Me? Surely not!
Later in the day I received an email from Matthew telling me our friend Michael is in the hospital in serious condition. He told us a few weeks ago about how his heart was becoming less and less effective, and that he needed a new one to live. The doctors 'gave' him only a few months. The "good news" is that being in the hospital now bumps him to the very top of the waiting list (he was further down on the list before not because he wasn't in desperate need, but simply because he still had a quality of life on his own outside of a hospital bed).
So now we pray. It's an odd prayer, if you think about it, because as I realized, in order for Michael to live, that means someone else has to die. What a conundrum. On another related philosophical note, we never really know when our time on this world is going to be over; knowing of cases like Michael's is one reason I decided many years ago that I would be an organ donor.
After a short break following class, I met DaveO (he's one of the pastors at Emmaus, also the one who leads Thursday Night) in Buntrock for our weekly Monday afternoon talk–just a time to talk about what's going on in life, usually my life, mostly on the spiritual side, Bible reading, prayer life, the God-connectedness factor, and also classes, homework, a brush with the attractive females in my life, whatever comes up. The time goes by too quickly, but I cherish it just the same, not only for the opportunity it gives me to talk about myself (my favorite subject, of course), but also because I've found David is a very wise man who always has some positive, deep spiritual insight into what I'm feeling or going through; our talks help bring a little bit of outside perspective to my chaotic mind.
The rest of my afternoon was spent entirely in the library in my new favorite, couch-lined study pit. The topic of my studies? Reading, and lots of it, since I'd not really done any all weekend yet. Oops. It also kind of limited the number of surprises God could throw at me–after all, aside from when I took breaks to read a chapter or two from "Surprise Me", there's not too much unexpected stuff going on in books about sin or the Christology of Paul's letters.
That may have been a lie; I did have one surprise: I actually finished all the reading that I needed to get done for Tuesday. Now, granted, some of it may very well have been sped-read, with some cost to actual comprehension of the material, but let's be honest, I wasn't getting much out of it to begin with, so I don't feel terribly guilty.
Somewhere in the midst of addiction and sin (reading about, not engaging in, mind you) there was a quick break for dinner with Ashley–we both had a lot of work to do, so it had to be quick, but still, better to eat quickly with a friend than alone. And we both got a surprise: the lemon bars. Oh, yes, Stav had lemon bars! This is a rare event, one that must be properly celebrated by taking multiple servings of the delicious lemony substances. But wait, this time around a surprise lurked! When the lemon bar primordial ooze of goodness was being formed in the mixing bowl, it apparently suffered a massive overdosing of salt, a taste that made its way quite noticeably into the final product.
After dinner, and after more reading about Paul, I packed up and returned to my room, anxiously awaiting my 8:30 time to play guitar with Stacy. Stacy is one of those people that lives on my "oh-my-goodness-you're-so-cool-I-can't-believe-you're-actually-talking-with-lowly-little-me" list. More specifically, she's one of the Selah leaders, and, like fellow Away With The Stone band members Adam and Kurt, is a really really good guitar player (she also seems to play just about every other stringed instrument known to mankind). Okay, so getting to play / learn guitar with/from her is just as amazingly, awe-inspiringly cool as it has been when I've met with Adam and Kurt in the past. I know they're normal people, but still in my mind I've placed them all on this pedestal of near-deity-ness.
Before lugging my guitar to one of the Ytterboe practice rooms, I thought I'd print out a few chord sheets to bring with, just of songs I know or wanted to know. Turns out that the Rand printer forgot who it was, and so no one in the dorm can print to it right now. Ben and I identified the problem (it has the wrong IP and needs to be re-netreg-ed, likely another small fall-out from the Great Network Crash of Aught-Seven) and emailed IIT, but that still meant I couldn't print anything. Oh, well. Surprise.
Lack of chord sheets wasn't a huge issue, though. More to my chagrin was the fact that I was not in top guitar-form that night. This is what I get after a couple days of not practicing. So that was a bit embarrassing, and it's hard to justify saying "I'm normally better than this, I promise". Oh well, it was still an absolutely awesome two hours of friendship building and guitar skill honing, and of course now I have plenty more to practice.
The time was getting late, and I have an 8:00 am class on Tuesdays, so it came time for me to march back across campus for two last small surprises: when I got back to the room I walked in and found we had a guest visiting: Dave, one of the CS graduates from last year. We didn't talk long, I had to get to bed and the others all went out to the Pause, but still, it was good to see he's doing well.
My last fun little surprise came in the form of an absolutely great quote that I read on another friend's blog. The quote, classically though mistakenly attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, is thus: "If you're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart, but if you're not a conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain." Sadly, in whatever permutation it takes, he never said it (I'm not a hypocrite, I check my sources: http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=112), but still, regardless of original authorship, I found it to be hilarious; I guess I'm probably just a little more aged, no, let's say, "mature", than most of my fellow college classmates :)