Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sundays with Tara

Have you found someone to share your heart with?
Are you giving to your community?
Are you at peace with yourself?
Are you trying to be as human as you can be?

Morrie, from Tuesdays with Morrie, says these are the questions we should be asking ourselves and living into. I've been reading this book over break, letting the wisdom of a dying man breath life into my crackly soul.

[Are you at peace with yourself?]

I was sitting with a group of recent graduates at work during lunch the other day, many of them the same ones I interned with at World Vision that wistful summer in 2010. That summer we'd take over an entire table during lunch, talking excitedly about the things we were learning and how we wanted to change the world some day. We were loud and slightly obnoxious, I'm sure, but we were going places, and you don't look around when you know where you're going.

[Are you giving to your community?]

Now, two years later, we sit at that same table, lost in our own thoughts. We have different stories, but the tune is the same. Life got a little more complicated, loans got a little more stressful, politics got in the way, and the "real world" our parents told us about isn't as dreamy as we wanted it to be. Reflecting on this I leaned forward and said to my kindred friends, "Guys, remember when we were all excited about our futures?" We all laughed, but none of us thought it was funny.

[Are you trying to be as human as you can be?]

I am too dang young to think this way - and I know you're thinking that too. I hear you, this is why I've been concerned. But there's been something in this book...and those questions...that's helping me shift my idea of what a full life looks like.

[Have you found someone to share your heart with?]

Before I graduated I really thought I was going to change the world - like, a big freaking chunk of it. I'm smart, compassionate, and charming, why wouldn't the doors fling wide open for my world-changing pleasure? Big dreams are good, I'm not saying they aren't. I love dreaming and I love people who turn them into reality, but I think my big dreams paralyzed me. If I wasn't extraordinary, if I wasn't different, special, or ground-breaking, I was failing. And when you're failing, your reach gets smaller.

So here's the place I'm coming to, here's what I'm driving at - I think a simple life, a life where you take care of the world around you (and inside of you), is a beautiful life indeed. I look at those questions Morrie asked and drove towards his whole life, and I think - Man, that just feels right. It feels right to be able to answer "yes" to those questions and live a full life.

Here's the thing, people won't write books about me when I die and I might not be the president of an anti-trafficking organization some day, but I want to love the hell out of my little world and serve in a way that makes God proud.

I will give to my community.
I will be at peace with myself.
I will strive for transparency in humanness.
I will keep my heart wide open.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Dear friends, it's been awhile! I thought it was time for a post because a few significant things have happened in my life in the past few weeks, and I wanted to share.

First off. I went to the doctor for an annual checkup recently. When I walked in the nurse asked me to take off my shoes and step on the scale, then ushered me over to measure my height. Just like any start to a checkup right? WRONG. When she measured my height I asked her what she got, not really caring because everyone knows I'm 5'5". "You're five feet four inches," she said. After questioning her for a couple seconds she graciously offered to measure again, so naturally I took her up on her offer, taking special care to stand up straight (maybe cheating just a little). "Nope, still five feet four inches. Sorry?".

I've been saying I'm 5'5" for at least 9 years, maybe 10. Stupid big hair.

Secondly, and less significantly, I got a new job. It's still at World Vision, but is on a team that aligns a little better to my passions and gifts. As of July 29 (at the latest) I'll be a member of the World Vision Experience team. We're the ones who set up events for groups and churches who want to experience what poverty and injustice looks like. We get to tell the story, they get to be changed by their experience. My specific role will be helping develop marketing materials for our various experiences, developing a web strategy, and reporting on how our events are doing, and other random things. My first order of business, though, is to go to Creationfest and help run our Step into Africa exhibit. Did you get that? It's my JOB to go to a big gathering of Christian artists, with a bunch of people, and talk to them about World Vision's work. Guys, I'm grinning from ear to ear.

This means a couple things. It means life looks a little brighter and I'm staying in Seattle. It means I am hunkering down and investing, because I am here. Like, mind, body and soul - here. Seattle is my home for awhile longer. Maybe it's time to look into those Seahawks season tickets...

Friday, April 6, 2012

and the world spins madly on

I have the day off today. One of the many beautiful things about working for a Christian organization? Their respect for Good Friday.

I'm currently sitting in Starbucks...on the 40th floor of the Columbia tower.

I've been wanting to do this since I found out it existed. You're going to let me explore a tall building without sneaking, and then you're going to let me sit and look around? Yes please. So here I sit, in the very corner, smashed up against the windows. Happy as a clam (whatever that means).

my view, currently.

There's something really powerful about heights to me. It stirs up the adventure section of my heart, and the reflective place in my soul, two of my favorite spaces to occupy.

I rode public transportation for the first time today. I will be doing that more often. Few places can you get a group of people from literally all different walks of life, sitting in one space with nothing to do but think or talk. The opportunities to connect, listen and find common ground are right there, because for these few minutes our lives, experiences, and baggage are smashed into this noisy connection capsule.

Melissa just moved here from San Diego because her partner got a job. She was a restaurant manager at home, but hasn't found a job yet, so it's been hard. Glamma in her 60s chimes in from behind her sunglasses, she just moved here from Arizona for her daughter. The rain has been hard. Mr. Huge Football Ring is going to visit his nephews in West Seattle. He loves pets and his heart just breaks when he sees those commercials of abused animals. I can relate.

When I got off there was a woman sitting alone and yelling on the bench at the bus stop. As I passed by I considered stopping and talking to her, stopping to see her, but I didn't. And as I walked up the hill with her screams bouncing off the buildings I regretted every step.

I'm reading this book called "Becoming Human" by Jean Vanier. I'm not far into it, but I can tell you that Jean is an amazing man who leads a life full of stopping when he should. In his chapter about loneliness he writes:

I once visited a psychiatric hospital that was kind of a warehouse of human misery. Hundreds of children with severe disabilities were lying, neglected, on their cots. There was a deadly silence. Not one of them was crying. When they realize that nobody cares, that nobody will answer them, children no longer cry. It takes too much energy. We cry out only when there is hope that someone may hear us.

I bet that woman hasn't been heard in a long time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

out of 365

I've got these days. These days when I'm untouchable and I don't need to prove I'm smart - because it's not about that. These days when I know I'm in the right place, at the right time, with the right heart.

Then there are these other days. These days I'd like to fold corner-to-corner and sit on, perched happily on a problem that keeps kicking my ass.

As sure as it rains in Seattle, I will have these days. I will think deeply and I will listen to Bon Iver. I will breathe in the introspect and be reminded that I am human, that my heart can feel my head, reminding me I'm alive.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

cardboard testimonies.

"There are three kinds of people" she said in between bites. "The kind that smile and wave at you, acknowledging your existence, the kind that ignore you and suddenly have something interesting on their phone to look at, and the ones who give you money without even thinking."

"And what would you rather have?"

"I want them to acknowledge that I exist. That I'm a person too."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

like tomato soup on a rainy day.

There are days when I MISS THIS.