I've never been one of those people who uses a planner to plot out life. When I was in high school I became really skilled at rehearsing. When life would get really stressful I would rehears in my mind all the things I had to get done. I would tell myself over and over each step of the next day, and thus prepare myself to make it through. I would also look at the calendar and imagine myself at the weekend, knowing that by that point all those things that were running through my mind would be finished. I couldn't always make sense of how they would manage to get done, but I knew they would do so.
I think journaling has helped me learn how to rehears even more. Only now I find myself rehearsing the past instead of the future. I've been keeping track of the daily events of my life for more than 13 years now. That's a lot of moments to record, a lot of silly thoughts and deep desires. And when life gets particularly hectic it can be difficult to find the time to write down everything I want to say. And so my mind will often play over past events in an attempt to keep everything straight until the moment I can finally put it on paper.
Right now I'm trying to find a good way to get everything done in a day. It doesn't seem to be possible to squeeze it all into the limited space of available hours. There are certain things that cannot vary. I must be in class at a certain time. I must have a good hour in advance in order to make myself totally prepared to enter the class. And if I don't manage to get some solid hours of sleep in, I'll be a total mess, incapable of doing the job I'm here to do.
But beyond all of that, there are a list of other things I want/need to do. I need to exercise. My body craves it, and my stomach reminds me of the need as it seems to swell before my eyes. If I don't exercise all will not be right in my world. I need to write in my journal. This is often difficult for people to comprehend. They see it more as a choice - even as an obsession. I see it more as a compulsion, and a much needed release. It's where I process, where I pray, where I figure out what I'm really thinking. And the farther I get behind the more rehearsing I have to do, and the more difficult it is to deal with the events of the present day. I want (and would really say need) to keep up with things on the internet. Without the connection to the people I love at home I would really be lost here. I need that reminder that all those people I love continue to exist, and continue to care that I exist as well.
And then there are team dynamics to work through. Relationships all require time in order to grow and be healthy. Even more importantly, there is the addition of Mark in my life. And in order for that relationship to remain healthy it requires a lot of time and attention. I'm more than willing to give it, but the hours quickly dwindle, and I find myself slacking on one area or another.
And then there are those things I just want to do. Like playing Lexulous, or reading novels. Things that help my mind to relax, my breathing to even out. They're moment fillers, but they can also take up quite a lot of time if I don't manage myself well.
Can you see the way my mind gets tied up into things. I came, prepared to write up the rest of last weekend, and instead found myself slipping into the thoughts that preoccupy my time when I have a moment to stare out the window.
With all these distractions, these wants and needs, it's hard to find time to really focus on the things of God as well. Hard to pray as much as I know I should. Hard to meditate on the Word He has spoken. I know it is essential, but it's not easy.
I started this post off with a title that suggested hope. I think when I typed it I really thought I'd just get in, upload some pictures from last weekend, and move on. Little did I know my fingers had other ideas. They wanted the world to really see what is going on in my head, and therefore this tirade poured forth. Oh the distractions of my own little mind...
On Sunday of last weekend (that'd be Sept 27th) Mark and I took an early train to Prague. Well, early for me, not so bad for him. I had to be up at about 6:30 in order to be ready and to catch the train at 8. He, on the other hand, didn't even have to get up until 8. When he joined me bleary eyed at 9 on the bus I could only shake my head. As though he was the one who had to get up early! Ha!
We had a really great time wandering the streets of Prague. Despite living in this country his whole life, Mark really hasn't spent a whole lot of time in Prague. He knows the history, but hasn't soaked in the streets. It was really great to be able to wander around with him. We hiked up all sorts of towers and basked in the sunshine and the glorious views of this ancient city.
We saw this man playing for all he was worth on a very strange instrument. Mark, bein a musician himself, is always really fascinated by the people who bring their art to the streets. This many posed a rather sad figure. He was so intent, almost desperate as he poured himself into the music...
We continued through the streets of the city and made our way eventually up to Petrin. The tower here was built around the same as the Eiffel Tower. It isn't quite as famous, but is definitely a beautiful place as well, and the view (both of the man made city and of God's paintbrush strokes in the sunset) was breathtaking.
It was a really lovely evening, and we ended it off with a nice stroll across the Charles Bridge which has always been one of my favorite places, then back to McDonalds. I have to say that we were at McDonalds...um...several times on this day. But in my defense, it was all Mark's doing. I just went along. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone eat so many McDonalds hamburgers in one day. Pretty impressive :)
On Monday we took part in a huge event in Stare Boleslav, a small town not far from Prague. There we joined the teeming masses that had come out to see the Pope. That's right. Ben-e-dic-to! You should have heard the people cheering his name. They were like football hooligans. No joke! It was really fascinating. The 28th was the name day for St Vaclav, who is the patron saint of Czech. Stare Boleslav is actually the city in which his brother Boleslav killed him. Kind of twisted, but interesting history lesson. Mark was full of great historical information all weekend long, and I'm afraid I'll totally butcher it if I try to say a whole lot.
Anyhow, the pope was there to try to encourage more young people to come to faith. It was definitely a worth while venture. There were about 50,000 people there (more than the number that went to see the Madonna concert last month) many of them waving the Vatican's flag. I can't say I've ever had a whole lot of interest in the Pope, but it was good to see him trying to boost the interest of young people in the love of God. The people there were all super nice to us too. A couple behind us let us borrow a blanket so we could sit down (it was a really long service and there were no seats, it was just out in a big field) and another woman let us borrow her program so we could see all that was being said and also sing the songs. They sang a couple songs I knew, and that was nice for me too.
As you can see, he passed by really close. It was all pretty cool. I was also impressed by ALL the police and army officers they had there, including these snipers that you can see coming down from where they had the bird's eye view.
So now I'm feeling pretty good about catching up on last weekend. Hope it was an interesting read as well :)