29 May 2010

orientation

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell." C.S. Lewis

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:1-5

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19a

slowly falling apart

We got bumped today, but that doesn't really matter. I'm so pleased with what we did accomplish in the last four days. I think we (and I know I) left everything on the river today. We gave it everything we had.

But I'm struggling. Today was my first taste of the end of this piece of my life. At the beginning of the year I determined to be fully present here, loving people and life without being afraid of the fact that I was leaving in a year. And now I know I've succeeded, because it hurts so much.

That's it. That's the real and raw and honest deal. I am once again breaking.

28 May 2010

summer viiis days two and three = victory

Yesterday we rowed over, which means that we rowed the length of the course without bumping or getting bumped, and today we bumped for the second time! We had a Worcester team breathing down our necks, but we nailed the boat in front of us from Balliol College faster than the team behind us could catch up with us.

I can't believe we only have one row left. It's going to be great...

If you're reading this and you live in Oxford, get your bum down to the river tomorrow afternoon and cheer us on!

27 May 2010

we did it

We did it. The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act has finally been passed by Congress AND signed into law by Obama! Thanks be to God! I can't believe it has finally happened. When people are passionate and stubborn enough and make enough noise, the government listens. Here's a summary from Resolve Uganda of what the act is designed to do:

"For over twenty years the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized communities in central Africa, attacking civilians and abducting tens of thousands of children in four countries. The bipartisan LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which passed Congress May 13, 2010 will help stop the immediate violence and end one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts by:

1.Stopping the LRA, by mandating President Obama to devise an interagency strategy to prevent LRA violence, which should include a multilateral plan to apprehend top LRA leaders, encourage defections of rebel commanders, demobilize child soldiers, and protect civilians from rebel attacks; and

2.Investing in sustainable peace, by targeting US assistance to recovery and reconciliation efforts in northern Uganda, which are essential to rebuilding and healing war-affected communities and preventing future conflicts."

It's good. The United States government has finally publicly acknowledged that this is a massive issue and that it is our responsibility to be active in multilateral efforts to stop the violence, protect the innocent, and invest in healing the region. And now that it's law, there are plenty of well-equipped, passionate organizations that are going to hold them to their word.

And did you read that part about "apprehending top LRA leaders"? That's right, it is now LAW to pursue Joseph Kony, that man who has abducted 66,000 children into his rebel army and forced them to commit alongside him horrible atrocities against innocent civilians, including their own communities. Let the search begin.

If you want to read the full text of the act, you can find it here.

Oh, and I am proud to say that my senator, Sam Brownback, was one of the original five bipartisan cosponsors. By the time it was passed, the original five had been joined by 65 cosponsors in the Senate and 201 cosponsors in the house (including every Kansas representative). Obama had a special signing ceremony for the act and released a great statement about it that you can read here.





"Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:5-8

"When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan...
By justice a king gives a country stability,
but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down." Proverbs 29:2, 4

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

26 May 2010

summer viiis day one = victory

We bumped in our boat race today!!!

Basically, boat racing at Oxford is bumps racing, which means that the boats start off a length and a half apart from each other and the goal is to achieve a "bump" by getting any part of your boat to hit the boat in front of you. (Dangerous, I know...) We bumped the Keble College boat in front of us very quickly, only a minute or two into the race, which was awesome!

Our men's team did well too. While they didn't get a bump, they didn't get bumped either, which is an achievement in itself.

Three more days of racing left to go...

23 May 2010

another one

Sorry all my blogs lately have been about rowing. My life is just pretty straightforward right now. I row, I make coffee, I write papers. That's pretty much it.
And so please notice the time on this post. Yes, that's right, it's 4:30 am. Why the heck am I awake?? Because I have to be at the boathouse to row at 5:10 am. That's all. I admit that I'm a morning person. But 4:30 hardly counts as morning. When I walk down to the boathouse, even the ducks aren't awake yet; they're still sleeping in the grass.
Only one more week of this, though. Summer VIIIs, the big race, is this week, and it's going to be a blast. If I get some pictures of it, I'll post them soon! (Like you really want to see another rowing post.)

21 May 2010

as yourself

I still love that rowing thing, but it kicked my butt this morning.

On a happier note, I was the one dominating at my tutorial yesterday.

Life lesson: you try as hard as you can, and at the end of the day, you give yourself grace.

17 May 2010

megan is my name, rowing is my game.

Seriously, how does it get better? Early morning, boat sliding through the fog like Pirates of the Caribbean, the camaraderie of your team... yes.

15 May 2010

indian institute

I'm sitting in the Indian Institute Library. This place is epic. The rare, string-bound books are strangely organized onto metal shelves in a dim, silent room with handwritten notes explaining "58 B continues in the small bookshelf on the carrel to your right." It's the type of place that a killer would wait for his victim, in the dark cranny behind the PAK 12 overflow shelf where the faint hum from the maintenance room can cover his stalker breathing. When you walk down the rows, it smells of dust and cloth bindings and your head brushes against the swinging light cords, though few of them are turned on. I didn't bring a pen, so I can't leave slips where I've taken books; they'll never know. Most of the people in the small adjacent reading area are serious, probably grad students, though there is a couple at the back table flirting with smiles and whispers. I sat down across from a precious old man in a Gandhi cap for inspiration.

Anyway, back to work. Books can't be checked out, so I'll probably be spending a lot of time here over the weekend. If you don't hear from me in the next few weeks, you might check behind the PAK 12 overflow shelf...

14 May 2010

you make me feel happy

Today is my friend Maria's birthday. What better way to kick off a birthday than with a French-themed picnic breakfast in Christ Church Meadows?? Answer: there absolutely isn't one.

Maria, Emma, and Charlotte.

Ruth, Abbie, Alison, and Nadine.

Maria cutting her birthday cake.

Alison, Ruth, Angie, Maria, Charlotte, Hannah, and Emma.

Broad Walk in front of Christ Church.

sunshine + picnic blanket + camembert + sweet girls = happy

05 May 2010

the corner of 1st and amistad

So... I have a question: where the heck is God?

Not emotionally, just physically. Literally, WHERE is he?

Outside the known universe? Isn't that contradictory, the known universe is what we know exists? In some other dimension? All dimensions are physical, aren't they? Is he something other than matter and energy, and if so what? I mean, matter and energy are what are. Other things are really explainable through the physical processes going on in our brains.

I may be talking complete rubbish, because I'm very ignorant in science, but this is a question that really troubles an atheist friend of mine. I don't know, it doesn't really weigh heavy on my mind and I'm not particularly concerned about it, but to her, it's a massive question. And so because she cares, I care. Thoughts, anyone? I'll take any ideas I can get at this point.

04 May 2010

they all had to have been made up by somebody at some point...

I love inventing new words for essays!

Today's new word of the day:
theodicizer [thee-OD-uh-sahy-zer] –noun, plural -cizers.
one who tries to create a theodicy. Ka-bam.

01 May 2010

may morning

It's 6:45 am and I've already been up for two hours. May morning is an epic event in the life of the Oxford student population. Everyone goes out the night before, the really committed (and even moderately committed) stay up all night. We collected a massive group of people in Regent's at 5:15 this morning and traipsed down to Magdalen College, where this is the scene that awaited us:


We lost quite a few of our bunch in the crowd, and then waited half an hour for the promised thrill of the Magdalen choir coming out to sing from the top of the bell tower.

video

As you can see in the video, there are neon-garbed police guarding the bridge so that people don't jump off it and impale themselves on rusty bicycle bits at the bottom. When the magical moment actually arrived, it was... less than magical. We were so close under the tower that we could hardly hear the choir and there was more attention on the random attempts by staggering performers to streak across the bridge than anything else.


It's not all a let-down, though, because the vast majority of the restaurants in Oxford open up early to provide breakfast to starving revellers. And then, the crash. Good thing it's Saturday.