5/29/2014

It was just a bit more than a month ago when I sat in the EGW centre in Newbold library and distracted B. from writing his big essay. As usual, he had a whole mountain of books there with him. And as I had all the free time in the world, I just browsed through some of his books. Then I came across a worn copy of the collection of Maya Angelou's poems, little pink slips of paper sticking out from its pages. And I sat there and read them, some which I had never read before, some which I knew well. That was the last time I read her poems, knowing that she was still with us. No more.

When people like M. A. leave us, I sometimes get this childish fear - who's going to take care of us now? Who's going to teach us? Who's going to show us the right way? How can we continue living and how can we figure this life thing out when such wise people leave us? I had the same feeling when Nelson Mandela passed, I felt it when my favourite Estonian writer Jaan Kross died. It happens every now and then. It's like we're so much poorer, so much more lost without these beautiful people who've laboured and fought and overcome and forgiven and loved and... won.

--

I think it's that bit from her poem which she read to president Clinton on his inauguration day in 1993 that I like the best.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.


I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.


Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.


The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.


--

Rest in peace, Lady.

5/27/2014

Matt Nathanson, All We Are.

I kept falling over
I kept looking backward
I went broke believing
That the simple should be hard

All we are we are
All we are we are
And every day is a start of something beautiful

5/26/2014

Something good can come out of every bad situation. I've always known that and yet I get surprised when it happens again, especially when the good comes in the form of good people.

Last week they were the two leading ladies of my life - The Lady and Dr A. N. - who pretty much took me by my hand and walked me through my Great Disappointment. It was unexpected which made it even more heartwarming. I don't think it says in their contract that they ought to offer emotional help to messed-up students who are not happy with their grades haha! So I really appreciate their kindness. They've been able to remind me of some things I tend to forget myself. One of them said the other day that considering the recent happenings in my life I've done 'miraculously well' (quote) and that I shouldn't be too harsh on myself for 'receiving one mark less than superior' during such difficult times. It doesn't take away the disappointment but I guess they have a point. I should stop beating myself up and get ready for the future.

And this is the last time I want to talk about my thesis.

--

I tried to find and buy a dress for my graduation ceremony today but I couldn't make up my mind. Oh, those hard academic choices never end! :P

--

But on a serious note, I'm eagerly waiting for my homiletics books to arrive in post. The next school year isn't too far away and one needs to start preparing for it. Woop! I guess academia is still alive, and so am I. :) 

5/24/2014

Me and my new phone which I got a few weeks ago have complicated relationship. We seem to have issues establishing the dynamics between us, like, who's in charge, who's got the power, who's superior and who's inferior. I can tell my phone is trying hard to gain control, and it does succeed sometimes. (I mean, even if it's way pass my bed time, how can I not reply to a friend's whatsapping, right? Stuff like that.) But there are areas where I'm more reluctant about giving up my superior position - this mostly has to do with the camera. It's so tempting to start taking pictures with its tiny little camera and post them everywhere. But no, I won't let this happen. Like today. When we headed out for a little trip and a little swim with friends, I demonstratively left my phone home and just as demonstratively took my old camera with me. Some things ought not change.

Our destination.




Water. Magic.

5/21/2014

This week's song is Bob Dylan's classical Blowin' in the Wind in Katie Melua's version. I think it's simple and beautiful and I still remember the magical feeling it created the first time I heard it.

--

Today I thank God for my senior pastor and for the weekly Intern's Manual reading meetings that happen to turn into real counseling sessions. We didn't even get to the Manual today. Life stuff needed to be discussed and tears needed to be cried and prayers needed to be sent up. I really am blessed with special people. (and it's somehow even more special when it's your boss who's so great haha:)

5/20/2014

I found out the grade for my thesis today.

My first reaction was to call my mum. Because that's what I normally would've done in a situation like this. And she would have made everything well again. But I couldn't do that so I called my older brother and cried and cried and cried on the phone. And used more swear words than I had ever done before.

Apparently I'm a big academic joke.

And I was dreaming of St Andrew's.

5/17/2014

Day five. Church kitchen. Getting ready for the youth service.


5/16/2014

Day four. I had a lunch in my favourite cafe today, and as I was enjoying this beautiful soup I also read a book I had got for my birthday. (I've been reading a lot this year and 95% of it has been in English. So reading this book from one of my favourite Estonian contemporary writers - T├Ánu ├Ľnnepalu - felt like falling in love with Estonian language all over again.) Plus I was trying to put on paper a few bullet points on the topic of Church & Society. After the lunch I had to go and participate in a public panel discussion with other pastors from different denominations on the given topic. And as I was quite nervous about it, I tried to be well prepared. The preparation paid off, it turned out to be an interesting (although long) 1,5 hours of discussion, I was sitting between a Catholic priest and a young Lutheran pastor and I got to voice my opinion and say what I thought was relevant. Life of a pastor. :)


5/15/2014

Day three. On my way from home to church office this afternoon. I'm not even kidding you. :) There's a reason or two why I like Tartu.


--

Warmest birthday wishes to my dear friend U. Keep on walking on the road to Zion.

5/14/2014

It's only day two and I'm already cheating. Because today's photo isn't from today but from last night instead. We had our weekly students group's gathering yesterday evening and this is what they came up with. I love my youth. :)

5/13/2014

Today's tune is yet another song I keep coming back to. It's a good song, especially for those who happen to travel through wilderness in their lives. Mat Kearney, Memorial Stones.

Memorial stones in the middle of the Jordan
Lord, you brought me along
I had a change through the desert
In you, Lord, that I'm strong 
Raining bread from the heavens
Giving me a new song
Memorial stones in the middle of the Jordan
I'm pressing on

--

A good friend challenged me to take part in this photo posting thing that's been going on on Facebook. I'm not sure I know all the rules but I'll post here a picture of my ordinary life for the next five days. Here's today's photo.


This is Jaani church here in Tartu. It's one of my favourite places in the whole world, a place where I go when I need some silence. Today I went there and lit a candle and thanked the Almighty for his mercies. For they are many.

--

Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes. They mean a world to me.

5/11/2014

I think in order to be really good at something one needs to train hard. I like the metaphor of all kinds of different muscles. And of life being a training day.

For example. When I go to Newbold after I've been gone for a while I can tell my academic muscles aren't very strong. I take longer to get words on paper, I get distracted more easily, I'm tempted to visit Facebook-land and Youtube-land more often. But after a whole semester of training in the library gym my muscles get stronger and I get tougher. I can do longer days in the library, the quality of the text I produce is often better. All that kind of stuff. Which is one of the reasons I don't want to have a break too long between my studies. I just get academically weak.

But my pastoral muscles are still terribly weak. Like yesterday. I went to preach in a small church group some 50km from Tartu, we had such a lovely church service, and then a looong lunch at one of the church member's house. We only got back to Tartu in late afternoon and as there was no point in me going home for an hour because I had to be back in church in the evening to record a video broadcast, I went to my senior pastor's house. And I'm not even kidding you, I just walked in and crushed their couch and slept for a good hour. When I got up to get ready for the recording in the church, my pastor's little daughter gave me some chocolate and told me I looked like I needed some energy. Haha, tell me about weak pastoral muscles!

(I thought about the muscle thing this morning when I was out jogging. I'm planning on running a half marathon in a few month's time. So training is clearly an important topic right now.:)

--

My Saturday evening treat usually means watching an episode of Downton Abbey and Hercule Poirot on the national tv. Yesterday they showed Eurovision instead. We live in a sad sad world indeed... Oh, and if anyone's wondering, I kept the tv turned off last night. That was my little personal non-violent resistance.

--

It's the Mother's Day over here today. Great. Fantastic. Marvelous. I saw my mum last night in a dream after a long time. I guess that's as good as it gets for me. ****.

5/08/2014

Coloured glass.
I've never seen so much yarn in my life.
Pearls.
I got this hand-made soft toy as a present. :)
We finished our shoe-box presents' project today. It's been really cool to do it again, especially because I was reading books in Norway and drinking tea in England when my friends collected the art supplies, haha! But seriously, everything worked perfectly without me being around. It makes me glad because I can take absolutely no credit for what happened.

A whole mountain of art supplies happened.

You should have seen my office in the church over the past two days. It looked a lot more like an handicraft workshop than a pastor's office. I got kind of tired of all that sorting and unpacking and repacking in the end. There was so much yarn and pearls and textile and glass colours and home crafts' books and coloured paper I wasn't sure we could fit it all in our car. Fortunately we did but then the car was properly packed, from the bottom to the top. I don't know, maybe there were 50 kilos of art supplies we donated today. I found it pretty impressive.

And I've found out this non-profit organisation we gave these things to is going to start a new handicraft club for the disabled people so that they could use all these things together.

As we were sitting in their office and having coffee today after unloading our car, we talked about all kinds of stuff and I asked if they had any books in Braille in the office as I had never seen (nor touched) one. The lady who had welcomed us said they did and that she actually wanted to give me one. She went away for a second and then came back with this big book in Braille. Fortunately it had a title on it in Estonian as well. The book was PAULINE LETTERS. How cool is that!!! Now I need someone to teach me to read Braille. :)

--

I've had a feeling lately I need to write this sermon. I want to write a sermon about the Kingdom of God, more specifically about the parable of the yeast. Because my guts tell me the story isn't so much about yeast's incredible power to grow but rather about its invisibility. You can't see the Kingdom, you can't really pin it down, you can't locate it on a map. But man, you can feel it when its near and real. And I had this weird feeling the whole day today about the invisible Kingdom being near. And that in some mystical way I was right in the middle of the Kingdom yeast.

The Kingdom has drawn near indeed.