Alyssa Sellers


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Single in the Summer is the Worst

single in the summer squareBeing single in the summer is the worst.

Sure, the Christmas/New Year combo could vie for the title of Worst Season to be Single. What with the constant barrage of songs telling you that Christmas just ain’t Christmas without the one you love and all the parties you have to attend solo with the faces of other happy families reminding you that you are a family of one.

Stealthy summer wins because of its tricky sneak-attack of sadness.

At first, the physical freedom from outerwear mixed with extended hours of daylight provides a certain kind of euphoria. Soon, however, you discover you have a tad too much time.

In the dead of winter, it’s dark all the time and you have no place you need to go so you feel no guilt staying in on a Saturday night watching an entire season of some show on Netflix. But in the summer, the sunny outside world beckons with promises of road trips, camping adventures, ball games of all sorts, hikes to majestic views, naps in lush meadows, seaside rambles, and so forth, you know what I’m talking about, you feel me. Continue reading

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Because Even in a Group You Can Feel Totally Alone

cropped-multipigeon.jpg

Alone.

I was in the middle of a three-day camping trip with 50 other people from my church whom I know and love and I felt alone.

It was Saturday; the second morning of our camping adventure and a new wave of friends joined us during the night. I arrived on Thursday afternoon along with three families with kids and one other singleton. Now, in addition, there were married couples without kids, couples at various stages of their dating relationships and a smattering of singles.

I was sharing an old-school canvas tent that I nicknamed Big Top, with a rotating cast of single ladies because most could stay one night but not another. When I woke up on that second morning I walked down the hill passing the tents containing the 50 some odd members of our group, out of the camp site and down the road to the day use picnic area. Continue reading


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Lessons of Love: Start with a Smile

Smiling

 

Downtown Portland is filled with people who want something from you.

They want your name on a petition, they want you to buy their new product, they want you to sign-up to support an international child or an environmental cause, they want your money for a Tri-Met pass, dog food, beer, weed, human food, a hostel, etc., or they want you to repent and follow their Jesus who hates a long list of people groups they have proudly printed on their sandwich boards and canvas signs.

Residents of this economically diverse neighborhood will encounter at minimum three requests a day for something from them. Consequently, residents of this neighborhood don’t look up. They don’t make eye contact. They don’t engage with one another. Continue reading


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Jesus: Lonely Like Me

Salt Lake

In Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis, Lauren F. Winner talks about her faith being somewhere in the middle; not in the excitement of her conversion but in the numb monotony of the middle. In one section she is reading her Bible in an art museum and she writes what she thought at that time:

“The story ends with Luke’s telling us that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. ‘A little like escaping to the quiet of a museum,’ I think. What can it mean for a place to be lonely?
‘A place, lonely like Jesus? Lonely like me?
Maybe I can make my loneliness into an invitation – to Jesus – that he might withdraw into me and pray.’” (page 141)

I have been thinking a good deal about Jesus’ loneliness. About how often he was misunderstood, even by his best friends. Continue reading


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Hazy Shade Of Winter

Apartment View~ Portland, OR~ January 2012

(Because life isn’t all sunshine and roses, I am posting something I wrote a few days after the New Year. In a couple of days, I will post the post script to this story.)

When I was in Louisiana over Christmas I walked to my parents’ church as the sun was setting at 6 PM. It was beautiful. Six PM! How novel! The sun sets at 4:40PM in Portland in December. It’s pretty brutal. Needless to say, it’s winter and my hibernation has begun. I find myself not wanting to walk the five or so blocks in the dark to see my friends up the street. I blame the darkness, but part of it is the uncertainty. I don’t have any answers to any of the questions people ask me and it overwhelms me.

When is your lease up on your apartment? January 31.

Do you know where you are going to move to? Nope.

What are you looking for? I don’t know.

How much do you want to spend? I don’t know.

Who is going to support you as you do full time ministry? I don’t know.

What are you going to say to people to encourage them to support you? I don’t know.

I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!

And what I really want to say is that if you can’t honestly reply with something that is actually helpful and constructive then DON’T ASK!

I don’t want to hear it. I don’t need your added disapproval heaped upon my personal feelings of failure and worthlessness. Trust that I do a pretty marvelous job of judging me. That position has been filled.

So I avoid situations with multiple people. Because what is worse than being asked all those questions; being asked all those questions in front of multiple people.

I feel old today. Old and tired and worn out. Like a toy on the shelf at Goodwill. Goodwill’s better than the alley, right?