Monday, December 29, 2008

Onward Towards a New Year

Christmas was at once hectic and long as well as slow and peaceful. I worked part of Christmas Eve then headed home in time for the 4 o'clock Christmas pageant (our daughter was the donkey - for whatever reason she enjoys being the donkey) and me ushering. Then we went home had our Christmas meal opened presents put enjoyed each others company, then got the kids into bed, and I headed off to the late Christmas service to usher and EM at communion.

I got home after midnight to find that Santa's helper was having major difficulties getting the wagon assembled. We made it to bed sometime before 2am. The kids woke up at 5:30am - they were very excited about their Santa presents to which the parents replied "oh good, but it's too early to be up". So, the kiddos played with their new gifts and watched their new videos until a more respectable 6:30am. Then it was off to church at 10am. It turns out the service was lightly attended so me and the daughter ushered together. She was great and it was so sweet to do that together.

The rest of the week was this easy pace of doing this and that without the usual rush to and fro. There was only one day when the kiddos drove themselves and their parents completely nuts by the end of the day.

The pace was so relaxed that by 8:30pm I was totally wiped out. I would fall completely asleep while the wife read to the kiddos...then she would wake me up and we'd watch episodes of Season 5 of the L Word (a xmas gift). We also watched an excellent movie "In the Company of Strangers" - well actually the wife watched all of it - I fell asleep (go figure).

And we had this fantastic and uncharacteristically warm weather. Our ideas about what's warm and what's not are beginning to morph to fit our more northern abode...ya gotta shake your head in wonder when you think 45 degrees is warm. The sun even managed a short but welcome visit.

If you want a sense of Burlington there's a book called "The Dream of a White Village" - it was written by a UVM professor who still lives in Burlington. And in some sense, what he wrote about then (published in 1994) still mostly holds.

There's still this tension about how I feel about Burlington and Vermont, but it's becoming more healthy, more socially justice inclined as opposed to this place is going to be the death of me feeling. I don't feel trapped anymore. Sometimes I lay in bed and get this surreal feeling - like wow, I'm actually in Vermont and not Texas.

I've begun a more consistent mediating cycle again, and doing the spiritual things that I did in Tejas that "fed me". I got Borg's "The Heart of Christianity" and this feels like one of the final pieces of healing that needed to be in place. The last is a continually reaffirming/reminding myself that the type of person I am and the type of priest I envision myself to be is ok. And the more I relax into that the healthier I feel. I am beginning to trust again - to faith again.

I have two new year's resolutions:
1. Begin working on my spiritual autobiography and discernment questions.
2. I don't think I can change the cup is half empty part of me, but I can change how I respond to that point of view. I can use this view to positive end results.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and safe travels.

We've been blessed and surprised by the gifts that just keep coming. We've gotten to know our mailman a little bit, and yesterday he had dropped off a package from my Aunt, and then returned a little while later with another package..."I thought I was done with my route and there was this other package for you - seems they just keep coming."

It seems they just keep family and I have such fabulous friends and family, I wish we were as fabulous as they.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Adult Ed - An Advent Reflection

So I had been tagged to teach an Adult Ed Advent Reflection prior to my camel's broken back moment; by the time I actually had to teach it I was in recovery.

I struggled with what I could possibly say - what could I reflect upon that wouldn't ooze anger, pain, and confusion. What could I say without turning the class into JSD's personal rant and/or therapy moment.

So, I went the safe route...I turned to my books looked up the meaning of Advent, then my commentary to look up what it had to say about the readings, and left my reflections on the light (read detached side). And since I'm just beginnging to regain my shaky spiritual equalibrium I stuck to this plan.

I went through the readings and my monologue and then opened it up for questions. In the end the piece that caught people where two things I hadn't even thought to discuss which was the church calendar overlaying our secular calendar and what a gift that had been for me. And the second topic was about rules of life which was sort of planned for because of 1 Thes.'s reading (a 91 word pocket rule-of-life) but not to the detail that I went into.

But, for three people they heard something they needed to hear. Person one to the wife, "tell JSD that her class was really good and she's left me with lots of questions to think about". Person two, what's a rule of does it work. I think that's just what I'm looking for, that might be it to her husband. Person three, I should have been in here. I'm sorry I came in late. I was having these other conversations but what I needed to hear was you. This was so real, it was really real.

All I can say to them all is thank you. I felt that their comments afterwards gave me more then I could possibly have given in my class written from a place of pain looking for safety, but well really it was the conversation outside that framework that I think maybe made connections...cause I was speaking from my own unguarded self...talking about relationships...and perhaps in time and in some other space talking about one's wounds will feel ok here.

In a totally different conversation the day before I told a fellow EFMer what it was I couldn't share at EFM. It shocked her cause she's discerning too, but she listened. And when I said I just don't know how honest to be in those things (touch base time), she replied, yeah me neither - I thought it was really brave of you to say that there was something so painful that you couldn't talk about it was really brave. I laughed and told her thank you because I had felt like a really big chicken.

There's alot here for me to distill through. Peace into the fourth week of advent.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Fhankful Five

1. For all the people who love me even though I don't always make that easy.
2. That I didn't break the shovel this morning, like I did the snow scraper.
3. That my in-laws are awesome.
4. That the software I've been testing is almost out the door.
5. That today has been a good day and not an unfortunate one.

p.s. And thank you San for the blog award - ya helped make my day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events + A Sprinkling of Perspective + A Dash Sass

I've decided that the book series titled "A Series of Unfortunate Events" has come to describe my life currently. But at least in my version none of the unfortunate events involves someone trying to kill me and mine.

My canoe with no oars has passed the latest set of rapids...I'm currently drying my drenched self - thank goodness for wool; warm even if wet. But, awefully stinky...eewweee ;-)

I've come to doubt everything...but still managing to hold onto my thread of a lifeline to God. We're ok...I'm reading "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People" a must read for someone living in the midst of a series of unfortunate events.

Can I rebuild my relationship with God in time? Can I find my voice of call that shivers in Sunday School class (or here commonly called Adult Ed)? Can I let go of doubt and worry, and sit instead with wonder and hope?

I need a new table and some different guests, all whom I seem to be finding but not at church. I'm finding the people who care in VT are not in my religious circle, well no there's one retired preist and his wife. But, maybe that is how it should be...this isn't a church that sees itself as a family but more like social justice avengers with no headquarters to return to when weary and in need of rest. Where they find their solace and lick their wounds I do not know...maybe at the Duncin Dougnuts across the street.

Trip Upon Thyself and Voice of an Other Generation Avenger away - Peace out, 2 Chest Bumps, and 1 Fist Knock...damn, that wasn't the combination to Wonder Woman's jet - oh hey wait I can't walk on water yet - shit there goes the canoe...catch y'all later.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I Tag Thy Self

Seven unuasal things about me...hmmm, maybe I can change the tag if I can't think of 7 things.

1. My first name rhymes with Scoobey Doo, and since I blog annonymously have fun.

2. I grew up calling sliding doors - door walls...I think it's just a Michigan thing. The first time I said door wall in a sentence my wife looked at me funny.

3. My right foot is bigger then my left foot which makes finding shoes a royal pain in the butt. To add insult to injury my right foot also has plantar fasciitis.

4. I know how to say I like the way you wiggle your ass in Korean. Ah those where the so-ju days.

5. I didn't win any awards until my time in the military. Suprisingly, I was quite a good soldier - it just wasn't for being gay and all.

6. I don't not know how to read a tape measure past wholes, quarters and halfs. When my wife learned of this she lovingly told me how sorry she felt for me.

7. I've purposefully pushed myself into a crevise just to have to then climb right back out of it. A crevise is an eerily beautiful space to occupy (well as long as you're attached to a rope). The hardest part was the last two feet, because my body weight and backpack dangled off my hip 5 feet below me kept digging the rope deeper and deeper into the snow bank around the edge. It's very hard to get your mittened fingers between the rope and the snow and push this thingy (I can't remember the technical terms anymore) up which would then inch me literaly up an inch (or however much I was able to move it). It took close to an hour to climb up 10 feet.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

An addition since things aren't quite so flux

Well, I tried my best to walk away, call it quits. If I had been able to get my old job back that would have been the end of the journey. But, not so...the door I knew was closed had a moment of oasis...but that's all it was - an oasis.

For better or worse...the path is set. Where eventual discernment (assuming this ever happens - maybe Spring, maybe not) will lead to a yea or nay. I continue to be humbled or perhaps buckled is a better word. Either way some time in prayer is vastly needed. I haven't trusted myself to talk to Him, nor was I in a place a week ago to trust Him. The trust piece is still a little shakey, but I'm now more willing to believe my journey here is not meant to be a waste, that no matter what the outcome it will add value to my life - and not subtract from the quality of life of my family.

Somehow, the events leading towards the end of my day have brought a calmness of spirit, a groundedness. I know this feeling within myself is fleeting - so for now I will enjoy the feeling of being present with God.

So what do you do when you and God are looking at each other funny?

Put your head in the sand.

Ok, well, that doesn't really help. I could write a whole bunch or not much...and as things are influx...I'll opt for not saying much.