No, not real photographs! Word snapshots, you might say.
*Fragile--we all are, aren't we? We had a strange weekend, with Kyra suddenly fainting in the bathroom this past Sunday morning. Though all turned out well in the end, we did call 911, take a visit from the friendly paramedics and police officers of our fine town (our tax dollars at work!), and have those fleeting moments where we thought, "What on earth is happening to our baby?" It was terrifying and quickly over and a reminder that we are all very, very fragile. We are holding the kids closer, loving them with words and gestures and prayers, and trying to be the parents we so want to be. News of the death of Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter only reinforced this need to slow down, to notice one another, and to be in the moment with each other. My gosh--these little ones are so incredibly precious.
*"What will the neighbors think?" I drove home today to catch a brief earful of a neighbor arguing with her teenage son. Matt was vacuuming when I came in, and I suggested he continue doing so lest we teach the kids some new vocabulary words! Later I was talking with another neighbor and she said, in essence, "Reminds me that we're all human!" We were joking about how living in a close-knit neighborhood can keep one's shouting impulses in check from time to time, and how we're probably better parents because of that, "What will the neighbors think?" pause. As I replayed the conversation later, though, I thought how disturbing and sad it is that we tend to care more about those external impressions than we do about the very children we are loving and raising. "What will my children think and feel?" I'd rather ask.
*Books, class, and the life of the mind--I was scheduled to take a week-long intensive course at seminary in June. When I saw the pre-reading list, I immediately began to question my plans--how could I ever devote that amount of evening/weekend time when I am coming up on a major board meeting, trying to enjoy the kids, anticipating summer, etc.? I lost a bit of sleep, tossed and turned, thought about it, and finally decided to drop the course. (Having one free course a term is incentive to stick with it as often as I can!) I emailed the registrar late one evening, and the next morning she wrote back to say, "Oh good--we decided yesterday evening that we need to cancel the course due to low enrollment." What a happy chance that we all came to the same conclusion. Now I'm looking forward to a week of vacation, and all the joyous evenings leading up to it.
I've been behind in summarizing, reviewing the books I'm reading....far behind, in fact! I'm going to write a quick list, as I brought home a pile of five more this afternoon. Let's see if I can remember what I've been reading! Did I write about Three Cups of Tea? Brilliant book--an example of the power of being available to life rather than seeking out one's purpose. Sometimes purpose finds us, as certainly was the case in the life of this mountain climber turned international education/peace activist. Then there was Leading from the Soul. While the allegory style of the book wasn't my favorite, and some of it felt over-wrought, I could certainly relate to the sense of crisis for the protagonist--some days you wake up and realize that much of what you are doing doesn't express the deepest impulses of who you are. Climbing back to that sense of self is a powerful journey. (And I've now picked up Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak once again to remind me of the journey....) Lastly I read Sex and the Soul, a qualitative study of college students and their integration (or not) of sexuality and spirituality. Having attended a college that would classify itself as evangelical, I found her reflections on this setting to be very true to my experience, and I found myself proud to have made the choice to attend such a school. Am I more liberal than my college? Absolutely. Are there things I would change, and ways that a sometimes pious place undermines its own values? Yes. But I still have a great deal of fondness for my experience. Working now on a very secular college campus, I have to believe that her remarks about this setting through the words and anecdotes of students are similarly apt. Very powerful stuff....
And now I'm on to a new set!
Breathe in, enjoy the moment, celebrate what we have....