Sunday, December 28, 2003

Back in Awksford....Ahksfurd.......Ahxvurd......Oksvird.......Oggsfurt......Oxford.

What a ghost town without the stoodints. Just rolled in with our 9-year old niece who'll be padding down with us till next year. Should be cool times.

This year, Christmas was just downright wierded out. Nothing too much out of the ordinary I suppose....just the same ol' stuff. Didn't get to see mother......was fearing that.....I guess maybe later. But I did get to relish the time I did have with who I was with. Got to see friends whose families are families to me as well.

Bought two roof-top cargo carriers for the Smellement as well. That was a first. Sears pulled a big one by stating that the one cargo carrier that should fit our Honda should do so WITH its twenty dollar attachment hardware. Nuh- uh. Didn't find that out till hours before leaving. The only thing that will fit it (that I know of) is the Honda carrier (go figure). We needed one for the return trip back since we were bringing back our niece plus the doglet we already had with us. I called all over the known world and one dealership in Lexington had one (only one in this region that did, turns out). So we went and bought that one on our way to Tennessee. I thought I would be able to mount the carrier lickety-split at the dealership and be on my merry way, perhaps with just a wee bit of assistance from the quality service staff. Hah. Had to make an appointment. They wanted $150.00 too. (They said it'd take their trained staff about 2 hours to put it on.....lots of hardware and stuff. I guess they took me for less than able to read a schematic instruction sheet). I suddenly really wanted to find a way to pack that thing up and get on down the road and figure out how to put it on m'own bad sef when I got to Tennessee. But the steady rain that day dissuaded my intentions to mount the thing even in the parking lot.

But I had an idea. They did let me pull our vehicle into their bay, fold the other seat up and pack our stuff into the roof top carrier and put it into the Element on it's side.....alongside our German Shepherd dog as well. And it all fit too. That's the first time I ever rode with a loaded rooftop cargo carrier inside the vehicle with a dog to supervise it. And this is the only vehicle I know in which I could pull off such a fiasco. And so, I left them, bidding them adieu: the service manager, personnel manager and a sales tech all standing in a mild amazement at this feat of functionality. I think we all kind of learned something that day.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Here in the Gap de la Bull, in frosty Tehnuhcee on momma Grubb's computer. M'ladee fast sleeping behind me in the bed, m'dawg fast asleep on the bed in the next room (she gets her own now).

Tis the day of Christmas and in mere hours, I'll be heading to Knoxville to see some more family. There will be some people I probably won't see because of the level of relational fragmentation that continues.

I don't really mean to cast aspersions on our double-barrelled holiday season over the last two months, but things are a-changing in my life and in the family I thought I knew. Doggone it, MY friends are starting to talk about getting illnesses and fearing some hereditary health risks. Since when did coming home for Christmas become about our infirmities that we don't yet have?

Some mainstays in the remaining fam are aging and I am really coming to grips with the fact that these holiday times [in which I really only get to be with my family of origin (FOO)] are going to change abruptly, sooner rather than later.

We come home, barge in on our FOO's lives, and don't really know what's going on. But we all try to connect because we do have a history together.....mottled as it is. We are missing out on their lives, no doubt. And it is, no doubt, because of the fact we are serving God elsewhere. We know that, we knew that and we grow deeper contending with that. I know we're not the only ones, but it is no small sacrifice. It does cost. It costs time spent with your dad golfing and conversations costs hanging out with your aging grandmother- the one most responsible for your coming to faith in Christ and who raised you from high school costs seeing the ballgames of your sports phenom 13 year old costs seeing your friends kids grow up. It just costs. Jesus told me that somewhere.

This is not about wanting something somewhere else. This is about being vocal about my identity formation as it emerges in this Christ, who beckoned me from His Somewhere out of my nowhere. They are thoughts, perchance, on an ongoing assumption of this One's identity as a cloak or a mantle on my own nakedness and waywardness resulting from my first loving community that blew up in my face in 1977. Though it should have been in the context of me, mom, dad and sis that I was to have learned of the blessed acceptance of the love of Abba, it (my FOO) went belly-up. It may be tripe to some, but God knows how much of a relational mutt it has made me. And let me tell you, in so many ways, I still am discovering ways I suffer today from that damned mess back there.

No anger faces to blame.......I love the principals too much and see them too infrequently for that and God is doing something else in my heart. It's just that coming home causes you to see how easily you forget how deep the void in your heart is until His Light shines to the bottom.

Prally not what you want to know, but it's my crap, my "issues" and part of what makes me up. So this is Christmas.....perhaps another one without my mother, I dunno. I'll let you know later. Sometimes I find myself grieving over something I still long for.....(a mom and dad together with me and my sister)........ but know I'll never have that because I intuitively sensed its death long ago. Emotionally, it has been for me like a death unmournable with a body unviewable. Maybe a part of me died back then too. I am 34 and still coming to terms with the fact that mom and dad couldn't stand the sight of each other. This is divorce. This is half of my generation.

But my God has something to say......

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Nice to have snow here in Oxford.....close to 3 inches worth. Tis a welcome change to the drab scenery of dormant winter vegetation.

We tend to think of snow in terms of it's "purity." Its white appearance no doubt lends to that. But if you ask a snowflake (and I have), it may be anything but pure.

We see snow as "white" not because of its purity, but quite the contrary. Snow is just frozen water droplets that are no longer light enough to be carried by the winds in the cloud. The size of the flake may depend upon the moisture content available in the atmosphere.

When a cloud forms, and subsequently, precipitation, it is because tiny water droplets coalesce, or fuse/join with microscopic particulate matter in the atmosphere called aerosols. Much of these aerosols can be free-floating pollutants. When enough moisture joins the aerosol, it can become too heavy to be suspended in the cloud and it falls to the ground as precipitation.

We see white because of the nature of the ice crystals' alignment. The snowflake crystal has multiple facets which bend pure light into a variety of directions so that we a wash of not one pure color, but many. In fact, we have misjudged the snowflake; it is not an entity of purity. We have just assigned that quality to it.

I'm not a subject of purity either. I suffer from a multiplicity of faces that cover for what's really underneath. As such, I bend, refract pure Light as well. I, too, become a product of pollutants to which I have been attracted. Thankfully, it is because of the worth assigned to me by Someone else that warrants an assumed purity that is not my own.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

I have been moved to a level of cinematic appreciation in a theater unlike I have been in quite some time, after having viewed The Last Samurai. Though far from a "masterpiece" (what does that mean, really?)- there is much to glean in the way of honor, servanthood, friendship/loyalty, tradition vs. modernity, justice and redemption to boot. Prediction: nominations for......cinematography, musical score, costume, best supporting actor (Ken Watanabe) who actually overshadows Cruise in performance, though Cruise holds his own.

Though getting panned a bit in some reviews for predictability, character development issues and some cliche, I was refreshed by the above themes touched on throughout. Perhaps a Munkebyte on it later.

Nevertheless, I welcomed the opportunity to emerge from a theater satisfied and not guilty, shamed or having to explain myself for having seen the movie.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Life is so freekin' crazy around here. Working three jobs, trying to stay on the ball with our communities and just be available for when God wants to move. People who need you, people who bleed you and so much vying for attention.........the call to a more disciplined life still beckons and still eludes......

Did get to spend a very pleasant evening with Kimmy and Ryan, two Veritasians who graciously prepared a yummy dinner for m'ladee and myself. It was swell to hang with them, laugh, recount old times and get to know one another even more. It made my heart warm.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Okay, for allyall 5,654,454,234,534,786,865,456.456733 readers who think I'm still getting ready to head for Tenny in 24, well, I'm back. For what, I don't know.