Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Just buried my Granny this weekend and learned a lot about my family. There was the requisite weirdness, ongoing estrangements, reunitings.....but I had some quality time with my mother and other family members despite the circumstances. Now that Granny is gone, I may have seen the last of their house. So much of what I know of my family and my identity is wrapped in that physical space on Valley View Drive in north Knoxville. So on we go.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Yeah....cyberspheric absenteeism abounds here. And even in some of my peeps that I run with. An excellent ensample am I (how 'bout some Middle English for ya?).

Busy. Aren’t we all just that? Aren’t we agendized to the max? I mean, I’m having a love jones for a smartphone right now because I think it’s gonna make my life more manageable. I justify it because my phone is toying with me and my Sony Clie SJ-30 died a miserable and taunting death weeks ago. That’s what I get for being a suckling tethered to the tremendous technological teat central to our society.

Busyness is the devil’s home-boy. Pastor-types are the best to hitch up with hurry for succor because of our unhealed need-to-be-needed syndrome. Arguably, the ONLY real difference in this way between being a pastor in the establishment church and being one in the simple/organic realm is the number of people potentially available to impose upon our relational resources and thereby feed our ego needs and depleted affirmation reserves. Validation is the fake payoff for busyness.

Relational sacrifices have, can and will be made. We choose and we un-choose. It is all risk, pure and simple. What often goes unspoken are the expectations of those in these relationships. Some inevitably assign more worth to the relationship than others and it is entirely possible that some can find what they need elsewhere. But who determines that? Who gets to define the relationship? True, there are seasons where relational spheres overlay. But if God be the mover and we move on, so be it. But if by negation we neglect what we had, was what we had mere novelty among the others we pursue?

I think I will tend to be draining and somewhat selfish with this perspective. I understand that. I am a relational mutt. I am a commitment junkie…..in part because of familial history. I am a communication freak. I know most often how, when and where it’s needed but I do often suck at it where it really counts. I am realizing that I need a constant relational frame of reference to battle a persistent nostalgic/melancholic tendency that permeates my relational foundations and current efforts. I need to know that the tribes I choose are the ordinations of God…..and I know that’s not fair. I emerged from one that at times seemed to be ordained by despair. To know that I can choose and abide with a people is a revolutionary paradigm for me.

I will push the edges in my need for mileposts on my relational journeys. They are not there for retreat-----ever. They are to show me where I’ve been. But sometimes people are slow or they just don’t clarify that the milepost is their own exit sign. That always aches too familiar.

So enuff with the needy-bleedy stuff.

Got a new WalMart Stuporcenter in O-town. You walk in- it doesn’t even FEEL like you’re in Oxford anymore. Tell me that a place like that which can impose upon your spatial sense of reality isn’t spiritual. From miles around, we will pay monetary homage weekly to this retail demigod. I was there today momentarily and was awash with the giddiness to get, to buy…to consume. So I bought my stuff and ran shrieking, “get thee behind me Walton!!”

Sunday, May 15, 2005

My weekend started prematurely with an urgent call from my mother. My Granny, who is battling in the final throes of pulmonary fibrosis, was on the verge between this world and the next.

So, off we went, to spend the next few days by her bedside. We have been preparing for this time, but you are never "ready." I wasn't ready for her to clear the rest of the family from the hospital room in order to speak to me alone. As she urges me close, I hang over this strong-willed yet loving matriarch and she proceeds to give me her last wishes regarding the funeral and things thereafter. It was just too surreal when your most available memories of your Granny are of how she's the coolest Granny in the whole world because she runs the toy department at K-Mart. She always had the best gifts at Christmas. She had the kind of love that as a grandchild, you found it impossible not to immerse yourself totally in it. That is what I think of as I'm draped over her crumpled, oxygen-starved body trying to discern her words.

We thought that Thursday was going to be the Day. But my Granny told me the next day that she asked God to take her while she was choking for breath. She heard him say "no....not yet."

There is a "grace unto dying." I think I am seeing it bear out here some, but I have seen it in the past. It seems to me that God bends "nearer" during this transitioning, bestowing a measure of his presence to his dying child and those who love them. It sustains, enables, energizes and incarnates even if it doesn't miraculously heal. My Granny will not get better. Granny knows that. Even God knows that. This is not faithless defeatism. This grace is allowing my Granny to fashion her farewells in ways that others do not have. There are still rifts in our family that need mending and if we watch how my Granny is learning to die in this grace, I think there is the availability of healing for those who persist here on earth. We're talking about a deep history of relational fragmentation here too, but it can happen if we want it.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Now that my driving skejjul has abated, I am now free to do......more work. At home, at the Lootherun church, at various and sundry other things that have escaped my attention in the recent past.



I remain sufficiently reminded of how sweet my life is. I love the people around me.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Please go to Palmer's blog and pray through the needs he's listed there if you would. His surgery is in 2 days.

As I was pulling away from my layover today towards the end of my shift, I noticed one last straggling student wanting my bus who could see me pulling away, but was not expending any effort to make haste. Because we bus drivers pride ourselves on keeping the route on time -(trans., staying on time is next to impossible)- we are not desirous of that behavior. It in fact appeared he was nursing a bum extremity of some sort.

Not yet miffed, being finals week and all, I only looked at him quizzically as he boarded with his cargo (as did the 7 or 8 other passengers).

"I wasn't about to run.......I just ran a marathon."

Then I had to ask.

"....the Flying Pig, right?"

We spent the next 10 minutes talking about how it was his first marathon (I know it was officially a half marathon). He proceeded to tell me about his training for it, how he'd called his mom (who never exercised by the way) who agreed to run it with him. Here's the cool thing....she finished absolutely dead last out of the 6-7000 runners/walkers. He had to carry her into the restaurant later on. That was a neat story.

I told him about Marsh running for Palmer and the whole bus stopped their conversations and tuned in for the few minutes we talked about it.

That was even cooler.