Sunday, March 30, 2008

...So What Now?

I know it's nothing central to this particular blog, but there is within me a sense that a return to writing is a return to life of sorts. The key task is now ascertaining just what kind of life. I've had some time to think.

I/we retreated from a lot in September of 2007. I had to. I didn't feel like it was an abdication or a shirking of the things for which I was responsible, but now, judging from some of the relational repercussions and the current "lay of the land," I feel presented with as much opportunity as I am befuddled by the looming losses. I never intended this to be a drill bit into our foundation followed by an explosive charge, but I don't know if some have taken it to mean this. This may take some time for me to unpack too (even if my 2.7 readers have been shooed away by my absence).

I needed to breathe out instead of inwardly (like I had been for some time, mainly while trying to ferret out the direction of our community and the changing relational dynamics of people coming and going). Part of that included discovering foundations of living life with a people with God in a certain way that had been congealing in my mind over the years all the while wondering with whom I had to journey. Part of this ongoing, neglected equation has to do with the deconstruction of who I am in all of this, and, wondering how much deconstruction is too much. I didn't really expect that this exhalation process would last for over six months, but I didn't really do anything to stop the train either. See? There's still, arguably, a bit of intention in that.

I have been captivated by several movements in my life, both imposed and invited. Each have been deep and incisive and warrant further reflection because the impact hasn't been fully realized:

  • Saying Goodbye to Vega: We had to put our German Shepherd, Vega, down this past February 19th, 2008, after several culminating days/weeks/months of deteriorating health stemming from her treatment of debilitating and severe hip dysplasia. Of course, if you know us, you know that Cathy and I don't have children but after 12 years of sharing our home with this creature with whom we were given the opportunity and chose to enter into a deep bond, I have frankly been blindsided by a grief nearly equal in depth.
  • Absence of Close Friends: Some have moved on to work in other states as part of new directions in their lives, which, although difficult, is something I celebrate with them because I am still in contact with them. There was notice of their change of venue; they included me in the process. Others have simply dropped off my radar for reasons unknown. Even as I emitted distress signals, their acknowledgment was nowhere to be detected when I needed them most. There was no intention communicated for their going MIA. And, given our history of having at least achieved an intimacy deserving of ongoing connection, I am at a loss.
  • Teaching: Like the Marsh of Cee, (and in some large part because of him), I am now adjunct faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University in their College of Adult and Professional Studies. I teach biblical electives, a sociology and a history course. This has been radically fulfilling being that I get to infuse the tenets of the Kingdom very blatantly into the material. When non-believing students connect with what you're saying regarding said Kingdom, that's quite the stab of joy.
  • Training For A Half-Marathon: Or, as my father said I should say it, "I'm half-running a marathon." It just sounds more substantial than to say "I'm running a half-marathon." Jason came home after Thanksgiving break with this absurdity flowing from his lips: "Let's run the Flying Pig Marathon." Well, we decided to give it a try starting at the end of November, 2007 and run until the first cut-off date for the registration at the end of January. I was enthralled because I was somewhat sedentary and had never run a half-marathon before. It would involve a rigorous detail of some life changes that I didn't know if I could incorporate. But I went all out, bought shoes, etc., and begun the regimen and have been going since with the race in about a month. I have lost 15 pounds, run over 20 miles per week and feel great about my chances for completing the 13.1 miles in May. Prior to starting in November, I couldn't even run over one mile. This has been a great discipline for me and is still paying dividends even this far out from the race. One great plus has been having Jason to train with. Our friendship has deepened considerably and it is hard to know how it would have been without him as a partner in it.
  • The Changing Face of Veritas: We have firmly attached ourselves to some foundational principles regarding the kind of community we ought to be. But much is yet to be birthed. Much is on the horizon and it offers some tantalizing possibilities. With Jason's graduation this May, it will be the first time we don't have a current Miami student in our midst. Much more on this later.
I'm just simply saying here and now that, for the purposes of this blog, (which is an ever-present outsource of my heart and plea for accountable personal and communal progress), I am back, even if I am reduced to the yipping of an annoying lap-dog in the outer darkness.