I drove eighteen hours home from DC to Saint Paul in my small Saturn with busted up cruise control. By the time I got to Chicago, my right ankle was throbbing.
I was making good time up through Pennsylvania and into Ohio. Around 6 pm, I thought about speeding 15 over the limit the rest of the way in an effort to make it back in one day (the GPS said my ETA was 3:30 am) but then Indiana nearly tossed me off the road. Wall after wall of rain and air smashed into my windshield, making it almost impossible to see the two freightliner trucks boxing me in on the highway.
I pulled over at a Burger King in the middle of nowhere and sat in a booth for an hour searching my phone for old contacts in Chicago, someone with a couch I could crash on. Luckily, my sister-in-law’s sister and husband, Erin and Jeremy, were kind enough to take me in around 11 pm. They inflated an air mattress in the small study just off the hallway for me. I woke up around 7 am, helped myself to some coffee, and then Jeremy prayed a blessing over me for the rest of my journey which, surprisingly, was really moving.
And then I sped out of Chicago, into Wisconsin, busting through into Minnesota and I felt myself coming together again. All the familiarity filled some emptiness of the east coast.
This past week we spent at the cabin with all the extended family. It was perfect. We played games until all hours of the night, had an enormous feast, went around the table and said what we were thankful for with no shortage of tears and tons of mentions of Wyatt.
Our cabin sits on a large lake that is almost completely frozen over, a small circle of open water sits in the middle.
My brother wrote a song and made a little video for it, awhile ago, if you’d like to see it:
The street my cabin is on is a square mile block that sits beneath a dense forest of trees. I took a couple walks around it in the twilight chill, my favorite time of day. I stood on one side watching the sun radiate through the trees, casting each one in gold and shadow. At night, outside I looked up at a thousand twinkling stars covering in the intensely black northern sky. I was reminded of how this is my holy language. This is where God and I meet.
Let’s see what else…
I GOT A JOB.
When I was in DC I went to around three, maybe four thousand interviews where there was, on average, fifty other just as or more qualified candidates competing with me. As I was thinking of moving home, I started absentmindedly shooting out my resume to various places in Minnesota. Then they called.
The school I applied to be a para at thankfully agreed to a phone interview (despite the fudge on my application that implied I was in Minnesota already) and a few laughs and a couple days later, the principal called to offer me the job. I start tomorrow, wish me luck!
On my way back, I listened to Gunslinger, the first of seven books in Steven King’s Dark Tower series. I got it because I love King, but also because it was one of the less expensive options in the criminal marketplace of audiobooks. I liked it. Whenever I read or listen to King I feel both happy at his incredible way of weaving a story, and insecure, because how does one DO THAT?
I read part way through a book on sexual ethics, Marvin Ellison’s Making Love Just, which is premised on the idea that intimate relationships are situations of social justice. That instead of calling sexual acts inherently sinful, the real sins we should be focusing on are those of oppression and exploitation of vulnerability in relationships. Planning on writing a series on this book.
I’ve re-opened Barry Lopez’s About this Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory, a book that is so chalk full of impossible imagery that, like King, I am made insecure. Lopez is one of the best writers of our time, and his attention to the natural world around us reveals so much beauty that goes unseen. Here’s a passage from him about where he grew up, beside the ocean.
“Standing in seawater stirred to wavelets by the wind, my head thrown back, I’d turn slowly to gaze at the towering crown of the elm, backlit and twinkling in noon light, turn and catch the long horizon of the sound to the east, keep turning to follow the scudding sailboats on that wind. On the hottest days I sought out the shade of the big elm, but I would go back into the water again to experience that particular yearning- to swim, to sail, to go. I would wait in the water for something to emerge, to appear in that empty space above its surface.”
I have successfully melded my watching habits with social media and Kate Green of @cgmama and Kristen Soo of @readstooswift watch the Voice together as if the three of us scattered across the continent are passing popcorn on the couch. Matthew Schuler is still my favorite, thus I was biting my nails to the bone when he was thrown into the bottom three. Luckily, twitter saved him tens of thousands of #voicesaves MATTHEW!!! tweets. Close call.
Other shows (I’m not proud of this): Parenthood, Scandal, The Walking Dead, Homeland, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Web Therapy and more I’m probably forgetting. I am helpless.
On the blog this past month I wrote for Addie Zierman about the Marin Foundation for her One Small Change Series, I wrote about Incognito, a great coach in my life, and this effed up culture of masculinity we cling to, and, exhausted by how dark much of evangelicalism is getting today, I wrote about my pouch of Mustard Seeds, how I keep my faith surviving in a harsh climate.
Linking up with Leigh Kramer for the always enjoyable “What I’m Into” synchroblog!
What have you been into?