Wednesday, September 30, 2009

After a week in the hospital and more than a week in a nursing home, my dad went home yesterday—not his eternal home, but the place where he and Hazel freely share their joys and hardships.

Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Christian Bible studies newsletter is really nothing more than Christianity Today using their network to create a list for selling weekly advertisements and I can’t explain why I haven’t unsubscribed before now.

The most recent subject line was “John MacArthur wants to know – Do you know the REAL Jesus?” Yes, I do. And I can’t imagine that the real Jesus is happy about the ministry limitations John MacArthur thinks should be placed on women.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My table by the window at Chapters gives me a good view of three lanes of headlights going through town. I imagine most are going to work. It’s not leisure driving. Anyone in the left lane is moving aggressively for a spot to their right before the three lanes become two. I wonder if they are thinking about the work they are headed toward or the weekend they are leaving behind.

Garrison Keillor’s recent statement following a mild stroke comes to mind: “Taking it easy makes me restless and work is what I do.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cheap phone and internet service is wonderful.

I’m thinking about phone visits last evening. The first was with my dad in a hospital bed 400 miles away. The second was my daughter in Anthem, Arizona. Earlier in the day I clicked the right buttons to connect my father-in-law with his brother for a video chat that included the spouses and a few other family members.

I’m reminding myself that it’s not that hard to stay connected—with a little time and very little effort.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Even as I move through the responsibilities of life at the office and at home, the fact that my dad has been in the hospital since Saturday evening is never far from the surface. It’s hard to know how attached he feels to this world. Some comments make it clear he’s anxious to move on to a better life. On the other hand he still enjoys the company of others and he still knows that life has meaning. I think it must be awkward to be at this stage of a very long race and still not see the finish line.

Monday, September 14, 2009

“Do you welcome strangers into your life? Explain or illustrate.”

This is the Barclay Press Express Yourself question this week. Sometimes the stranger isn’t really a stranger. Saturday night I was sitting in the ambulance passenger seat in Caldwell, Idaho. My dad was in the back with two EMTs. The driver was the third EMT. I was 400 miles from home and, of course, had never seen these three men before they came to my dad and step-mom’s home 30 minutes earlier—and had no reason to see them again after going the short distance to the hospital.

This was not an emergency transport with sirens and a wall of silence between the drive and passenger seats would not serve my needs at the moment. We quickly stumbled into mutual connections. The superintendent of the Friends churches in the Northwest (with his office across the street from mine) was his pastor years ago at Homedale, Idaho, and the woman he is dating would have been a student at Newberg High School at the same time my oldest son was there.

It’s great fun to discover that the “stranger” isn’t.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago we celebrated Ethan’s eleventh birthday. It wasn’t the only thing that happened that day.

The years between 11 and 19 include extraordinary change. Those same eight years were dramatic (and tragic) for the United States. I’m thinking the journey through the teen years has some similarities to the political climate during much of the past eight years. It would be offensive to me (and to Ethan) to look for similarities with the Bush/Cheney years, but a few things start to come to mind when thinking about some generalities of male teens in tandem with the Bush Cheney era: pushing rules outside acceptable boundaries, seeking “justice” through retribution, anger, using aggressive behavior to hide insecurity, a tendency to be self-centered, creating unstable alliances, and way too much testosterone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I’m between two weekend trips to Idaho and I’m feeling uncertain. I don’t have any experience at being a good son to an aging father. My dad is at a stage where he takes life a day at a time. Perhaps I should do the same.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Twenty-four hours ago I was in Caldwell, Idaho. I was there for a long-overdue visit with my dad. His 93-year-old body has (using car terms) a lot of miles on it.

What’s a son supposed to do? Is there anything I can do to make a difference for my dad and my step-mom who is carrying the load of his care? Answers seem illusive.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The announcement of a new book release has me thinking about the word snark. The new book is titled The Snark Handbook: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring.

I’d love to have a mind that works fast enough feed words to my tongue in a steady stream of logic, wit, and uncommon insight. I think it's okay to have a sharp tongue, but I don't want it to wound. So, I’m wondering if it’s okay to be snarky. Where does the scale tip between clever and mean? Is verbal sparring a more acceptable activity than physical sparring? I’d rather debate than arm wrestle.