Monday, October 20, 2008



...I feel tired and out of touch with things that used to center, inspire, and direct me. Namely, reading the bible, praying and singing songs of worship. Where has my devotion gone?

...I bought a ticket today to fly to FL. next week for N's wedding and a quick family isit. I'll have only the weekend but I'm excited...


The past two mornings I've slept late and woke feeling poorly, physically and mentally. Sleeping late tends to get me off to a bad start. While washing my face I glanced in the mirror and reminded myself, "I am living right now." It's intriguing how phrases like this can cause subtle shifts to amend my perspective. I'm still not feeling very well on any front, but will vigilantly keep my thoughts in line...

...I prayed this morning, on my knees; just for a few moments and wordless. My "inner man" is crying for nourishment and I reluctantly toss her crumbs.


...Yesterday, while accompanying A on her shopping trip in Old Town and Tater Knob we met three remarkable people:

a weaver
a candy man
a potter

...With each of them I was awed by the specificity of their life choices. They were true tradespeople, steady residents, and wonderful artists. The weaver--who also made corn-husk dolls and fairy homes--was a thick bodied woman with soft fair skin that gathered in wrinkles and rolls. She had pale, sparkling eyes and a long gray braid that hung down her back like a rope. She called us over to observe her work as she wove recovered scottish thread into dish rags, "saving the world one China-made-sponge replacement at a time." When she heard I worked in recovery she told me that back in the 70's she used to be a "trip sitter" and would watch over people high on acid. She said she used to live in a single room with 20 people. Only two survived to be middle aged, herself and a man who lost his mind and locked himself away. She continued to explore the world, found herself in Berea, married a weaver and for the last thirty years has "been in the process of living happily ever after."
The other two I remember less about. What stood out to me about the chocolatier is that he runs his shop alone, talking about his candy makes him smile, and he still likes to eat it; "a little at a time but continuously." The potter loved attention. She talks loud and continuously. She demonstrated "throwing" a bowl for us. Centering is the most important step, she said. It is the first thing to do and the hardest to learn. If you are not able to center your clay, you are at an absolute loss.


...We went to Berea Coffee & Tea after L got back, both working on class prep. L ordered a vanilla milkshake and I got chocolate. The barista with a penchant for oldies was working and when "Earth Angel" came over the speakers I texted the lyrics to H; remembering a time many years ago when I sang it into a broom handle 'mic' while we were cleaning the garage and made her laugh...


Watched Gandhi last night, the title role played by Ben Kingsley. Very moving. As I yearned to be part of his journey, I learned something about myself. I've a tendency toward envy, gravitating towards that which is outside my realm of control and even outside my character.
When I see a beautiful place, I want to be there. When I hear beautiful music, I want to play it. When I witness a "great soul" I want to be it.
I daresay Gandhi would prefer being a source of inspiration to being a source of envy. He recognized the needs of his time, his culture, his community--he did not seek them out, but he did willingly meet them, and face them head on.
It's easier to look at another's life and land and thin, "I could help there," than it is to look at my own and ask, "What needs to be done?"


At the Louisville airport now awaiting my flight. Today is Pop's b-day and free slurpee day at 7-11. I am always afraid of misusing my airport time--something about it feels so sacred.
For now I will eat a muffin, drink a Starbucks coffee, read the Alchemist, and celebrate the divine.


I'm at the Nee house now and happy to be so. A marble print kitten is rubbing against my leg. Rain drops are dripping from the eves of the side porch. A dog is barking. There are ten animals here now and poor Mom bears the brunt of their care...I can hear Aa, A and S in the throws of a nerf gun battle. Aa revamped the bright colored, soft dart projectors to shoot faster and harder, and he painted their frames a rough gray. Last night he gave one to Pop for his birthday...Later we all--everyone of us--dressed as cows, taping black spots to whatever white clothes we could find to cover us, and got free food from Chik-Fil-A in honor of national cow day...

It feels so right to be here, I hate the thought of leaving so soon...I find myself so much more lively here--albeit less physically active. I make up songs and dances and joke and laugh and drive into discussing my view of things, in addition to listening to that of others. Mom and I had a discussion this morning that led to our concern over the distressing state of our society. I didn't get to mention it, but I thought again of Gandhi. From my position, it seems like the societal issues he worked against had sharper lines and more clear cut solutions. I suppose it always appears that way when looking at others and away from ourselves. I long for the "simple way," for an environment in which I can be connected to the earth and to others without all of these objects that come between. I continue to have the sneaking suspicion, much as I resist it, that I need to show up for my own culture; however that need may materialize.


...Once again I am waiting in an airport terminal...I have spent the weekend scheming how I might make myself useful and create a life in FL.

The wedding was beautiful, very festive and creatively decorated. So many people I loved there, it felt like a reunion...

Hearing on side of a phone convo.
"What would you think if I dated ____ ? I mean if I really liked him?"
" ------ "
"Why? Because he's fat?"

At the Washington airport now and it is super crowded. I bought cinnamon sticks and a coffee not because I was hungry but because I felt I needed to do something.


...I've been meaning to reread Isaiah for quite some time and I finally began today. I read the first chapter and it seems very clear. God's primary concern seems to be that the people straighten up and begin to care for the marginalized and helpless. James admonition in his NT letter sounds like and echo of the twice mentioned point Isaiah makes, righteousness does not come from following rules and making sacrifices but in defending the fatherless and caring for the widows. The rules I see more as boundary lines to help us keep from harming others. The sacrifices are ways of apologizing for when we've crossed those boundaries and saying "thank you" for the opportunity we are given to live, and to try again.

"One key element of living as a Christian is learning to live with the life, and by the rules, of God's future world, even as we are continuing to live in the present one." -Simply Christian, N.T. Wright

...I discovered another Palestine aid mission online yesterday. They are Mennonite/Quaker founded, advocates of active nonviolence with the motto "getting in the way." It's a profound one-liner alluding both to getting in the way of niolence and getting in the Way, as early followers called it, of Jesus...


I hit a bright yellow butterfly while driving home from work this evening--not an uncommon experience this time of year--it's wing stuck to my windshield wiper, the rest of it's body pelted by the momentum of the moving vehicle. I was so ashamed and sad watching it struggle that I had to pull over and remove it, alive but fatally injured. I don't know how much longer I can bear to drive a car, the destructive elements are so numerous.
I'm also feeling that it's time for me to commit wholly to not eating meat...

I've experienced strong feelings of love, wonder, searching and a kind of restless peace today. I determined not to spend time thinking about or planning my future today, though my stubborn mind has wandered there...

I've the feeling that God is waiting and I want to enter into his Kingdom--still part of me resists; as though I could come up with something better, as though I could work things out on my own.


Note to self: Stop eating sugar! It leads to feeling fat, tired, unhappy. Not worth it.


...Working half a day always seems like such a good idea until I am driving home at noon and am struck with a sudden sense of sadness. "I would not have felt this if I'd stayed at work and made myself useful," I think. Structure. Amazing how much we need it and how much we resist it...
...As soon as I arrived home I began eating and knew I had to get a hold of myself. I wrote down how much time I had between that moment and leaving for Batman (A agreed to go see it with me-hurrah!). I then proceeded to list the things I hoped to accomplish in that time and approx. how long they would take. The time was spent with activities to spare--resuming self-imposed guitar lessons will have to be saved for another day--without ordering my thoughts and prioritizing my tasks, I'd probably have moodily sat playing word games on the computer and wonder where the hours went when it was time to go.


Anxiously awaiting my Project Hope phone interview. Should be any minute now.

(insert picture of jumping stick figure) I believe it went well.


(several pages of writing about a day at work, followed by:)

When I was backing out that night I felt happy and sweetly content, but with a nagging, whispering sadness that asked, "how can you leave this?" I am reminded of the boy in the Alchemist. On the path toward his Personal Legend he'd been brought to an oasis in the desert. He found love there and was respected by the communities. He was tempted to remain there, making the excuse that the love he'd found he was surely equal to the treasure of his Personal Legend. But in the end he carried on, leaving what was good and discovering something great.
As I'm writing this I remember too "Big Fish" when the hero stumbles into "Paradise" but realizes it's too soon for him to stay, despite the peoples wishes, and he continues on his journey.
I'm reminded too that those are stories and this is my life. I wonder if this is a recurring them for authors because it reflects truth or because it's something written by humans and humans are insatiable always wondering that life would be like if we'd taken another path.


There was lightening flashing when we left the folk center after tonight's contra. Now, I am serenaded by the sound of a torrential downpour and Iron & Wine as I lay across my bed. This weekend has felt like one of revelations. I'm not sure they are ready yet for words. They creep up with clarity only when it suits them. This seems to happen especially when I am reading my current books of choice: Simply Christian and The Story of My Experiment With Truth....


A few quick notes...

-I keep leaving work feeling torn in two. Thinking of leaving I begin to notice more, work harder, perform better...It is an incredibly unique environment; one that could never be recreated, one that I am so grateful to be a part of. Leaving HR will hurt like leaving home. My inability to be open and frank about my current plans adds weight.

-I keep having dreams with my family. they are always either trying to get my attention or we are trying to make the most of what we know is a short time together.

-Lately I've allowed myself to be so preoccupied with my own dilemma that I've not been listening well to others.

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