Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mr. Nathan and Mrs. Sasha Griner

The emotions were many. – Stress and worry in getting my dad to the wedding. – Great pride in my son and my new daughter-in-law. – Many hopes for the launching of a new commitment in relationship. – Grief that Randi was not physically there. – Warmth in a sense that Rand’s presence was among us all. – Supported and loved by the presence of the Sundet family. – Honored by many friends who came to surround Nathan, Sasha, and the rest of us. – Grateful for Andrea being at my side. – Pride of seeing two brothers, dressed in tuxes who deeply care for each other.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Image of God

“What is your image of God?” Answers to this question give me great insights into people’s spirituality. Some have images that seem as if they flow from a cartoon. Others tell of images that sound ominous, far away or unapproachable. Still others have a best friend or pal image.

 Over the last years, my own image has been that most represented by a warm breeze. I’ve like the faceless, mystical motion of such an image.

 During an exercise led by one of our CERT School participants this week we were asked to write a letter to ourselves, addressed from God. My pen flowed more easily than I expected. Such a human task as letter writing did not seem to fit my wind image. My God image needed a face.

 The Appalachian carpenter who I met at least a dozen years ago, a real person, but has become a source of my own story telling mythology surprisingly surfaced in my mind.  Mid sixties, white beard, a warn and harsh exterior, complete with a beat up sweaty stained felt hat, but also very kind eyes that seemed somewhat sad but also gave a sense a knowing described this man.

 During a service project in the Kentucky back country, the Appalachian man, was quiet and to himself, working on his own project. Periodically he would help someone hold their hammer differently, or help hold a board being sawed. Day-2 of our project he told me he wrote poetry, surprised by this, I invited him to bring some out the next day.

 Day-3, lunch time, coal trucks rumbling up a nearby mountain road, he read his works out of a three ring binder. On the left hand side was written an observation. Just a line or two describing something he had witnessed or sensed about people. The right side flowed a poem. Some funny, some deeply revealing insights, some sacred, some in mountain speak, and others in very good English prose. This man was well educated! He had not always lived in the midst of hidden mountains.

 “Yep,” he said, “I’ve always been good at observin’.” With that he looked into the eyes of each person of our group and told each the things he saw and believed about us. Our kids were each deeply touched. When he came to me he said, “Sir, you will never be happy unless you are making a difference in someone’s life.” --- !!! It felt like this man could see into our hearts and souls.

 Certainly my memory has created him into a figure of legend. It is the legend memory that helps me understand God this week. I can visualize this old carpenter walking with me, jogging along side of me, sitting down to listen to me, and… I don’t want to be overly mystical about this… but, understand this form as one that can speak back to me, that can see into my heart and soul, observing and reflecting the words I need to hear.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Leap of Faith

I have had other opportunities to climb the pamper poll. The last time was watching a cancer survivor be the first in the group to climb. He made it to the top but then struggled to stand on top before he jumped. Watching his legs shake, the hesitations, and his determination quickly brought me to the conclusion that I did not have a need to climb the poll.

 Yesterday, I knew it was my turn to climb the 40 foot poll. In the midst of a breeze I could feel the poll swaying. The climb was not hard to the top. The real task was to balance and stand on the top. I had no natural senses, reactions or experiences that could guide me. I tried, but ended up hugging the poll, than letting my crotch rest on top of the poll, okay, not the most comfortable position! Slowly, carefully, with an audience below, trying to only focus upward, I stood. Mini shuffle steps turned me towards the trapeze. On the count of 3 and the word jump, I had no choice because Sara, on the belay rope would be pulling on the rope attached to my back.

 I made the leap of faith, and somewhat to my surprise hung from trapeze. It was my day. My time. Happy, proud, but a bit smug… as if my maleness needed to proclaim, “of course I would do it.”

CERT School GroupX

Lutherhill LaGrange, TX!
Climbing Day

Monday, January 19, 2009

Texas CERT School

CERT school number 54! --- And a Saturday in San Antonio along the River Walk.

70º today... sorry for all my friends back home when you hit -22º this last week.

Texas is a bit better place to be running... thus, I'm back at it.