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I find I am (sub)consciously keeping myself from thinking deeply about what moving away from here really means. I think about the practical details of it: training my replacement, winnowing down our personal stuff, wrapping up Evan’s details, etc.

Keeping my thoughts focused on the more inanimate details is a form of protections. It’s a type of blindness that prevents me from seeing all the amazing friends I have here.

Which is better? Should I save the inevitable pain and sadness for the very end or should I start feeling that pain now, six months before we leave?

I’ve written here in earlier posts about how there are small sadnesses in daily events. That still happens but it seems my emotions only really get me when I am having my semi-weekly lunch with my best friend Patty. I found myself crying on the way to lunch a couple of weeks ago, thinking about how much I am going to miss our lunches.

As I was writing this my friend Roger came by my office to tell me how the reality of our move is really hitting him. (He and my husband are very close.) We talked about the sad-now-or-later thing. He said he was sad now.

So, dear reader, what is you preference in the now-or-later debate going on in my head? Any and all advice is welcome.

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Whirling Dervish

Do you know what a whirling dervish is? A dervish is someone who is an adherent of the Sufi sect of Islam. Some of the members of Sufism use twirling in circles as a physical act of meditation. The thought is that as you listen to the music and abandon your inhibitions, concentrating on Allah, you will find perfection. (Of course, this is a very simple description.) Here is an example:

This month I most certainly resemble a whirling dervish, without the whole perfection thing. It is the month of tying up 2011 into a neat accounting package with a bow on top. Lots to do and lots of deadlines! Yuk!

However, Serenity, or perhaps Felicity, turned me on to Ann Voskamp’s blog. Ms. Voskamp has written a book, “1000 Gifts” which, as she describes it “… celebrates grace and recognizes the power of gratitude.” She challenges the reader to find 3 things every day to be thankful for. At the end of a year you will have the “1000 Gifts”.

It seems this is the perfect time for me to start practicing thanksgiving. I have been on a “mindfulness” kick for several months as my family & I countdown to our move back to California. I don’t want to take one moment of our dwindling days here for granted. Sometimes things to be thankful for overwhelm me to the point of tears. On other days I can’t seem to find anything, as my mind trips over itself with lists of things to be done and friends to visit “one last time”. A daily centering is what I need so I am looking forward to this process.

What new things are you considering? Do you avoid new year’s resolutions? Or do you jump in with verve?

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What Pro-Life Really Means

I follow a blog written by the amazing writer, & former lawyer, Heather King. The name of the blog is Shirt of Flame. Her passion for Christ and trying to walk in His footsteps takes my breath away on a regular basis. She is blunt, compassionate, impatient, totally flawed and totally human. I admire her decision to try to live a holy life via simplicity, sacrifice and repentance.

Her post yesterday, “Why I Am For Life, Not Pro-Life” contains the best summation of what being for life from a Christian perspective really means. It also makes a great point on the politics of Facebook. Here is an excerpt. I encourage you to click over to her blog to read the rest of her essay and look around a while.

“To be for life means to be for reality, and reality is paradoxical, contradictory, awkward, unendingly messy, and unresolvable. To be for life means to realize that someone who is born to a junkie mother, is beaten every day of his life, sexually molested as a child, and farmed out to a series of foster families as a teenager may be in prison for another reason than that he has a “criminal mind.” To be for life means to believe that human beings are capable of transformation. To be for life implies a capacity and willingness, no matter how difficult or how much of a stretch, to put ourselves in the shoes of another. To be for life is to refrain, insofar as possible, from every kind of violence: physical, emotional, psychological, and I say this because I am (obviously) so prone to violence myself. Because to destroy your own child is a special, and perhaps the most horrific form, of violence imaginable.

To be for life means to stand your ground while also exercising delicacy, courtesy, and restraint of tongue and pen. It means to be passionately for our work and passionately against imposing our work on others. It means to refrain from trumpeting our own courage in favor of admiring the courage of the next person.  It means to be for the unborn baby and for the baby who grows up to be an alcoholic, love-starved, frightened, extremely misguided adult and has an abortion, or two, or three before at last crawling toward the light (or not)—because you never know the wounds from which another suffers. You never know the sins and sorrows for which another is doing life-long penance. You never know the odds against which another is working.”

I am so thankful that she has put into words things I have thought but not been able to put into anything coherent. So like I said, grab a cuppa and head over to Shirt of Flame. Let me know what you think. I’m betting that no matter your political or religious bent, you will learn something.

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Where’s the Glass?

A preacher I used to know defined transition like being poured out of one glass and into another, saying that when you’re between glasses it’s pretty scary. That is where I am right now. Things from the life I’m leaving are falling away and part of me is already at that in-between place.

I am having to force myself to let go of some things,and maybe not care about them anymore. When I say “not care” it is not a mean thing, like “pftwww (insert spewing sound)”. This is not caring because it’s either not really mine to do or think about any more. There is also an element of turning myself away from and instead looking forward to.

I have lived in this town for over two decades and been on my job for over fifteen years. To say I have a routine doesn’t begin to describe my life. My life is in no way boring but there is a rhythm to the days, weeks, months, years that have a distinct flow. That will soon be replaced with new experiences, jobs, friends, etc.

As a bookkeeper the accounting cycle drives your duties, certain ones at certain times and certain intervals. Each week and month I am doing the last part of something and I can feel it. I mean nearly physically feel it. It’s November and time for thinking about wrapping up the year with all the duties that entails. With each little function I say an inward “Well, I won’t be doing that here again.”

As I teach my Lit classes the progression of the school year evokes those feelings also. Last week I thought, “That will be that last time I teach about Socrates here.” And so it moves on.

Last week my boss mentioned I was unusually quiet. At first I thought he was wrong but he was indeed correct. There is an inner concentration that is with me right now. I can’t explain it. Nor can it be blamed on Nat’l Novel Writing Month which I am in the throes of at the moment. All I know is that it’s a bit scary, and feels a bit like vertigo. Things are spinning around me and in order to keep my balance I must focus intently so I don’t tumble.

Prayers would be appreciated right now, or silly jokes, or dark chocolate. If I seem distant don’t worry, I don’t think I have ever been as here in the moment as I am currently. I’m just trying to be in the flow so I don’t miss the glass when the time comes.

Posted in Personal Observations, Uncategorized

No Pain No Gain

Last  week from Wednesday through Sunday, I was part of a Leadership Conference sponsored by C2C, a group of churches my church is affiliated with. It was an amazing time. Great music, teaching, panels and, best of all, visits with friends from all over the U.S, the U.K, & Sweden. After each evening session there were afterglows, basically a late night snack with more visiting time with people. That meant getting home sometime after midnight. I also did registration & tracking income/expenses so this was a working conference for me.

I have fibromyalgia, which a lot of people know just from the commercials for Lyrica, a drug I am very thankful for.  People have different ranges of symptoms with this disease. I tend to be in pain 95% of the time but the intensity can vary. Lack of rest is one thing that makes my pain levels rise. Needless to say, my levels rose with each passing day. I tried to get a nap each day & skipped Saturday morning’s panel. By Sunday I was in fairly intense pain. I’ve been chucking down pain meds ever since and finally tonight I am feeling much better. Getting 11 hours of sleep last night & not working today helped.

So the question you are probably wanting to ask me is was it worth it? It entirely was! I came away from the conference wiser because of the wonderful speakers. I came away happier because I got to see friends I have seen in years. I came away more peaceful because of the wonderful worship that brought the presence of God to all of us. It will take several more days for me to get back on track physically but that’s okay. You know the saying…

*For more info on fibromyalgia go here.