Saturday, January 28, 2006

living for the weekend

It is a good weekend so far. Both daughters are home, although our older daughter is off to Beijing in nine days. Good news, bad news. Exciting for her, and for us, in a derivative way, but we will miss her over the seven months. I ran errands, went grocery shopping, took a nap, listened to a recording in the car of a good friend's (Tony Robinson) sermon on "More Than Expected", from Princeton Seminary's youth ministry series (write them, the cds are free). Our younger daughter played basketball last night, which was fun. Her team is undefeated in their league, which is a good one. We made fettucine alfredo and pesto pasta afterward; that was good too. Then some of us watched Monk. The BBC had a long commentary on Kenneth Lay. I lamented all of those who lost their retirement savings, who will never now be able to retire. I remembered someone's remark about our lack of interest in the destructiveness of the Enron Scandal, as we are obsessed with other things, each for the moment. Lay goes on trial this week. Will the public be as interested in the investigation as they are about the unfolding events in the lives of Brad and Jennifer, or Nick and Jessica? Why is there no moral outrage when hardworking people suffer while someone like Kenneth Lay inhabits a world of luxury? What a bizarre world. I fell asleep.

This morning my wife and I went to a real out of the way to place to have breakfast. We like it. It is in a part of town that is becoming increasingly hispanic. We usually get there before the rush. They do the small things well at breakfast---they offer Splenda, rather than the saccarin knock-offs; they use real half and half, rather than the dairy product knock-offs; they have really good rye toast buttered, that doesn't taste like a piece of cardboard; the coffee is hot; the waitressses are on the scene, the smoking and non-smoking sections are clearly separated; it is fairly quiet. The sausage omelette is quite good. Afterwards I went to the office, finishing a couple of church projects, and then completing a couple of writing projects (the latter chasing down permissions and verifications that are due this weekend). Then I responded to a really good resource that a seminary friend had sent me. I had enjoyed reading it, and realized that if I don't acknowledge these sorts of things, people will get the wrong idea, and stop sending them. And it would be the wrong idea--not lack of interest, but simply a long list of other things that are constantly going on.

The office is usually quiet on Saturday mornings, except for this time of year, when the church basketball teams are playing. I like basketball as much as the next person, or even more, probably, but I have had an odd thought lately; if an anthropologist came to the United States, and knew nothing about our faith, he or she might assume that we do three things frequently: worship; eat; and bounce basketballs. I am trying to figure out what all of that means. Our weekend custodian was around. He is a great guy, very conscientious, very hard-working, and he speaks almost no English. There are therefore continuing miscommunications: rooms are not set up, or cleaned, and doors are left unlocked. But he works hard. I have been try to figure out what language he speaks, especially after being in Haiti, wondering if we can bring someone in to translate some basic things, to bridge the communication gap. This would be good for Eddie, and good for us, and it would be the right thing to do. As they say in the business world, it would be a "win-win".

In the afternoon I had the pleasure of officiating at a small family service outside at our columbarium. We stayed around for some time, afterward, telling stories. It was an honor to be there. Then my wife and I went for a walk. The temperature must have been sixty degrees today in Charlotte, absolutely beautiful. So nice, in fact, that I began to think about the Braves schedule. We walked outside at the local YMCA, which has a great track, and signs that clearly say "No Pets", but of course there was a family with a young child and their little dog. People do often assume that these sorts of signs are for other people, and that they are the exceptions. Later we made a simple dinner for our daughters and one of their friends. Then I watched the editor of the New Republic, whom I don't know but am quite impressed with, tear into Fred Barnes, the editor of the Weekly Standard, about his new book on the president. I know I am in the minority of those who watch Book-TV on the weekends, but I confess. It is true. Where else would this kind of conversation happen?

Now our cat, Panda, has entered the house again. My name for Panda is Cujo, although I am the only one in the family who calls him that. It has been a relaxed day, and tomorrow should be a fine morning. The youth lead the service. I sit in the balcony at this annual service, and am amazed, year in and year out, at what the youth absorb over the years, and how they express it. And of course I know this is not accidental. They are led, coached, mentored, directed. But I know, even now, that they are pondering those speeches, their messages to the gathered people of God, and I know that God will speak, as He always does. Tomorrow, I trust, will be no exception. I am looking forward to it.


Blogger Questing Parson said...

The most telling comment of all your reflections here, which speaks to your character and commitment was this: My wife and I went for a walk.

Thank you for not forgetting, in your busy schedule, to take a the time to be with your wife. What a wonderful witness to your children.

10:44 PM  

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