Tuesday, August 25, 2009

south of broad, part ii

i'm done with the book. it was a thing of beauty, and now i'm in that post-novel denouement into which pat conroy invariably hurls his reader. if i could have one super power, it might be the ability to pick up a book for the second, fourteenth, hundred time just like it was the first.

reading minds would be nice too, though.

in the meantime, go out and buy the book and get yourself a nice plot of land and park there for one day and you'll know what i mean.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

karl barth on theologians:

"You can tell what kind of a theologian somebody is by what they smoke.

If they smoke cigarettes, they’re liberal; if they smoke cigars, they’re orthodox; and if they smoke a pipe, they’re neo-orthodox. Then somebody asked Barth, ‘What if they don’t smoke?’ And he said, in his heavily accented English, ‘Then they’re no theologian.’”

(i don't know if he actually said this, but i read it and thought it was humurous. for the record, this puts me somewhere between liberal and orthodox. but at least i'm a theologian)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

growing up

"I don't think that growing up should be synonymous with becoming stressed about life, though. I don't think it should have to mean losing patience on the freeway or running errands all weekend or dashing out the door for work without having eaten breakfast. "

i stole the above quote from my friend maggie's blog. i secretly like to read all the blogs that emily has listed, but now i guess it's not so secret anymore.

i've been thinking about growing up a lot lately. (A. LOT. - as michele would say). and when i think about growing up, i think about stress and bills and travel (not for-fun travel, but business travel with briefcases and work to get done on the flights). i think that when i read the newspaper, as a grown-up, it is no longer acceptable that i turn to the comics first or get bored by the front page or don't even bother to look at the business section.

i confess these things: sometimes, to me, growing up means being busy, all the time. hopefully busy doing really important things. and i kind of know where i got this picture, because both of my parents are very busy people. they like to be busy. but i forget sometimes the ways they build in 'play' to their daily lives. i forget about the things that mom says to herself just to make herself laugh, or the quiet mornings with steaming coffee and good music my dad has, or how he wears vacation hats and makes up stories or she does strange dances to christmas music.

i confess that in the middle of preparing and expecting, i forget and i grow anxious. i think of adulthood as what maggie reminds me it doesn't need to be: stressful, rushed, lonely.

awhile ago, my dad asked one of his friends what he needed to do to be spiritually healthy. the friend replied with characteristic wisdom and brevity: "you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."
that phrase sticks with me, as i grow up.

i was in carmel with my dad last weekend, and went for a run that took me all along the ocean. i was feeling particularly anxious about growing up at that moment, and i detoured to some rocks and tide pools down the hill from the road. i saw a bunch of families out on a sunny afternoon, and watching the kids in their little-kid bathing suits with their little-kid floaties and little-kid bravado running up to wave after wave, i felt deep pangs of sadness for the little kid that i will never be again.

the more i watched, though, the more that i saw that it wasn't only the kids running and splashing in the water. their parents joined in. their too-cool older siblings got up and walked around, and their dogs ran and ran and ran until they could run no more.

the ocean is a great equalizer, and this is one of its ways. it is life-giving, and life-affirming, and reminds me that i am free to disregard whatever secret grown-up manifesto i keep thinking i have to embrace. Jesus does not stop doing his work in me because i am growing up; in fact, i expect that he will do even more. and isn't that lovely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

south of broad

today is a big day. i'm sure that somewhere, someone has rescued a cat from a tree or planned to perform an entire opera on twitter or campaigned for world peace. but none of that matters, because today, august 11, 2009, is the day of south of broad.

pat conroy is, in my opinion, one of the best wordsmiths ever to live. he writes like he was born to write, and he's from the south, and his descriptive voice make things and places and people come alive so convincingly that you can smell the magnolia and hear the military barks and see the marsh land behind his house.
so don't come looking for me in the next few days, because i'll be in south carolina.
“I would like to have walked his world, thanking God for oysters and porpoises, praising God for birdsong and sheet lightning, seeing God reflected in pools of creek-water and the eyes of stray cats. I would like to have talked to yard dogs as if they were my friends and fellow travelers along the sun-tortured highways intoxicated with the love of God… I would like to have seen the whole world with eyes incapable of anything but wonder, and with a tongue fluent only in praise.” -- prince of tides

Thursday, August 6, 2009

reminder for the day, again.

"the beginning of wisdom is a firm grasp of the obvious."

what do you think of that?