Wednesday, November 24, 2010

focus

So I love my 4 wheel drive SUV this morning. These past few days its been worth every inch of its gas guzzling carbon footprint. For those of you not from the area, we’ve been dealing with another crippling blast of winter here in Seattle. Snow, ice and 50 mile an hour winds combined with hills, a general fear and unfamiliarity with such occurrences has not been a welcome addition to the holiday season here. As I walked up to the door of my beachfront caffeine stop I was trying to figure out what the nasty film was that covered the entire storefront. My brilliant powers of deductive reasoning, along with a swiped finger on my tongue, told me that it was a layer of salt spray from the water a hundred yards away. As someone who has experienced the blizzards of the Midwest and the deep snows of the Northeast, I would have to admit that this storm was impressive. So strong and so much like a true winter memory it was that it drove me to the unthinkable.
Over the past few weeks I have noticed an unusually large number of people that I know chattering about listening to Christmas music and even decorating for Christmas. Of course the stores have been pushing it since Labor Day but lately it seemed as if everywhere I turned and in every Facebook post from a far off friend I read, people were drinking the kool aid. It was like nails on a blackboard. Even my daughter, in her newlywed, first Christmas excitement, has had her tree up for 2 weeks now. That one actually didn’t surprise me because when she was little I had to hide the collection of Christmas movies or she began watching them in July.
Anyway, as I said earlier, the storm the other night had so much winter intensity that I lost all equilibrium and judgment. In the height of the storm, as it was obvious that my wife and I were in for the night, I suggested the unthinkable. Actually I think that I just kind of wondered out loud what it might be like to be engaged in our Christmas conversion while it was snowing outside. In my defense, it really has never happened for us since leaving New York. That’s all that it took…that and me being willing to drag myself through the blinding snow and freezing squalls, attached to a lifeline between the house and garage. Well, ok… a bit dramatic, but I did have to bring a flashlight. And just like that, while friends were enduring literally hours on mass transit trying to get to their homes, we converted ours. A couple of evenings dancing with ornaments and we are all done for the season. All this and its not even Thanksgiving.
I confess that I still feel a bit guilty. I don’t know if I’d ever do it again…even if it does seem like everyone’s doing it. In my earlier Catholic days I would probably even consider this a confession inducing event. It seems like we have just really begun to focus on what Christmas really means in our lives and now I may have just begun down the slippery slope of holiday mixing. Right now I’m supposed to be focusing on being thankful for whatever it is that the public schools say it is ok for us to be thankful for. I didn’t want that to confuse that with the clarity of the Christmas/Hanukkah/Bodhi Day/Solstice/Kwanzaa holidays. I’m trying to focus here. With all of the inner turmoil going on inside of me on this ridiculously cold morning I will admit to one thing. It sure is beautiful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

productive

It’s still dark out and my eyes are struggling to find the beach. Despite the warning on the cup, Starbucks brew is sliding effortlessly and quickly down my throat and Pandora is playing in my head. It’s an indication that I’m working on launching some type of a productive day. Good luck with that. There’s a whole line of people standing in the mist waiting for an idling bus to open its doors. I think the driver was in line ahead of me. They are waiting for the start of their productive days…I can see it in their eyes. That’s the difference between them and myself. If I were headed to the office it probably would not be the same as heading towards a productive destiny. It would be heading towards plumbing issues, blinking answering machines, bills to pay, and salespeople trying to sell me the latest in Christian crap. I am fortunate that I have the freedom to choose where I meet my productive self.
What I do with my life is best done

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

center

Sun is up…water is calm…air has some Fall briskness to it and I’m watching the ferries emerge from around the point as their journeys are watched over by the Space Needle standing solitary in the distance. I don’t usually have this view, but I moved to the other side of the room this morning… Let’s be clear though, it wasn’t by choice…it was an adjustment. I’ve done well with it though I think, after some mindless cyber wandering, my mind is drifting back to center as Van Morrison is singing about wild nights on my Pandora channel. I remember those days… now my song of choice is “I ain’t as good as I once was”. Anyway, for a change I’m back here in Seattle and get to stay here for the foreseeable future. Guatemala a few weeks ago was life altering. Indiana last week was about all that you could expect out of it in the first week of November. Air travel, as is the case nowadays, was a treat. So as a result…

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

one

It’s been three weeks since I’ve been back in the familiar world of my Starbucks at the beach. I must tell you that the familiar is not all that familiar any more. While I’ve been gone, some further changes have been completed inside while outside an entirely new building is taking shape. There is new art work hanging behind me and new lighting in front of me. Perhaps it is fitting that home has changed a bit while I was gone since a good deal of what I thought I knew has changed along the journey as well. I have attached this picture, one of my favorites from last weeks journey as a memory of the change. I’m not so sure it has been change as much as it has been reminder. I needed to be reminded once again of the power of one. One life, mine or someone else's, can change the destiny of many. One church, relentlessly following Jesus, can change the destiny of many. One organization, with the right perspective, vision, and motives, can change the destiny of many. I have to fight to remember that truth in a culture that doesn’t desire any to move above the mediocrity of the crowd.
These past several days I was privileged to be one person,