Swimming in Space

there's a hole
inside the universe
just past that little star
right on the edge
of this small planet
underneath of where we are

there's a spaceship
in the ocean
way below that coral reef
where the starfish rides his seahorse
in the shadows
of the deep

there's a manatee
that's hiding in the corner
of my dream
after all these bits of fancy
make my logic
want to scream


Of Sporting Events and Nostalgia

There's a funny thing about memories. They define us: our likes, our dislikes, our passions, our pains, the how and why we do and say the things we do. Our memories (based on our experiences) make us into the people we become, and good or bad, they shape our world view.

Some of my friends from twitter are at a baseball game today. Because I pop into twitter from time to time throughout the day, I'm seeing the pictures: the parking lot full of cars, the marquis with the Phillies logo & the Phanatic, the excitement & anticipation of the stadium full of people, the over-priced stadium food, and yes, even the game itself. I don't even like baseball, but I want to go.

Why? Because I have happy memories of going to a baseball game with my daddy when I was fairly young. And yes, it was a Phillies game. And yes, they won. And it was a beautiful sunny day, just like today. And all was right with the world.

On the other hand, I have no desire to ever go to a football game of any type. I didn't even go to high school games with my friends. My only memory of a football game, was sitting on the bleachers, alone in the cold wind & the pouring rain. I had to have been in kindergarten or younger, because the only reason I was there was because my daddy was running the lines for Gettysburg College's team while I assume my mom was working.

I enjoy shooting hoops but not watching basketball or playing a "real" game. I enjoy kicking the soccer ball around but not actually playing (and I'm ambivalent about watching). And I call myself a Flyers fan even though I have never seen them live and haven't been to a single hockey game since high school. But none of this has anything to do with the games themselves so much as the people & the experiences associated with them.

Nostalgia is like that. It colors how we remember things in an over-idealized way. It exaggerates the details (good & bad) and makes them bigger than life. The trick is to master the memories and not allow them to master us. Save & grow from the good. Accept & learn from the bad. Shape the glass through which we view our memories and let them reveal the why rather than define the who of the person we become.


The Cold (Shoulder) Wars

My 6yo son is just finishing Kindergarten at a private school in the area. He's been at the preschool for three years now and he loves it. And for the most part, so do we. As he gets older though, the cost increases and we find we can no longer afford it. And I'm not just talking about tuition.

Now, I've met a lot of great women (and a few men) who are parents of my son's classmates and friends. We get along just fine and smile and nod when we pass one another in the parking lot. There are even one or two that I could call and just sit and chat with over coffee if I wanted or needed to. I like them just fine, but barring one or two of them, we have very little or nothing in common. So I don't.

And I have to admit that the politics of the "mom wars" are just enough to make me want to puke. They may not be as blatant when your child attends a public school; after all we are Christians so any attacks must be so passive aggressive that they may be unnoticeable to anyone but the recipient of said attack. There is an inherent snobbery to people who put their children in a private school. There's a "better than you" attitude that manifests in all aspects of interaction (directly or indirectly).

I'm not as great a mom because I don't volunteer in the classroom and I don't go on every field trip.

I don't send candy or other treats in for the class for every holiday (and in fact, I end up throwing at least half the crap that comes home with my child in the trash when he's not looking -- he never even misses it).

I don't buy expensive gifts for the teacher and her assistants.

And I don't have elaborate birthday parties for my child or even take my son to half the ones he's invited to. See, there's a rule (actually stated, if not in the school handbook) that if you're passing out invitations to a party, you invite everyone in the class (or at the very least, all of the kids of the same gender). And most of the parents extend this to all of the kids in his grade (both classes of Kindergarten in this case).

So... here's the exchange that my son and I had roughly a week or so ago regarding the party he's attending this afternoon:

Me: (noting the close to tears expression as he got off the bus and traipsed into the house) What's wrong, Buddy? Something happen in school today?

Him: I hurt Logan's feelings and now he won't be my friend.

Me: What happened?

Him: I told him I couldn't come to his birthday party.

Me: (confused and trying to remember an invitation coming home in his bag in the past couple days) What party?

Him: On the 8th of May.

Me: Do you have an invitation?

Him: (bursting into tears) No, I gave it back to him.

Me: Why did you tell him you couldn't go.

Him: I don't know... but now I want to go.

Me: Ok, you're going to apologize to Logan tomorrow at school, ask him if you can still have the invitation, and then we can talk about it when I can see the details.
So today, we were looking for a birthday present for a child that I know nothing about (except that on the one field trip I did help to chaperone this year, it was obvious that he was "that child" who was always in trouble). I know what my son likes, but I also know that my son's interests are very different from many of the boys in his school. And I felt the pressure of trying to make sure my son wasn't "the friend who gave me lame presents," and that I wasn't "the cheap mom."

He's 6 and already the pressure and the drama that I can't afford to deal with. And this is one of the many reasons that we are homeschooling him next year.


Across the Wire

Perhaps we've spoken
a mere handful of times
but we talk
almost everyday

I've never held you
in my arms
but you've become part of me
and I refuse to go away

There are secrets you try
so hard to hide
but I know you and I understand
who you are
what you want
and the reasons
you don't want to convey

But these concerns that you bury
are no less true than mine
and I carry them safe here for you
because to me
you're as real
as the people I touch everyday

Someday it'll happen

We'll stand face to face
and you'll know what I know
those things I remember
who you are to me
those things that I wish I could say


Live, Love, and Laugh

You've all seen it. It's everywhere in plaques, stationery, Facebook flair, etc.: that little motto life, love, and laughter with all of it's variations. My personal favorite:
Live like there is no tomorrow
Sing as if no one can hear
Love like you have never been hurt
Dance as if nobody is watching
Laugh like no one is listening.

It's a call to seize the day (carpe diem), but it's more than that to me. It's a call to abundant life, a statement of faith. It's about the triune God and the nature of who (S)He is.

Jesus is Life incarnate. The perfect melding of divinity and humanity. The victor over life and death. The ultimate example of how to live this life that we have and how to prioritize the things we deem important.

The Father/Mother is Love. It takes a loving and relational God to decide that it's not good to be alone, and therefore creates and loves an entire planet. Everything is done in love and through love, because of the fact that we are the children of the Supreme Father/Mother.

The Spirit is Laughter. This isn't a direct quote from scripture, but the Spirit helps and guides us and I think makes life worth living. The Spirit is the hardest to explain for a lot of people. Incorporeal. Abstract. Kind of like laughter. Joy.

This is, in no way, a complete statement of beliefs, but it is, in part, my creed -- what I aspire toward in my life. And, frankly, the rest of theology is fun to debate but really doesn't matter in the light of who God is. I want to be life, love, and laughter to the world around me. Evidence that life is indeed worth living.

I'm not there yet and I doubt I ever will be entirely, but that doesn't stop me from striving for it. I will keep working toward being this and becoming more and more like the Creator who made me to be an image-bearer. I never want to find all the answers in this life. There is something about the mystery of the ongoing dance between the three persons in one that intrigues me and makes me trust more fully in God.

Anyone who claims to have all the truth or all the answers becomes arrogant in themselves and negates any need for this trust. This is the same arrogance that led Lucifer to say, "I will be like God." God is bigger than my finite mind can handle and I'm okay with that.

I need God to be God so that I can live, love, and laugh.


Circling the Breeze

the edge
where the earth
meets the sea

along this space
in between
where I find
you and me

I trip
and I fall
as I land in
your arms

so we'll dance
for this moment
safe away
far from harm

as the waves
gently tease
kiss and nip
at our feet

swept away
in a whisper
like our hair
in the breeze