Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, September 09, 2005

Thanks and Farewell

Today marks the last day I will ever blog on this site. I wanted to thank each and every one of you that has spent time reading whatever has come forth from my brain. Whether my writings gave you encouragement, laughter, confusion, anger, or just made completely no sense, I am thankful for all that I have met (either in person or blogging) through this blog and others. I will still read your blogs every once in a while, but I realize that this chapter has come to a conclusion for me. Thanks again and continue to be a blessing to all. Peace.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Labor Day Creed

We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.
(from the Social Principles of the Book of Discipline)

Friday, September 02, 2005

What to Make of It?

I’ve not written on the disaster that Katrina initiated because I’m out of words, especially seeing and hearing second hand accounts of starvation, death, and injustice occurring throughout the city. Why do things like this happen? I have no idea. I have found some solace in a post by another blogger Krister. Even though his answer may frustrate you, I think he is asking some smart questions in the face of easy answers evangelicals tend to pass around in situations such as this.

Read Krister’s response HERE.

In my job, I have the responsiblity to serve and consult clintele from a base of about 400. One of my territories that I cover is the state of Louisiana. I’ve only been able to talk to people from the northern part of the state, and when I have called I usually can’t get through the phone lines because the circuits are tied up. Even though I do not have immediate family living in the flooded area, I feel deeply for my clients and their surrounding neighbors. Restlessness evades my whole being and I become paralyzed with the question, “What can I do?”

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ignorant Pilgrim

If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line – starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King’s Highway past appropriately named dangers, toils, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led – make of it what you will. (133, Jayber Crow)

Wendell Berry is a poetic lyricist. His novel, Jayber Crow, has really been speaking the language of my current life travels. It’s been refreshing to journey along side Jayber even though our paths are from different time periods (not to mention one is a fictional tale). I really enjoy the illustrative metaphor of a pilgrim as to how one lives their life, always on a journey. My pilgrimage is one that has been through those valleys, hilltops, and everything in between. In a way I can righly describe my own pilgrimage as ignorant. Many times I have avoided the straight path as Berry describes and have walked in circles or doubled back. Other times I not known where I was going until I was already at my destination. My dreams and desires have come to rest on mistakes and mishaps. My life's path has come to me or either I to it, with much surprise, anxiety, grace, and waywardness. But as Berry pens, I have this uneasy feeling that I have been led throughout it all.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Before I begin with my daily update, I would like to issue an apology to my in-laws. Monday night my mother, father, and grandmother-in-law generously drove 90 miles to visit their daughter and son-in-law for a birthday party. Gina, my mother-in-law, was turning the big 50 and my wife wanted to make a special dinner for them. She even broke out the fancy glasses and cloth napkins. Ooo la la. I was glad they were coming, but Monday was a horrible day. I won’t go into the details of it, but it just sucked. Not only that, I was feeling a little depressed from all the health issues my family is trying to wade through. So needless to say, I was in a crabby mood all night. If I could go back in time, I would have acted totally different. For some selfish reason, I wanted to reflect my crappy day onto everyone else. I think I was like “Debbie Downer” trying to make everyone feel sorry for me in the midst of such celebration and joy. So Gina, Terry, June, and my lovely wife…I’m sorry. Sorry I was a sulking cotton-headed ninimuggens. Forgive me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Letter to My Granddad

Happy Birthday Granddad! It’s an honor to say that, especially after a vigorous 92 years you have lived on this earth. I don’t know if you’ll remember that it is your birthday today, but that’s ok because I forgot mom’s birthday this year. So I guess we’re even.

In the 25 years that I’ve known you, I couldn’t ask for a better role model. You’ve been married for 66 years now, just in case you forgot. Every time I’m around you, you speak of grandmother in such a loving way. You’ll still have that shine in your eye when you mention your wife like it was the first time you feel in love. “That sure is a pretty girl over there,” you’ll say as you watch grandmother working hard in the kitchen or just sitting in her favorite chair. You have a dedication that I admire, not only to your wife, but also to living.

You were a Sunday School teacher for 20 plus years and I know those people revered you and respected your wisdom and humor. I could tell. Plus you were an amazing storyteller. I think I will go to my grave never knowing what happened to your partially cut off finger. And in a way that’s the way I want it to be. You told us stories of meeting your future wife, working at Nabisco, fishing, playing golf, hitchhiking, college, living in England, visiting almost every continent and all 50 states, and the war. Even if we had heard the stories before you could still craft them in a way to paint a beautiful landscape of your life; the humor, the reality, the simplicity of it all made you feel warm as if sitting besides a fire during a soft December evening.

You had a patient peace about you, one that I recognized at an early age as we would sit on the dock and cast our lures into the calm waters hoping to catch “the big one.” You were a gracious man, always caring for others and helping those that needed it. I remember when I didn’t have a job for a summer and you helped me get a mowing business going at the lake. You would even help me weed eat at times even in the blazing summer heat.

As I write this letter I realized I have described you in the past tense. Forgive me. You are still a patient man. You are still a great storyteller. You are still a devoted husband. You are still someone whom people revere and respect. You are still a man who is full of wisdom and humor. I apologize for that. I guess I know that you are not the same man you were, at least in the sense of your memory. And that makes me feel heavy. I cried the other night knowing that you didn’t remember your anniversary and knowing that you might not remember your birthday. I wanted to blame someone or something but it was to no avail. I remember seeing my other granddad (Granddaddy C) in the retirement home and him not being able to remember who I was. It broke my heart. It still does. Not that he couldn’t remember my name, but that the fullness of life that was in him and is in you has somewhat slipped through our weakening clutches. We want to preserve people we know and love, framing them in a picture that will never fade or be etched out of our memories. I guess it’s the fear of facing our own humanity. Maybe that is why I cried in Jennifer’s arms for so long that night. I believe that death is not the end of the story. I really do. But I just want to live in the memory of what used for a little while longer. I love you granddad.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lacking Words

By then I wasn’t just asking questions; I was being changed by them. I was being changed by my prayers, which dwindled down nearer and nearer to silence, which weren’t confrontations with God but with the difficulty – in my own mind, or in the human lot – of knowing what or how to pray. (p. 52)

Wendell Berry captures my thoughts completely here in this tiny segment from his novel, Jayber Crow. My prayers, for the past year now, have been whittled down into sheer silence. Has this been accidental? I’m to the realization now that it has not been an accident. I used to spill my heart out to God in words and phrases that felt like they moved beyond the breath that eased out of my mouth. Now I sit in silence, almost in bewilderment, and the words don’t seem to surface. It’s not that I feel lonely or lost in my mystical relationship with the Creator. Rather, my words have no form, at least in the audible sense.

Do I ever pray aloud? Sure. At work sometimes they’ll ask me to lead a prayer before the day’s activities. I don’t mind although I find the words that were once easy to say hard to come by. The only prayer that I can seem to speak is the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father how art in heaven….). It is beyond me to comprehend why this transformation has occurred. In the past, my guilt would be produced from knowing that I wasn’t “praying” like I used to. I’m past that now. I accept the fact that silence comforts me more than hearing my own voice.