Monday, November 30, 2009

A Most Unusual Week

Well, it was an odd weekend and the next couple of days promise their fair share of oddity as well.  Friday, we headed to the Detroit area to be with my sibs and to make the final arrangements for Mom's funeral.  I've been involved in such things from the perspective of a Pastor but this was the first time I was integrally involved in the planning as a surviving family member.  Thankfully, Mom had pre-planned a good bit of it (including a page long list of people to call).  Last night was the first visitation.  I saw some of Mom's school chums (she's known them for somewhere in the vicinity of 80 years -- can you believe it?).  It went well, though there were lots of folks I didn't know.  Today, Ben will go to work and I will head back over for eight more hours of visitation.  I expect that one brother absent last night should be with us today and my daughter should be arriving from Tennessee.  Tomorrow is the pre-service visitation, the funeral, luncheon, and then the family graveside service.  It was interesting to see Mom laid out -- I guess the funeral people did a "good job", and while it looked like Mom, there was a special sparkle of life that was missing.  I was expecting to get all emotional at that first sight of her now empty shell, but because that spark of life was not there, it was not nearly as difficult as what I had prepared myself for.  I am having (and will continue to have) moments in which I tear up a bit or when I remember a special moment or something, but for the most part I recognize that death is a necessary rite of passage on our life journey and I celebrate Mom's transition.  She will be missed by many, but her influence will live on in her children, grandchildren, friends and acquaintances.  Once we get through the next couple of days perhaps life can exit this surreal time and move forward.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Orphaned at 60+

Had a call this morning from my sister to tell me that my mother died last night.  I'm not sure what to feel right now, but am headed to the Detroit area to be with the family.  Ben took off work on this Black Friday to go with me -- he's wonderful.  If any family members are reading this, please give me a call so we can talk about stuff.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Change to My Blog

Well, it had to happen.  I have been getting spam comments on this page.  Therefore, I've changed my settings for comments to require word verification.  I know it's a pain, and I hate it, but I don't think very many of my faithful and legitimate readers care about links to Miley Cyrus Naked (if that is really where the links take you).  So, my apologies to those who have meaningful comments.  Why do people find it necessary to muck things up and make it harder on everyone?

The Majority takes Rights from the Minority - Again

The results of the vote in Maine overturning the right of ALL people to marry the person of their choice are in, and -- big surprise -- the narrow minded heterosexual majority stripped away the rights of a minority.  Why do we continue to put basic human rights up to a popularity contest?   When will we learn that all people are deserving of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that these rights are not subject to "majority rule"?  Again I need to ask the question, 'How does my choice of a lifemate or spouse affect your marriage?'   I believe that eventually this matter will have to be decided in the courts and the legislatures, and once the rights are granted, they will not be taken away by narrow minded bigotry.  Marriage WILL ultimately be expanded to include all people -- why continue to fight and impede progress and inclusion?  

Monday, November 02, 2009

Ready or Not, Christmas is Coming.

Well, we have passed Halloween, so it seems that the Christmas preparation season is "game on."  As I sat this morning trying to figure out how to juggle money to pay the first of the month bills, I began to shudder at the thought of the costs of Christmas.  Gotta buy a few gifts; there's the added cost to the electric bill for decorations; charitable requests, unpaid time off from work, and the list goes on.  Then I began to ruminate on how one can be expected to enjoy Christmas -- to be "merry', to celebrate and rejoice -- when one cannot possibly fully participate in the annual "traditions" of spend, spend, and spend.  Then, of course, I began to reflect of the true meaning of Christmas -- while it is about the giving and receiving of gifts, it doesn't necessarily mean the giving and receiving of the newest, most expensive, biggest, most popular stuff.  The greatest gift was given centuries ago, and that gift is still a source of joy, strength, peace, and hope to all who take the time to receive it -- that gift is the human manifestation of the grace and love of God.  So--much as my worldly self is stewing about what Christmas 2009 is going to look like here -- I will be celebrating the joy, peace, hope, and love of God made real in our lives.  There may not be much under the tree, and the decorations may be a little less than usual (though with Ben in the house, I expect a lot of decorations), but the spirit of Christmas will be alive and well.  My wish for all of you is that you keep a sense of balance and recognize that Christmas is not just a day, but a way of life.  As you ski down the slope of Christmas prep, keep a sense of balance and take time to not only give, but to live the Spirit of Christmas.