Well, I hate this. When too much time passes and I haven’t commented in a while, my overworked mind (whether it’s a problem of capacity or demand, I will let you decide) seems to fill up, and the burden of having so much to say makes sitting down any typing a bit intimidating! So, I am just going to have to let go a bit, and say what I can…
I hope that everyone’s preparation for Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are going well. I do think that our recent trip to Texas has been helpful for me, personally, in terms of getting ready for Passover. I know that a number of things came to my attention that I had not thought of before (as well as some things that I have thought of before), and the time spent in familiar-yet-not-the-usual surroundings has stirred my mind in some of the normally neglected corners, methinks.
It was a lovely trip. We spent most of our time in Waco (which was overcast almost the entire time we were there). It was good to see my wife’s family — which is, of course, my family, too! — and everyone seemed to be doing well.
Some of my cousins-in-law came down from Dallas, as well, and we got to spend a bit of time with them, which was nice. They brought their one-year-old daughter, which was great as it was the first time I have seen my new first cousin-in-law once removed. (I tend to use the “in-law” modifier rather liberally, but if you’ve never gotten a handle on the whole “second cousin three times removed” system, click here to learn more than you ever wanted to know.) If you would like to see her, as well, feel free and scoot over to the blog that her proud mommy (my first cousin-in-law — or first cousin-(in-law)², since she is married to my first cousin-in-law) has put together. There you will find numerous baby pictures (as well as “American Idol” talk, if that is your cup of tea).
The trip definitely taught me that I have to get a grasp on the whole “laptop” issue, since I ended up working during a good part of my stay in Waco. On one hand, the work I did has been helpful in that I don’t have so much to catch up on now that we are back. On the other hand, it did defeat the purpose of the trip to a certain extent, since a vacation is generally supposed to be a break from working (Really! Check the definition!). In fact, the benefit of taking a break is discussed in the most recent commentary on the Tomorrow’s World website, which you can read here — a commentary that I could have benefited from reading before I left.
Visiting the brethren in Temple, Texas, was a wonderful treat, and it was good to see them again, as well as the people that have begun attending there since we last visited. I was able to dazzle them all there with my technical ineptitude when I my sermon was not recorded because I forgot to turn the right switch on (my high school drama club did not vote me “Most Mechanically Declined” for nothing!).
I also had the opportunity last week to visit with Mr. Phil Sena, which was a real pleasure. We discussed Feast plans and some “being a minister” stuff, which is nice for a minister to be able to do now and then. That is one of the benefits that I do miss from my cubicle days — being able to pop my head over the cubicle wall and talk shop with fellow cubicle denizen. (Any similarities between me and the “Wally” of Dilbert fame are purely coincidental.) Having the chance during this trip to leisurely talk with another minister about how he is handling, say, working from home, organizing his workload, and finding time for educational reading was wonderful — and he’s a great guy, to boot.
(By the way, where such usage of the words “to boot” originate? I realize that if I had neglected that crucial comma, I would be saying that he is “a great guy to boot.” Then a few days from now he might wonder why people have begun kicking him all of a sudden.)
Also, on the way back north I got to spend some time with my mother and step-father, as well as my grandmother, father, and only aunt. Actually, visiting them was very profitable for me, and I suspect that God used some of the things they said to provide me with some additional pre-Passover meditation. Essentially, they remarked on some of my experiences in childhood and — quite accidentally, I believe — offered me a perspective that has changed the way I see my own children’s childhood a bit, as well as how I am managing it. I’m really thankful for that, and I might comment in more detail about it another time. If anything, it did remind me that those who “knew me when” have a good deal to offer the me I am now. (Perhaps those who “knew you when” have something to offer you, as well!)
Well, I know that this entry has been a bit rambly, but I think it has helped me to “reboot” a bit. I’m sorry that this post has probably not been very profitable for most of you! I will close with one tale from our trip.
We were trying to get our boys through the task of taking showers, and one in particular (Boy #2) was taking a good long while. I finally interrupted and asked what he had been doing all this time. He answered with a bit of guilt in his face and said, “Playing and talking to God.”
Well, 50% of that answer was a bit unexpected. The kids are notorious for letting the minutes fly by in the shower while they are filling up cups and spilling all the water out like a waterfall, making crazy shapes out of their soapy hair, etc. (Sadly, I must confess that they come by this honestly.) However, the idea of their using the shower as prayer time was new to me (though knowing myself it should not have been a surprise), so I just said, “I’m glad you were talking to God, but do it while you are scrubbing and rinsing and all that good stuff, please.”
I do believe that he was doing what he said, if anything because he had all sorts of “big questions” after he got out of the shower and was getting dressed (e.g., “Why did God make life in the first place?”… “Why is He bothering with us since we end up sinning, anyway?”… Questions we have discussed, but which it is always good to review!), and after rattling them off, he said that those were what he was asking God about.
Don’t get me wrong — I am aware of even the youngest child’s ability to engage in a bit of subterfuge on occasion and to fabricate some post hoc sugar to sweeten the taste of their disobedience (“What are you doing?!?” “Uh… Punching my brother and talking to God…”). Bill Cosby’s famous routine in which he catches his daughter with her hand in the cookie jar comes to mind. Still, if his shower time is helping him to become a thinker and a ponderer, I might be inclined to give him an extra minute-and-a-half now and then. Provided that it still leaves enough hot water for Dad.
Thanks for the well wishes we have received on our return!