Saturday, December 26, 2009

No Boundaries...

So I left Memphis this morning to be with Valerie as she was to be stuck in a Knoxville hotel with nobody to keep her company. I miss my wife terribly when she is gone, especially when those times fall on days like Christmas... This was our first Christmas as a married couple and it was incredibly distracting not to have Valerie there with me. Not that she isn't also incredibly distracting when she's there; she's just kinda' awesome like that.

One of the other awesome things about being married to a flight attendant is that where she flies, I can fly. So the morning after Christmas found me on a plane to Knoxville. I had brought Val's laptop and as soon as the plane had reached an altitude at which we could use our toys again I pulled it out and started watching a movie I had brought along. Eventually the man with the drinks came along and I paused my movie and opened the window back up. I was greeted with a stunning view.

The grainy image taken by the camera on my phone can hardly do the scene justice. The river below (I can only guess that it might have been the Tennessee River) stretched off to the distant horizon like a ribbon of shimmering light and smaller bodies of water set like glistening gems in the lightly glowing amber of the Earth.

I thought how different this appeared from even a modern satellite image in it's depth and reality. Here we looked down on the Earth below us in real time with a clarity and a view of the whole picture only available to those who pass above it. It occurred to me that this must be how God looks down on the us all the time, only he sees everything, at once, with a breadth and scope that we can scarcely fathom in our mortal state. He sees past the horizons which limit our view. He recognizes no boundaries on the terrain. No lines of demarcation denoting cities, states, nations... All territories are His. God has no boundaries except those which he has set for himself. Only by His own word is He bound and He does not recognize the authority of man to set boundaries, even on himself.

Anyhow, I pontificate. Christ said it much more powerfully & succinctly: With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Amen to that. Amen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Warm clothing...

Well, I think fall is officially here to stay! I am loving the cool weather. I love the chill breeze and the feeling of being bundled up against it in soft warm clothing. There is just something fortifying about that to me... I enjoy the fall colors, but unfortunately here in Tennessee the reds and yellows too quickly give way to a flat and lifeless brown, but there is something even starkly beautiful about that. I will miss the green when it is gone, but with each season there are things to love, and each change helps me appreciate the things to come and the things that are past...

As a child, my brother and I would go traipsing around the woods, and the time of year was never a deterrent from that favored pastime. When the leaves have fallen in the woods, you can see much more of the natural flow of the landscape, the lines and curves and textures... Things you wouldn't see during summer months. I love it. I wish I had the time to take quiet walks in the woods as often as I did as a boy.

Not to jinx the plan, but I think I will take a walk in the woods here soon. A time for somber reflection will do me some good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Do I care?

Well... I think I have finally picked a research topic. To paraphrase a character in one of my favorite movies, it just came to me; like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method.

The irony in it all is especially striking to me. By the time I get to the point, about 500 words later, maybe you will see why.

This is my second run through English 1020, which focuses around the art of research writing. The reason I didn't make it through the first time, more than anything else, is because I could never settle down on a research topic. Oh, I had plenty of things I could have written on, should have written on, but I had a difficult time picking anything that I found sufficiently compelling. And, really... I didn't care.

I pondered my indecision on what to write on as I walked into the university library. Typically, for whatever reason, probably because these are the computers closest to where the books are, it is very difficult to find an available computer in the Ned McWherter library in the middle of your average school day. I came in aimlessly, initially intending to use the public phone near the government publications section and, finding it occupied, walked into the small bank of computers in said section. I didn't really expect to find one available.

Imagine my surprise when I found a computer, seemingly unoccupied, just sitting there on the login screen! Could it be? Had providence really smiled on me to the point that I found what I needed, just when I needed it and at exactly the right place?

As I approached the computer tentatively, I was greeted by the girl sitting opposite: "It doesn't work." She laughed and nodded as I suggested that perhaps she had watched several other people try and fail to log onto the computer.

The failures of others do not deter me when I intend on a course of action. Not even my own past ones.
I stood over the computer and went to work. After only a minute or two of trying, the girl commented again: "No one else really tried that hard..."
This only hardened my resolve. If no one else had taken more than a cursory look at the problem, it was probably, despite appearances, something relatively easy to solve.

The problem? A loose network cable. I pushed the cable into the socket completely and... Voila! I had a computer. People never cease to amaze me at their willingness to give up on something so easily.

Maybe I am oversimplifying. Maybe, while they stood there, trying to login, they noticed another computer open up nearby. Maybe they thought that it was against the rules to go jiggling cables on the back of school property... (Maybe it is. Bleh.) But if I had to guess, I would venture that they probably walked around the library looking or stood waiting for something else to open up for another 5 to 10 minutes, maybe more. Just a guess, but I think a good one.

This simple experience that I had is analogous to so many of the more significant problems that our society as a whole and people as individuals face on a daily basis. Apathy has been the enemy of good people throughout human history. It has damned up the river of potential that is humanity as instead of forging ahead, removing the obstacles, we let insignificant flotsam and jetsam caught on the banks halt our progression. Some of us even become our own beavers. For all the work we get done, we just damn up the river for everyone else.

As this realization coalesced while I checked my facebook and chatted with Mom, I suddenly had a research topic I can get behind. And I think that others will care about it, too. Something that, properly researched and set forth, will help others identify the barriers, both significant and trivial, and maybe... Just maybe, take action.

And the best part is, I have the successes and failures of all of our predecessors to act as my guide.

I am excited to start.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Life is kinda' funny...

Again and again, I find that new experiences come my way. Most of them are things I never thought likely.

I keep finding myself in places that my past self would have never let himself wind up. That he thought he would always be an outsider looking in on these kinds of situations. Oddly enough I find myself planning for things I swore I would never do!!! Mind you, I am not complaining. I am just hoping that I can grow to meet each new challenge.

Life sure is funny.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Love... An eternal paradox.

A good friend and I were talking the other day. Both of us have been a bit confused lately about life and love and everything.

During our conversation, my friend made the statement that love is complicated... I thought about it for a few seconds before I responded.

I believe that love is an eternal paradox. It is sane and insane. It can make us completely happy and utterly miserable in the exact, the exact same instant. It makes us do and say things that make sense at the time...

But most of all it is complicated. That said, it is the simplest thing you will ever do or feel.

I highly recommend it, whatever form it takes. Love ya'!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The most beautiful word...

I saw two of my friends sealed together today in the Memphis temple for time and all eternity.

I think the most beautiful word in any language is yes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I took a bath today for the first time in years...

Ok, OK... Lemme' splain.

I usually take showers.

They shut the water off in my apartment again... It seems they do this from time to time to do maintenance. It's annoying as anything, but I guess that is the price we pay for inexpensive rent at an otherwise awesome apartment. And, as the water is free here (comes with the rent) and they always give us at least a day's notice that they are gonna' shut it off... meh.

In any case, I foiled their plan to stop my usage of the free water here. I know my showers alone probably nearly bankrupt them. But I heard a knock on my door, just a light tap, tap, tap, at about 8:30 this morning. It occurred to me this might be their final notification that they were about to shut the water off.

What did I do? I ran into the bathroom and filled the tub full blast with hot water. I forgot how good a hot bath feels. Me and my tub? We have a return appointment. Viva la Tub-alution!