they must have been good talkers

I love, love, love the world of the internet when this stuff happens.   I got an email this morning from cousin John over in the UK about reading my post on Jump.  He then asked me if I knew the story of how the family became protestant.  I didn’t, so he provided it.  

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Edmund Campion was a Protestant cleric in Queen Elizabeth’s reign  and much favoured by her, who converted to RC and then became proscribed. He fled to Europe and then returned to England via Ireland to join up with other Jesuits and it was Widow Jump of North Meols hall farm whose trading boats brought him  over( our family originates from this village and buried in the churchyard there ) The informers gave Campion away and he was arrested and given a show trial in London and executed, Widow Jump and her sons must have talked well as they survived but  Lady Hesketh as landowner was thrown into Manchester gaol and died there .I understand that our family had such a fright from all this that they became Protestant .”   

I also learned that male Jumps have a genetic marker which is derived from Scandinavian roots.    And here I was under the impression that prior to England, the clan was from Iceland.  But it makes sense to me.  

I love the idea that the Jumps were able to talk their way out of a very sticky situation.  This falls into other stories I have heard about the family.  They had the gift of gab.  To think quickly on one’s feet is a skill.  To be able to talk your way out of a quartering is a skill too.  

 

 

How do you tell a Mob Boss to quit smoking?

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I had a great conversation with Mum yesterday.  We were talking about politics and ethics and social justice. We talked about those that reach out to everybody and those that for what ever reason, push those that are different away.

And that lead to a bunch of family stories most I knew and this new one I had never heard. Grandaddy was a surgeon here in Boston and was one of the first in the world to successfully open the chest cavity to do either lung or heart surgery.  His main thing was lungs and he was one of the first to connect the effects of smoking to lung disease.  Mum said that when President Eisenhower had his heart attack, Grandaddy was flown out to Denver as part of the medical team.  That story did not surprise me, I grew up hearing stories about some of his patients that were heads of state, famous actors and the like.  These were pre-Hippa days, and often the family would receive gifts from “grateful patients”.

That was a category.

Pointing to a crate of oranges, “Hey Mamie, where did this come from? ” Or looking at the delivery of giant flower arrangements, “who sent these?”  “A grateful patient Dearie, a grateful patient.”

The story I didn’t know was about that time when he operated on big time Crime Boss Raymond Patriarca and there were detailed cars parked outside of the house for a week or so.  Mum said the cars were FBI or CIA.  I am not so sure about that.  “We had to lock the doors, and we never locked the doors” said Mum.  “We couldn’t go anywhere until it was over”.

What was the issue?  “Well I guess there would have been an issue if Patriarca didn’t make it off the table.  It was life and death you know.” Mum quipped.

I guess he didn’t discriminate.  He treated everyone about he same.  Gave me lecture upon lecture about smoking and I am sure he gave that same lecture to the Mob Boss.

This is what I know about Grandaddy. He was a diehard Republican who I argued with during the Ronny Ray-gun years. At family dinners, we would get going about it until Mamie felt it was going nowhere and would say, “My, the battleships are a lovely shade of gray this year”.  He taught me to fish, to gut that fish on the spot, to chop wood and to how to stack it.  He told me that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.  He once sent me a letter at camp impressing upon me how important communication was.  He had his secretary type it for him.  I wish I had kept that letter.   He was human like the rest of us.

What I did see was that he pumped his own gas, but he drove a Saab.  He talked to the guy behind the Dunkin Donuts counter with the same intent as international guests at his table.  He impressed upon me to never think less of someone doing manual labor, for we all should do what we can with the gifts we are given.  If he had to go out at night, he often wore his PJs under his suit because he liked to get his sleep.

He was a product of his generation, born in 1901 and in Peru Nebraska.  He was motivated to do something after watching the fall out from the 1918 flu.  and the Great White Plague.    He didn’t get everything right, but he did instill the notion that one should find their purpose and do it. His was fighting Lung disease.  He literally saved lives, and from what I remember and what I have learned, he never checked to see what the patient’s background was; religious, economic, political or otherwise before he operated.  We all bleed red.

I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall then he lectured the Boss about quitting smoking.  He could not help to give that lecture to anyone at anytime. He was asked to speak at my 6th grade graduation and I was mortified when he gave the no smoking lecture to the whole school.  I picked up smoking because it was so rebelous.  He once hauled me into his clinic and took a chest r-ray just to scare me.  I didn’t work, I was hooked anyhow.  I smoked ciggs off and on for years and still dream of them.  But I smile now when I see how his efforts in the early days paid off and for the most part, people understand the risk of smoking.

I guess he knew that the addiciton of smoking does not discriminate, neither does lung disease.  It does not care if you are rich or poor, black or while, Christian or Mulim, gay or straight.  He did the work he was wall called to do Mob Boss or not.

 

 

 

 

Demagogue

Here is my take on the recent ban.  To be clear I am talking about the Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorists Entry Into The United States.  

I read it and I call Bullshit.

But here is my take anyhow.  This is the only way I can make sense of this.

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If I wanted to get into some sort of negotiation with somebody or an organization, I would most likely figure out what my bottom line is, start with an opening stance or bid and wait for the counter bid.   I would use my skills of knowing the market and the product, the service and the customers, to get to what I would consider a fair value, price or trade.  I would be able to stand my ground and if the deal was not what I wanted, I would walk.

If I was at an auction and wanted livestock, equipment or land, I would do my homework and know who the seller is before the object came up for bid.   I would weigh the value of the product against the actual cost and again set a bottom line.  A line that I would not go over even if that Ram, or tractor or parcel of land was the sweetest thing since sugar on snow.

If I was less ethical and believed that “by what ever means necessary”  was the way to get stuff done, I might even make the environment less stable by creating a distraction to then close the deal. I would prey on people’s emotional responses and underlying human characteristics and use emotion to help achieve my goals.  I would manipulate the environment.

If I were Trump and I made a whole bunch of outrageous promises that played to a particular group of people, and by some fluke I actually won the Presidency, what better way to get what I want.. power.. by operating the government like a business.  I would have a game plan that  includes a bigger picture.

By distracting the nation with his egregious executive commands, he is playing a shell game .  Of course this executive ban is going to be legally challenged, because it is illegal.

Even I know that the United States constitution protects religious freedoms, including showing preference for one particular religious group. I am referring to section 5 (b). ” to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

Well, perhaps we should start right here at home first.  I digress.

The point is this.  If I wanted to make a power grab that is outside of the constitution;  such as rolling back environmental regulations to help oil companies expand their private business, thought the use of eminent domain (it is coming watch out), or perhaps reverse the laws around marriage equality, or racial equality or even deny health care for women, those with mental illness or addictions, then I might throw a diversion. Kinda like a cluster bomb.

I might just do something so outlandish that everyone is distracted.

Then nobody will press for full tax and business disclosures.  No one will worry about what was said to Putin in the call the other day.  We will be so split and emotionally scattered that a reasonable response will be hard to muster.

He test drove his strategy when he flooded twitter with inauguration twats and then sent his press secretary and Kellyanne out to spin dry the “alternative facts” line.  And guess what.  It worked.  This behavior is so unpresidential, that it is stunning.  However this behavior can be seen with other demagogues.  It is seen with people whose moral compass is unable to find true north.

The thing is, you gotta step away from the center of the emotional response and take a look.  Look for the bigger picture.

I don’t know what he and his cabinet are up to.  I have been reading up on him though and what I read about him is scary.  He is human, like the rest of us and he is bright.  Very savvy when it comes to business.  The biggest problem is that he sees the country as a business and not a democracy.   He understands it as a demagoguery and that is the critical difference.  Perhaps he is hastening his own tyranny, meaning that he will be replaced by Pence. Perhaps the leading party is going to let him continue. But while this unfolds, we must come together.  March and protest but also come together to work this democracy as it is laid out.

Therefore, if we as a nation are to uphold the principles of this great democracy, we must step back and think about his in terms of a marathon, not a short distance sprint.  We must not get caught in the distractions, but come together to shut this thing down.

Tell me why you fear him

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His name is Omran

In 1986 I was a student in London and thought that it would be great fun to travel with a buddy I had met at school.  Susie Morgahni’s family was living in London after immigrating from Beirut.  The cause was war.   Her parents had applied for visas and were planning to immigrate to  Youngstown Ohio when the school year was over.  Susie talked about to heading to back to Lebanon to see her brothers and grandmother one last time.

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The Morganhi’s had opened their London flat to me and it was a home away from home while I was abroad, and so when I heard Susie talking about the plan to travel home to Lebanon I asked if I could go too.  There had been a cease fire, and hostilities had settled. It would be a non-tourist type trip. I would be in the homes of friends and I felt safe about it. I could see the Cedars of Lebanon.  They said I would be an honored guest.

So the plan was that we would fly to Cyprus and then take a ferry over to Lebanon.  I called the states and told my family, who were less enthusiastic and they put up some strong opposition.  But I was 21, so I didn’t listen. I wanted to see the world for myself. I hated the US at that time. I thought that Ronny Ray-gun was going to cause the third world war.

Susie went ahead of me but I was going to meet her at the airport, head to Limassol take the ferry over,  be met by her family and have a fantastic reunion.

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When I arrived in Nicosia I saw armed security guards and instantly felt alarmed.  In customs they took my passport.  It felt like everyone was looking at me. The customs official glared at me angrily, pointed to the chairs and gave me directions in a language I did not know.  He took my passport, pointed at me while talking to other officials then went into an office.  He came back out a few minutes later and started to question my intentions.

Why was I in Cyprus?  Why did I want to go to Lebanon? Did I have a contact number for the people I was going to visit?  What was the relationship I had to them?  Why had I come from London?  Was I really a student?  My name was Alexandra, maybe I was Greek?

I was terrified.  They pulled my passport and I was connected to the American Embassy. I could head back to England or stay.   What ever my choice, I wasn’t going to Lebanon.

The school was closed for the week, so I had nowhere to stay over break .  Being completely naive, I figured I would stay in Cyprus for the week and at lease see the country.

The country was beautiful. I headed to Limassol and found a place to stay.  I found some Canadian troopers who had been assigned by the UN as peacekeepers and they spoke English.  I ended up having a terrific time for the first couple of days.

Then there was news that the United Stated had bombed Libya.  There were protests in the streets, effigies of Reagan being hung and the American Flag being burned.  I had never been so scared to be an American and so thankful that I had associated with Canadians and the Embassy.

Turns out my family, concerned for me before I left London, had contacted the State Department and I had been flagged.  I returned humbled from the experience and I came to love the freedom of this country and the assumed safety I had always felt as a white, privileged citizen.    Susie made her trip to her homeland and returned to London as well.  When she made her trip to the states as an immigrant later that year, we picked her up from the airport and hosted her for a couple of days before she flew off to join her Mother in Youngstown.

I was so very lucky to meet people who  were from different backgrounds than me. I was so very lucky to live in a different country and lucky to be welcomed into homes as a stranger.  As such, I was treated with the utmost hospitality and felt honored.

I have strived to show the same here in this country.    I have made friends with  Jamaican domestic workers on H-2B visas  and have invited them into my home at the holidays to share a meal.  I have hosted Chinese immigrants, who have finagled their way here through a complex network of “marriage”and extended family.  I have celebrated with friends who passed the test and became citizens.  I encourage my daughter to travel in China when she was 16.

My own family is not from here. They finagled their entré as well.  My grandfather immigrated from England and made a couple of attempts, then married my grandmother to get citizenship.  My brother in law has a green card.  Other ancestors came over on boats. From Germany in the 1800’s and from England in the 1600’s.  Every one I am related to is from away.   They came becuase of the myth that here, in this counrty, we are all equal.

His name is Omran. Tell me why you fear him.

He is a refugee and has the rotten luck of being born in the wrong place.  I welcome him.  I welcome those who have gone through all of the visa vettings and green card ques, those that are being detained at our airports. I welcome them.  There are those that wish to do harm to those who have freedom.  But it is not Omran.

We have taken a dangerous turn this week.  Banning people and building walls will only make things worse.  We are to welcome the stranger. We are to give hospitality.  His name is Omran.  He is welcome in my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope showed up

16142597_421040801560465_7118998267674492025_nI called my friend Desirée yesterday to ask a solid favor from her.   Perhaps.  That was the pretense really.  I called her because I feel a need to hold my breath as this giant wave of discontent approaches and I need to slide down deep under the current to let it pass over me.  I need to be able to hold my breath, to be ready to come back up and to swim strongly out of the rip current.    I am a strong swimmer, but these waves are dark and fast and are crashing down, threatening to take us onto the rocks.

I have been quiet these 6 months, resting and refocusing.  Making ready for what lies ahead. Des and I talked about transition and all that comes with it and what we need to find in it.  Community.  Community is what I left in Vermont.  I knew who I was in my community.  I knew who I was in my life, but all of that changed.  Des and I talked about the inauguration, the Women’s march and the new executive orders that have been signed.  We talked about the feelings and what we experienced on Saturday.

She was in Santa Fe, in her new home and I in Boston.  She spoke of the mass of people and the hope that they carried with them.  She spoke of the community that was all around her.   I spoke of Boston and how it was like Marathon Monday, with opening day at Fenway and the Red Sox playing the Yankees, but add to that a super bowl win. That was the 175 thousand that marched.  But without the bravado. Without the drunk and brawling, over the top, chuckle heads with smeared paint on their faces.  Without the winners and losers.  It was like the best of Boston, the best of the world showed up and said we are here. We haven’t left.  Justice and Equality showed up and with it babies in snugglies, kids holding signs, grandmothers and fathers, some using canes and some just wearing pink hats. The students and the doctors showed up  after their shifts and the police stood witness to democracy in action.  Hope showed up along with Everything is going to be alright.

Des told me that I needed to write this.  I said, I have no idea what I said, you write it.

Then this morning my muse came back.

We know that storms come and that the currents and waves can do damage.  The winds of war seem to be in the air as well.  So we make ready.   We store up our good will and our kindness and our ability to give to others our of our own stock when required.  We batten down the hatches and bring in the boats.  We hunker down and get grounded in our spaces and wait it out.     And with some storms, we go out in the middle of it.   We naturally seek to help others in times of need.  Some people get caught in the storm.  We go out to bring them in.

And with this political storm, we are all in this together.  Not me from my side and you from yours. But all of us, at the same time.  Make ready.  Plan ahead and most importantly don’t lose hope.  This too shall pass.  It might be nasty now, but it will pass and those that can and should venture out into the middle of the mess will.  Of that I am sure.

We are better than what the storm wants us to think.

 

Now what?

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Now what?

Breathe, just breathe.  Sleep in.  Needlepoint. Spin that wool. Knit really good yarn.

Read what you want to read.  Write the way you like to write, as if you are not being graded, write without the filters.

I used to be brave with my writing and somewhere along the way I bent. I didn’t break, but I certainly stopped writing in the way I like to.  I conformed to expectations and writing became a chore and a bore.  I was clear, most of the time, but lacked transparency. I lacked the flow of writing as a means to connect with myself.

The topics were ok.  But I lost the feeling that what I wrote mattered.

Here in the blog, I write for me. I find that I can hear my voice and thus know more about me when I write. It is different then writing in Word or some other doc that sits in a file.  I write and hit send and just like that I can’t take it back. Well, not true, I can delete.  But the folks that subscribe to the blog get the raw, first version.   I write, I re-read once, try the spell check thing and poof… off it goes into space.  A giant exhale and along with it, sometimes my fears and anxieties.  It is like sneezing in the movies, you can’t take it back or hide.  I let go.

And it really doesn’t matter if anyone reads my musing. That is not the point.  I am doing this for me and the format works.  If someone happens to read and relate, or even respond, then that is just like maple syrup in my tea.

What next?

Transition.    And a whole lot of musing.

Feels good.

Hey Amy, do you remember that day?

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Hey Amy,

I got the news the other day and I want to tell you how much I love you.

Do you remember this day?  We all were taking a break from writing papers and it was one of those days in Westport where you had to take a walk on the beach.  Your smile was as bright at the day.

I remember when we met on campus in Nimi’s ethics class. But I had heard about you before I ever started class, small is the world we live in. Connections are all around.  And after some sort of community day thing our first year,  we planted spring bulbs and walked down the hill to chat some more and  we shared our losses.  You talked to me of Michael and I talked about William and how God had called us both to move beyond our grief.  And I knew about Elephant Rock and the Nubble and I shared my memories of climbing it with my grandmother while caring one of my babies on my back.  You shared your memory of swimming out into the river to get the boat so that you and Michael could sail out past the point of rock one last time.  And we were grounded in memories of love.

We were sitting on your deck and talking about sheep and goats and your cat that was ancient, and I remember saying to you that we would go to Myanmar together.  You rallied but I couldn’t.  I was so proud to see you make that trip.  And the one to India too.  You slid that one in while nobody was looking.  You are stealth like that.

We compared notes about CPE and how long the nights were and how my site was too hot and your site too cold.  How just as you thought you had time to get that last verbatim written, you got a page to see a patient.  And you did it while working, and going to school and living life on life’s terms.  You drove that first generation hybrid into the ground and you emerged with that sporty little Kia.   You showed me how to pick yourself up, shake off the dust and move forward.

I showed you how to collect the small stones off the beach and transform them from fears and worries, by skipping them back into the sea to be polished into hopes and dreams.  You collected a few stones for me and painted them with words of encouragement. The one that says “health” I keep in my jewelry box.

 

And then there was that time I was freaking out in systematics and you hypnotized me and I smelled peony in every class after that.  That was the weirdest thing.  But I know now that when I smell the peony in the spring I will think of you.

And here is the thing.   I read your letter and I am again blow away by your love of others, the strength of your call, and your clarity as you transition from this life to life eternal.  I am gonna miss you. But this much I know is true,  life is as it should be and I will see you again on the flip side of the vale my friend.  I love you.

Growing Edges

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I am at the dining room table with folders, cup of tea, scripture, a couple of pens and my music going. This seems to be a space where I can get the writing done.  The project this week is to gather the paperwork together for a Clinical Pastoral Education Equivalency.  To be certified by the Association of Professional Chaplain one needs to have a Master of Divinity degree, four units of CPE- that’s the clinical pastoral ed thing- and then 2000 hours as a paid chaplain.    I have completed the MDiv, have two accredited CPE units done with a third starting up at the end of May and one year of field study that should qualify for the equivalency unit.  You are allowed one of the four units to be an equivalency.  So there are the details.

The bigger picture is that I have been going over what I did in chaplaincy work my second year of seminary.   You have to do field work as part of the requirements for the degree and most seminarians do their year at a church because they are following a call to ordination as a minister within some sort of denomination.  I am called to be an interfaith chaplain which is a bit different and so I did a field study placement as a chaplain intern at Newton Wellesley Hospital through Harvard Divinity School.   Now I am looking back to see what my goals were then and how I attained them, or changed them or found out I needed some more work in certain areas.  We call that our “growing edges”.  God I hate that term.

Seems like every field; ministry, business, psychology, all comes with terminology.  And every association or grouping of folk have their rules and regulations that from the society for which they congregate.  I get that.  I get that we form groups with like-minded folks and have rules by which we play.  But sometimes the rules become its own game.  And I don’t like that either.  I want to get to the actual doing of stuff, working with people, rather than getting stuck in the details.

It is not that I don’t need more training.  I do and I hope to remain teachable and open to learning more about the art of chaplaincy and pastoral care.  But the whole paperwork thing drives me buggers.  To the point where I will do almost anything to get around what it is I should be doing.  I have been know to clean the bathroom instead of writing the paper.  I also just took up running again, not to get into shape, but most likey to avoid the paperwork.  If I run myself tired I won’t have so much angst about the paperwork.  And it is really not that bad.   Not like a theological systematics paper  for Prof. Heim or a Christology paper for Prof. Valentine.

And here is what I know about myself.  I get all caught up in the angst of getting the paperwork done, rather than just sitting down and answering the questions and writing the papers.  Nothing has changed much there.  I would rather blog, with the hope that by clearing my voice and opening up the flow of writing, that the writing I need to submit will come easier.   And that my friends, all comes down to being judged as being acceptable by how I write and what I say.   Old wounds from Jr. High School where I learned I am dyslexic and became fearful that what I wrote was wrong because I never understood what exactly people were asking me to do.

OK, so stepping back, I have a folder of work I did for a field study through Harvard.  They thought it was good enough to pass me through.  I guess my “growing edge” is to accept that perhaps what I did should count for something.

Where do you shop?

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Coming out of Roche Bros, a Westwood la-de-da supermarket where they have baggers who will take your loaded cart to the car, load it in  and return the cart for you, I saw a Trump bumper sticker.  And I wondered who in their right mind would be voting for that guy, let alone announcing their political point of view to the world.  Then I thought about the location and where entitlement exists unchallenged. This is an old money supermarket.  There are a lot of Volvo’s here.   We like the way things have always been because we have always been in charge and we like it that way.  We will vote Trump because he would get the job done and you can’t have an angry woman in the oval office.

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I like to go to Star market because the folks that go there, people who shop and work there, come from all sorts of different places and cultures.  We are all there just doing our weekly shopping or working our shifts.   I feel like when I buy an avocado  from South America there will be someone who is from there either putting it on the shelf or in their shopping basket.  Same with the local cod.  Someone has a fisherman in their family. The woman who serves up slices from the deli on the Sunday shift as her second job also massages me on Monday and then takes off right after work to pick up her kid from sports practice.   For the most part high school kids ring you out and you bag and haul your own groceries.  Star Market is also closer to home.   We are just trying to live life, get all the errands done and get back home in time to help the kids do their homework, get supper on the table and we drive all sorts of different types of cars.  Some are beaters and some are brand new, but most of them are practical and with some sort of Boston Sports sticker on the bumper  and on the back windshield.

ackNow I could go across and up the street a bit and hit Wholefoods, which is a whole different world. Nestled right at Legacy place, the high-end shopping mall in town,  I feel like I have to put on my yoga pants and carry trendy canvas bags to into the store.  I would also have to take out a mortgage to shop there, the fruits and veggies look pretty perfect but the prices are often double of what they are at Star.  The other thing is that I notice that customers strike a certain pose of celebrity hiding from the press with their baseball caps and bug eyed sunglasses and the staff (vs. regular employees) are not very friendly.  It is like I am at the wrong club and everybody in the store knows it. This is a nouveau riche market, a poser wanna be nouveau riche market, where going green is not really understood, but it is a trend so therefore watch me shop organic with my Gucci bag.  There are Teslas and Mercedes SUVs and Lincoln Navigators and if there is a bumper sticker, it is an  ACK .  Too self-absorbed to even vote and if they did, it would be for whoever is most popular in the Wall Street Journal’s Weekend editorial.  Not that they actually read the editorial, but that they can spot the name on the headline from across the shopping isle.

Now I am being a bit cheeky with my descriptions of the various markets around town. My sharpness is showing in that I am making generalizations about the people that shop at different stores and that somehow the store I choose, and the the people that go there are, better than the others.   I am challanging the elite while being elite in my own thinking.

I think that human nature tends to have us group in like styled tribes,  we stick together with those that are most like us because it makes us feel like we belong.  I belong in a group of mixed marbles, some broken and cracked, some perfect pinkies or yellowed Tiger eyes. Most of the marbles are scratched up a bit.  But,  I grew up going to the market with my mum who still goes to Roach Bros. in her Volvo wagon * I traveled up to Roche Bros. the other day because they have loose leaf tea and Star only has bagged tea. Very elite of me.

However,  I thought about why I now go to a different market and I think it because I have learned that I feel better in my group of mixed marbles then in the tribe I grew up in.

Where do you go to market?  Do you pick the place due to style or location?  Do you feel apart of when you go or out of your element?  Funny how something so simple as a market can be a statement of who we see ourselves to be.

*Mum is not voting for Trump.  She vigorously defended her market choice and has said in the past that it was easier to get to when she was teaching in Westwood, she knew many of the students that bagged groceries there and she is a creature of habit.  Why change now?

Inaugural launch of the River Rat Gang

As expected; I mustered, got up, got dressed, and walked out the door.  Down the street and to the church. The sermon started out with a congratulations that we had come to church on such a beautiful day.  A recognition that we could all be home reading the Sunday paper, getting ahead of the neighbors with yard work or taking the day to be outside, but we didn’t. We came to church. Which according to the priest, was the correct decision.  Why?  Because God graces us with the holy spirit when we worship Him.

Now theologically I am not so sure I stand on the same page, however the priest’s next few lines addressed that too.  Roughly paraphrasing he said, “Now people who are intellectual, well read, analytical have a difficult time with this.” He nailed it. ” People like me who need the grace will take it.”  Boom, shut it down.

I over think, almost everything, I am pretty sure.  Wait, let me think about that.  Yup, I think I over think. I am such an alcoholic.  My silly little dyslexic, addicted brain likes to go to the default of over thinking almost everything.  However I am learning how to let that all go.

Best thing to do on a hugely nice day is to kayak.  Get outside and out of my head. Phone rings and it is a peep from the program.  “What are you doing today?” they asked.

“Going kayaking” I say.

” I wanna go too” ……well now I am in a jam, I have two boats, two paddles and two life jackets.

“Ok, well have you ever kayaked? ”  Total stall.

“No, but I have canoed”   I am thinking, not the same thing.  This is the Charles river, dirty and spring level high, someone new in a boat could get into trouble.  Plus I am still grumpy and not wanting to give a lesson.

“Well the river is high and I haven’t checked it out yet” truth ” So not today but maybe later in the spring when the water warms up.

“OK… well, have a good time. ”

So I got one of the boats ready and not having roof racks that fit my leased car and not wanting to scratch the top of the car trying to get the boat on top, I decide to put the boat in the car and tie it down.  It almost fits the full way in, then I give it another slight push and crack the inside of the windshield.   It splinters out like a spiderweb the size of a dinner plate.

I call my peep back and offer to meet up and go over to the different spots on the river to see how it is flowing. We meet  up and drive along to where the put in sites are.  A few trees down, one by the Bridge Street bridge which would cause trouble if you don’t know how to read the river.  The current is fast and the tree is pushed up against the bridge right where one would paddle.  I am thinking I made a good decision on not  bringing a new-bee out on a first run.

Then around the bend comes a group of paddlers, all having a blast.  Another put in point and more paddlers.   And my peep really wants to go.   Starts pleading.  Says we can scratch up the top of their car to go.  Deep breath.  Ok, let’s do it.

30 minutes later both boats are strapped down and we roll to the put in point.  Quick lesson on dry land on getting in and out of the boat, and we shove off.  It is the inaugural  outing of the River Rat Gang. They get the hang of it and we travel for about an hour up-stream and then  back.  The water is dark and swift in some areas, but no white water to get nervous about.  They have a great time and it is a new world to them.  Service 101.

To get out of your head, do something nice for someone else.  Be a friend.  It took a busted windshield to get my head out of my ass and  do the next right thing.  God works like that.  I sometimes need a sermon launched in my general direction.  I need the confession and absolution and sometimes, when that doesn’t get me all the way, I need to be stopped in my tracks and redirected.

Thanks be to God.