Monday, January 21, 2013

A Couple of Days

Saturday I went to a friend’s retirement party, a happy occasion except that shortly before he retired his wife was diagnosed with cancer.
Community garden where my students and I did outreach to refugees
At the party my friend Mike was telling about working the gun buy-back at our church earlier that day. A pro-assault weapons/high capacity magazine group rented space across the street from the buy-back and was offering to auction or buy people’s guns at better prices than the church was giving. I think the alternative guys with all their signs turned about 20 guns and the church about 50.

Sunday school was good. I guess we’re one of the older classes now. I was mostly focused on preparing for Wednesday morning Bible study, which I’m scheduled to lead this week. The topic is why do innocents suffer? I think it's the wrong question. The question is, what will we/I do about suffering?
Likkie, from Incredible String Band

Sunday evening I went to a meeting of a group I’m associated with to plan a couple of psytrance forest gatherings. I was the oldest person there. So nice to hear what people were saying about their intentions and goals (being present, gratitude, grounding, flowing, integrating, and more). Spencer Pershkin: “I’m a wave upon the ocean; I’m a little ripple on the sea.”

Today (Monday) was my turn-it-up day at the gym. Groan.

And then we watched part of President Obama’s Inauguration (falling perfectly on Martin Luther King Day). I was deeply affected by Myrlie Ever-William’s invocation, delivered 50 years after her husband, Medgar Evers, was gunned down at their home by segregationists. I saw the VP sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I heard the President say (and I think he meant it):  

Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law - for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.  Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.  Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. 
Some of my associates and me - on Annex Street
(but not who I'm writing about in this post)

Later that same day we were at the same store (right where the crime was committed) and a young woman came up and put her arms around me. I used to help her mom and dad. They (two parents, two daughters) lived in a tiny, dark, one-bedroom apartment on Annex Street. Her mother had tuberculosis and was addicted to alcohol. It was a seriously grim existence, but the daughter was so bright – I was always so glad to see her; I felt like she had a light shining out of her. She said her mother died a week ago. It’s not good news that this young woman – still pretty, still bright – is still in the neighborhood.

MY WIFE, XENA! Oh Hell Yes! (written 6 days ago)

Yesterday, as Xena (Leslie) and I were walking into a store, a man and woman were walking out and as they passed us, the woman started sprinting and thrust her arm through the shoulder strap and took off with Leslie's purse. I chased them for about a quarter mile, through several apartment complexes and into an alley where I gave out. At one point I was within a few steps of them, but couldn’t keep up the pace.

So, we’re unsettled, Leslie has a few bruises, dealing with credit card and related issues, re-keying the locks, getting new chips in the car keys, and so on. 

I was worried about the effects of this on Leslie. Today I got a clue. She wanted to go to the store. There were other, closer options, but she wanted to go back to the store where it happened. Parked in the same spot and walked in the same door. Shopped. Left.

Leslie on the bus in Burma, 2006 and waiting for the bus in Nepal, 1978
(But it’s not all fun and games being married to a Warrior Princess).  

I feel like I’ve peaked and now it’s integration time. It is that time, regardless of my consciousness of it; but it is interesting to be conscious of it.


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