I know, I know, starting with Dr. Spock, we are just too permissive.
Case in point: Nike jumps up on the dinner table. We know we should tell her to get off, especially when she starts helping Christine eat her lasagna. Such discipline is fundamental to any healthy household.
Another thing I’m thankful for is art, in all its many forms.
Last week, for instance, I attended my second house concert.Mike Roe, of The 77s and The Lost Dogs, was playing.
If you’ve ever been to a house concert, you know they are a very intimate experience.The lines between performer and audience are blurred so that it’s not so much a show as a form of communion.
On one of the last songs he did, Roe had us all sing the chorus.I had never heard the song before, but clearly others had, and they sang without shame or self consciosness.It was a simple chorus and easy to pick up, and it did not take me long to join in:
Breathe deep Breathe deep the Breath of God Breathe deep Breathe deep the Breath of God.
It was one of those transcendent moments where the barriers come down and hearts join like voices and pretty soon you feel yourself transported to a place of unspeakable beauty, peace, and calm; one of those moments where you catch a glimpse of eternity and you wish it would never end.
But then the verses hit with a barrage of words, many of them harsh words, painful words, coarse words used in ridicule and insult.Words that describe divisions, including groups and categories of peoples with whom I would not normally associate, who I might be tempted to denigrate or even despise.
And then… the chorus returns.In it, I do associate with these people, all these people.It is not a comfortable moment.Something inside resists, fights back.This is not right.
The next verse, the next chorus, and on it goes.Something inside shifts, gives in.We are all connected, brothers and sisters, like it or not.We are all in need of the same thing, whether we know it or not.
The chorus returns for the last time.We sing with our whole hearts, nothing held back.Tears roll down people’s faces.Is this no longer earth but heaven?
I think that is the power of art, the power of God Himself the Ultimate Artist, and that is why I’m thankful for it.
Politicians, morticians, Philistines, homophobes Skinheads, Dead heads, tax evaders, street kids Alcoholics, workaholics, wise guys, dim wits Blue collars, white collars, war mongers, peace nicks
Suicidals, rock idols, shut-ins, drop outs Friendless, homeless, penniless and depressed Presidents, residents, foreigners and aliens Dissidents, feminists, xenophobes and chauvinists
Evolutionists, creationists, perverts, slum lords Dead-beats, athletes, Protestants and Catholics Housewives, neophytes, pro-choice, pro-life Misogynists, monogamists, philanthropists, blacks and whites
Police, obese, lawyers, and government Sex offenders, tax collectors, war vets, rejects Atheists, Scientists, racists, sadists Photographers, biographers, artists, pornographers
Gays and lesbians, demagogues and thespians The disabled, preachers, doctors and teachers Meat eaters, wife beaters, judges and juries Long hair, no hair, everybody everywhere!
Thursday is, of course, Thanksgiving, so I’m thinking that maybe this week I’ll write about some of the things I’m thankful for.
For instance, I’m thankful for the animals in our lives, whether in our home, the garden, or out in the wild.Can you imagine life without animals?I can’t.
There are lots of animal stories I could tell, from Creepy Creature Stories (some of my favorites, posted elsewhere on this blog) to memorable outdoor encounters (like when I was growing up and saw what I thought was a giant poodle while hiking with my family in the woods but my parents made me and my sisters climb a tree and we never did that for dogs and it was later explained to me that this animal was a bear)(how’s that for a run on sentence?!) toanimals at church and so on.
But I think the story I’ll actually tell now is a “Pet Tale”:the story of how Sasha was born.
When we moved to Sterling, Nike (our other cat) was very pregnant.She rode the whole way from Florida to Virginia in my lap, which made driving rather tricky.I would mention that the car was also full of snakes in Tupperware containers, but that is another story.
When we arrived in Sterling, we could not move into our house yet so we lived in a one room efficiency apartment for a month.As the month drew to a close, I was trying to take nap one Sunday afternoon after church.Nike was lying on the pillow next to me, purring loudly.All of a sudden I heard this wet sort of “plop” , and there on the pillow next to me was a kitten.
It was followed by three more.The last one came out and didn’t seem to be breathing, so my wife (who is a nurse), did what she could to rescue it.Whatever she did it worked, and so Sasha began her life.
We found homes for the other three kittens, but Sasha has remained with us, and has helped keep her mother company.In some ways even though she is now 8 years old, she still plays like a kitten.We think maybe that is because she is a simple cat, having gone without oxygen for a bit at her birth. .
Who knows? What we do know is that we love her with that special affection people reserve for dear animals, and we thank God that she has come to be a part of our life and family.
Tonight Linda and I went through old photograph albums looking for pictures of our younger daughter to put in her senior yearbook. Boy does that bring back the memories. And boy does it give one a poigniant perspective of how much life has gone by. None of those pictures are digital, of course!
Here's another picture I found today while cleaning files off my office computer. You might think this is yet another picture of a big fish. It's not. It's a picture of why I decided to cut my hair...
Though it is brief and indirect, this is perhaps the best critique of Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion I have yet seen:
"I read The God Delusion out of curiosity, the same way I'd read a book by Mother Teresa if she suddenly decided to write one called The Math Delusion--the shocking truth about numbers and how they are just imaginary concepts and have no real meaning apart from their function in equations."
--Richard Dooling in Rapture for the Geeks, page 230.
ony, over at Sand in the Gears (an excellent blog, BTW) tagged me in the following meme. I haven’t done one of these in quite a while, so I thought I’d play along.Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Write 6 random things about yourself. Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post. Let each person know he/she has been tagged. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
And that brings me to my "6 random things":
Right now my primary therapist is our cat Nike.Petting Nike and hearing her purr in appreciation, I can feel the stress slipping away…
I’m a contradictory eater.I love all things made from tomatoes—tomato sauce, juice, ketchup, salsa—but I don’t like tomatoes.I love to go fishing, but I don’t much like eating fish.
I still think Tom Baker is the best Doctor Who.
The pet I’ve never owned but always dreamed of is a large python.But my wife set two rules in our house:I wasn’t allowed to keep any snakes big enough to eat our kids and I wasn’t allowed to keep “hot herps” (that is, venomous reptiles).That was why I had to let an absolutely beautiful coral snake go that we caught alongside the road.
In college my nickname was Eddie, after Eddie Munster (long story).People often did not know my given name was actually Rob (even a girl I took out several times was surprised to eventually find out my real name wasn’t “Ed”).Well, my given name is actually Carl, but I’m a Jr., so I’ve come by my middle name as long as I can remember.My family still calls me “Robbie”.Got that?
I score as a very strong Introvert on the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).