• Blogoversary time again—nineteen! Years!
A year ago in June 2020 :: Retrospect Prospect I quoted Steve Winwood's "While You See a Chance":
No one gives you anything?
And don't you wonder how you keep on moving?
One more day your way?
During Lent 2013 I wrote, "I fear more months, years, decades of aimless drifting." Along with wondering how I've kept on moving one more day my way and in the end, accomplished more than I'd imagined.
My life is in tatters, splinters, and shards. Why do I have so much difficulty talking or even writing about myself? It can't only be all those people whose only subject of discourse is I, me, my, mine? I've spent a lifetime – since second grade – preparing to serve the inner city, an adult lifetime preparing to serve the urban church. They say the best way to predict the future is to create it.
Recollecting and musing out loud—or more accurately, out blog:
Long ago when I still was driving the pre-loved green Chevy I'd bought as an undergrad, my grandmother mentioned my cousins were buying new cars and added, "Your values are different." I replied, "I would LOVE a brand new vehicle, but right now I'm spending my $$$ on school because I have my eyes on the prize of a lifetime of service." Some things can be quantified, and that lifetime of service hasn't happened. I told NPC interim STM, "these things don't happen in first and second world countries." As obsessively as I occasionally still try to tease out cause and effect, there's actually very very little, yet I realize they do happen when you've lost your social and professional networks that for various reasons are incredibly difficult to reweave. He reminded me, "not a single door has been permanently closed."
From fourteen years ago, Velvet Elvis blog 2:
I'd been so goal oriented, so disciplined, so sure I couldn't lose. For me, it wasn't facing my brokenness nearly as much as it was encountering my fallibility. Like everyone, I'd failed zillions of times, but finally, no matter how many new beginnings I made none of them bore fruit. I've sensed such an overwhelming loss of self; when someone loses a family member or close friend due to physical death or absence, people gather around them and support them. Is there no one for me? In the conventional mainline churches, maybe not.
Like almost everyone, I consider myself a "regular person" (terminology from a bank commercial a few years ago). Fact is, everyone is a "regular person" – even Saint Teresa of Kolkata – but some people have irregular perspectives, so when they see a magnet with a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke [edited to say this Rilke mention's not about me] at the airport they need to buy it. Or they expect Albinoni and Corelli at the nearby fast food outlet. Did I suggest live music just now? No, but a string ensemble playing Italian baroque would be close to a routine happening at some Harvard Square national food chain franchises.
• Once you've been to Rilke and Corelli you can't go back.
As with all futures I'd anticipated, returning to the San Fernando Valley excites me. But if it falls through, as usual I won't feel a thing.
With many unknowns in every setting and circumstance, we must put the best construction on behaviors. There's best construction and there's lying about the obvious, about what can be quantified, about what's gone truly amiss. I want to put past disappointments to rest—but isn't that what I've been doing? Burying and denying all the dreams and reasonable expectations I'd had and thoroughly prepared for? I know, that's different from reclaiming a future. William Faulkner again: The past never is over. The past keeps overtaking us minute by minute.
This isn't a hunter-gatherer society. This isn't a wide spot in the road tiny town. COVID-19 aside, my current situation is incredibly far afield of the minimum anyone with my gifts, preparation, and hard work would have anticipated by now. Most likely I've mentioned my Salt Lake City friend Peggy who died the same summer as my mother. I assured her I already was home free with nothing to worry about, "Before I blink, my life will be full again." I wanted five or six months, but realistically knew regrowth and revitalization would take closer to two or three years. It's now a quarter century. And it's the second largest city in the country, as well as the biggest county by population.
I haven't done any art in forever because depleted ground can't produce healthy fruit. Or veggies. In 2007 I blogged, "…finally, no matter how many new beginnings I made none of them bore fruit." Ever hear insanity is expecting different results from the same behaviors?
From my lectionary blog for Pentecost 3: Related to God's constant reminder for us to remember – I led you through the desert, I quenched your thirst with water from the rock, I fed you with manna, I zapped your enemies, I made you my chosen… on twitter I recently heard, "Remember! God runs in my direction when the whole world walks away."
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