Extravagant beauty

With full awareness of all that is ugly in the world, I am obsessing about beauty. I don’t believe these thoughts represent escapism so much as astonishment. A lesson that has unfolded for me over the past year is that nothing in this world is to be taken for granted. And so I’m trying to keep my eyes and my heart open and when I do this the beauty of life nearly overwhelms me, as does the impulse to experience, create, and extend this beauty, which represents Love. Continue reading

Mobility

IMG_0521 (1)After my post about knee pain I got lots of sympathy and encouragement about eventually replacing these achy knees. Everybody knows somebody who has been through the serious surgical ordeal and most have come through it well. But I got a somewhat different story from an orthopedist. Continue reading

Look down! An eclipse!

This eclipse caught me unprepared.

I do not have eclipse glasses and didn’t think about buying them until it was probably too late.

I made no effort to get in the path of the total eclipse and didn’t think about doing that until I read (reread, it’s old) Annie Dillard’s marvelous essay on a total eclipse (different from a partial like the difference between kissing a man and marrying him, hmmm.)

And then I really wanted to experience a total. But that was about last Thursday. Continue reading

Knee pain

Two things have disappointed me greatly since our move into the Pink Lady: my left knee and my right knee.

With the move, I looked forward to walking everywhere. So much is within walking distance. Walking distance used to be easily three miles for me, each way. Three miles from the Pink Lady would take me to the Notre Dame campus and nearby shops and restaurants, a long trail along the St. Joe River, homes of all of my friends who live on the north side, and a number of parks, to say nothing of all the downtown shops and restaurants. Continue reading

How can we help Congo? Part two

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Adolphine Tshiama. Photo by Charles Buller

A few days ago I started writing about what, if anything, we can do for that troubled country I love so much, the Democratic Republic of Congo. I put off writing Part 2 for a few days to sit with my intentions and motivations. I am very particular about asking for money, especially for things related to my own work and my church community. But I have decided to go ahead because I can’t get Adolphine out of my mind. Continue reading

How can we help Congo? Part one

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Ndjoko Punda in 2013. It is now overrun by violent militias.

I hear this question and ask it myself every time I hear or report news, often very personal, from this country that I love so much. The news is horrible. Chaos has descended on sections of the country. People are suffering dreadful loss and persecution. Thousands have fled their homes and are hiding out in the bush, homeless and starving. Unknown numbers have been slaughtered in the most gruesome way, uncanny echoes of all the worst outbreaks of violence that have plagued this part of the world in recent history. Continue reading

Gap weeks

Gap years are the thing. My great-nephew hasn’t figured out whether he wants to do political science or biology in college, though he knows which college he’ll attend and has already been accepted. So he’s taking a year to work and figure that out. It seems that for an 18-year-old he has figured out a lot already and a gap year is a sensible part of the plan. Continue reading

An appropriate house

A front window of the Pink Lady is cluttered with three signs. The sign in three languages, welcoming neighbors no matter where they come from, we put there by choice. The other two we display as required: permission to put in a driveway/sidewalk, subject to city inspection, and a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission for that and other anticipated improvements. Continue reading