Birthday gifts

IMG_3760A pretty but too early snow falls in my birthday week. Global warming, they say? Well, the snow is falling on autumn leaves that are still attached to trees. Trees used to always be bare by my birthday. In recent years they hang on at least two weeks longer than before. So what does it mean when fall comes later and snow comes earlier?

The key is that it is unusual. Nothing is normal. Or, the new “normal” is change and disruption. Unpredictability is an ambiguous gift for my birthday. Continue reading

Deliverance

IMG_3758Getting the documents together to apply to sponsor an asylum seeker is as complicated as applying for a visa for Congo, a process that always daunts me though I’ve been through it countless times.

The sponsor application was complicated by a last-minute switch in who was being sent to us, complicated by notarization required for one document, complicated by the local coordinator sending jpegs to include in our application that were too small to be readable and having to resend them, complicated by forgetting to include said documents and having to go back into the house to get them, complicated by forgetting my wallet when I did go to the post office and having to go back home to get it, complicated by having to pay more than expected to send a package that will arrive later than expected because the P.O. “doesn’t deliver overnight to some places,”  one of them being a border county in New Mexico where said asylum seeker is waiting for deliverance from a detention center into our charge. Continue reading

A momentous decision

I’m doing better now that I’ve come to terms with the dark cloud hovering over my head: my late mother and my own mortality. Still, there are days when I can’t do more than one or two things. The weather is that cold-rain, almost-snow deep fall gray more typical of November than October and I literally feel “under the weather” a lot of the time. Sad weather weighs me down. I hibernate and don’t get enough exercise. A head cold threatens despite daily doses of immunity boosters.

But today I made a rather momentous decision. Maybe that is my one thing for today because decisions can be taxing, right? Continue reading

Violence, racism, and presidential politics

We South Bend, IN residents are getting a ground-level look at the big issues of the day. The fact that our mayor is running for president, and doing surprisingly well, has drawn national attention to what goes on here, good things but mostly bad things.

Like shootings. Like racism exacerbated by police misconduct.

Yesterday I attended a town hall meeting at a local high school, widely reported in the national media, about a shooting of a black man by a white police officer. Continue reading

Community prayers for Traychon

A few days ago I learned that the community On-Site Prayer Ministry was scheduling a vigil at the location of the shooting of Traychon Taylor, the one that took place practically in our backyard a few weeks ago and that I’ve written about here and here.

Since I’ve been doing my own vigil in my backyard rather sporadically (I’m easily discouraged by weather), this seemed like a next step in whatever might be unfolding. I looked forward to it. Continue reading

Traychon, cont.

When you start out on something that seems promising but outside your comfort zone, you can easily lose momentum, chicken out. You hear the countering voices. What was I thinking? I am making too much of this. I’ve been feeling this about my little Traychon project, about the young man who was shot behind our house, which I wrote about just two days ago. Nevertheless, I have persisted in following my impulses or perhaps the Spirit. Continue reading

Traychon

So this happened a week ago Sunday night, at around 10 pm as we were watching a movie at home: a pop-pop-pop that might have been gunshots or firecrackers. Fifteen minutes later I looked out a kitchen window and saw police cars, lights flashing, crime-scene tape, cops with flashlights behind our long backyard, in the street and in a parking lot that belongs to a business at the back edge of our property. Definitely, it had been shots.

Continue reading

Hunger and thirst for righteousness

I don’t want to go overboard on this Mayor Pete thing but when I examine myself and also look at the extraordinary response he is stirring in others I have to wonder what is going on, exactly. So do many analysts, like Amber Phillips in today’s Washington Post (Why is Pete Buttigieg so popular?). She puts forth the theories she’s gleaned: his novelty, the parts of his resume that appeal to liberals (he’s young, he’s gay), the perennial search for leadership from outside the Beltway, his potential to beat Trump (highly speculative at best but at least he seems unflappable), and finally, simply that he’s got “the intangibles.” Which means that the analysts haven’t come up with a name for whatever it is. Continue reading

A view from the base

IMG_2883Watching Pete Buttigieg’s big announcement with friends yesterday I was struck  with how much he appeals to people just like me. I even saw myself in his description of himself as a nerdy teenage misfit and in his English teacher’s glowing praise. I had teachers who still talk like that about me, though I haven’t done anything spectacular with my life. Like me, Pete is a visionary; he likes the big picture view. His faith, his modesty (if a presidential candidate can be called modest), his calm demeanor are all traits that resonate with me. Where he is different from me, it is in ways I admire: he is smarter, more articulate, more energetic (younger!), potentially more inspiring. Continue reading

My neighbor is running for president

There are a lot of Democratic candidates for president in 2020 so it should not be surprising that one of them is my neighbor. He used to live about a 5-minute walk from my house but recently moved just across the river.

What is surprising is that this neighbor may actually be the best of the lot. I don’t know if my husband would agree yet; he is slower than me to make up his mind about just about everything. And just because I’m for this person doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. My favorites tend not to get too far, let alone win. The exception was Barack Obama, who also happened to come from the neighborhood where we lived for a while, in a different city. Continue reading