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

Grumpy and Scrubs on the listserv

Our neighborhood listserv is a very important communication tool. Usually it’s about who can recommend a good plumber or restorer of historic Victorian curlicues, or reports of petty crime. This week there is a lively and sometimes heated exchange going on about a recent police shooting in the neighborhood. That one can be painful to read as the misunderstandings and clashing views make social differences all too evident.

As if to provide some comic relief from the heavy stuff, the following exchange has also happened within the last 24 hours. 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

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