musings of a saint and sinner

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


It's hard to lay your heart bare on the internet. Maybe it's not even desirable to do so, but I do find myself holding out, attempting to put on a mask...maybe it's inevitable to a point. After all, this isn't just a journal. Other people will read it.

But here's the bare truth. My dad is very, very sick. Cancer. He had it three years ago, and had a stem cell transplant. The cancer went into remission. Now it has returned in full fury. The first time he had cancer, I felt distant from him. My parents had divorced when I was young. There were hard feelings. My dad and I had some distance between us. I felt that I should feel more at the time.

So I went to be with him for the summer. It was a blisteringly hot three months in Arizona. I found a job at a local megachurch and became low man on the totem pole, zeroxing things and putting out mailings in the office. I also worked as a teacher's assistant at the local school. I got by. And I got to know my dad, like I hadn't before. I started to see his sense of humor beneath remarks that I had just seen as offensive before. There was a lot more of the tongue in cheek to my dad than I had known. I saw his ability to love...and his sometimes inability to know how to express it. I saw his inventiveness...and intelligence. And I came to really love my dad. That was the summer it all changed for me. And then the cancer went away and we had the years in between. I got engaged and he was able to come to the wedding.

But this year, he started having health problems. There started being indicators that the cancer was back, but no absolute evidence. Until February. Then it was for sure. I recently found out that the doctors had told my dad that he had six months to live if he did nothing in the way of treatment. He chose to fight it. They put him on experimental medication, which (as I understand it) is reserved for really serious cases. The medicine is so experimental that it is just out of the lab...only one other human being had been on it when Dad went on it. Anything could happen...a miracle...or death...or something in between.

And the truth is...I am terrified. He is too young...I want him to see his grandchildren. I have only really known my dad for a few years and I want him to stick around. I want to know him better. But I feel as if we are at the top of a hill and starting to go downhill. How long his journey downhill will be, I don't know.

We are traveling to see him in a week. A great American road trip, my husband and I. My husband barely knows him...our romance was quick and purposeful and didn't leave the time for long, involved ties built with family members. We will camp on our way there and back. We will look at the countryside. We will think of how precious life is. I will probably cry. I will have the space to feel the depths of what is happening. I will have space to "get into the deep, beautiful melancholy of all that has happened" (Elizabethtown, 2005).

Melancholy can be beautiful when you realize that loss means you have really lived and loved. But the truth is, you always kind of wish it could be different. Couldn't you live and love without losing?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dan Brown

I object to Dan Brown's writing much for the same reason as I did the Left Behind series: bad writing, one-dimensional characters, uninspired dialogue...yechhh...

Here's someone who apparently agrees with me...

Put down the Da Vinci Code....slowly now...let me see your pick up Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout...there, that's much better, isn't it?:-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

a note to my readers

I want to say how grateful I am for each one of you who take the time to visit my blog and read what I have shared. I love writing this blog, but without people to read it, it would be pretty pointless. In addition to being a creative outlet for me, I want this blog to be thought-stimulating place. I hope to write to Christians and to those who are not Christians. Some of the entries will be more relevant to the former and some to the latter. In the interest of being relevant and being a blogger in community, I invite your feedback on what I write. I treasure your comments, so please interact with what I've makes it so much more fun!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

a challenge to faith

It has been a while since I've posted...due to a crisis in the office here. April 2, Pastor was away and I was covering services. I arrived in the office to discover that my laptop had been stolen overnight. That was highly troubling but I had no idea that things were yet to get much, much worse. Over the course of this past week, we were "hit" by burglaries almost every night. In this time of preparation for Holy Week, our computers and DVD were taken. We arrive in the morning to see empty spaces where our computers were. The thieves went through my desk in my office too (I know this because a small amount of cash was missing). We have taken security precautions, but they have not helped a lot. We look to the future and wonder when it will end. We suspect it is drug-related. But we don't know for sure. It has been difficult getting a newsletter and bulletins printed in the office.

And there are other things of turmoil, brokenness, and sickness that are occuring in the people and families of our church. Not the least of which is my dad's depth of sickness with cancer. My heart aches with all of this. During worship on Sunday, we sang "Lead me to Calvary" and I thought how Calvary was anywhere but where I wanted to be. And yet it seemed precisely where I was being put...where we are all being put here. Now I will be honest. When things like this happen, it can be very hard to believe in God. Why isn't He stoppig this? This is His church, after all. But like Peter I say, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." There is nowhere else to turn. "Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You."

And yet...there are benefits of not having a computer. We have a couple of quite old ones left in the office that I can check email on. But in my office, there is quiet. Space on my desk. I am forced to think carefully instead of hyperactively. There is a restfulness that starts to be felt when there is no machine calling my name (of course, there is always the cell phone). Yesterday, I spent the afternoon browsing bookstores and libraries and soaking up the fresh air.

Where this all will end, I do not know.

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