Saturday, February 09, 2013

Three things

For today, three things I know to be true:

A bright blue sky on a winter day makes even concrete buildings look beautiful.

A dad can be more delighted and fascinated by his son than by his business.

People are not alike, not at all.

And one more for tomorrow, Transfiguration:

Even down from the mountaintop the veil can be lifted
if human breath, human hearts pause to let in the divine.

Call this chapter "The Perverse Lutheran Goes to the ALDE Conference."

ALDE stands for Association of Lutheran Development Executives, and there are a lot of them here. I spent the last hour and half reading through the program booklet, browsing speakers' bios, and flipping through the list of conference attendees, and there are Concordias and Luthers and Lutheran acronyms aplenty. It's another world of Lutheranism, beyond pastors, teachers and church musicians. Given the way institutions are shifting and small congregations are closing, this development world is a big part of the future of ministry.

We're in Indianapolis, so the conference has a Speedway theme--harmless for the most part, except for the session descriptions written in a speedway metaphor. Who knows what those speakers will talk about after the smoke clears from the starting gun.

A conference is what you learn, but it's also the experience of going away. Staying in a hotel room where the hot water in the shower is endless. Walking fast through skywalks and convention halls. Getting a little lost. Going to a Welcome Event in an old and pretty nifty ballroom. Staying up late alone in a quiet room but hearing voices outside.

On the ride down here I listened to all kinds of music--Sinatra, Bach, Van Morrison, Dawn Upshaw. Practiced breathing in silently, lowering the larynx, raising the palate, the air moving along the roof of my mouth and falling to the bottom of my lungs. This is my singing project--trying to become a better singer, with a voice that will subtly do all that I want it to do, and raising the palate is the specific assignment  that followed me out of a voice lesson earlier this week.

But how shall I sing my high C's this weekend? In the hotel room early in the morning? Everywhere I look there are things that absorb sound rather than amplify it. Upholstered chairs, carpet, acoustical ceiling tile, bedspreads, drapes. No singing in "Speedway" sessions on direct mail and graphic design. Not even in sessions on getting your message out there.

So there's a challenge here--something about being an artist and having a day job. I plug away at web sites and press releases and newsletter, at the best and most concise way to say something, at the hook that will get readers' attention, but God for me is in the high C's and the writing that is trying to communicate something deeper than a meeting time or even the mission of a ministry.

Here's another c-word: cardinal. I saw two males sitting side by side on the bare branches of the forsythia bush as I went out the back door this morning. Bright red, feathers puffed out, so much color in a mere bird.

I try to end posts with some kind of connection. I'm a Lutheran, therefore I ask, catechetically, "What does this mean?' I dunno, but I think I'll wear the red turtleneck tomorrow.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Monday morning hits

Up early on a Monday morning and frittered away the time online. Which leaves me starting the week already convinced that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, to use a phrase I once explored in this blog. (And yes, a good blogger would link to it, but I'd have to find it. Didn't put keyword: handbasket in the info on the post.)

Here's Ezra Klein in the Washington Post summing up the NFL's dilemma and wholly inadequate response to the issue of hard hits in football and how the head trauma sets up the slow destruction of player's brains via CTE (chronic traumatice encephalopathy). I have come to believe that CTE was the source of my husband, Lon's Alzheimer's-like dementia, which took away his life and left him depressed and messed-up long before it caused his death in 2006. The manly violence of football and professional wrestling were very much involved.

Needless to say, I didn't watch the Super Bowl yesterday.

More craziness: my daughter, Eliza, announced on Facebook last night that she is making plans to move out. It's a little surprising to me--usually these kinds of declarations are symptomatic of a good fight with her mom, part of the none-too-subtle negotiating process we're going through as she, a 22-year-old young woman with Down syndrome, becomes an independent young adult--but one who still needs daily guidance, and a home provided for her. Given that we spent much of yesterday at home together, in separate rooms, each on her own in odd worlds of solitude, I do wonder if we're both going to end up completely demented in another decade or so.

But probably not. Monday is here, with routines, lists, tasks, activities. A couple ibuprofen to clear the headache I have because of forgetting to refill my allergy medicine and I'm good for a new week.

Love endures all things. Love endures. Something like that was the take-with from yesterday's worship. And "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you," says God. And loved you. Tenderly, knowing what craziness life held--even modern life.