Monday, August 02, 2004

WIGDIAT and other fun information...

I get to spend time with some really cool people.

Saturday night, our spiritual-formation group did a "moveable gathering," visiting each person's living space here on campus, and seeing how our personal space reflects our "authentic self." I think there's some value in doing this with any group you'll be working with closely.

I think my 3 cohorts have all been to my place before - primarily for meals - but I hadn't been to the apartments of two of my three buddies. So it was fun to see their abodes, as well as the quirky (and telling) things that showed up in each location. Without convicting anyone by name, some of the more interesting items included a stuffed-animal moose, a "disco Jesus" party light, a pocket copy of the Kama Sutra, a sign saying "WIGDIAT" ("What is God doing in all this?", which is a good question to ask at any time), and a really cool transient/refugee cat named Atticus.

For my part, I shared with my group-mates my mystery wall-hanging of "The Old Irish Blessing" (never did find out who left that for me) as well as family photos and a picture of the only public fountain in which I have ever appeared naked in public. (As you might guess, there's a lengthy story behind that one.)

In fact, one of the things that was neat to discover was something that happened a year ago, about this time. I was winnowing down what I would be taking to Chicago, and what I would be selling, discarding, giving away, or storing at my sister's house in Ohio. In that process, I ditched a lot of stuff, in one way or the other....desks, dressers, tons of books, and a great many things which I had moved at least three times because I was sure I was going to use them someday.

As I was showing them around, and pointing to this book, or that picture, one of my classmates observed, "Everything you have seems to have a story attached to it."

Those who know me, and my penchant for telling stories (or, as my late mother used to say, running on at the mouth) will not be surprised by that. But it's true...most everything I have held onto, I have kept because there is some real personal history with it. And that's a good thing. That's not to say that the stuff I sold or gave away didn't have a story. It's just that the stuff I have has a story that I enjoy retelling - from Fosdick the Gund teddy bear to my parents' 1954 Gregorian Bible.

And in a way, the stories have stayed evergreen with each telling, and the people in those stories somehow always end up cl ose in my heart in the retelling. It seems that even as I was being torn up with severing myself from about half of my possessions, God's guidance was very, very, very clear throughout the process. It was pretty obvious what God was doing in all that - helping me trim down enough to get here, and making sure that what I brought with me was "the good stuff" - the stuff of my life, and both my story and God's story. It didn't feel like that at the time - it felt clearly amputational...but it was, and is, the right thing to do.

That's a good feeling to know.

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