Monday, August 22, 2005

Memories, farewells, and next steps

On Friday August 22nd, 2003, at about 12:30 AM, an aging Toyota Camry and a bright yellow 17-foot Hertz/Penske rental truck left Shawnee, KS headed for Chicago, carrying with them every item I owned and several truckloads worth of both dreams and memories.

It was a long drive to Chicago. It's been a much longer journey since I got here, even though (in many ways) I haven't gone nearly as far as I would have wanted...

I've always been a kind of anniversary-laden guy. Part of that habit has been the connection that I have with people at certain dates-and-times. But part of me also sees those anniversaries as mile-markers along the journey of life - times to review, to give thanks for gifts received, to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins of omission and comission, and to re-set my sails.

This weekend has been a lot of all three of those things.

I spent a significant part of the weekend digging through the boxes that are still stacked in Jamie's garage - sorting through some of the stuff I should have ditched before I moved, rearranging stuff that needs to come into the apartment next weekend, adding things to the take-to-KC boxes and the donate-this-stuff boxes. I probably moved a third or my belongings in one way or another this weekend, and it was hard work (despite the very moderate temperatures, for which I give much thanks!).

I found a bunch of pictures - from my youth, from my "old life," and from my former church and AA community. There were some beautiful memories, and some twinges of regrets - friends I've not kept in touch with and the like. I got pretty ruthless with my class notes from the two sets of seminary classes I've attended - tossed a bunch of stuff that I'd rationalized, "You'll want to look at this again, some day." The fact that I still kept some stuff is proof I probably wasn't ruthless enough - but I'm not ready to toss that stuff, just yet. And I got a bit more realistic about just how many books I should keep, and how many either need to go to my former church or to the seminary libraries.

This has been a weekend of farewells - notably of my friend Craig H., who is moving to LA with his wife both to work on his doctoral disseration and to be closer to their families. We had a beautiful cookout tonight down at a friend's absolutely-fabulous condo in the South Loop. The food was fantastic, the fellowship was fantastic - and it was a very enjoyable send-off for Craig and his wife Jackie.

In some way, I missed having that kind of closure with the seminary community - to have a farewell cookout, do the "so long, it's been good to know ya" thing. But in many ways, my relationships with folks at the seminary had been atrophying for a year - and by the time I left for Pullman, I was ready to be gone. Perhaps, once we get the apartment painted and nominally moved-into, I'll be able to invite those few with whom I've remained connected to a apartment warming party. Maybe in late September or early October, when it's cooler and prettier around here.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be going downtown to register for a set of potential jobs. It's stuff that I've done before (admittedly, 15 years ago) but it sounds (a) like fun and (b) a lot closer to commutability than my current position. It's scary - but I'm definitely in the "nothing ventured, nothing gained" mode, that way. I've also found a number of positions on the Chicago CraigsList site. This is yet another next-step kind of journey, one that would be far scarier if I hadn't just posted this about not being afraid.

Topics I need to write about...
- how Cindy Sheehan is shattering the silences about the war;
- how hard it is for us to really, really hear the Gospel;
- whether my choice to change jobs was the result of listening to God or Satan; and
- reflections on the ELCA churchwide meeting, and their choosing not to choose.

But for now, I need to be up at 5:30 to get ready to leave at 6:45 AM to be at the Accountemps office at 8 - so it's just bedtime. Peace, y'all...


Anonymous said...

Since you live in Chicago, you've no doubt seen Mark Steyn's article about Mother Sheehan:

Regardless of how one feels about the war, this woman, who doesn't think this country is worth dying for, is denigrating her son's memory with this political stunt.

Anonymous said...

"... whether my choice to change jobs was the result of listening to God or Satan ..."

Maybe it was just a decision to change jobs -- neither divinely inspired nor demonic in origin.