Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Looking back, looking ahead

There has been a long silence in the camp of the squires. As I climb back into the light of the digital community, a look back over the last month wouldn't be out of place....

October 1st marked one year in Waterville - 365 Chicago-traffic-free days. Despite that joy, it's not entirely a comfortable anniversary, because much that was challenging on that day (even the physical state of the household) still is unresolved.

I spent some time over the weekend trying to figure out what to do with some of the stuff I've accumulated - and part of me wants to just throw out massive amounts of stuff and start over. There are books on the shelves that are good books, but books that I may never read again - and some books that are like Oreos, that I go to as comfort food or candy, just for diversion. If I cleared those off the shelves and took them to the library as donations, I'd have more shelf space...

Finding the discipline to pick up anything - papers, clothes, anything - and deal with them once would be a blessing. Hell, finding discipline, period, would be a blessing, these last couple weeks.

November 17th will likely be my brother-in-law's last day of work until March or April - he's been designated as "seasonal worker" after 30 years at his job at the country club. Of course, he's spent 30 years at a job with no benefits, no retirement - and finally no assurance of re-hiring. So that's scary. We cannot survive another winter of him only receiving unemployment for six months.

And there is the looming deadline of January 31, 2008 - which will is latest possible date for outsourcing my job, and the rest of our jobs, to India. That's an entirely separate post - so much of that is tied up in asking, "Well, when are you going to find the job you WANT to do, rather than the next-lifejacket-job?"

I've made a set of what I consider very positive steps, however.

The first is that I'm trying to do something - every day, even a little bit - to improve my conscious contact with God. That's been something that's been sliding downhill for a while. Writing, praying, yelling, something - anything. Because that's at the heart of it all. If that ain't happenin', ain't nuthin' much good gonna happen.

I've restarted exercise. (Yes, again. And again and again, if need be.)Well, i wouldn't even call it exercise, so much as cessation-of-sloth. I become such an inanimate object, working and blogging and posting to online communities - it really is an act of discipline to push away, walk away, and do something (anything) physical. Walking around the block twice has become one of those "just do the next right thing, dammit!" things.

I'm looking at the "stuff" in my life, and trying to look at what I can do to "keep current" - little bits, every day. Not world-changing stuff, but do something, dammit.

The last one will be a bit of good news. For more than six months, I've been struggling to find a framework to put so much of my writing into some kind of book format. My friend Ted gave me some inspiration for part of it - but finally the spirit spoke in the words of a song by Ken Medema titled "The Call."

Can you hear it down the ages, like a mighty trumpet sound
A call to leave the night and step into the morning
It's a call to joy and gladness in a world of war and pain
And yet it sounds a note of danger and of warning

It's a call to leave your treasures and your trinkets on the road
It's a call to join the weeping, and to bear the sufferer's load
It's a call to live like fools, by another set of rules
Well, it's a call to take your cross in hand and follow

Yes, it's a call to take your cross in hand and follow
Well, yesterday I sent a email to Ken Medema, asking for his permission to use the song lyrics in a book tentatively titled A Call To Live Like Fools. (I actually attached an audio file with my background and request, since Ken's sight-impaired.) Without his permission to use the lyrics in the introduction and the title, the whole concept wouldn't be worth much.

So while I'm waiting for his reply, I'm working on the outline of what I want to include in this. My hope is that it can be snapshots of life along the road to (and through) faith, a kind of my personal credo or "this I believe," and yet I want to make sure that I include enough of my own brand of humor and irreverence to make it palatable.

So the process is begun. We'll see what brother Medema says.

That's all for now, folks....

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