Sunday, February 07, 2010

Finding answers

We are expecting the next "great wave" of snowfall here in central Illinois - generally, two-to-four inches of the white stuff can medium-paralyze The Big-Ten-College-Town-On-The-Prairie. So we are stocked up with enough groceries that we will survive, well-fed, for a while. Actually, I'm pretty sure we have enough food for Thanksgiving dinner for 12, if we only had enough places for them to sit.

I've been ignoring several questions, and using pretty typical practices to avoid asking myself what's going on. My first choice, of course, is over-work; my employer has come to expect that one, sadly. My second is obsessing over TV shows - NCIS is the current drug-of-choice, followed by Stargate SG-1 and I can fill in any leftover space in my life with Food Network programs (don't even get me started there).

We added a couple extra distractions last Monday - meet Blackie and SuzieQ:

I had not had a cat since getting divorced and getting sober in 1990. Chris has always been around animals, and his mom has had cats forever. But since moving out, he's never had a cat of his own. And I'd been thinking that since things seemed to be "settling down" (at least a little), it would be great to get back-in-the-saddle with a cat (note the singular usage of the noun...).

We visited the Champaign County Humane Society several times - lots of close calls but no final sale. I had my eye on a couple part-Maine-Coons, but I was also partial to a couple orange tabbies Chris was fond of. But this one was an outside cat, and Chris wanted an inside cat. That one had all four claws, and we both really wanted front-declawed cats. So we went round and round, until the shelter folks introduced us to these two.

They were older (7 years each), and had been together since they'd been kittens. The previous owner had to surrender them when they entered a nursing home, and the shelter folks were looking to place them in a new home together. They put us in a "get-acquainted" room with the two of them - and that pretty much was the end of that. Not what we went looking for; certainly not what we expected. But that's been the story of our lives since we met....

So it's easy to see that between the cats and Netflix and Facebook and whatever was next, I was doing a good job at avoiding something. It took a friend in recovery to comment on his own avoidance activities - and referring to them as drunk thinking - that got me wondering: what is the deal here?...

Yesterday's church service triggered at least part of it. As part of our stewardship drive, folks from church were doing video vignettes of members, asking them why they came to McKinley Presbyterian, why we stayed, and what the future held for the church. Chris agreed to be part ("...but only if YOU do all the talking..."), and a friend taped a couple-minute segment of us.

I said that we had come to McKinley because we'd heard that we'd be accepted and welcomed, just as we were - and we stayed partly because we found welcome and acceptance beyond our imagination. But we mostly stayed because of the variety of worship experiences and the congregation's commitment to social-justice work in our community and the world.

Frankly, I didn't think they'd use our segment - but when it showed up as part of Sunday's segment, I got several comments about how as a relative newcomer to McKinley, I'd managed to capture much of the heart of this congregation.

That's when the lights started to come on, and I started thinking, "I still have more to say..." Not just about McKinley, but on a number of topics. I think part of what I've been willing to call "seasonal malaise" is at least partly brain gridlock - too much stuff in my head left unexamined, un-shared and un-purged. I will never have a pulpit to share from - other than the occasional speaking at AA meetings. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't at least be emptying my mind of some of the racing thoughts...

So I'm here, and this is a start. Or re-start.

Note to self: more things to consider:

- Daring to dream, again
- Things that don't change, don't change
- "Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem" and Christian music
- Once again, storytelling

For now, it's time to make some coffee and get into this day. Happy Monday.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see you coming back from your season away. Looking forward to your observations.

Jane Ellen+ said...

Happy Monday to you, too. I'm also looking forward to reading your thoughts in the blogiverse again.

Hope said...

It's always good to 'hear your voice' here.

Erin Wilson said...

Never have a pulpit to share from? Never say never :)

Anonymous said...

I was wonering what was going on? The Shuttle woke us up last night and lit the sky for an early sunrise. I miss your ramblings.
Brother Z.

BentonQuest said...

I am in agreement with Erin, careful what you say!

Sarah said...

Hi Steve and Chris,

This is Sarah from CCHS. Glad to see that Blackie and Suzie Q are doing well! :) Thanks for the update on them.

Hey, just FYI, my roommate Sonja Kassal goes to McKinley too!

Heidi Renee said...

i'm with erin - i think the call is deep and wide in your life steve. never say never.

Black Pete said...

Hey Steve man: you're a holy man. Get used to it.

angel said...

This is a great post. I just had one of the ‘Doh!’ moments and ran back to correct my own site before publishing my comment. You see my own comment form did not match what I’m about to advice. I get less comment than you, so never noticed any problem. I’ve changed it now anyway so here goes.

degree home

Ozark Uncle said...

Steve, I've read all your 2010 posts, and I really enjoyed them. I'm new to blogs, but I guess I'm getting it right--it soothes my soul to get some of my views out there--and it's there for future reference by both the blogger and the bloggee. I need to learn how to create tags for my blogs.