Friday, July 17, 2009


Still my anxious heart. Leaving is beginning to sink in. I feel a panicky feeling that starts with me thinking about leaving all of my friends and my church and starting over with people I don't know. Making new friends, new contacts, finding a new church...


Nothing is certain. It is all illusory that we have any safety, security or longevity at any position. We can all have our course changed at any moment. We don't see ourselves that way, but we really are more like the Israelites wandering in the desert than we would like to believe. Every one of us could have the cloud move off any day, telling us to move on. It can take the form of an injury or disability, loss of work, branch closure, someone deciding to outsource our position, market changes...we do not know. Our only safety, security and longevity is in Christ. He is the ultimate source of our provision, he is the rock in which we are anchored, and it is his hands that hold us fast.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

GOD: become a fan

Saw a Facebook thing -- GOD become a fan. Hmmmm. Fan seems like such an insipid word for the worship that should be inspired by a God who is so unbelievably huge there's not even a word to describe his majesty, his size, his holiness, his glory. Should I become a "fan" in the way some people are fans of Brittany Spears or the Jonas Brothers?

And thus, or so it seems to me, the silly side of Facebook is again revealed. Or is the the silliness of us? We don't know how to put into words what our adoration, what our worship is, so we become a "fan" of God. Trust me, I'm not knocking those who want to stand up and be counted as believers, I'm just struck by the absurdity of us being fans of Almighty God. Why not be a fan of sunshine? or moonlight? or wind? I guess I should check, they probably have their own facebook pages as well..............

Oh dear. I was kidding, but as it turns out you can be a fan of Sunshine. And some of my fb friends are.

Perhaps what really has me thinking is how insipid a thing my worship really is. I am incapable of proper adoration, proper respect, proper worship. My understanding of who God is can be so small. I can only glimpse the smallest portion, like the edge of the hem of his garment. My grasp of even the smallest notion of who God is is a fleeting thing, like trying to hold onto a wisp of smoke or a breath of cloud. As soon as I begin to close the fingers of my understanding it is gone and all I am left with is the notion that I almost grasped it a little bit once.

Truthfully, I cannot call myself a fan, because fan is short for fanatic, as in: "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion" (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) First of all, how can one be excessively enthusiastic about the Creator of the Universe and the Savior of our souls? In what way can we be excessive? Does not that God deserve every ounce of enthusiasm and devotion?

What I am, more truthfully, is lacking in suitable devotion and enthusiasm. So I am rather like Peter. Do you love me, Kim? Ah, I like you Lord. Do you love me, Kim? I think you're pretty cool, Lord. Do you like me, Kim?

My devotion is an insipid thing when it should be total. God forgive me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One day closer...

Finally starting to feel better. Still coughing up stuff, but for the most part my energy is back. At least for 1/2 days. Hooray. Still trying to figure out what to do about a bunch of things, but I don't need to have it all figured out to be pleased, nor do I need all of my energy to feel like I'm back. I wasn't sure for a few days there if I would ever get better. It's that teenage thing that happens when you just can't see beyond this moment. I think it often recurs when you are really sick.

What did I accomplish today? Other than being able to get out of bed, not much, but even that is an improvement. I did get dressed every single day, something that is really important to me. Depression looks like sitting around in my pajamas from morning to night. Plus, fortunately, I have been able to continue looking for work even while sick. I certainly have gone to work in the past as sick, but typically, a job has enough sick days and a smart enough supervisor to send you home...if not, then you just stay sick longer. Or get worse and worse.

Enough about that. Today I sent invitations to my going away BBQ. Hope that lots of folks come. It's going to be impossible for me to see everyone individually to let them know how much they mean to me otherwise.

Preparing for an Adventure

The Internet is a useful thing. It helps you find fun events from half a country away, plan vacations along the seashore, shows you pictures of things you never knew existed. Still...I gravitate toward pen and paper for my lists. What to take, what to leave behind, what to pack away. What to purchase once I arrive.

Now I am struggling with the goodbyes. How to say good bye to all the wonderful friends I have here. Time is short, but it must be done. Without ceremonies of this sort, I would feel like things were left dangling. There are times when we must grab our coat and walking stick and run out of the house, but fortunately this one will allow me the chance to decide whether to grab my handkerchief and pipe. (Shameless Tolkein references, I know.)

I know I will leave someone out. There are doubtless those who will be offended that I did not call before leaving. May I say in my defense that I have been very ill. That illness is taking far too much time and sapping energy which would be useful for saying my goodbyes.

May I say that Maryland is ever so much closer to Rome. Airfares should be much cheaper, and even though my passport never did turn up when we cleaned out the garage, still, I expect that we may...perhaps...find our way across the Atlantic that little bit easier heading for European adventures. Perhaps Poland for some of that wonderful Polish pottery I love. Or maybe we'll stay stateside and pay mortgage payments and eat crab on the waterfront. Either way, God be praised. He's not done with me. He has already planned work for me to do.

He has given me great friends and through email, Skype, Facebook and free long-distance calling, I expect to be able to keep up with my friends. What happens sometimes, though is that friendship is rather like taking a dip in the ocean. When your head is out of the waves, the water flows around you, but the minute you dip your head beneath the waves, or exit the water, the water fills the spot where you were as if you were never there. Go look at a river. Unless you built a dam, you won't find a sign that you were there before. Such is the way of life.

I hope to find that many of you are true lifelong friends who will have markers in their hearts that I passed this way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

MHC is going adventuring...

Although my heart adventures on Kenyan plains, Italian countrysides, Grecian ocean towns, South American towns in tropical places, or Nepalese villages clinging to the sides of steep snowy mountains, it appears that my next adventure will be to the wilds of Baltimore. In a way very different from here, it has a spot in town called "Little Italy". Culturally it is a galaxy away. I remember being there before and feeling like there were all these social rules that I didn't know, but that were so normal to the people ther that they couldn't even list them or explain them. Few people are capable of explaining the mores of their own culture. They simply ARE. You do things because THAT IS WHAT YOU DO. You don't do certain other things because EVERYONE KNOWS IT'S RUDE. Why it's rude no one has to think about or describe because everyone knows it already. There is a shared vocabulary and a shared set of rules.

When Steve and I got married, we joined those sets of rules and expectations, or rather we clashed them. You don't ask about money, how much things cost, what people make, how they financed their house...why? Because it's rude. Steve came from a culture that always asks. It is not considered rude. He comes from a yelling culture. I come from a never yell culture. He comes from a culture that conforms in dress, I come from a culture that has minimal influence over such things.

It took me years and years to figure some of these things out. Even longer to begin to explain them. Why is my culture so private about money and salary? Because we all negotiate our own pay and benefits and often work in companies where the discussion of salary is forbidden in our contracts. Why his isn't private? Because his culture is a union culture. Everyone knows what everyone makes. It is a public negotiation.

I come from a family that speaks one at a time. Steve's all talk at once. What once seemed terribly rude now seems just different.

And so, Mountain Home Companion is going east. Heading to a culture very different from my own, where there is no privacy because there is no space to be alone. But it is also a place that shows movies in the middle of the city and people sit on lawn chairs in the open air to watch. It is a place where people live their entire lives within a 1-2 mile radius, with an occasional trip to the beach or Atlantic city thrown in. It is a place where people don't know the towns and hamlets 3 or 4 miles up the road, but they know every person on their block. It is a place where most people (it seems) belong to community pools. Summer is so terribly hot and muggy and everywhere is crowded.

This time I'd like to take a trip up the coast in fall and see the fabulous fall colors. I'd like to visit Amish country and visit all the local fairs and outdoor markets. I was so terribly scared when I was there before. Scared and alone and lost. This time I think I'll get a GPS system. If I know what direction I'm heading, I never get lost. The lack of landmarks drove me nuts there before. And this time I'll make sure I get to places where I can see the sky so I don't go stark raving mad.

In a few weeks I'll be watching "Under The Tuscan Sky" in Little Italy. Doesn't that sound like fun?