Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cold Freak

I have to admit that I am a little bit of a freak when it comes to cold weather. I live in central Texas but my Minnesota roots (dad was raised there) run deep. I love the cold weather. Feeling the bite of frigid air brushing against my skin and the intense chill sucking the air from my lungs highlights the experience.

Almost every year, I come to Wichita, Kansas the weekend before Christmas to spend some time with my uncle, aunt, and my cousins. We always have so much fun each time we get together – it is the way holidays are meant to be.

I’ve probably mentioned our $1 gifts before. We have more fun with a dollar than just about anyone I’ve known. The kids bring out the kid in all the adults as we spend the evening shooting one another with nerf darts, bouncing ping-pong balls, eating and visiting.

This year along with the family fun, we had COLD! The temperatures dropped into the single digits with highs in the upper teens to low twenties. I think the warmest it was while I was there was twenty-two degrees. Almost the entire time a wind blew that instantly chilled one to the core -  no gradual easing into the sensation of cold. It happened automatically on contact.

So this Christmas was exceptional.  Now to pray for snow in central Texas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


The Apostle Paul made reference to the thorn in his flesh as a source of the suffering. For him, it was a constant reminder of the suffering of Christ and of his own persecution of the early Christians.

I am trying to be so noble.

During my visit with a doctor Wednesday morning, he informed me that as a result of the recent infection, I may be in pain for the rest of my life. Apparently following the swelling, some permanent nerve damage may have occurred.

My initial reaction has not been so gracious as Paul’s.

But I wonder if he was always so gracious or if the acceptance came after a time of learning, growth, and sheer frustration. Humans rarely choose suffering as the path we take. We seek comfort and security, and lessons from pain require time to be realized.

When I was first diagnosed with my chronic illness it took about a year before I came to accept or at least justify a purpose for it in my life. Fortunately, the illness has no daily repercussions beyond taking my medications on time daily. I do not “feel” anything though.

Pain is a little different though. It bites every time I move. It aches all the while I sit.

I do not want to make peace with it or accept it as a lifetime affliction.

Nevertheless, if the pain is to be a daily companion until my passing, then by golly, there better be a good lesson from it. Perhaps the biggest challenge I will have is coming to take the Apostle Paul as my guide. Some of his writings are used to justify the hate exhibited by so many of the most conservative Christians and I find myself drawn to the gospel of love presented by Christ.


Where in that conflict can I find my guide? Granted the prognosis for persistent pain only came today, but the pain has existed five weeks and the frustration with it has grown out of proportion to the pain over that time. Those who know me know I do not handle frustration well. I like order, answers, and certainty in my life and work even while I propose and ponder larger questions. It is one thing to think broadly but quite another to live broadly until the thoughts have somewhat gelled.

While the thoughts are still fluid though, frustration creates in me the sense that I may simply start to weep at any moment. The frustration is what I’m trying to move through now – and then I’ll be in a better place to deal with the rest.

Monday, December 08, 2008

What I Would Have Said

Where does the time go? In the last few weeks I’ve had so many topics for posts come across my mind, but have not successfully composed one or posted it.

I am also a week late in sending out my holiday cards. I have been trying to take the perfect picture to match my mood this year: cranky. But I have yet to get the perfect one snapped – and it is double difficult because I rely on the timer delay on my camera since I take my own picture. Yes – I even have to multi-task picture taking.

I digress.

Had I actually written posts for your enjoyment they would be:

1) What is the BCS thinking? (in which I grouse about UT not making it to the National Championship Game)

2) Economics Schmeconomics (in which I rejoice at having seven professional certifications in education, thus will likely stay employed)

3) Party Anxiety (in which someone else had a party at my house)

4) Election Hangover (in which I think I still have to check every 15 minutes for the latest Sarah Palin gaffe)

5) Lights Fantastic (in which my roommate succeeds in putting up enough Christmas lights around the house to confuse small airplanes heading to the airport behind my house)

Just think of the hilarity and grouching you missed out on!