Since I've been talking about Terry and I celebrating twenty years together, I thought I would tell you all it all began.
Terry and I were friends in high school. We were just plain good friends, with no romantic thoughts. Terry's family moved out to the desert while we were still in high school, but we kept in touch. Even as we went through college, started our careers, and made various geographical moves, we managed to keep each other's addresses and phone numbers.
We both got married. Terry ended up in Southern California and I found myself in Silicon Valley. My wife died in 1989. Terry divorced her husband in late 1990 for philandering. The way I found out about that was unique.
I had just gotten back from a healing weekend away on the Mendocino coast. I came home to a Christmas card from Terry. It was one of those preprinted ones, and there was a big X inked through her then-husband's name. She wrote me a brief note about what had happened, and suggested that she might take advantage of the low fares Southwest was offering in those days and come up for a visit.
That was back in my Religious Science era, and the liturgical calendar wasn't at all on my mind. It was only later I realized that the weekend we had scheduled, the last weekend of March 1991, was Easter. But, as it turned out, that had no effect on things. Terry flew up on Saturday morning. We went up to the City and spent the day at Golden Gate Park. Terry had closed a big sale and her company had promised her dinner for two wherever she liked. So she took me to Scott's Seafood in downtown San Jose. The restaurant is on the fourth floor, and provides a marvelous view of the lights of the city. Sunday morning we went to Easter services at my Religious Science church.
By the time Terry flew back Sunday afternoon, everything had changed. What had been a good friendship was now the beginning of a strong relationship.
That was twenty years ago. It's still going strong and still getting better.
My friend Fran recently wrote a blog post entitled “Want to meet Jesus? Look into the face of pretty much everyone that annoys you, for starters anyway.” The essay is based on Matthew 25:31-46. (“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…”) Fran says:
|If we do not see Jesus in every face of sorrow and suffering, if we do not see Jesus in
every face of despair, if we do not see Jesus in every face of every person who annoys,
irritates and upsets us…
If we do not see Jesus in the face of every person that we capriciously judge,
then we do not see Jesus at all.
This kind of stinks because I am easily annoyed and highly judgmental.
Don't we all?
Thank you for that, Fran.
I can't answer the “Don't we all?” question. I can answer the question, “I know I do.”
Fran's blog post got me to thinking about how, instead of like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, who had her favorite things (“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens”), I have my list of people and things that annoy and irritate me.
Overweight men in motorized wheelchairs. Hummers (and you know I don't mean hummingbirds). Cadillac Escalades. Lincoln Navigators. Heavy men in sleeveless shirts whose arms are covered with tattoos. Men walking down the street smoking cigarettes. Redneck men driving pickups with over-sized tires and an ultra-high suspension. Men working in their front yards shirtless who should not ever be shirtless in public. Motorcyclists on cycles whose decibel level exceeds 100. Adults who ride their bicycles on sidewalks. Teenagers who blast through stop signs on their bicycles without stopping or even looking. Women (and men), especially in SUV's, ignoring the California hands-free law and holding their cell phone up to their ear while driving.
I spoke to my spiritual director about this. She said I should write all of these down on paper. Then I should pray for all of them. And I should ask where Christ is in each of them.
Thank you for that, Linda.
We are human beings. There is always more work to be done.
Diana Lopez, age 15, is disabled, restricted to a wheelchair, and lives at the Sub-Acute Saratoga Children's Hospital. She told the staff there several months ago that her dream was to have her own quinceanera party, the traditional coming of age event for Latina girls at fifteen.
Guess what? Over 33 businesses and individuals donated services. Over 20 experienced volunteers from the East San Jose St. John Vianney Catholic Church made it happen. The quinceanera traditionally starts with a Mass. Since Diana couldn't make it to the church, the Mass came to her. She and her friends took the floor in their wheelchairs for the first dance.
One of the volunteers was Seema Cicerone, who is Jewish, but who lived in Mexico for a time and recognized the parallels between the quinceanera and the Jewish bat mitzvah all of her daughters experienced. She got a number of her friends together and raised the money to cover the costs for various parts of the event.
Many of the adults there were in tears. I was in tears when I read the original San Jose Mercury News article, and I'm in tears as I write this.
People do good things.
One of the reasons Terry and I decided to do our Alaska cruise and rail tour this year was that, while 2011 is our seventeenth wedding anniversary, it represents twenty years together.
We got (back) together Easter weekend 1991, which that year was the last Sunday of March. So we decided to do something special on Saturday to mark to occasion.
We'd both had a rough week, so we slept late. Before getting out of bed we…oh, you're adults — you get it. For breakfast I squeezed fresh oranges for orange juice and Terry made a marvelous scramble with chicken pesto sausage.
We got cleaned up and dressed up for dinner, and went out to Giancarlos, a small but storied Italian restaurant up the road in Morgan Hill. In all the time we've been in Gilroy we'd only been there once before, fairly recently. The food and the service were wonderful. We each selected a very pleasant glass of wine from the wine list.
When we came home we opened a bottle of Navarro wine, as my dad had just gotten us a case for our anniversary.
It was a most enjoyable day. We're looking forward to continuing our 20-year celebration on our Alaska trip in May.
(And, oh yes, if you're wondering about the "(back) together" reference, more on that later this week.)
We lost such a wonderful prophetic voice and treasure when we lost Peter Gomes. In response to the WWJD fad Gomes' observation makes so much sense. Thanks to Ann Fontaine for this.
|The question should not be "What would Jesus do?" but rather, more dangerously,
"What would Jesus have me do?"
The onus is not on Jesus but on us,
for Jesus did not come to ask semi-divine human beings to do impossible things.
He came to ask human beings to live up to their full humanity;
he wants us to live in the full implication of our human gifts,
and that is far more demanding.
“Keep Calm and Pray for the World”
courtesy of Mike Todd over at Waving or Drowning, who got it from I'm not sure where…
I have added a few new Facebook friends recently. I've made a couple of requests and accepted a couple of requests. I looked at my profile the other day and saw I had 99 friends. 99! "Wow," I thought. I've got to get to 100." So I made a couple of friend requests: one to someone whose blog I read and one to a member of the Episcopal community who looked like quite an interesting person. Both accepted my request. So now I have 101 Facebook friends.
And that means….what exactly?
When we decided that Verizon DSL just wasn't cutting it and that we needed to switch to Charter cable for the Internet, we knew that we would also have to switch to Charter for television, even though we were happy with DirectTV satellite. We knew that calling Charter and saying we wanted Internet only would never get past their sales reps. So we now have Charter television as well as Internet.
A few things we've lost. I no longer have the Cooking Channel as a supplement to the Food Network. I no longer have Comcast Sports California which carries the A's games, only Comcast Sports Bay Area which carries the Giants games. But how many A's games did I actually watch last year?
A few things we've gained. The Monterey/Salinas NBC and CBS stations. The STARZ and Cinemax movie channels which we dropped when my company's former CEO cut salaries and DirecTV raised prices. The complete local forecast on the Weather Channel.
And of course, much faster Internet speeds.
The losses are primarily on my side. Terry is happy with the new television package. And if Terry is happy I am happy.
Over the last few months our DSL Internet speed had gotten extremely slow. We've always been in a marginal location for DSL, but things had recently gone seriously downhill. I work from home most of the time, and Terry works strictly from home when she's not travelling. The slow speeds had an effect on our productivity. In the evenings when we listened to KCSM online we were constantly having to restart the player. Some evenings we had to shut it off entirely and listen to something else. Podcast and Great Courses downloads were painfully slow.
We decided we had to do something. We were constantly getting mailings from Charter cable advertising television, Internet, and phone bundles. So I called and spent a while on the phone with a very friendly and helpful Charter representative. It took me a while to convince her that we did not want phone, but when I explained that we had four lines (our home line, my business line, plus Terry's business and fax lines) she finally got the message.
I had called on Saturday. We were pleased that they were able to install on Tuesday. The installer showed up over an hour after the end of the installation window. But once here he got off to a good start, running a new line for the Internet router in my loft. He obviously ran out of steam, though, because after installing the upstairs television properly, downstairs he just ran a cable loosely around the living room instead of installing a new outlet. But by this time it was after 4:00 pm and he had been there for more than three hours. I pretended I didn't see it and signed the paperwork. The other issue was that he didn't have a DVR, and we had ordered DVR service downstairs. Didn't he even look at his work orders at the start of the day? In any case, I thought I'd call the next day and get this all worked out. That's where Charter customer service became impressive.
He had not been gone ten minutes when the phone rang and I got an automated phone survey from Charter. The last question was, "Were you happy with the installation?" I punched the response for No. I was asked "Do you want to speak to a representative?" I punched the response for Yes. I was transferred to a Charter customer service person. I have to say that I love talking to Charter's call center. It is somewhere in the South, and the people there are most pleasant to speak with. The woman was quite helpful and said someone could be out the next day between three and five to wire the downstairs outlet properly. Then she put me on hold to ensure that a DVR would be available. She got back on the line and said that there would definitely be a DVR on the truck the next day. I was happy. I got on the treadmill.
While I was on the treadmill the local Charter contractor called and told Terry that they could be there in five minutes with the DVR. Terry asked if they could take care of the wiring as well. They said they certainly could. It was fifteen minutes, but so what.
The service man started by running a new cable for the outlet on the correct side of the room. (Why the original guy didn't do that at the same time he ran the cable for the Internet, I have no clue. They follow the same path.) I finished on the treadmill, and after I got out of the shower Terry and I swapped placed so she could go upstairs and take a bath. The doorbell rang and another guy from the Charter contractor was there. He was obviously a supervisor. He apologized and took pictures of the loosely strung cable with his iPhone. He then went outside to help the other serviceman.
It was after 7:00 pm by the time they were done, but they had done the job right and had done the job well. By the time they left the house Charter had two very happy new customers.
So now we have fast Internet which delights us no end. (Speeds can vary greatly, but we knew that going in.) We have cable TV instead of DirecTV satellite, and there are some trade-offs there, but trade-offs we can live with. More on those trade-offs tomorrow.
During my "writer's block week" of posting quotes without comment I had a nice combination of blog comments and Facebook Likes on several of the quotes. In fact, it was just a tad disconcerting that I got more of those that week than I frequently do on my own original material. sigh Oh, well.
One quote that didn't get any comments was this one from Diana Butler Bass:
|Jesus didn't say "Come, follow me only if you assent to all the points of the Nicene Creed."|
I found this a little bit surprising, because this is a big deal to me. I am a member of distinctly Trinitarian denomination of which I am delighted to be a part. (As is Diana Butler Bass, by the way.) The Nicene Creed is an integral part of our Sunday liturgy.
But me? I'm an Arian heretic. The Trinity, after all, is a relatively late construct. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all found in the New Testament, but the idea of the Trinity is not. There is one passage in one of the Epistles that may have a Trinitarian reference, but that is not in the earliest, best manuscripts.
Personally, I feel that the idea of the Trinity adds a level of complexity that is unneeded and not necessary, to be redundant.
But what do I know? I'm just an Arian heretic.