I know this makes a bad person, but I just have not had the heart to take the tree down. I’ve had plans a couple of times to do it, but things just keep getting in the way and I love to sit and look at it.
It has been a long week.
I’ve been dreading it for days. Last fall I had a bad tooth ache and went to the dentist. He confirmed that I had a fracture in my tooth that went down to the roots and that the tooth was a loss. It could not be saved. Eventually, the pain would get bad enough and I would have to have it removed. That day was Friday, January 16. The pain finally won. I rushed to the dentist the following Monday after a long restless weekend. That led to a consultation with an oral surgeon on Wed the 21. The last step was the actual extraction on Wednesday, January 28.
We pulled up to the garage door and pushed the open button–nothing. I hate when that happens. We pushed the button again because it felt like if the button was pushed harder then maybe the opener would work. Still nothing.
I read about the comet last week. I tried a couple of times to see it, but it was overcast. Last night, I went to take the trash out and marveled at the stars. It was a beautiful, cold night. As I headed back up the driveway, I remembered about the comet. I stared into the night sky expecting to see the bright streak in the sky, just like the pictures. After a while, I grew cold and disappointed. I could not find C/2014 Q2 (its official designation, but more commonly called Comet Lovejoy).
To start the new year I have launched on a couple of new adventures. One, on Wednesday night I am going to do a series on the top 25 books (other than the Bible) in my library. Each week I will pick a book, introduce it and connect it to the Scripture. I will also be bringing other honorable mentions each week. This last week I talked about Henri Nouwen’s book, In the Name of Jesus. It was a great evening.
This tree looks like I feel lots of times right after Christmas. I’m tired and worn out by it all. The run from August to December is very intense in our church. We launch a new school year, start preparing for Christmas, prepare materials for the GLS in Ethiopia, host the GLS in Ethiopia, we squeezed in a religious pilgrimage to Ireland this year, all the while preparing for worship each Sunday, teaching on Wednesday nights, launched a new kids program and family campout. In addition, I was trying to host events concerning the changes to marriage in our country and ways for us to move forward.
Winter confuses me. It is supposed to be cold. I grew up in an Air Force family; we moved around a lot when I was little. I was born in Kansas City, then lived in Ft. Worth, then Colorado Springs, and finally Long Island, NY, before we settled in Texas. The pictures we have of each of those places included a great winter. There was lots of snow and it was cold. I grew up believing that winter meant freezing cold. Even the picture we have of Ft. Worth was of a deep beautiful snow.
We crested the hill and entered a new world. The weather went from clear and nice to cold and dark, as we passed through the tunnel entering Summit County. I remember hating this part of the trip. I clenched the steering wheel, shifted to low gear and flicked on the windshield wipers. They immediately turned the mist into adobe walls.
We knew we would have lines at the North Pole event this year and we wanted to dramatically improve our performance over last year. We had lots of meetings about line management. We made new queues, designed new pathways and made clearer exits. We added content to every waiting area. In the “Christmas Around the World” line, people saw flags from around the world and a slide show of mission projects. In the “Reindeer line” people watched two fun Christmas shorts.
I’ve spent the week getting the nativity scenes ready to transport to church. I have boxes of them. Some of the boxes are in tatters and I am in the process of replacing all of them with sturdy, well-designed cases that protect the delicate characters. Although it is a bit of work, I love getting out each set and looking at the faces. It never ceases to amaze me how differently the artists interpret the “look” of Jesus.