Friday, April 12, 2013

Season change

According to the calendar, spring has arrived in the Northern hemisphere, although as many will attest to it doesn’t feel it here in Northern New England.  The weather forecast is calling for snow showers and mixed precipitation.  The good news is the angle of the sun will make certain whatever falls and attempts to stay on the ground, doesn’t.  The two writing groups I belong to are encouraging member’s to blog about spring, I’ve seen posts about renewal, pussy willows, warm sun and the return of green grass; all wonderful writings, but not what’s on my mind at the moment.

In addition to the calendar, I have come to mark the change of seasons by the sports I watch, activities I engage in and holidays. Spring for me arrives with the NCAA women’s basketball tourney (Go Huskies!) I know I am close to the end of winter when the NASCAR Daytona 500 is run. Summer is marked by baseball (which I don’t follow until the World Series and then only teams I am interested in) and fall arrives with the advent of football (American style, again a sport I don’t follow until the Super Bowl.) I know spring has arrived with the opening day of fishing season; summer with Memorial Day, autumn with Labor Day and winter comes the week after Columbus Day.   Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July are seasons unto themselves, and not associated with anything meteorological. Living in Maine I learned to see the seasons as Mud, bug, hot mowing, autumn, and wicked cold shoveling.

There are many spiritual and philosophical applications to season change, but frankly those heady, lofty thoughts escape me for the moment. I will tell you marking season change by holidays, activities and sporting events makes me appreciate the everyday.  When there isn’t a sport I watch or a holiday the year passes as usual and I enjoy the usual. Many people are “grousing” about the length of this year’s winter weather and perpetually wishing for spring. There are days I long for warmth, but by marking seasons not by the calendar but by activities makes me look forward to the next change and not wish for something I have no control over (i.e.: the weather.)  At the moment I am in the everyday, the lull between my next change of season, which is fishing (when it warms up enough.)

Per usual this is my opinion, but I recommend marking season change by activities and holiday not by the calendar. Since the holidays seem to be a bit more predictable than the weather.  Have fun my friends, happy season change!

Friday, April 5, 2013

What Part of….

This post was originally written in October 2011. I felt it was appropriate however, since my internet at work is not working correctly and I am having to learn patience.  Enjoy my readers!

It is a stunning day in Northern New England today!  The trees have turned color; the sky is a perfect shade of blue with just enough gray clouds to remind you it is autumn.  The temperature is perfect for me and there is a brisk wind.  I took a ride today to see friends and do some grocery shopping in “the slightly bigger city.”  It was on the way home this blog took shape!  After leaving my friends I went to a shopping center; the traffic, as expected was heavier, no biggy, except for the driver’s who sit at green lights, drive slow on the highway and fast in a crowded parking lot!  I recognize I am impatient while driving, but really sitting at a stoplight that is green, in heavy traffic…. I find myself yelling “What part of green light means go, don’t you understand?”

This thought per usual flourished into something larger and caused me to think about the other things that cause me to ask, “What part of…don’t you understand?”  I have to be introspective at times like these and question my own feelings, am I justified or simply impatient and in the wrong?  I try to understand and quickly respond when someone says they need to go or need to hang up from a phone call; I try to keep my texts short and sweet when I know someone is busy.  I believe we all know those people who continue to converse long beyond a less than subtle cue.  I love (sarcasm implied here) when someone comes to your office for what appears to be a quick question only to have it turn into a half hour conversation, again I ask “what part of only having a quick minute don’t you understand?”  Don’t you see that I am busy or I am ready to leave, I am giving the cue of standing up, holding papers in my hand, turning around to my computer…etc?

The slow down on my side of the highway today was due to someone gawking at the back up on the opposite side of the road.  The back up was caused by a group of people crossing over a guardrail onto a divided highway that had oncoming traffic moving at 65 mph.  I just had to ask “what part of NO PEDESTRIANS on the highway, did these people not understand?”  And secondly “what part of keeping your speed up so you don’t get plowed by the person behind you” did the person who slowed down not understand?  My mother told me about someone she was following who kept stopping beneath signs that clearly stated “NO STOPPING” and waiting for her.  Now it was very nice that the person was conscientious and caring about waiting to be certain my mother was following, but her point was the person, without fail, stopped 2-3 times beneath similar signs!  Not a distance before or a distance after, NO right beneath the sign!

I realize there are areas in my life in which the question “What part of … don’t you understand” applies.  Habits and opinions I hold, which lead to the same place they always have.  I frequently look at my self in the mirror and say “Eldridge, what part of… aren’t you understanding?”  As usual, this blog, which starts as a rant at the world, ends up cutting into my grain.  The question on my mind now is “Eldridge, what part of don’t be stupid, show mercy and value others don’t you understand?”  I’m not saying that I won’t ever ask the question again, but I’m hopeful that when I ask the question it is with a little less frustration and a little more compassion toward others.  AHHH, patience at human failings is a hard fought battle, but one worth fighting for we all fail and come up short.  Who knows the reason you were placed where you were placed at any given time.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter reflection 2013

If there were ever a case to be made for pre-destination I could be the poster child. Baptized as an infant in water mingled with water from the Jordan river, in the choir loft at 5 days old, attended my first sunrise service at 2 months old, wrapped in a blanket and sleeper, carried by my mother over a stone wall into a field. Quite literally I stood at my mother’s side as she wrote human-interest stories for the local newspaper and beneath her microphone, holding my little guitar as we performed as a family on stage. Is there any wonder I am who I am, and do what I do?

I have to admit; Easter is one, if not the one holiday I love the most. Christmas is wonderful as it is a time of family, but Easter is glorious for me.  I have wonderful memories and impressions surrounding this holiday, and Easter is simply not Easter to me without a sunrise service, breakfast and a music filled morning service. I don’t remember my first sunrise service, however I have many memories of other ones as I was growing up. My father, being the youth group leader, was intricately involved with the development, implementation of the service and following breakfast at the church, as both were the responsibilities of the youth group. Often after breakfast my parents and I would return home, were I was treated to hunting for the Easter eggs the bunny had meticulously hidden. I ran around the yard seeking the eggs I had colored earlier in the week; finding them nestled in carefully constructed nests of fallen leaves on the bumper of the camper, in the crotch of tree limbs, in the window boxes, on the wood pile, in the flower bed.  We always colored a dozen or two, so we could keep count of how many were found. As careful as the bunny was there was one year an egg was not found until the summer, when it permeated the back patio with the stench of the dead.

Fond memories of my grandmother also surface this time of year, for she often sang solos on Palm Sunday and/or Easter, and if she didn’t, my mother did. I am stirred by the words and music of “The Palms,” “The Holy City,” and “Christ the Lord is Risen today.” To this day I can hear her voice raised in praise with the words “I know my redeemer liveth!”  I find nothing more stirring then an organ, rumbling the pews; inspiring the congregants.
Why do I share all of this? Well, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about why I have gotten so excited about having the honor of leading worship this Easter weekend at my church. It’s in my blood, my nature, my upbringing; my parents made certain, this holiday was special. I want to encourage you to make some memories this year, where will you be this weekend? Will you be hunting eggs hidden by a bunny, stuffing yourself with chocolate or will you be basking in the glory of the risen Christ? I hope the latter, with the egg hunting and chocolate gorging following. Regardless of whether you have new clothes or not, gather with others this Sunday and celebrate. Remember, it was just another day as far as the three women were concerned when they went to the tomb; it was only after meeting the risen LORD, were their lives changed for eternity. He is Risen Indeed!