Mostly, these past ten months, I’ve been thinking quietly.
Specifically, not Thinking Out Loud.
There may be one or more reasons for this introspective turn, not least of which is the certainty that I much prefer the pursuit of a quiet life…the minding of my own business…the work with my hands.
I wonder to my self: If I put these thoughts in print, might I somehow become vulnerable, or inaccurate, or too snarky?…as if I’m not any of these on any given day.
So I keep my thoughts quiet.
Or at least I’m quite guarded with who hears them.
And then I am so struck, every other week, or maybe a few times a week, that I fairly burst with words I’d like to set down, to write. Or at least type.
Not necessarily because I need you to read them, but rather that I might surprise myself one more time when I read them again at some later date, discomforted and jolted and comforted with the illusion that I really had thought of that before, with innocence and wonder.
[This happens more often than you think, more often than I’d like to admit, this almost imperceptible recognition of a fleeting thought that I’ve long forgotten about, coming at me again from some note card, some old receipt, a collection of decaying but insolent, demanding scraps of paper-thoughts bundled together in an old address book in a box unopened since the late 90’s…]
As I’m lately wondering why I even bothered to renew the yearly
burden privilege of maintaining this website, I decided to ‘set down’ a few of these thoughts that seem to be pushing back at the very rude idea of being Thought Quietly…
1. Moving – as in, moving house – is the great divider. Some of us love it, or tolerate it. The rest hate it. Loathe it. Would rather drink bubbling hot oil.
I happen to love it. You can get rid of So Much Stuff when you pack up your household and move it 200 miles across the state.
That said, moving is hard. But it’s entirely possible. Might even get you out of a rut.
2. We live in a highly over-sexed culture. Don’t even ask me to notate this Absolute Truth. You know it, I know it, my mom knows it, and your mom knows it.
Please allow me to offer this gentle reminder: Boys, young men – men! – are also prone to being sexually harassed.
All things being equal, sexual harassment knows no gender, not in these heavy days. It used to work one way…then two ways…now it’s really all ways, in and out and up and down and backwards and forwards.
My personal gripe is with the cherry-pickers. Lucky duck you are if your sexual harasser is a rich, powerful capitalist.
But what about the low-rent, uneducated, antifa-snorting buttock-grabber? Is he, or she, no less disgusting?
3. Coffee tastes ever so much better with lots of cream. The real query is: How did it take me so long to discover this??
4. Dear NPR: Why do you insist on calling Michael Brown a teenager while you identify the multiple Nigerian drowning victims of sex trafficking as ‘women’, when their ages are as young as fourteen and do not exceed eighteen?!
Sylvia Poggioli reported this on November 6, and as I listened to NPR’s hourly news update while driving, I thought to myself even then – why, oh why can’t I be home to screenshot this horrific irony??
Of course, NPR online corrected Poggioli’s misnomer to ‘women and girls‘, although they cannot actually attribute this quote to the reporter…they can only change the term ‘women’ to ‘[victims]’.
Even other news sources cannot change Poggioli’s original quote on NPR, and are forced to also insert [victims] for ‘women’.
Shame on you, NPR.
Defiantly, the BBC online article insists these Nigerian girls are, in fact, women…
5. A Briar Jumper is a rabbit. They are very fast, and very wily. I am reminded of one of my favorite books every time I see this purple and gold rabbit. It warms my heart.
6. Moving, as I said earlier, is hard. At least for some of us.
But losing a close friend, tragically, is really, really hard. Life changing. Formative.
I’m still not sure what to say to my son, or to his friends. Certainly words have failed me as I try to tell EJ’s mother, and brother, and grandmother, and grandfather…his whole family and circle of friends…how sad, and upset, and shocked we all still feel.
But this young man, Elijah Austin…what do I say? How can I tell you about him?
I called him my navigator. He always sat up front with me, whether we were headed to Taco Bell or Atlanta.
He’s been a part of our lives since he was seven. He was on Hank’s first baseball team. They both have July birthdays.
I still carry his birth certificate in my glove box, in case the umpire calls his age into question.
He died so unexpectedly, on a Saturday afternoon. October 7. He was fourteen.
He was so fast. Like a Briar Jumper. Faster, even.
His sense of how to get to where he needed to be, whether it was the end zone, home plate, or close enough for three points, defies explanation. We that knew him talk about his athleticism, about his prowess on the diamond, the court, the grid iron…we talk about – I don’t know.
You just had to be there.
I took him with us to Atlanta, to Nashville, to Chattanooga, to play baseball.
And he navigated – in the passenger seat, on the radio (Lord help me, he ran that dial!), and all the way to home plate. He stole so many bases, you just can’t know. He stole the ball right out of your hands while you still thought you were dribbling. He was quarterback, wide receiver, safety…all the time, a wide, toothy grin on his sweet face.
He could navigate, that EJ.
Rest in peace, love.
Godspeed, #Navigator #11.
This is all I have this night.
Well, that’s not actually true.
I have more to set down, vulnerable or not.
But my youngest has foresworn me to camp out in his room, and he grows weary.
And I’m with him. I’m weary.
But I’m also hopeful…and trusting in Him who holds all things, knows all things, carries all things, keeps all things.