April 26, 2010

Clear writing DOES matter!!

I heard this story on my way to work, and it was a great way to start my Monday morning. As the resident proofreader, I spend a surprising amount of time at work fighting on behalf of the English language, and often I wonder if my persnickety tendencies have gone too far. Do I really need to change "This letter shall serve as a memorialization" to "This is to confirm"? Or, will anyone notice if I condense a 25-word sentence to 19 more efficient words? And while legalese is tedious and inefficient, it is so comfortable to attorneys that maybe I should leave it alone. It doesn't help when I pour over a document and proudly submit the revised, shortened copy, only to be told, "It doesn't REALLY matter. I doubt anyone will even read this."

So this story is for those of you who think that clarity matters. Keep fighting the good fight. Your efforts are not in vain.

April 23, 2010

Beginning of the End

My eyes have been leaking profusely lately.

In less than one month, Lindon will graduate from seminary. This reality thrills my heart.

But just as soon as the graduate walk is over, moving vans will appear in our area, and we will begin to say our goodbyes.

While we still have no future plans and no intention of hitting the road, many of our friends and classmates have begun to pack their seminary lives to prepare to leave town by June 1. Sigh. This reality saddens my heart and causes the leaky eyes.

It does not seem as though we have been in St. Louis nearly four years. It doesn't exactly feel like time has flown by, either. But it is hard to believe this chapter of our lives is coming to a close. The tension between the relief and excitement for finishing and the profound sadness of saying so many goodbyes is a struggle. My heart is happy while still aching with sadness.

Not surprisingly, I hate saying goodbyes. No one does, I am sure. So many times I have clutched dear friends and bid them farewell as I have moved on to the next adventure. This process can only happen so many times before it gets really old. It seems that grief, like interest, compounds over time. With each goodbye not only do I feel sad for the people I am leaving, I feel sad that I keep leaving people!

There is so much more I could say on this subject, but for now I will leave this tension alone. No doubt it will crop up again in the next two months, and I might pick it up and examine it from another angle. But for now I am trying to enjoy life's events without focusing on the giant cloud of sadness hovering over everything like the grey clouds outside.

But I will keep my umbrella and my tissues close at hand just in case.

April 14, 2010

The Seersucker

At last, here are those cute little pants.

Bedtime Story

Tonight I put Levi down for bed, and for a few seconds he laid perfectly still with his head planted face down in the crib mattress. Thinking he had fallen asleep in that position, I turned his head to the side so as to prevent suffocation. Instead of seeing the placid countenance of a sleeping baby, I was met with open eyes and a grin that was as mischievous as a 5-month-old boy could be. It was as if he was saying, "I tricked you! You thought I was sleeping!" Moments like this feel like a foretaste of things to come, and they make my heart happy.

April 9, 2010

Age...and a survey

As a little girl my one goal was to be a grown up. Too well I resembled Susan Pevensy and wanted to be seen as mature and sophisticated. As the youngest in my class in school I was always sensitive to my age, especially since I looked far older than I really was.

Somewhere along the way age stopped mattering. Not only did I stop caring about being young, I stopped caring about age at all. That's normal and healthy, I suppose, but I stopped keeping track to the point that I actually forget how old I am. Whenever someone asks me my age, I must stop, stare at the ceiling, and try to remember how old I turned on my last birthday.

It looks positively ridiculous, but it's the only way I can remember my age.

One more thought on this subject. Does anyone else think it's rude to ask an adult to tell you his or her age? Something about it rubs me the wrong way. Do you agree or disagree? And why?

April 6, 2010

Easter Traditions

Yes, Easter is now old news. But since I have difficulty getting holiday-themed posts up in a timely manner, I am going to post this anyway. After all, I began this draft Sunday morning.

I love Easter. It is unequivocally the most important holiday in the Christian faith, as it remembers the events that make our faith real and give us a reason for the hope that we have. If Jesus had not died and rose again, he would not be who he claimed to be, and our belief in him as the Savior of the world would be for naught.

This is not the time or place for me to expound on why Jesus had to die and what that means, but I say this to establish that Easter is a big deal in my life.

Growing up, Easter celebration always included a church service the Thursday prior and a big celebration service on Easter Sunday. After church typically came a big Easter dinner with family and/or friends. And of course the day usually involved new Easter apparel to wear to church, and it ALWAYS involved a basket of candy. I mean, always. Even throughout college I always got an Easter basket of candy, and I think that since I have been married a package or two of candy has arrived on my doorstep near Easter.

This year we decided to begin the tradition of preparing Easter baskets for our party of three. Last year we arbitrarily decided we would start Easter baskets this year since we would have a child, but of course Levi did not actually get an Easter basket.  And when I say we started the Easter basket tradition, what I mean is that on Saturday we independently went out and purchased candy for each other, brought it home, and put it on the dining room table to admire without opening (despite Lindon's incessant pleas) until Easter morning. Ok, I take that back. We DID open the package of Reese' peanut butter cup eggs, and we each had one on Saturday. The rest waited until Sunday, despite Lindon's incessant pleas.

And if waiting until Easter to dig into the candy was not bad enough for Lindon, I started another tradition that has already earned his irritation. I dressed Levi in an impossibly cute pair of seersucker pants for his Easter outfit. Since our Easter day was a little hectic and off kilter I did not actually get to take a photo of Levi in said pants, but I will do this soon because they were absolutely adorable. In light of my enthusiasm for the seersucker pants, Lindon naturally despised them, claiming they brought to mind images of old men. Really, they were precious, and everyone at lunch agreed with me, which only galvanized Lindon's dislike for them. Since new and slightly-more-formal clothing has been such a big part of my Easter experience, it will undoubtedly affect the way I do Easter with my kids. Only time will tell if Lindon accepts this tradition in the future or joins the kids in protesting (Though it should be noted that I did NOT dress Levi in the velour jumper with white button-down shirt and matching velour bow-tie. I am still trying to find an occasion that merits such nonsense). 

In the past few years Lindon and I have developed one more Easter tradition that complicates the day. Easter Sunday 2007 we observed Easter Sunday in Butler, PA, and during church one could observe the heavy snow blowing by the windows. If that was not enough reason to temper what ought to have been a celebratory mood, we jetted out of church to a funeral home for Gram's viewing. Going to church on Easter morning and spending the rest of the day at a funeral home is a strange combination. Every year we inevitably remember that bittersweet Easter, and while we believe that the reality of Easter gives us hope, the reality of this world gives us reason to grieve. We miss Lindon's grandmother, and it is sad to think that Levi will never meet her or the many other loved ones who were such a big part of our lives.

So now Easter is a little more complicated. Candy is great. New Easter apparel is fun. Singing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" is wonderful. Remembering that Jesus died and rose again is awesome. But, more so than before 2007, Easter is a time to remember that for the moment death seems to have the upper hand. It's ok to grieve that fact, but we can also find hope in the fact that the battle is won. This hope is real when we sit in new clothes on a crowded pew (with a stomach ache from too much chocolate), and it is real when we look at a loved one's body in a casket. This tension is my newest and most beloved Easter tradition.