Monthly Archives: June 2009

today: home and tonight: wanting

I am home and in that post out-of-town let down. Not a lot of words as I am tired and gearing up for a busy couple of weeks. Here’s some non-kid/ people photos from my trip. Squared, just because. And I might be blogging photos from this trip until 2011 at the rate I’m going. I have about a bazillion more.

Now to meet God and process all the musings going on in my head.

today, home
tonight, wanting
to hear something
you assuring this, right
you present, enough tonight

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today: tomorrow, home.

Tomorrow will be airplanes and coffee and Harry Potter accompanying me back to Texas. Tonight I said goodbye to my little friends and Shehzad. Catherine and I will leave for the airport while they sleep. I swallowed hard when I kissed the kiddos good night. I love this whole crew, and I already miss these little faces.

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Today I met a bunch of the extended family for a photo shoot, and old stories were told while new memories took shape. Photography allows this unique perspective of being invited to watch a family be. I don’t really get tired of seeing. My favorite part of today was how Lucy, typically outgoing and eager, played the shy role today. By the time we started taking photos after brunch, she was quite finished with sharing her house with an assortment of relatives, thank you very much. I love, love, love this shot of the twins and their cousins.

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Those few minutes the kids sat on the steps passed very quickly, but I think it’ll be something we laugh about for years to come when we look back on this trip. Nuance saturates life nicely…

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today: more, more, more

“…neighbors’ got a new car that you want to drive
and when time is running out you want to stay alive…”

Side, Travis

Some friends had a board book I read to their kid once, and the mom and dad and grandpa and whoever else in the book tossed the baby up in the air. And the baby cried, “more, more, more,” delighted. We read that story about fifty times, which as it turned out killed the effect for me. I could have done with less. I get bored with repetition, with the mundane. Some of my neurosis is likely the cause or product of chronic restlessness.

I am still on vacation. And I am still in love with being around this.

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There is also a good bit of green around here. Everything seems better when outside lies buried in green newness.

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The oh-so-astute duke said he found it funny (in this context, funny is the gentler, nicer framing of weird or downright odd) that I opted to spend my vacation with a family with two little kids. “Babies?” he asked. I tried to explain. When I got here and relayed the story to Catherine, mom of said babies, she agreed. It is kinda odd, but she was glad that’s where I’ve landed.

But here’s the thing. This restless wanderlust refuses to settle. I love it. I want it. I think I need it.

It’s people, though, who help me yield when it is time to stop and show up and be present, which is most of the time. The mundane may be boring at times, but so much of the more side of life is found in consistency and commitment. I can be on vacation here without needing to travel somewhere exotic and new because here I stop and let my heart show up. And in so doing I find love and laughter and life in the simplicity of little hands reaching up, ready to be tossed, wanting to be hugged.

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I often write that people are the greatest expression of God’s kindness to me. Here I find awareness of the excess of that kindness given to me. That excess makes me want to respond by rediscovering that awareness wherever I am.

today: sam and lucy

…are among my favorite people in the world. (And their mom and dad aren’t bad either). Gotta love a kid who runs around in safety goggles like they’re a fashion statement. Gotta love his sister whose every move seems to be a dance party of joy. I like hanging around here. Life is good. That’s all.

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today: father’s day

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Dear Dad,

Grandpa pitched a perfect game for the Philidelphia Phillies on Father’s Day of 1964. I never understood the significance of that event until July 28 1994, when you and I watched Kenny Rogers become the 14th pitcher to join that elite Major League Baseball club. We didn’t even want to go to the game that night, but we went. It was hot. We had great seats. I don’t remember the first few innings, but I do remember the two of us on our feet with the rest of the crowd for the entire eighth and ninth innings. I remember the silence as those last few pitches smacked gloves, as those last few Angels swung their way to their loss. I remember cheering our lungs out. We went home elated. It was one of the most fully alive nights of my life. I love that we shared it. It is my favorite memory with you.

(That said, when I wade through the stacks of memories with you, so, so many are happy and good, especially my memories of when I was little: days at the beach and backyard baseball and learning to ride my bike and broken prestidigitators…)

You have a lot of kids, you know. Sometimes I look at photos when the younger kids were little and still feel overwhelmed and a sense of wonder that we survived… and laughed during so many crazy years…

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Each of us has pieces of you in our composition.

Bridget has your quickness to stand against injustice.

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I have your introverted-ness and love of running.

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Meghan has your humor.

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Jay has your natural generosity (and your looks, good Lord).

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Sam reflects you the way you reflect Jesus, seemingly weak but actually strong.

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Deborah has your ability to make herself heard.

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Ben has your soft heart.

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Zeke has your affectionate side.

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Zak has your sarcasm and your intelligence.

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Tater has your relational skills.

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Josh notices things to call out in people the way you do. I’m reminded of this whenever I hang out with him. He’s quick to say thanks for being this way or that… And he was the cutest baby in the world.

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Jono has your love of books and alone time.

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Jakey has your ability and desire to close a deal.

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You and Mom’s greatest gift to all of us is that you’ve stayed together and worked hard at continuing to love each other. You haven’t ever claimed perfection but have been willing to change time and again through good times and bad. We know we’re loved. And you’ve instilled confidence in us, which is another amazing gift.

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Thanks for loving each of us. Thanks for loving me. Happy Father’s Day. May you know you are loved and celebrated. It’s been a wild ride. And a good one.

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I love you lots,

E

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today: the skies, they are friendly

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Flying days make me happy. It means you are going somewhere. It means the time it takes to get from A to B is open space for reading and writing and remembering to fasten your seat belt. Today I flew with my i-pod and Harry Potter. I visited with seat mates and chuckled with flight attendants. And I arrived on vacation.

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When I used to travel more, flying days were always days to connect with God, and we hung out a good bit today. I read and journaled. I pondered the aforementioned Harry Potter. In the latter books, the characters who emerge as significant make me cry. They start out weak, unpopular, cast off. They move to forefront of the stage as they stake their claim in believing that good is worth fighting for. They give their lives. They make me cry because their paradigm is not unlike the paradigm we live in with God. Somehow the weak become strong. Somehow the least become greatest. Somehow the vulnerable story creates a masterpiece on this canvas that is life, one that displays grace and hope and redemption.

That is what happens in Harry Potter, and that is what happens here. I love that. It’s amazing how any great story seems to resonate with the God story. I thought about that a lot on the airplane today. (And I flew Southwest to New England so that left a lot of time and space for thinking.)

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I’m on vacation for the next few days. That means plenty of time to live a lot of story and plenty more time to get refreshed for this great story that we’re in the midst of.

today: the room of requirement

“Happiness! It is useless to seek it elsewhere than in this warmth of human relations… Only a comrade can grasp us by the hand and haul us free.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry discovers the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts, the school he attends. The Room of Requirement shifts to become whatever the person or people entering it need. Fred and George, the mischievous twins, find a broom closet in which to hide after pulling a prank. Dumbledore needs a restroom during a Halloween celebration, and it appears. Harry and his friends need a place to practice defending themselves against rising dark wizards when the government denies their threat. They find a room equipped to handle the students committed to their cause.

J.K. Rowling makes up the most fabulous of backdrops for her storytelling. Her imagination encourages and enchants mine. If my life had a Room of Requirement, I think what would be in it most days would be people (and blueberries, avocado and beer). Friday I am going on vacation, and I feel like I’m standing in the doorway of that room. The interesting thing about the Room of Requirement is that those who enter know they’ll get what they need. They don’t always know what that looks like.

So I get to hang out with these guys for a few days. Here they are when I met them almost two years ago:

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This was before I knew they were going to become my littlest friends. This was before I knew their mom and dad would become some of my favorite people in the world.

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This was when we hung out a few days a week. It was good for them, I think. And it was amazing for me.

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They moved last May, and we’ve stayed close. I’ve visited. They’ve visited.

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I love to travel. Seeing a new place and meeting new people opens doors of infinite possibility. These past few years, though, travel tends towards those already known and loved. It doesn’t matter what the backdrop is. The value of the trip comes in time sprawled out to be together.

This year’s pace has swung erratically between frantic and dull. Getting away always helps with regrouping. That said, in going Friday, I don’t know exactly what the details will look like. But these guys who love so well and fully? Being with them is sure to be exactly what I need.