June 28, 2010

What's Next?

     "What are you going to do after High School?"  It's graduation season on the Youth Ministry front and I've watched many a student cringe as they've been asked this question over and over.  And over.  Some feel very prepared with a well thought through response and a smile of confidence, while others feel nervous and unsure of their future.  The truth is, this conversation never ends.  Yes, most of us graduate from High School and eventually move away from mom and dad to something else, but the question of "What's Next?" continues to linger.  Those poor unsuspecting graduates who think they will get a break from this question in the Fall when College begins, are in for a real wake-up call when they come home for Thanksgiving only to hear, "Have you met anyone?"  And then when you finally do fall in love and have a steady relationship..."When are you two finally going to tie the knot?"  Knot tied?  "BABIES?!"  I've literally been at the hospital visiting someone after they have given birth, when another visitor walked in and asked, "So how long do you two plan to wait before you have another?"  The list of questions grows as you get older, "Preschools? Promotions? Retirement? Remarriage? Grandkids???"
     I don't know exactly why people do this.  I have been guilty as well of attempting to move people through the stages of life very quickly.  As the person being asked the questions, the whole proccess gets old pretty quickly.  You feel like you are being rushed to take the next step in your life that will lead to ...?  More happiness?  Satisfaction?  I'm not sure.  What I do know, is that every stage of life has it's joy and pain.  I am a fan of enjoyingit all.  I look back now on these portions of my life and think things like: what if I would have succombed to the dating pressure instead of enjoying all of the things that come with being single?  I would have missed hanging out with friends til all hours of the night, making all of my own decisions, even being lonely.  And what if Adam and I would have listened to my mother (jk, mom) and all of the other voices telling us we should have had kids right away?  Our lives would be different now.  And I'm happy the way my life has been drawn.  Is it possible for us to enjoy every season with our frinds, relatives, and aquintances?  I hope I can, because in reality, I ask myself "What's next?" enough for all of us.

June 19, 2010

The Scandalous Life of Clara Laird.

It was 2am when Clara Laird was awakened by a knock at her door.  It was an officer, she was needed immediatly.  As Clara made her way into her office at the Pentagon, she immediatly noticed the somber moods of the 15 plus officers in the room.  It was 1952 and Clara had been summoned to type some pressing documents, centered around Balistic Missle Defense. She was surrounded by some of the countries highest ranked and most important military men.  Driven by habit and instinct, the young woman reached for the coffee pot and headed towards the group of heavily decorated officers. One gentleman stepped up to her and took the pot of coffee,"Miss Laird, right now you are the most important person in this room."

Clara was a beautiful, confident and independant woman. She was tough and dignified, known for working in military offices, starting right after her graduation from college during WWII and working her way to the highest position a woman in the 40s and 50s could ask to be in.  Clara was respected by many and was good at her job.  She was sassy and never intimidated by the pressure of working in the Pentagon, surrounded by men no less.  Her days in DC were exciting and full of adventure.  Sworn to secrecy about the projects she worked on, she took all that she saw and heard with her to her grave.

After several years in the military, Clara moved back home to Joplin, MO.  Clara went from working from an expensive desk in DC to the trenches of a social service office.  For the next few decades, she worked on behalf of families and children, spending every free moment caring for their needs.

Clara Laird was a spectacular woman, but I knew her best as Aunt Jeannie.  I learned several things from Aunt Jeannie:
1. A well styled bob is always a classy choice.
2. A packrat is only a negaitve term if you are not in LOVE with every item you own.
3. Stubborness keeps you living on your terms.
4. Generosity from a packrat (see #2) keeps your guests giggling.

My Aunt Jeannie never married, never had children of her own, but she was a happy woman.  She was stubborn and always spoke her mind, but that Laird giggle made it impossible to hold anything but adoration for her.  She was lovely and dignified.  Tonight, Clara "Jeannie" Laird passed into eternity.  I will deeply miss the influence my dear aunt had in my life. She inspired me to make bold and corageous decisions, gently waving aside the criticism of others to experience my own exciting ventures.  Thank you, Aunt Jeannie for your unconditional love, generosity, and honesty.  You made my life exactly what you worked to make your own, an invigorating quest of self-discovery and adventure.

June 9, 2010

#195 Calm Before the Storm

A dead silence grips the air.

The ground is moistened and a cool damp wind hisses through the trees.

The smell of rain mixed with the pleasant air, fills my lungs.

With it comes the calm before the storm.

The green plants drip with the cold water from past rains as another soft gust of air passes me by.

The land is covered with a light wet fog of moisture.

The light gray clouds swirl into a distant, dark, angry sea of sky.

Aside from the soft sway and hiss of the trees; dead silence.

This calm hush over the land is a tranquil getaway for the mind to be at ease.

The land, in all of its complexities, awaits with me for the inevitable storm.

The sound of distant thunder breaks the silence and slides across the darkening sky.

The clouds above take the light from the sky as if they envied the sun's presents.

Almost like an invisible snake, another cool breeze slivers though the distant field of grass and peacefully caresses my shoulders as it passes by.

I try to soak up the remainder of this peaceful moment, as the storm moves ever closer.

The air is now filled with a slightly agitated sky, the storm, towering, impermeable, and determined to destroy this placid moment, stretches and pulls to fulfill its mission.

The still calm and peaceful land seems to know as well as I, that there is no stopping this darkness that is soon to come.

The storm is now almost upon me and it smothers the remaining land before it with a thick curtain of water.

Only the hope and faith that the storm will be over to reveal another peaceful moment are now left.

The hope and fact that there, as inevitable as the storm's path, will be another peaceful moment worth seeing, feeling, and living is all the reason to wait through the darkness.

Author Unknown by me.