Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm so tired of cleaning up after dogs and cats and the sloppy people who live in this house! I had just fussed at Mike for being non-productive and the dogs for making a mess when I spilled a whole glass of peach tea on the carpet. Do we really need days like this? It is Monday.

I'm listening to the beautiful music of Dawn Higgins Murphy, an 80 year old concert pianist who does water aerobics with us. She gave us CD's this morning that were made as a fundraising project for one of her favorite charities. Originally from New Orleans, she has played with Al Hirt and Pete Fountain, and was a regular entertainer for years at the Roosevelt Hotel. Since moving to Jackson, she has appeared with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and can be heard frequently at the Colonial Country Club performing with the New Bourbon Street Jazz Society and on Sunday nights at the piano bar at Char. She and her husband Bob celebrated their 60th anniversary at Mass on World Marriage Day at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson. This picture of her was in the Catholic paper where she is looking into the eyes of her husband (he still plays tennis) as he repeats his pledge of love to her and she has the most adoring look of love on her face. It's scanned from the newspaper, so is not as clear as the original, but that look says it all, doesn't it? (Thanks, Judy!) It's hard for me to imagine being in love with the same man that long and to be as devoted to him as she obviously is, or to have the kind of talent she has. She's definitely one of the more colorful characters I've met lately - a beautiful lady and very talented musician.

4/7/08 update: Several inaccuracies in the story about Dawn, I found out today, which just goes to show you can't trust hearsay or the internet. Go directly to the source. She was never a regular musician at the Roosevelt, and didn't play with Al Hirt and Pete Fountain. She doesn't play on Sunday afternoons with the NBSJS or on Sunday nights at Char, even though she's usually there and has played a time or two. The CD was recorded primarily for her children and grandchildren. Well, by now I'm sure you've realized that I know how to take a short tale and make a tall tale of it. As my friend Jean says: Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Benji posted the results of a political survey he took which verified what we already suspected - he's as liberal and left-leaning as the scale allows. I took the same survey and was also slanted in the same direction, not nearly as extreme as he is, though. My position on the chart was very close to that of the Dalai Lama. (Is that the 14th or in general?) If you want to take it, too, it's here. Share the results with us, if you dare.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The dream I had this morning before awaking was of fierce competition over a Scrabble game with Linda Partlow. I don't remember ever playing Scrabble with Linda. Her parents and mine had regular games, but if Linda is a Scrabble player, I'm not aware of it; if she and I ever played Scrabble, I've totally forgotten it. The dream game was a close game, but I won, and she was not a gracious loser. I immediately felt guilty for beating her, but then reminded myself how many times she'd beat me on the tennis court, the ping-pong table, anything athletic. She finally congratulated me, but I could tell it was hard for her to do, she was seriously disappointed in the final score. I proposed a second game, a best 2 out of 3, but she declined. We were in the pavilion at Cecil's Park, where I doubt that Scrabble ever was played, and she left with a tennis racquet in her hand headed to the tennis court. It was an awkward moment, I was really hoping for a rematch. The few spectators of our Scrabble game left me sitting alone and joined her large entourage of fans and supporters. Everyone wanted to watch her play tennis, no one was interested in a Scrabble game. And that's how it ended, with her walking toward that old clay tennis court at Cecil's Park, determined to conquer the next challenge.

It's been 18 years since I studied dreams and their symbolism, but there is a workshop scheduled at St. Philip's in April, which I plan to take. I believe God still communicates to us through our dreams just as he did with the Biblical characters of old. Most of the people in our dreams represent some aspect of ourselves. I cannot imagine what part of me LP might depict... the youthful, skinny me? the Plantersville girl? the sore loser? Too much stuff in there to tackle on a Sunday afternoon when all I want to do is nap.

The song that came to me when I tried to recall the dream's details was, "Let's get physical...physical... I wanna get physical..." It was probably just a reminder that I need to exercise more, you know, get off your duff stuff. I think physical may have been the winning word I played which made 56 points and put me ahead of her. If I did as much physical exercise as mental, I'd be in much better shape. She's been in my thoughts and prayers for the last couple of weeks, so it's probably not unusual that she showed up in a dream.

She's out of the hospital now and recuperating at Cindy's house, according to the latest news we got, this time from Linda herself. Ain't God good! I'm sure George will have it posted on the Plantersville Connection soon.

Congratulations, Linda! Hope you are fully recovered real soon!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Benji has been posting some old pictures on his Flickr site. This one reminded me that Laura has that big 40th birthday on Monday. She's in the red. The baby in blue turned 40 last month. His big brother Rick was always so good with the babies, no wonder he's such a good dad. Happy birthday, Beautiful Niece #1. And happy belated birthday to Beautiful Niece #2 who was 34 on Thursday.
There's an old black and white of Dad and his three kiddos. Betsy, the exhibitionist, is showing off her developing assets. I can't believe our mother snapped that picture with her so immodestly exposed, but she did, not quite so obvious in this colorized version. And this one of Pip is brand new and the cutest of them all.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Delayed maintenance is expensive. Putting off repairs that seem inconvenient or too costly just makes the problem worse. I should have known the dripping cut-off valve behind the commode would progress from "kitty water fountain" to nightmare, but it was so easy to ignore. Now the whole floor has to be replaced and the broken flange replaced and resealed. Yuck! What a mess! I'm just glad the whole thing didn't collapse through to the first floor. At least, the leak downstairs is inside the closet where the HVAC is located ... not pretty, but not visible, either ... or is delaying the repair of those walls causing further problems down the road?

We have a new handyman at Woodlake. I feel sorry for the man, he must feel like he's landed in the Excessively Desperate Housewives Zone. Everybody out here has maintenance problems, enough to keep him busy from now 'til kingdom come. Our homeowners board hired him to do outside repair, plenty of delayed maintenance there, but he can do inside jobs for individual homeowners, time permitting, which means he could work every night and all week-ends if he chooses. I've warned him that his predecessors have all burned out in less than a year, but he says he likes to stay busy. Well, he certainly came to the right place.

Now my Madison renter is calling with complaints of another leak under that house. I was just up there Tuesday with plumbers replacing old pipes under the kitchen sink. I should have made a full inspection around the house while they were there, but I didn't, and would I have known what to look for if I had? She has asthma and is threatening to move due to the health hazard, the mold is making her sick, she says. Where is the mold? The house was built in 1936, so at 72 years old, it's bound to be full of problems just waiting to happen. Roto-Rooter supposedly fixed water line leaks, sewer line leaks and gas line leaks back in December. Of course, the 90 day warranty just passed.

Lord, have mercy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I probably need to quit watching political news until after the nominee is selected in August. I was trying to watch Obama's speech on MSNBC this morning and they actually cut it off midway to start up with the "pastor problem" videos again. Grrrrrrrr! Are they competing with FOX to see who can show the most trash? Enough is enough! They should know that most in their audience are serious adults who want to be treated that way! Puh-leeeease! Enough with the preacher!

At least, it hasn't hurt Obama in the polls, but is pulling Hillary's numbers down, that and her recent "mis-statements" about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire. She's not doing herself any favors by attacking Obama and she's certainly not doing the Democratic Party any good to side with McCain and oppose Obama. Strange bedfellows, indeed! I just saw an interview with the pilot who carried Hillary and Chelsea to Bosnia. He said there was not even a bumble bee flying that day, much less sniper fire. Is she on drugs?

I'm headed to the gym...more later.

3:00 pm. I worked really hard in the water this morning and came home with a ravenous appetite. Mike and I went to Ryan's for lunch. On the way home, I chatted with another Democratic neighbor whose guest had an Obama bumper sticker on her car. I haven't seen very many of those on Rankin County cars, but I bought extra, in case anybody else needs one, just let me know.

There was a good article on Steve Holland in today's Daily Journal.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wasn't that a gorgeous Easter week-end! And did you see the moon rising Saturday night? It had just started its ascent when I got out of church Saturday night, one of those that just stopped me in my tracks! Wow! After our Easter Vigil service, which starts in darkness with candlelight only and moves toward the coming of the light, the golden orb seemed to be adding one last refrain to the song we'd just sung, "Let your Alleluias rise!"

Our Easter anthem Et Resurrexit went much better than I expected. There were several "Lord, have mercy" petitions whispered before we started, and He did. Having the string quintet to accompany us helped also. Every voice part was doubled by an instrument, so all the parts were in there.

I talked with a newly discovered second cousin last night who had come to Mississippi from Georgia to visit our relatives in Newton County. She found me through the family tree website I posted years ago. I surprised myself by recalling details from our common ancestry that I didn't realize had been retained in my memory.

She told me that our great grandparents' house, which was completed in 1871, but had stood vacant for several decades, fell victim to Katrina's winds. I was glad to know it succumbed to Mother Nature, rather than a bulldozer. She and I had originally planned to have breakfast this morning, but another plumbing problem in the Madison rent house prevented my driving to Newton to meet her. Maybe next time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Brother! I didn't mean to stir up a hornet's nest with my March 17th post, but I did. Most people I've heard from on that subject thought I must be some kind of card-carrying communist sympathizer, not a pinko, but a radically red revolutionary, to even give Rev. Wright the benefit of the doubt. I did find agreement, but no one who was willing to do it publicly except Zoilus. Thanks, Son.

I found another Southerner's view about the whole situation that was not that different from mine and was probably stated a little more eloquently. The Rev. Mike Huckabee was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Weds. and was much more tolerant of the preacher - politician issue. You can watch it here (scroll down to the Mar. 19 video "Stop by Mike Huckabee's hot dog stand")or read an Atlanta Journal review of it here.

I also found that most white people I know have no idea about the depth of resentment that still exists in their African-American neighbors, especially those of the reverend's generation. And those who do, as a whole, don't care, especially here in Mississippi. But would they admit to feeling resentment? Not on your life!

One need look no further than the Jackson Public School system to understand how deep the divisions still are. Most of Jackson's white students are in private and parochial schools, while the black students contend with poverty, crime, and crumbling urban infrastructure. We're fifty years beyond the passing of desegregation laws and some elements of our population are as deeply entrenched as they ever were. We can't even get beyond flying the Confederate flag over the state capitol. The wheels of progress turn very slowly in some places.

I gave my thoughts about John Hagee back on Sept. 19, 2006, so I won't repeat it here, but I am concerned about John McCain seeking out the endorsement of someone so fanatical, especially about Catholics, gays and women. Why the Wright endorsement of Obama should draw more fire in the media than the Hagee/McCain collaboration is something I have yet to understand. And the Rev. Rod Parsley, another McCain supporter, is every bit as wild-eyed and extreme as Obama's pastor ever thought about being. Maybe the "fair and balanced" news network should reexamine its slogan.

What was that about the rich white guys running things?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I've received a couple of requests from P'ville today. One was an update on Linda Partlow's condition following surgery last week and her need for our continued prayers for her and for her sister Cindy, her primary caregiver. Some of you recognized Cindy in the picture I posted on 3/6/08 when I wished my siblings happy birthdays. George has been posting those updates on his blog, so I won't duplicate that effort. This picture was made at Cecil's Park July 1962. Seated left to right: Linda Partlow, Me, Carol Russell; Standing left to right: Jane Parker, Betsy Johnson, Rosemary Gibens.
The other request is for continued support of Steve Holland in the April 1 runoff with Travis Childers. We all know that Washington DC needs Steve Holland. President Obama (or Clinton) will need Steve Holland. Go to his website and make another contribution. Or write a check and send it to P.O. Box 2, Plantersville, MS 38862.
All these dear friends need our prayers, too. They're involved in critical fights, one in a fight for her life, the other in the fight of his life. Victory, in each case, will reverberate for years to come, so let's get behind them.
And while we're on the subject of fights, I hope all of you saw the history-making speech delivered by Barack Obama today. It's one of the greatest speeches I've heard in my lifetime. America will take one giant step forward in "perfecting the union" that was launched back in 1787 as an experiment in democracy when we elect Obama for president.
On a lighter note, I made a couple of pictures at Total Woman last week of a 20-yr old employee who reminds me of a young Gloria Temple. Does anyone besides me see it? She has relatives in Tupelo, so maybe she's a cousin? Her mom used to work for Roger Wicker, she told me. Sorry, but I've forgotten her name. Do you recognize her, Gloria?

Monday, March 17, 2008

If you've ever spent Sunday morning at home and gone church surfing on cable TV, you've possibly come across a broadcast from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. If you stayed with it long enough to hear the sermon, then the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is not new to you and neither is his fiery preaching. I've done that, so it was not "shocking and appalling to me" when the "offensive" sound bites were played last week in an attempt to discredit Barack Obama.

The preacher has his own brand of audacity, not too dissimilar to the prophets of old who proclaimed hellfire and damnation on the Hebrew children who needed to be chastised regularly for their disobedience and complacency. They were often reminded of their days in slavery and their deliverance to the Promised Land. Jeremiah, the prophet for whom Rev. Wright was named, made everybody mad, denouncing political leaders, religious leaders and all the rest. Both Jeremiahs had a dramatic style that got attention and aroused rancor. And isn't it the job of a prophet to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable?

I can't listen for long to any preacher who raves and rants in a loud, angry tone, whether they are white or black, conservative or liberal. Other people believe it's a cornerstone of effective preaching. The style to which I've become accustomed and partial to in the Episcopal Church is much calmer and delivered in a way to make people think. It's usually inspiring, uplifting, edifying, encouraging, comforting, motivating. The intellect is engaged, not just the emotions. I think Barack Obama would be comfortable in my church; the inverse of that is probably not true - I would be very uncomfortable in his.

But do I condemn Rev. Wright for saying the things he said, the controversial quotes most publicized in the last week? Good Heavens, no! I've said similar things myself. A famous preacher once said:

To the question, Who is my neighbor? I reply as my Master did by the example that He gave: "the alien and the heretic."
Frederick W. Robertson

On the night of 9/11/01, I had a conversation with my cousin Skip in the Pizza Hut in Palestine, Texas, in which we discussed exactly what Rev. Wright says about our support for Israel and Israel's aggression toward the Palestinians and the role it may have played in the day's terror attacks on the USA. We weren't blaming the USA for what happened, but considering factors that could have influenced the terrorists. Why, just yesterday, our reading of the Passion Gospel included the verse where Jesus said, "He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword." Violence begets violence. There's nothing new here. We know this.

Every citizen of this country has freedom of speech. We can agree with our leaders or we can dissent. Some of us dissent more loudly and more dramatically than others. I just wish Americans would not say, "He shouldn't have said that." It seems a most un-American thing to say, especially of someone who served as a Marine fighting for that right for us all. I will defend your right to say it, though.

The only thing that disappointed me about Barack Obama's response to the uproar was that he did not defend his pastor's right to say what he said. I do believe that he personally believes differently about the controversial subjects than his pastor does, and his pastor's statements probably did make him uncomfortable. (Show me a church member who agrees with everything his pastor says and I'll show you a sycophant.) With Obama's background being so different from most of his church's other members, the Trinity Church and its pastor seem to be the perfect classroom and teacher for his learning the history and philosophy of those to whom he had had limited exposure, necessary training for anyone with ambition such as Obama's. As a master politician, he clarified his own views about the controversial subjects. For me, that was enough.

Obama's poll numbers have come down some. Thanks to the mudslingers, it's going to get ugly, like it does every election year. I just hope the young people are not so turned off that they drop out of campaigning and voting altogether.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Even though Palm Sunday is not one of my favorite occasions, it is usually one of our most memorable, and today's service was no exception, with the reading of the Passion Gospel complete with the mob cries from the congregation, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" and the mournful minor chords of most of the hymns and anthems. To balance the re-enactment of the tragedy of Jesus' last week is the hope of the Resurrection Life that we know is coming. Signs are everywhere, especially in the green grass overtaking the dreary patches of winter brown, the palms used to decorate the church, and the flowers that surround and permeate the courtyard, especially cheerful since during Lent we've had no flowers or greenery inside the nave. The whole salvation narrative - from death into everlasting life - is made more real during this time of remembering the events that lead to Easter. (Photo by Bob Rall)

It's a highly demanding week of clergy and choir members, so remember us in your prayers. I'll be at home only one night this week - Tuesday. Monday night I'm going to the gym for a new water class with a different instructor. Weds. - Sat. nights will find me at the church - choir rehearsal on Weds, Maundy Thursday (complete with foot washing), Good Friday service at noon, Stations of the Cross that evening, Easter Vigil on Saturday. Sunday, of course, is Resurrection Day, which begins the 50 Days of Easter until The Day of Pentecost. During those 50 Days, St. Philip's will host musical concerts every Thursday night, and there isn't one scheduled that I want to miss.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to all on Monday!

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine sweet upon your face
May the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

For a special St. Patrick's Meditation click here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's been a hard week for me. My attention has been demanded from way too many sources and I've spread myself too thin to do anything I've attempted very well. Tuesday morning started with a phone call from Betsy, who needed Sis to take her to the ER with a kidney stone. We were there 3 or 4 hours before they confirmed what she suspected. Then we went to Walker's for lunch.
I had just gotten home when Skip arrived. We visited here until Mike began to get sloshed, then he and I left for supper at Newk's. By the time we got back to the house, Mike had retired, so we enjoyed more conversation here. It was Tuesday (Election Day) night and I was anxious to watch Hardball, Countdown, etc., but didn't turn it on until I went to bed at 11:00. By then, I was too sleepy to keep up, so I missed most of the coverage of Mississippi's Primary. If I had it to do over, I would have turned on the TV, but muted the sound. At least, I could have watched as the returns came in, but all the data is distilled in Weds. and Thurs. papers and it's all over the internet, so I really didn't miss the important stuff. And how often do I get the chance to visit with my favorite cousin? NOT NEARLY ENOUGH!!!
Wednesday started with a movie that Skip brought for me to watch - Strictly Ballroom, and I loved it, but I would have enjoyed it even more without the barrage of phone calls that kept interrupting us -

1) My renter in Madison had plumbing problems
2) The AC repairman wanted to do a 3 month follow-up to a call I made in Dec.
3) The Comcast Cable man had a new cable box to deliver and hook up
4) The Weds. lunch group called to see if I were going with them to the Beth Israel Temple's Bazaar for lunch
5) Bath Fitter had an appointment to give us an estimate on the work we need done in the master bathroom
It was a totally crazy day! The dogs were nervous, on edge, and noisy, but we watched the whole movie between these interruptions and I loved it. If you've ever done ballroom dancing, you realize right off that competition dancing is very restricted and allows very little room for creativity. I never competed when I took ballroom lessons, but I dated a champion dancer who was often flustered, but just as often fascinated, by my unconventional twists on conventional moves. He had always been so focused on the rules that it left little freedom to explore other possibilities.
And there you have the essence of this beautiful and funny love story, "Strictly Ballroom." If you liked Moulin Rouge, you will love this movie done by the same writer/director. Why had I never discovered this movie? It's only been out since 1992. Thanks, Skip, for sharing it with me.
Last night was choir rehearsal with an extra 30 minute sectional for the ladies' parts in Et Resurrexit from Bach's B-minor Mass. We're doing it on Easter Sunday. It's a very difficult piece, and I need several more rehearsals to do it with confidence, but alas, the time is nigh. I guess I'll just have to devote a couple of hours to woodshedding it on my piano at home.
By the time I got to the Lacy's for dinner, I was so tired, but I did have fun and enjoyed a delicious meal. Today I went to the gym for only the second day this week, then came home to a hubby who gets grouchier with every passing day. He tells me no one loves me as much as he does. Man! That didn't help my feelings a bit.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Benji has some good shots of the snow in Memphis over the week-end. I especially liked this one of Pip. George has pictures from Plantersville's snow, too. Check 'em out. A few flakes fell in Rankin County, but we got no accumulation.
Obama is coming to Jackson tonight. Part of me would love to attend the rally, but my introvert side is winning on this one. A large screaming crowd is one of the least likely places where you will ever find me participating. Even as a much younger person, I had an aversion to the crowd noise at rock concerts. I can't imagine that the noise is any easier to tolerate now. A town hall meeting has a lot more appeal to me, but then I am out of the demographic profile of Obama's supporters. Most Democratic white women my age are supporting Clinton.

And I'm not against Hillary. I admire her tenacity. She has proven herself to be made of tough stuff, bouncing back from more personal attacks than anyone other than her husband. I hope her numbers have not been artificially inflated by Limbo Dickheads, or is that Limbaugh Dittoheads? I'm afraid his influence in Texas may have created serious mischief. I understand he's very popular there.

Her suggestion that she would name Obama as her running mate seems totally disingenuous to me. If he's good enough to be VP, then he has to be good enough for the top slot, too, so enough with the "not experienced enough" argument.

Did you see the girl from Hillary's 3 AM ad this week-end saying that she will be 18 by election day and is supporting Obama? I really wish he would use her in an ad. I also hope the Republicans for Obama run some ads, too. Red states like Mississippi need to hear their message.

Whoever you're for, DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

This is birthday week for my brother and sister. Betsy hit the big 60 on Sunday and Paul turned 58 today. Happy Birthday, Siblings! This picture was made in 1953 on Betsy's 5th birthday. Paul is the first child on the left, I'm the 4th and Betsy the 6th. (George, if you want this, I'll send you the names of the other children.)
Here's another of my favorites from the 50's, funky hair-do on Big Sis , and all. This one was dated 1956.

Paul was 14, almost 15 in this picture. He's holding 2 month old Ricky. Betsy and I are seated in front of him.

This picture of our whole family was made at the old P'ville School Gym where Paul had just played a baseball game. We were launched from this family of origin to the 2:00, 6:00, 10:00 positions, about as far apart as any siblings could possibly be flung. Even though I still feel affection for both of them, I rarely see them or spend time with them. I treated Betsy to lunch on Sunday, and called Paul today after I passed the spillway and saw all the fishermen below the dam. I figured that's where he was, but I was wrong. The last time we were all together was for Mother's funeral. She died a year ago today. (Laurie, I'm still waiting for the pictures you made of everybody in Tupelo.)

Happy Birthday, Betsy and Paul!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

OK, color me wrong about Hillary. Seems she has some "comeback kid" in her, too. Even though the final tally of votes has not been announced from Texas, it looks like she may have won the popular vote, but Obama won more delegates. I've never quite understood how that works. And have you ever looked at a map of the congressional districts in Texas? Talk about gerrymandering! It's the most convoluted mish-mash I've looked at lately. Who was that who said, "You get fifteen Democrats in a room and you get twenty different opinions?"

Pam, Jean and I decided to delay our water aerobics until 11:00, rather than go to the 10:00 class. We get a better work-out by ourselves, since our 30 year old instructor normally teaches children and doesn't seem to comprehend the needs of a totally different age group. There's been a lot of dissatisfaction among the class members, and suggestions made to the gym owners about getting an instructor better suited to those who don't need high impact exercise, but so far, nothing's been done. We're going to lunch with our Water Lillies group at 12:30, so with this change in our schedule, we don't have to kill time between class and lunch. I like this much better.

I'm expecting a visit from Skip tomorrow. He will arrive mid-afternoon, spend the night and go back to Folsom on Friday. I'm hoping he and I can have plenty of private conversation time without Mike's interference. Mike usually sees Skip's visits as another excuse to get drunk, and his appeal as a conversation partner quickly evaporates. It really diminishes my enjoyment of my favorite cousin's visits.

We may have to go out for a "genealogical research dinner." Nothing would discourage Mike sooner than to know we planned to work on family history. And we do have some new information to integrate into our files. I'm sure we'll work out something.

Monday, March 03, 2008

One of the most impressive reports we heard in church on Sunday was from the Honduras Medical Team's most recent mission trip. How wonderful that so many volunteers from our small parish were willing to contribute their time, talent and resources to caring for those who needed medical, dental, and vision care. A vet was also with them who cared for several animals, primarily cows and horses. It made me wish I had donated more than I had for their mission of mercy.

Imagine my shock last night when I saw on 60 Minutes a very similar story of volunteers caring for those who could not afford the medical care they needed. But this was not in some poor, primitive country like Honduras. It was in Tennessee. The sponsoring entity was RAM (Remote Area Medical), not the Episcopal Church, and the "Remote Area" they were serving? Knoxville. Stan Brock, the man who started RAM, is an Englishman who spent his young-adult years in the jungle wilds and yawning savannas of what was once British Guiana in South America.

How can we, as the richest nation on the face of the earth, possibly justify this? It reminds me of the Good Samaritan story where the religious Jewish people passed by the injured man, refusing to help for various reasons, but the foreigner, the Samaritan, comes along and lends life-saving assistance to the Jewish man.

We may have blind spots. We've got lots of excuses - they're deadbeats, they're addicts, they're illegal aliens, etc. Watch the video. Most of these people were the working poor with no or inadequate health insurance, the ones who had transportation to get to the free clinic. For every one of them, there was probably a poorer person who had no way to get to the clinic.

Jesus had strong words for those of us who do not think the sick and poor among us deserve our help: For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me... whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me... depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

I am not discrediting the work of our medical mission team. Thank God for them and their work. I'm just saying that we as Americans need to get our priorities straight. To donate to RAM, click here.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
(copied BCP)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

One of these days, I'll learn to keep my mouth shut. During choir rehearsal this morning, I smarted off about the descant we were practicing which angered our director and caused him to cancel it. I knew before I said it that I shouldn't say it, but it was like I had no control over what came out of my mouth.

It's not the first time this week that I've lost control of myself. The adult in me has had to work overtime to manage the unruly child in me. It's a scary feeling. Ever since I got off Zoloft, I've felt slightly manic; technically, that's called hypomanic. From Wikipedia:

In manic and less severe hypomanic cases, the afflicted person may engage in out of character behavior such as questionable business transactions, wasteful expenditures of money, risky sexual activity, abnormal social interaction, or highly vocal arguments uncharacteristic of previous behaviors. These behaviors increase stress in personal relationships, problems at work and increase the risk of altercations with law enforcement as well as being at high risk of impulsively taking part in activities potentially harmful to self and others.

Of course, adjusting to the new burst of energy I've had since getting off the antidepressant can be disorienting in itself. I haven't seen the video of our Mardi Gras program, but everybody who has seen it says I look like I'm on speed. Journaling helps and I've done a good bit of that when I can concentrate, but my mind races too much to be able to settle on one thing until it's finished. It's one of the reasons I've not blogged much lately. I start a post, but can't finish before I'm off to something else.

Let's pray I don't do anything crazy enough to get locked up, in jail or the loony bin. If it gets much worse, I'll get my doctor to recommend a psychiatrist. Something is going on that I haven't experienced before.