Posted: March 17, 2008 in Ten Questions

Hillary (aka Dian Fossey) With Her Connections Teacher After the Time Machine
TEN QUESTIONS:1. Did I help make life better for anyone this week?
I’d like to think I did for the Whitman family when I conducted the memorial service honoring Mr. Lyle’s life this past Wednesday. The family seemed to be pleased. I honestly can’t say I’ll miss delivering eulogies, but in a strange way, the act itself feels like the highest honor.

2. Did I reach across lines that divide and meet someone new this week?
I met Kevin from New Jersey Thursday afternoon. I went to the offices of Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a Governance Committee meeting, and on the way out I commented on Kevin’s Saturn car (since I was driving one, too, a couple of parking places over). When I got into mine to drive home, Kevin came over and introduced himself. He is here to work with our affiliate, primarily to help pull off the massive Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter Work Project in May. As I’ve said before, Habitat for Humanity has introduced me to the most interesting people – people like Kevin.

3. Did I learn anything worthwhile this week?
Jody and I watched part of an interesting television show. It was one of those “Primetime” news specials called, “What Would You Do?” The part I watched was cool: they told people the story of the Good Samaritan before sending them on a walk across a park to do what they thought was a television interview; however, they stationed an actor crying on the side of the sidewalk and secretly filmed how people would react. It turns out that one of the biggest factors in whether people would stop or not was “time.” If they felt rushed, they wouldn’t stop. If they weren’t rushed, they would stop. Consistently. So I learned something important: acting like Jesus requires me to slow down.

4. Did I spend time with close family and friends this week?
We got to see our good friends, Beverly and Emily, this weekend. They were in from San Antonio on Spring Break, and we enjoyed a beach bonfire with them Saturday night, and worship services today.

5. Did I take the time to notice nature this week?
Definitely. The sunset at Front Beach Saturday night was awesome. Then, when I was driving to work Sunday morning, the sunrise burst into my rearview mirror and blew me away. I just happened to be listening to an old worship song performed by artists from Third Day and Caedmon’s Call called “God of Wonders,” which was absolutely perfect. Absolutely perfect.

6. Did I have fun this week?
I had a blast at Hillary’s school program Monday (the Time Machine). Her Connections class has been researching famous Americans for a long time now, and Monday, they put on a killer show at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Arts Center. They are unbelievably talented, and the whole program was first class – funny, informative, and entertaining. Erica was in town and sat with me, and Jody got to catch the biggest part of it on her lunch break.

7. Did I do my best at my job this week?
I had a really good week. I finally taught a decent Wednesday night class, and then I felt like my morning sermon today was much better than the past few weeks. Maybe I can go two for two this “holy” week.

8. Did I engage in a discussion of things that matter this week?
I spoke with a school counselor Monday about my CASA kids. It was an important discussion, but it’s depressing to learn that people misunderstand what you’re trying to do. Not the counselor, but others who talk to her. Welcome to life, huh?

9. Did I read or hear or see a good story this week?
Several – once again, wrapped up in Anne Lamott’s “Grace (Eventually).” I’m reading it as a devotional book – one chapter a day – and I’m enjoying it as much as I expected.

10. Did I feed my soul with music this week?
So I run across an old Seal CD when I’m cleaning stuff out this week, and listen to what he wrote in the jacket:

“One of the most popular questions people seem to ask is, ‘Why don’t you print
your lyrics on the album?’ Well, the answer to that is that quite often, my
songs mean one thing to me and another to the listener. But that’s OK because I
think it’s the general vibe of what I’m saying that is important and not the
exact literal translation. How many times have you fallen in love with a lyric
that you thought went, ‘Show me a day with Hilda Ogden and I’ll despair,’ only
to find that it went, ‘Show me a way to solve your problems and I’ll be there.’
I guess what I’m saying is that the song is always larger in the listeners mind
because with it they attach imagery which is relative to their own personal
experience. So it is your perception of what I’m saying rather than what I
actually say that is the key.”

I get it. And I perceive that his “Prayer For The Dying” speaks to my feeble attempts to care for the downtrodden in my life.

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