Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Five for the Week

Here are five things that have monopolized my thinking this week. Maybe writing them down, will let me move on.

  1. I realized recently how rare it is for my Dad to love my Mom. Not until I became an adult did I understand how difficult and rare it is for a man to love one woman for a long time. After trial and error and watching mentors and friends in all different kinds of marriages and relationships, I realized that loving a woman far different and more difficult than anything else. At the same time I began to understand how rare my parents relationship is, I also found that I need to know that my Dad still loves my Mom. It means more the older I get.
  2. I'm reading a biography right now with a friend. He wanted to read a book that would challenge us to grow. At first, I wondered how a biography would help me grow and if that was the purpose of biography. I realized that history and biography show me heroes and villains whose attitudes and values shape my attitude and the things that I value.
  3. I watched Karate Kid this weekend. It transported me back to 5th grade and what I thought and dreamed about watching it for the first time. I remembered thinking, “Wouldn't it be cool to have a man like Mr. Miyagi to teach me about life?” I look back on my life and think about all the people who walked me through life like Mr. Miyagi. I find myself in situations where I simply react and later realize that is how _____ taught me to react.
  4. I'm still learning to read. Before college, I read “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer J. Adler (which a friend once described as “the book that everyone owns, but only Joseph has read”). I returned to the book this week and realized that while I my reading improved a lot in college, my reading can still improve a lot. Some books still hold ideas and arguments that I can't reach or understand.
  5. I'm trying to read all the books I should have read but haven't (instead of reading all the books I should not have read but have). Right now, I'm reading “The Odyssey” by Homer. Robert Fagles' translation sings even to a tin-eared reader like me. The Odyssey is the story of one man's ten-year journey home from war. He travels the entire known world and suffers tragedy and heartbreak time and again before finally reaching home. In fiction, journeys are metaphors for life, describing life as a series of paths. Someone read a selection from Psalm 139 on Sunday night at my church. I cannot remember the reason or context in the service, but it reminded me of Homer's “Odyssey” and my journey from birth to death.
"Where can I go to escape your spirit? Where can I flee to escape your presence? If I were to ascend to heaven, you would be there. If I were to sprawl out in Sheol, there you would be. If I were to fly away on the wings of the dawn, and settle down on the other side of the sea, even there your hand would guide me, your right hand would grab hold of me” (Psalm 139:7-10).

That is reassurance for the trip home.

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