Sleeve Notes 101: 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thinking of you!

Just three short weeks ago we watched Katrina become a major hurricane as she passed over the Gulf of Mexico. For those of us with friends and family in and along the Gulf Shores and New Orleans it was difficult and terrifying to watch. We have waited with baited breath for our loved ones to be found and tried to celebrate, albeit in a very muted way, when they were. As we've so often heard in the past few weeks, things can be replaced, lives can't be.

For the past few days I've watched with dread as Rita entered the Gulf. As she has sucked up the energy from the hotter than usual waters, she has turned herself into another monstrosity very much like her cousin Katrina. The path she is taking again puts those along the Gulf Shores at risk.

Today I've thought about my cousins in Galveston. They've already evacuated, but the uncertainty of what havoc Rita might wreak on what has been their lives for as long as they can remember has got to be hard. My friends in Houston have been on my mind today as well. Friends I've known since I was a kid. It worries me to think about Shawn and his family being uprooted. Mark and Laura recently bought a new house. I want to talk to Mark because I know he's got a stubborn streak a mile long, but I bet he's got a lot more important things to deal with than a chatter with me.

When I read the last update, I noticed that Rita had taken a bit of a turn and, if it continues on this trajectory, will make landfall in Lake Charles, LA. I think I know the entire city of Lake Charles. That's home! Them was my stompin' grounds when I was a kid. If I were to name all the names that come to mind, it would take too long. Please know that you are in my heart and mind! And Leeman, if you read this, please let your parents, Shawn and Mark know that I'm thinking about them! Oh yeah, and tell Mark to call me (he owes me a call any way!).

Whatever direction Rita takes, there will be devestation and human suffering that won't be pretty! Even after all the lessons the government has learned following Katrina, there will still be some that fall through the cracks! I pray God's peace over all of you! Remember that song we used to sing when we were kids in church...

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings, my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Psalm 94:1 - His huge outstretched arms protect you - under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.

Monday, September 19, 2005

"I tried on your glasses...

...and I was blind!"

Monday mornings can be so much fun! Especially after a birthday weekend when the amount of sugar one takes in is disproportiantly high. As such, getting out of bed for me was just a chore; maybe even more of a chore than usual. As I dragged myself into the bathroom and was greated by toothpast oozing out of it's container and a 7 year-old asking me to examine his "pearly whites", I was a little concerned that I wasn't up for the task. As I put the top on the toothpaste, and attempted to wipe the sleep from my eyes, I heard Paris say "I tried on your glasses and I was blind!"

As he described trying to walk around the bathroom with my glasses on, I began to think about relationships, specifically what other people think my relationships should look like. People are really good about sharing how they think our lives should look. "If you'll measure your relationship based on my set of ideas, you can expect that you will be successful." We see that on TV with Dr. Phil telling us how to get our shit together. A look through the phone book for a list of self-help guru's is enough to drive one mad. Everyone has a prescription for how our lives and our relationships should look like.

My own relationship is fodder for much conversation, I feel quite certain. We are wildly different people. I run around like a Chinchilla on speed. I need everyone to be in a hurry! Always a whirl wind follows me. My better half puts the brakes on when confronted by my incessant demands to hurry. I could probably spend the better part of the day listing all of our differences and why our relationship should not least according to some. There have been times when I've thought, "golly, maybe the naysayers are right, maybe we really are just too different." Despite all of our differences, we are best friends! We have become counter-balances to each other's extremes.

Defined through the lense of others, our relationship might be considered a failure. But there is a problem with looking through prescriptions designed for someone else's poor eye sight. By wearing someone else's prescription, one is left with, at best, a slight headache and, at worst, blindness (temporary of course). I've seen countless relationships broken up because of well meaning advice that didn't take into consideration the people in question.

I'm finding that by building a relationship that works for us, as opposed to one that works for someone else, we are building something that is solid. I refuse to wear someone else's glasses when it comes to my relationships, and that includes my relationship with God, my relationship with my partner, my relationship with my family and with my friends! What works for you may not work for me! It's an important lesson to learn that not everything should be viewed using the lenses your grandmother wore. Sometimes one needs their own prescription!