Tag Archives: Jack

crisis

One week ago last night I wrote this word in my datebook. I use my datebook for more than just appointments and work records. I make notes of my activities when I feel like it. Sometimes I wonder when I saw a certain movie or had dinner somewhere and I can page back through the datebook and find out.

Last Wednesday’s box has ‘suit in for alterations’, ‘Jack Grad party’, and ‘– crisis –‘.

The crisis was Sepi telling me that she could not marry me because I was an atheist and to for her to marry an atheist was to turn her back on God. Her suggestion was that I ‘accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior’.

For those who don’t know, I was raised as a Catholic and was active in the Church throughout my high school years. I went to Mass regularly, sang in the church choir, and was active in the parish youth group. I had attended parochial school through the 6th grade.

In the late ’60s, there was a requirement for all American males to register for the draft, which was a mechanism for teh government to populate the armed services. One could argue that service in the military was an essential part of citizenship but that’s an argument for another day. The Vietnam war was a real thing and the draft and the military was in the thoughts of every young American male at the time.

With this background, I began to draw parallels with the military command structure and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and not in a positive way. I felt that the reasons for the US to be waging a war in Vietnam were not good enough to commit such wastage of blood and treasure. And I felt that the requirements of the Mass were similarly arbitrary.

I avoided the military by the simple expedient of having a high draft number. A draft lottery had been introduced the year before I turned 18. My number was around 175 and the highest number that was going to be taken was around 50. My friend Bruce had a number of around 35 and was able to enlist and choose to go to Germany instead of Vietnam. Actually, I’m not sure of the mechanism but that’s what happened.

As for the Church, I just stopped going after I graduated. I went away to college and was obsessed with music so it didn’t seem important.

In our early conversations, I related some of this to Sepi and at one point used the word ‘atheist’ to describe my beliefs. We have had a lot of discussion about this in the last week and one of the questions was ‘When did you turn your back on God?’ My answer is, ‘I don’t know.’ That is to say, I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when I no longer felt there was a God. A more complete answer is that I did not turn my back on God. I did hold with the belief that there is ** something ** connecting everything in the Universe. All knowing, all seeing, etc. It has some similarities to what is commonly referred to as ‘God’ but I reject the idea that this ** something ** has human qualities. For instance, God, or this ** something **, does not ‘talk’ or ‘listen’ or have ‘will’. Those are human qualities. By assigning them to an omniscient being we diminish it (or Him, if you prefer).

Sepi wasn’t much impressed with my hair splitting so we talked late into the night without resolution. I had made an earlier commitment to meet with her pastor to discuss these issues but had been finding ways to not call him. That night we called him and he agreed to meet us the next morning.

Pastor Steve welcomed us to the conference room at his and Sepi’s little church. His first question to me was, ‘If you died today and had to stand before God, what would you say to Him?’

My answer was that I saw so many cognitive disconnects there I hardly knew where to begin. Our conversation was civil and respectful but Pastor Steve believes in the Bible as the literal Word of God, that Jesus is the Son of God and He died to forgive our sins and that we have to ask God’s forgiveness to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. My apologies to Sepi and Pastor Steve for paraphrasing. I hope I am fairly representing the gist of it. In any case, I could not agree with all of that.

We went around and around but there was no resolution. In the end, I agreed to do some reading of the Bible and Pastor Steve generously gave me one to keep.

After we left, Sepi and I continued our conversations. I said I would talk to other people who were Christian and try to find a way to reconcile my beliefs with hers. I did that, but it always came down to belief, the leap of faith, and it wasn’t there. Somehow, the core of my being was not able to buy into the concept of God as someone to ‘talk’ to.

We went through our weekend, doing things and continuing to talk, but all the wedding plans were on hold. The joy that I had felt thinking of my impending marriage to this woman was muted. how could I find a way around this difficulty. I had made it clear at the beginning that this was not something to take lightly and say the words just to get through the wedding. Sepi recognized at the beginning that there was a danger of resentment developing on my part if I felt I was compromising too much.

We were happy with each other in pretty much all of our day to day activities but this ultimatum, as I was beginning to think of it, was driving a wedge between us. It was on my mind constantly. Sepi at one point asked me how I was doing and I said I was unhappy because I was facing two bad choices: compromise what I thought was integral to my identity or lose her. This was all complicated by the fact that we had already chosen a date for the wedding and it was fast approaching. I was beginning to especially resent the deadline aspect of making this momentous decision.

Then early Wednesday morning she asked the question again and I responded in much the same way. Then she said, ‘I don’t want to lose you and I don’t want you to become someone you are not happy with. I will marry you as you are.’

I was stunned. Just like that? Well, not really. She hadn’t been just sitting back waiting for me to have a revelation. She saw my torment and was affected by it. She wanted me to be happy so she decided to break the log jam.

Now I felt bad. I want her to be happy too. We talked and talked. My love for her took a quantum leap as I understood what this was costing her. She has been born again since 1982. I promised to continue talking to Christian people trying to find her faith within me. I have a copy of the Bible on my tablet now and I have been reading it. But I can do all this without the tension of getting it done immediately.

I still see it as a tall hill to climb. I looked up the story of Saul and his conversion, though. He didn’t expect anything like that. One of our friends commented that finding God through revelation is all well and good, but most of us have to make the leap of faith without it. Too true.

sick

Sick. I’ve been sick. I’m pretty sure it’s just a head cold, but it has kept me low for almost a whole week now. Sunday I wrote in a post that I had a headache. That’s not uncommon but Monday it came back and it wouldn’t go away throughout a nice Christmas Day at Mom and Dad’s. Sarah had been at Jane’s Sunday night decorating cookies so I went over and did some. Here are our results:

Sarah came and stayed at my place Sunday night. Monday it was the two of us plus Rose in my car going down to Santa Clara. Jane and Joe and Jack came down. Mary was already there since Saturday. Teresa was there until about 2 when she had to go to work. Julian and Lisa came down but they were sick and didn’t stay long.

My headache never went away, despite some rather frenzied applications of medicine: ibuprofen, excedrin. maxalt – nothing worked. The next day I was torched. I stayed in bed pretty much all day and night. The headaches were under control but I was extremely tired. I did check my temperature but there was no fever. Wednesday I was going to go back down to Santa Clara and stay overnight but I knew I couldn’t do that nor did I want to expose Mom and Dad. Jane called me and said she would drive me down just for a couple of hours. It was Dad’s birthday. Jane got him to agree to walk over to the new visitor center at ‘Apple Park’. That was nice. the weather was perfect.Cool but sunny.

Yesterday I felt better and got out to do some grocery shopping. In the afternoon, I went to take a nap but actually felt pretty good so I got up. I still went to bed about 7 as I had every other night starting Tuesday. By now the fatigue wasn’t so bad but the constant stuffiness in my head along with the coughing and runny nose. I take Afrin at night so I can breathe but try really hard not to take any decongestant during the daylight hours. Sometimes I think the Afrin works a little too well, creating a direct path for the cold air to blast through my sinuses to the back of my throat, where there is a tender spot from the post nasal drip.

Well, today I went to work and did ok. Luckily just an 8 hour day and no one was in the building but Tim W and me. Tim put up with my sniffles. I didn’t get too close. Now it’s almost 8 and I’m heading to bed.

One last thing. Mary got this picture of Dad on Christmas Day as he was taking all the torn up wrapping paper out to recycling. He’s still got his sense of humor!

the second week

Jeremy and Ashley had rented a nice house in North Bend months ago as a place to land in Washington. It was there for them when they flew out on June 20th and they were still there on Thursday afternoon the 29th when I pulled that ungainly rig up in front of it. Jane had flown up earlier in the week and Joe and the boys had driven up. They were all there. Before long, Rosalie had me out across the street to the little park there. Actually, it wasn’t so little. It had a group picnic area and two play areas next to a rather large pond surrounded by trees. Here’s Rosalie beseeching the ducks to come back and play:

Here’s the merry-go-round:

Jane and her family left Friday for points south and home. We got in the car and headed north to Duvall, where we met with the landlord at the new house. They signed a two year lease. The neighborhood was very nice. The houses were newish, about 1980’s vintage, but many of the (presumably) original trees had been saved so there were tall firs and cedars all around. All the houses were well kept up.

Saturday was moving day. Jeremy took the truck, I took the Forester, still loaded with things from Georgia, and Ashley followed in the Murano after doing last minute clean up at the rental house in North Bend.

We got the truck situated in front of the house with the trailer off by around 10:30. Most of the unloading was done by 1:30 and the truck was off the lawn by 2:30. Rosalie had had a chance the day before to select which bedroom would be hers. It didn’t take long on Saturday for her to establish herself there.

Her new bed came not long after I took this picture. It went where the yellow bear is sitting.

Here are some earlier and later pictures of the inside of the truck:

That evening we went out to dinner in Carnation, which is the next town south of Duvall.

The next day, Sunday, I had volunteered to take the truck back to Yakima. Jeremy had done this as it was about $1,000 cheaper than dropping it somewhere closer in the Seattle area. That was another 145 miles in the truck and the same in the Forester coming home. 7:15 am to 2 pm.

Here’s a last look at the combo at the rest stop outside of Yakima. Mt Rainier is in the background. I thought I had Mt. Adams too but I couldn’t see the phone viewfinder very well in the bright sun light. It’s either just out of the frame or behind the sign, honest!

Jeremy and Ashley had lots of shopping to do so I said I would stay with Rosalie after I got back until they were done. They had to go to Monroe and Redmond and some other places with big box stores. After a nap and a snack with Rosalie, I got to play tea party and dress up for about three hours. They finally got home about 7:30!

Monday we didn’t do much except work on putting the house in order. I got in touch with my friends from Bellingham, Teresa and Susan. I wasn’t willing to go that far, but Susan had a spot in Oso, only about an hour from Duvall, that she went to on weekends in the summer. It floods every winter but there’s a spot for her Airstream 100 feet or so from the Stillaguamish River. In the end, Teresa couldn’t make it so I sat with Susan by the river for a couple of hours in the afternoon and chatted while the dogs occasionally chased toys into the river. Before going to Susan’s place, I had gone up to the site of the mountain collapse and paid my respects to the lost lives. The county has purchased the land and will eventually make a memorial park there. Now there are just 43 newly planted trees in rows by the road.

When I returned, much had been done in contacting the neighbors. We got invited to a 4th of July barbeque. Rosalie had discovered that the girl next door was just a few months older than her. They weren’t instant pals but it didn’t take long before they were chasing around together.

Tuesday all Rosalie could talk about was wearing her new swimsuit to the party and going in the pool. Finally the hour arrived and we went over. It was very nice and we met lots of new neighbors. Jeremy had to leave early as he was going to Portland for a basketball referees workshop. Before he left, we went home and lit a couple of sparklers. Rosalie wasn’t sure about them at first.

That night the explosions started well before dark, around 9:30, and continued without letup – literally with out so much as 15 or 20 seconds silence – until at least 11 pm, when my sleeping pills took hold. At least two different skyrocket shows could be seen out the back window of the house that were no more than a couple of hundred yards away.

Wednesday I went into Carnation to do laundry. The washer and dryer that Ashley and Jeremy had bought on Sunday wasn’t going to be delivered until the following Sunday and I was out of clean underwear. (It did come today and Ashley was on her 4th load when I talked to them earlier tonight.) Rosalie played a lot with Emma, the girl next door.

Thursday, Ashley took me to Snoqualmie Falls, about a half hour up the valley from Duvall. It’s a pretty falls but also a hydroelectric power generating facility. We waked the trail to the bottom and checked it out from there as well.

Friday we went to McCormick Park, which is a little city park right off the main drag in Duvall and right on the river. This was maybe ten minutes from their house. There was a nice sandy beach to play on. Rosalie made mud pies (or something) and dabbled in the water looking at the little marine animals. Afterward we had lunch in a little cafe and got a library card at the library across the street. Rosalie took out three books.

Saturday morning, Ashley took me to Sea-Tac and I came home. I had originally intended to come home on Amtrak or a bus but it would have been 24 to 26 hours en route vs 2 1/2 and the cost was comparable. In the end, it was about 12 hours short of two weeks. It was great!