Now I Have Elevator Conversations

Yellow Crowned Night Heron at Brazos Bend State Park

Most of my elevator rides these days are different than they used to be. They involve conversations. Yesterday evening’s ride on the Smith Tower Garage elevator is a good example.

It was about 6:30, and the normally busy crosswalk lobby was quiet. I’d been over at Methodist Hospital visiting dear friends. As I approached the elevator, I was joined by a physician in scrubs going home for the day. We smiled at each other, made eye contact while asking the “How are you” question, and then had a conversation about Galveston and wishing we could spend more time there sparked by my gimme baseball cap sporting a Sand and Sea logo. All that plus a “Have a good evening” in a one floor journey. Real human interaction between strangers who likely will not meet again.

Maybe the frequency of these conversations now-a-days is because most of my elevator rides are in hospitals. Or maybe it’s because I’m more comfortable in my own skin. Or, just maybe, it’s because in a wired, frantic world we all are more appreciative of actual face-to-face human interaction and connection. But whatever the causes, at least in my world, the old elevator etiquette of getting on, pushing your floor button, and then staring at the floor until the door opens seems to have gone out of fashion.

And I’m glad.

Difficult Seasons and Blogging

Brazos Bend State Park: A Place of Respite

Some of you know that for years I wrote almost daily a blog called Difficult Seasons. It’s still up as a reference repository. It started as a way to share things I was learning in providing pastoral care that might be useful to others who were either caring for others or going through difficult seasons themselves. It also became a way to process what I was dealing with personally as a caregiver and pastoral caregiver.

If you go to the site, you’ll notice that the last post was in the fall of 2010. That’s when I decided to take a break from blogging about those subjects. What blogging I’ve done since then has been on this site, and one way or another, it’s been primarily centered around my photography.

Many people blog extensively during their own difficult seasons, and in fact I’ve often encouraged it. So it seems a little strange, even to me, that as my own caregiving situations became more difficult that I quit writing. I even pretty much quit posting to Twitter, where in the early days I was quite active. And my Facebook postings have been almost exclusively limited to captioned photos.

I just haven’t wanted to write about it. And the whys are complicated.

But I think I’m ready to write again. So expect more.

Adversity and Resilience: The Lesson of the Black Eyed Pea

I never cease to be amazed by nature.

This is a black eyed pea that grew in our garden last year. Ben found the pod in the garden a few weeks ago, and apparently left this pea laying on the edge of the patio. Last Saturday, he rediscovered it, but last week’s warm wet weather had encouraged it to sprout.

As I was looking at the photo of the pea today, I was mindful of the resilience that comes built into natural things, whether it’s peas or people.

I suspect that’s because adversity is also part of life, for seeds and for people. If God hadn’t built the resilience in, we’d certainly perish when adversity comes. Instead, we push through, driven by instinct, by how we’re put together.

I’m thankful for the reminders of nature, and for the examples I see of resilient people weekly in my visits at MD Anderson.

It helps on those days I feel vulnerable and fragile.

Sunrises, Sunsets, and Pictures Before Photography

Sunrise on Galveston Beach, November 2012

It’s rare to look at any photo sharing site and not see shots of a sunrise or sunset. Facebook and Instagram are full of them.

And as many as we have seen, none of us ever seems to tire of seeing another one. Or of snapping a photo of another one, trying somehow to capture some of the beauty and majesty that we’re seeing.

David was meditating on the amazing display the skies put on each day in the days way before photography, so he used a word picture instead, which we find in Psalm 19.

“In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.”

Like you, I love sunrises and sunsets for their beauty. But like David, I love them for another reason as well. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”

Because our world is filled with violent tragedies, cliffs not just fiscal, friends and family battling illness, death of the young as well as the old, I desperately need the daily reminder of God’s glory and power that sunrises and sunsets give me. I need the peaceful reminder that he is there, when other signals I’m receiving raise questions.

More a Coca Cola day than a Hot Chocolate day.

Houston weather can be weird in December. Today was 80 degrees, and by tomorrow night, it’ll be down to 30.

Now of course, that doesn’t affect our preparations or celebrations. It just means that we have to be flexible. Today was for iced drinks, tomorrow will be just right for hot drinks.

The photo is one of the collection of personal ornaments hanging on the tree.  Each year Eloise gives everyone in the family an ornament that somehow fits with their interests/hobbies. Actually this one is hers, recognizing her Coke memorabilia collection which includes cans and bottles from all over the world, most provided by her students over the years.

There’s still plenty to do before Christmas around here, but the excitement is starting to build!

T w i t t e r