June 4th, 2010

BIG PICTURE: Circumstances plus my continued flatness conspired to prevent me from journaling the last two days. So, no studies today, no READ/RITE/REFLECT, but I will offer a journal entry. I’m not worried about the flatness. Some of it is simple attention span. Some of it is simply due to the “change” I’m living in, some due to the lack of intensity I mentioned in Tuesday’s entry. I’m trying to stay alert to what this experience carries with it:

–           I KNOW that if this were occurring just 2 years ago, I would be struggling with guilt. The committee in my head would be saying things like, “You’re not accomplishing anything!” and “This is a waste of resources” and “Yeah, I  know, everyone else is having to pick up the slack while you sit around reading and “reflecting”…That’s just not happening. I can’t tell you why, but the fact that my Dad is not here contributed to this lack of guilt. Let me be clear: My potential feelings of guilt would not have been his FAULT…it’s just one of those things that exists between father and son, and therefore ceases to exist when one side of the relational equation is removed. I think it’s one of those “binders” that Alick said would disappear after dad died. I miss him. I’m glad he’s not here to see how pitiful my garden is turning out though. It’s drowning out there even as I type. Arghhh.

–           I had a spiritual high yesterday as I listened to an instrumental version of “Come Thou Fount..” I was wrecked again by grace…it was not a flat moment by any means. In this sabbatical setting I had the complete freedom to enter into that moment, to savor it, allow myself to weep and pray and offer thanks…and I did. The interesting thing is how that moment seems to have been swallowed up by the flatness. It disappeared from consciousness, was covered by a rising tide of bland feelings, and ceased to exist until this morning. I am grateful that it “returned”, but I am mildly perplexed about its disappearance in the first place. “Pray continually”, Lord, I don’t know how.

–           As I drive to my study place each day, I pass most of the infrastructure of the Tulalip Indian Reservation. I grew up in this area, and so I am by no means unfamiliar with the native presence and the Tulalips in particular. Both my children attended elementary school at a building on Rez land, and so there was always a presence there: blessings and stories from tribal elders begin each school year, there is a totem outside the main entrance, etc. Yet…as I drove by a sign in their native language day after day, it slowly dawned on me that I know very little about the details of this very old culture that existed here during the time Abraham walked the arid Land of Ur. What was this language called? From where does their alphabet come? My ancestors cut down the trees these people worshiped. My father went to school with people who now serve as the only link for an entire generation back to their heritage.

I took some time to research the language. Lashootseed, a form of the Salish language. So strange and beautiful, Compelling. Why am I drawn to this “now”? Something tells me it’s simple boredom with the routine of study, etc. Something to make up for the lack of intensity. But something else tells me is has to do with touching ancient things. I feel the same impulse when I imagine walking across the fields of Northumbria, “restoring walls”. I am and have been for some time highly annoyed by the politics surrounding Native American affairs. I don’t want to touch that junk with a 10 foot pole. Yet, I recall being drawn to native culture as a child “before it was hip”. At some point that affection became corrupted by the reality of native life and my willingness to co-opt anything and inflate it into something that would get me attention, and so for those two reasons (at least) any interest I might have had has slipped away. Is it returning?

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