Well, that was a bust...

George has been complaining about what I call his Uberyogurt (1c. yogurt, 2T. olive oil, 4T. peanut butter), so I tried swapping out the peanut butter for cashew butter. Not a success. He got through a half batch and refused to go any further. To the point of gagging on something that has essentially no texture at all. With all of the cashew fans around him, I was certain he'd like it. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, in other news, my new faculty advisor is the professor who was giving me panic attacks last year (my regular advisor is on sabbatical, it turns out). I've got to say that this marks new levels of weirdness here at ETSS.

Now, the nutritionist

George and I did a nutritionist consult this morning. Turns out he should be getting 1500-1900 kcal (that's Calories, nutritional) per day if he wants to grow, with ~30g protein and no more than 70g fat. And I was wondering why he's been up and down so much. I thought he was needing 1200-1500 kcal/day, which, as it turns out, is a maintenance diet.

And George is officially over a meter. 105cm as of 9:30 this morning (42ish inches, for the English System users out there).

So, now all I have to do is get him to eat. I'm told that his enjoyment of Mexican food is a good thing: all that beans and rice will help him keep on track.
  • Current Music
    George, improvising on the MIDI

On Dentists and George

George went to the dentist on Monday. For the first time in a couple of years. Apparently, he's inherited the Eddy teeth, because there were no problems outside of tartar buildup. He's only got two adult teeth in (lower center incisors), but several more are "on their way out" (upper center incisors and the lower outside incisors). He did a very good job -- his eyepressing got more commentary than his attempts to reject things going into his mouth. As best I can tell, the little suction tube wound up keeping him happy -- they put that in and he quit fighting.

OK. So my son is as wierd as I am.
  • Current Music
    Edvard Grieg: Lyric Suite

Update of sorts

Well, I've finally got my "ursus" logo. I find it highly amusing that the ideogram for Bear is four legs under the ideogram for Ability/Energy. Of course, as everyone who knows me knows, I'm amused by very strange things. I'll be looking for a salmon-eating pic next.

George update: the boy is taking well to this entire summer school concept, even though his teacher's favorite adjective is "nice". ("George had a nice day at school. He did a nice job of eating. It's nice to have him in class." -- and that was just one day's report.) He's also becoming a thoroughgoing nudist, at least at home. I can't keep him in clothes unless he knows he's going out fairly soon. So, if you want a mental image of a typical George moment, imagine Peanut's Schroeder (complete with toy piano), nude.

I'm doing fairly well, over all. Now all I need to do is do more writing.
  • Current Music
    George, improvising

Bone Knowledge

I was having a conversation at St. George's today, with someone whose job is a lay chaplain, when she said something that triggered a realization, which she told me I should write down. So, here it is.

I don't just get it, when it comes to chaplaincy. I know it in my bones. It's not just my head or my heart that understands the worried family outside their loved ones hospital bed, it's in my bones. It's not just my lips and tongue that offer sympathy for a loss, it's my bones – remembering holding my dead son, holding my dead wife, weeping 'til I couldn't weep any more, being so numb that all I could do was sit in shock and horror. It is not my life or understanding that I'm offering to God in my priesthood, it's my bones. And those bones know joy, too. Hope against hope. A child that should be dead singing alleluia in church, a blind boy who, though autistic, reaches out, trusting that the adult he knows (not just papa, not recently) is going to catch him in a hug and tickle, still won't hurt, grinning from ear to ear.

It's in my bones, those hours-long waits in a hospital conference room or lounge.

It's in my bones, the praying and singing and hoping.

It's in my bones, the people who stand beside you, putting their all into just one more shot at a miracle.

It's in my bones, the night the Chaplain left the NICU crying, because one too many baby had died.

It's in my bones, that hug from the man in the funny collar that said, No it won't be all right, but I'm here anyway.

It's not head knowledge – it's bone-deep knowledge. And it's why I can't do anything else but become a priest.


Oh, and before you ask: George is doing significantly better. He hasn't thrown up in 48 hours now, and his last bout of diarrhea was almost seventeen hours ago. He did fine at both church services, and even went swimming this afternoon. Little Monkey.
  • Current Music
    Beethoven's 6th

The simple things do it...

This is going to be a bit of a vent and a bit of of a cry, so bear with me.

George has been sick to his stomach for the past 48 hours, and I'm bone tired. He's had so much diarrhea that I've been giving him baths and showers nearly constantly. But we must carry on, and he's been fairly cheerful—in the way that only George is when sick—asking for things, wanting to go out, wanting to be held. It's been a struggle, but I've managed to stay ahead of the diarrhea with his liquid intake (mostly apple juice, but some water and some lemonade).

Then tonight, for the first time in quite a while, he asked for Compline. So we prayed compline together. Him lying in bed, wrapped in his heavy quilt from Christmas, me sitting at the end of the bed.

And I was crying through much of it. Compline ended like this:

"Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping*
 that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.
 Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace*
  according to thy word.
 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation*
  which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples.
 A light to enlighten the Gentiles*
  and the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son*
 and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning,*
 is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

"Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping*
 that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.
 Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia."

I say "Let us bless the Lord"
and George, in a sleepy little voice, responds "Thanks to God."
I kiss the top of his head (the only part sticking out of his blanket), and then put my hand on it, saying, "The blessing of God almighty, + Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with us now and forever."

As I walk out of George's bedroom, I start doing something that Jeanette came up with as a lullaby and nighttime prayer for him. One of the traditional prayers for children at bedtime, when modified slightly, scans to The Eighth Tune of Thomas Tallis (Also sometimes known as Tallis' Canon):

"Oh, now I lay me down to sleep
 I pray the Lord my soul to keep
 His Angels guide me through the night
 And keep me to the morning light. Amen"

What got to me was that George was singing along, keeping me in tune, by the end of the second bar. I couldn't help it: I sat down and cried for a bit once we were done. Jeanette and I would sing that together over George's crib when he was tiny and it would usually calm him down and he'd go to sleep.

He's come so far, and grown so much, and Jeanette hasn't been here. I don't know how I've been doing it, honestly. God's grace and maybe a bit of luck, I suppose. Robin helped, but she's no longer in the picture at all. She's been afraid to come and see George since the breakup because of what it might do to her resolve. The school folks have been really helpful – especially Ms. Lee, the one-on-one aide who has been with George since he started school here in Austin (she called to check on us while I was writing this, to make sure we were OK). I really do miss my wife. I remember lying in bed, praying Compline with her night after night, and then she'd go out to the computer, and I'd drift off to sleep.

It's to the point where I can't recite the Nunc Dimmitis (The part "Now lettest thou thy servant, etc." above, also known as The Song of Simeon) without tearing up. In Luke, Simeon was old, and his life had been extended so that he could hold his Messiah in his arms. Then, when he held and blessed Jesus, the Nunc Dimmitis is what he sang. He was willing to put down his life, now that he had seen Salvation. It forcibly reminds me of my own mortality and of the mortality that is part of all flesh.

Perhaps part of the problem is that I love too fiercly. I can't let go. I can't not care. I regularly pray for people I knew in High School, people I haven't seen in almost twenty years. I mourn losses that happened when I was in grade school. But I don't know how to turn it off. Hell, I don't even know if I should turn it off. I'm told that it is a good trait for a minister to have, especially with the kind of pastoral responsiblities I'll have.

May YHWH bless you and keep you
May YHWH make his face shine upon you
May YHWH be gracious unto you, and grant you peace.

  • Current Music
    Tallis' 8th Tune & Compline

A brief thought

All heresies are essentially victims of the law of unintended consequences.

For example, Pelagian ideas of Free Will and the Goodness of Creation are both good ideas. But when those ideas are extended and combined to deny the fall, and to argue that humanity can enter heaven through good deeds alone, not faith, you have the heresy of Pelagianism.

Another example: Jesus was somehow different from God the Father, and there is only one God. Two things that are both true, but when combined to deny the divinity of Christ and to argue that Jesus was simply the best man possible, you have Arianism (and all of its descendants...).

I think I need to develop this further.
  • Current Music
    "Blessed Assurance"

I didn't realize it went back *that* far...

One of the more useful things about counseling is that occasional flashes of connection occur that won't come any other way. See below for some details.

I now know where some of my ambivalent feminist leanings come from.

Y'see, I was in a gifted program through grade school and Junior High, which was a coeducational pullout class. And when we hit Junior High, we lost 3 of our 15 girls. Because they wanted to be more "popular." They were being taught by our peers that it was a bad thing socially for a girl to be smart. At least one of those girls wound up drug-addicted by the time high school rolled around. Another girl who was plenty smart to enter the program refused to be tested when she entered the school district for fear of being labeled.

I felt, and still feel, betrayed. Why should girls need to be afraid of being smart? Not to mention competent, in leadership roles, and so forth. And yet... And yet, it was other girls who were insisting on them leaving the gifted program – the boys at that point in our school career were, for the most part, clueless. The fact that it was other women enforcing the system makes me wonder if the feminist ideals are really as golden as some seem to think.

I also sometimes feel angry, because I'm apparently the wrong gender in some people's mind to comment on these sorts of things. I just thank God for my support folks who are willing to listen to these things as I think of them.
  • Current Mood
    sad sad

Back again to LJ

I'm trying my best right now to keep from going slowly mad.

My first encounter with a proposed spiritual director was quite an experience, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm still trying to decide if she's the right person to be my spiritual director or if I should look elsewhere. I'm currently feeling good about the first meeting, and there's the added bonus that Robin doesn't like her much, while Jeanette had a great time at the spouse's retreat she ran back in November of '03.

For those of you who may have followed my life, I'm no longer engaged to Robin -- we split up after just under 13 months of engagement.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

Looking back a bit...

Well, I've only got one more day before Jan. term is over. It's been an interesting journey, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. It's been good working with the "neighbors", but I really wonder why we were doing what we were doing. I had a good time leading prayer and Bible study, and the ability to help people was really great. It struck me as odd how many people weren't willing to make a further effort when we tried to point them in the direction of other agencies that could help with things that Trinity Center doesn't do.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like it when I say, "Have you tried the Baptist Community Center, or the Catholic Cathedral's St. Vincent de Paul outreach?" and they look at me like I've asked them to swim in shark-infested waters. The excuse today was, "But I don't know anyone there. I like you guys." When I've told them that it'll be almost two weeks before we have money again.

I don't know. I think it might be better stewardship to give the Instant Grants program a weekly, rather than a monthly budget. That way they'll spread out the help a bit better.

I'm actually thinking that I did better work praying for people than writing checks. I don't know how they feel about it, but the one guy I prayed for and counseled about his problems with anger management seemed to come out better than if I *had* written him a check. They're going to stick in my mind, all those folks. Story after story, face after face. Some of them were obvious B.S., and some of them were probably subtle B.S., but nonetheless, I remember them. It one of those things about my memory – their names may fade, but I will remember their faces.
  • Current Music
    G.F. Handel, "For unto us..." from The Messiah