Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shad - "Compromise"

Blog Title, as Explained by Stephen T. Colbert

A dear friend Mary Louise brought me the Stephen Colbert issue of Rolling Stone from America, and I loved the article.  Here's a particular part of the interview that I feel perfectly sums up the title and reasoning behind my blog:

Did you ever go through a period where you lost your faith?
Yeah.  It was a college angst thing.  But once I graduated from college, some Gideon literally gave me a box of The New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs on the street in Chicago.  I took one and opened it right away to Matthew chapter 5, which is the opening of the Sermon on the Mount.  The whole chapter is essentially about not worrying.  I didn't read it--it spoke to me, and it was an effortless absorption of the idea.  Nothing came to me in a thunderbolt, but I thought to myself, "I'd be dumb not to re-examine this."
What caused you to go through that dark period?
Well, I had very sad events in my childhood.  The death of my father and my brothers [his father and two brothers died in a plane accident] was an understandably a shattering experience that I hadn't really dealt with in any way.  And there comes a time when you're psychologically able to do so.  I still don't like talking about it.  It still is too fresh
Do you think experiencing that has helped what you do in any way?  Or made it more of a challenge?
Not to get too deep here, but the most valuable thing I can think of is to be grateful for suffering.  That is a sublime feeling, and completely and inexplicable and illogical, but no one doesn't suffer.  So the degree to which you can be aware of your own humanity is the degree to which you can accept, with open eyes, your suffering.  To be grateful for your suffering is to be grateful for your humanity, because what else are you going to do -- say, "No, thanks?"  It's there.  "Smile and accept," said Mother Teresa.  And she was talking to people who had it rough.  That's not how you make jokes, though.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I know I shouldn't be offended or bothered.  It makes complete sense in a way-- I haven't talked with particular people in years and don't know if I will talk to them in the future.

But it still hurts to know someone removed me from their facebook friends.

In the end I think it comes down to different ways people use facebook.  I know many use it for only their friends that they're actually in contact with.  That probably makes the most sense.  I tend to be more of a pack-rat--I figure even if I am not in contact with them now at one point we were closer, and I want to know what's going on in their lives.  It seems like facebook is perfect for the even more distant relationships.

But at the same time it makes a lot of sense to focus in on the close friends.  We'll see.  Maybe I'll change my mind soon.

Live Monsters of Folk - "At The Bottom of Everything"

One of my favorite songs ever.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm going to be a father.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

My wife and I found out a few months ago that she is pregnant.  Needless to say, we both were quite shocked.  And terrified.  And excited.  If it's possible to feel all of that at the same time.  But I did.

I don't know why, but I haven't really talked about this much.  I don't know of it's because we know many people who are pregnant at the moment, or because every time I write it down or talk about it I feel like things are more and more set in stone. 

And it's not that I don't want to be a father.  I'm incredibly excited--more and more every day.  But there's this fear that goes with it.  This terror.  I don't feel ready.  I don't have it all together.  How on earth can I be a father?

But then there's this excitement of teaching and sharing life with a son or daughter.  The idea that I can take them to museums, read them great books, share ideas and thoughts with them,  take them to amusement parks, travel with them, and so on.  It's pretty exciting.

I'm already working on a playist for our kid as far as music goes.  This sounds corny, but that alone is pretty cool. :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Tallinn, Tallinn, Take Me In...."

As you probably know, Beth and I had the great opportunity to visit friends in Estonia for Thanksgiving!  We hadn't taken a vacation since being in Moscow, so we figured this would be a good chance for a mini-trip to a nearby country. So last Tuesday, Beth and I boarded the train for an 18-hour ride to Tallinn. The trip itself went really well (Beth and I got a room all to ourselves, which was a surprise), except for the 4:00 a.m. wake up call from customs.

Here was the first thing we saw when we left the train in Tallinn:

At the train station we were greeted by our good friends Andrea and Shera!  They gave us a tour of Old Town in Tallinn.

After some sightseeing we went with Andrea and Shera to pick up Josh and Megan at the airport (they had been in Budapest for medical reasons--please keep them in your prayers).  We spent the evening catching up and hanging out with them as well as the Thompson family.

Thanksgiving was celebrated at Andrea and Shera's flat, and was a blast.

Over the next few days we toured a castle an hour outside of Tallinn, the Christmas Market in Old Town, and so on.

We were also able to visit the President's house.  According to Josh, every birthday Estonia's president invites everyone over for tea.  And by everyone, I mean every Estonian who wants to come.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

What an incredible trip.  Here are some pictures from Josh and Megan's BALCONY.