Sunday, December 26, 2004

Courtney Elizabeth Marsh died today, December 26, 1993. I miss her terribly.

As we learn to feel again, the feelings of loss are stronger along with everything else. Usually feeling is good, but on a day like today, it is so mixed. It used to be a dark tunnel, from December 24 to about February 18. Now it isn't a tunnel, but it is not everything the season should be either. Nor is the Fourth of July or Labor Day.

But, I love my wife and the two children who are in our lives now, very much. In many ways we are so blessed. As one ICU nurse said, with feeling "you are so lucky." In all the pain, there is a great deal of joy as well.

I don't know, dealing with emotion is so hard, though it changes every year as we reach another stage.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Christmas 2004 -- might as well share our Christmas letter for this year. This is mostly my wife's voice and writing, btw.

Dear Friends and Family,

This has been another busy year for us. Busy, but good in all ways. I love being able to write that. It makes me feel so blessed.

Steve is still an attorney with Travelers. They merged with St. Paul to become St. Paul Travelers, so his office has increased workload and staff. More increased workload than staff, but they are recruiting so that ratio should change soon.

Win is still working at Methodist doing anesthesia. She has been freelancing a bit at a surgery center and feels that most weeks she has a pretty good balance between work and family. She tries to work just one night and a twenty-four hour shift each week. Most weeks she fails at keeping work at a minimum. She is still involved in the liver transplant program but is trying to ease back a bit.

Heather passed that milestone of turning sixteen and she waited all the way until 5:00 a.m. that morning to have her first date. She is driving Steve’s old Volvo and thrilled to have it. She continues in ROTC and remains crazy about horses. She is taking a tough load of classes at school. Physics in particular has been a struggle for her. We keep telling her that it is “good” for her.

Rachel is just turning five this month. She reads and writes. She draws funny stick figures and labels the pictures “Heather and her boyfriend.” She is accident prone. We have made enough trips to the ER that Rachel knows exactly where triage is. She likes to go to radiology and knows how to hold very still for CT scans. Rachel likes to meet new people. She knows how to work a crowd in a manner that would impress even a seasoned politician

We tore out all the tile and carpet throughout the house. We put in huge tiles in the front areas that were a pain to lug into the house. They look great, but were miserable to install. We did wood planking in the back of the house. We hope it will be somewhat Rachel-proof. Then; because there wasn’t enough chaos in our lives, we gutted the kitchen last Spring. We moved walls, replaced windows, and added a gas line for an industrial range. The cabinets were delayed almost 4 weeks, and then one cabinet didn’t show up. It took 6 weeks for that last cabinet to be made and shipped. Add load bearing wall complications and workmen that promise “tomorrow.” We found tomorrow means “at least two weeks.”

We were down to a hotplate and a microwave for 4 months. We knew it was getting bad when the local takeout places knew us and our children on a first name basis. The McDonald’s guy knew the sound of our voices over the speaker at the drive-thru window. Honestly, looking back at the process, we should have just moved

We have been poor correspondents this year – even worse than usual. It seems like we have just been juggling too many projects in too many areas of our lives. That really is no excuse for not writing – but it is the only excuse I have.

We hope all is well with you. We are so grateful for the wonderful people we had had the opportunity to have in our lives. Bless you and thank you for enriching our lives.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

One thing that struck me twenty years ago as I was reading what were then "old" sermons was the constant thread of sermons on the equality of women. Things like "this is going to surprise many of you, but your wives are not your property, they are your equal partners" and such. At the same time, the people hearing those sermons were completely oblivious to the message.

Part of it was a gap in metaphor (so many of the speakers had been businessmen and spoke using partnerships as their metaphor, the listeners were college students and working men).

The same with "neither black nor white" in God. There were things said about racial equality that people blatantly missed.

I would read those threads and wonder what things are we being told that we are missing but that later generations will take for granted as the truth and look at us askance?

The emerging debate about adults who have gained freedom at the expense of their children is an interesting one. I look at it and wonder how much of that will be considered true in twenty years (vs. how much will be rejected).

Theology as it evolves is fascinating, both from the threads that weave together, and those that do not.