Monday, October 27, 2008

Politicians aren't all bad

I have always striven to put my faith before my country. In my mind, this is the proper ordering of priorities. This has lead to a resistance of the culture we find in the "religious right" in which patriotism and godliness coexist dependently on one another, and therefore, one must seek to shape the social agenda of the country within narrowly defined moral statutes. Most likely, I have at times gone polar in the opposite direction to my own detriment.

What has me thinking about this is a short clip I saw on the news Friday night. Obama, who was visiting his ailing, and perhaps dying, grandmother in Hawaii, was walking alone down a street that could easily have been in any part of the nation. It looked like a worn down area, perhaps home to the lower middle class. He looked uniquely and significantly alone.

This image immediately jolted me back to a year and a half ago when I was losing my grandmother. One moment in particular stands out in my mind. Grandma was extremely ill in the hospital in San Angelo, and my family was gathered there, but I was driving back on a Saturday night to Abilene after a week of being in Menard because I had to return to school, a new husband who needed me, and a church where I was learning to be a preacher's wife for the first time. I felt extreme lonliness, and despite Grandma saying I needed to return to Abilene and to life in general, I felt like I was doing the woman who had helped raise me a horrible injustice. It was a long drive home.

The image of Obama walking in his childhood neighborhood also sent my mind in another direction. It occured to me that there must be a moment near the end of every presidentail campaign when a canidate asks himself, "Do I really want this?" And if this question hits a man at the same time he is struggling with the slipping away of a loved one, how must that hurt? How must that shake the man who is known for his coolness, for his steadiness?

At this glimpse of vulnerability in the man who might inherit our fragile country, I prayed. I have always prayed for our leaders (even the ones I don't like), but this time was different. This time I saw the humanness of the leader, and as the "politician" tag fell away, I was able to realize anew why it is we must pray for the men and women in our governement.

I do not know who will win next Tuesday, but I do know that each man is asking to acquire a daunting task. As hard as it is at times to see the humanity in the midst of the mud fight that is our political process, John McCain and Barack Obama are both men in need of our prayers. It is the habit among many of my fellow Christians to call Obama a terrorist, Muslim, socialist, etc. Of course, he is none of these things. What these labels do is simply to strip the humanity from Obama's persona, and believe me, it is hard to pray for someone you no longer see as human. So although I fully realize that the opinion of an unemployed artist in Western Kentucky is worth very little these days, I am still going to call out in my quiet little voice for awareness on Nov. 4 of the humanity of whomever wins. This is essential if we are to do what is perhaps the most patriotic act we can do: that of praying for our country.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A few observations following a wonderful week

My parent's returned home this weekend after a very wonderful week visiting me and BJ in Kentucky. Here are a few observations I have had about our week:

1. Job interviews aren't that different from the first day of kindergarten: it is less nerve-wrecking if your daddy takes you there.

2. Mothers never stop enjoying picking out new clothes for their little girls, and that fact just gets more and more fun with age for the "little girls."

3. Sawdust and Derby pies are both good, but Sawdust pies are better.

4. When a person's church greets that person's family like they are in fact family, it makes for a giant, mushy smorgasbord of hospitality. It's actually pretty fun.

5. I like showing off my husband's preaching chops. Might as well admit it.

6. My life is one giant love triangle: I miss Texas, but I love Kentucky, too.

7. Mom has become a political junky. What an election.

8. I now know more about snuff than my dad who has been spitting it for forty years.

9. No matter how old I get, I still cry like crazy when it's time to say goodbye...

10. ...and I still call my brother when I'm crying like crazy so that he can make me laugh.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Family in KY

My parents have traveled 15 long hours to Kentucky over the weekend. It is their first time in this state, and so far, they love it.

I have been looking forward to the moment when my parents would see my house and experience my life here with such anticipation that it is almost surreal to actually have them here. Tonight, we set in my little country kitchen that I love so much and ate a big bowl of Dad's homemade chili. It was the perfect meal on a perfect cloudy fall day. Mom and Dad will be here for the rest of the week, so we are passing our time watching the fourth season of the Office (they were behind), eating, shopping, and playing games. It is looking to me a very good week.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Good friends. Good food. Good times.

Kayla and Darby drove down this weekend to spend some time in Kentucky. We had a really great time doing pretty much the same thing we do most Saturdays, but with good company to share it with. We woke up to a nice breakfast, drove around the country for a while, had a tasty lunch, watched a movie, took a nap, had a wonderful steak dinner topped off with warm apple pie, and then played a game of Risk in which Kayla walloped the rest of us. It was a good day. My favorite quote of the weekend was when Kayla was heading to the guest bedroom for an afternoon nap. She said, "We've got to do something to past the time until we eat again." That pretty much sums up a lazy Saturday in the middle of nowhere. And Kayla and Darby, thanks again for coming.