Saturday, July 09, 2005

Temporary URL change...

For the next 5 months I'll be reporting from South Africa. Check it out:

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Compassion means to build a bridge to others without knowing whether they want to be reached.
-Henri Nouwen

It's amazing to me that humans ever get to know one another. Starting any relationship, any conversation, is a risk. The person sitting next to us could insult us; she could be an ax murderer; he could be your competition for a promotion; she could have a contagious illness; he might be an auditor for the IRS on his way to ruin your best friend's life; or he or she could become your best friend.

I'm sure many of us have been assaulted with that trite statement, "There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet." I don't know about that. I see huge leaps. Every person we encounter is a leap waiting to be taken. Do we go for it, extend our hand and greet the person? Or do we simply avoid eye contact and keep walking down the street?

Every greeting, every introduction, every new person we meet is an exercise in courage and compassion. We smile and give our best, a tiny part of us, to this stranger. They can accept or reject us, love us or hurt us, maybe both even. How is it, then, that we reach out? I hope for you that it is openly, courageously, lovingly, and, most of all, with grace.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I got nothing

I miss ASP. I went to visit a friend who is on staff this summer and that's the conclusion I reached. It was the most exhausting and interesting job of my life, and I miss it desperately. I miss being sweaty and dirty and exhausted. I miss watching volunteers learn and interact with families. I miss getting to know families and talking with them about their homes and their lives. I even miss long, tense, and sometimes punchy staff meetings. Suffice it to say that being away from staff only gives me a greater desire to go back.

I really enjoy driving alone. I'm not sure why that is, since I'm an extrovert and normally try to be around people all the time. Yet I get great satisfaction about steering my car down the road with no one else in the vehicle. I ponder things like these:
- Why are there all these pro-life and pro-choice billboards on the interstates in the midwest? Do people actually make decisions about reproductive rights while they're driving across the country? I have to say that I think perhaps this use of outdoor advertising isn't the best move.
- I wish the U.S. had better public transportation. I'd really like to be able to hop on a train like people in Europe can. Trains are such neat, economically, and environmentally friendly ways of getting around, and here's we are with Amtrak going bankrupt.
- Bubbles should always be utilized to combat construction-traffic-boredom. Besides, nothing makes the other drivers think you've lost your marbles like blowing bubbles in traffic.
- I love Flying J. I can't even explain to you how much I love Flying J.
- Indiana has "No Stopping or Standing" signs along their interstates about every 3 miles. The key word here is INDIANA. No offense to the state of Indiana, but if you pull over and leave your car on the side of the Interstate, where are you going to go? Are you going to just take off walking through the nearest soybean field? The only reason for stopping or standing by the side of the interstate, as far as I can tell, is because your car has broken down, and then you don't have a choice anyway!

There you have it... thoughts of a solitary interstate driver.