Caroline gets a push from Aunt Amy on Christmas Day. Photo by Edie Hess.
Questions more than answers have marked my spiritual journey in the past few years. I think a lot of "young" folks who are part of "the church" are asking questions these days. Questions are important, but how do we guage them? I pondered this as I read the following from the novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson:
So my advice is this - don't look for proofs. Don't bother with them at all. They are never sufficient to the question, and they're always a little impertinent, I think because they claim for God a place within our conceptual grasp. And they will likely sound wrong to you even if you convince someone else with them. That is very unsettling over the long term. "Let your works shine before [people]," etc. It was Coleridge who said Christianity is a life, not a doctrine, words to that effect. I'm not saying never doubt or question. The Lord gave you a mind so that you would make honest use of it. I'm saying you must be sure that the doubts and questions are your own, not, so to speak, the mustache and walking stick that happen to be the fashion of any particular moment.
The mid-Atlantic heat and humidity has a way of enveloping you - wrapping itself around you and through you - that effectively extinguishes your will to do much of anything. The air feels "close" and the sweat is copious. After several days of this you become resigned to misery. And then... And then the most amazing thing happens! A cold front from the North arrives! Sometimes this wonder of the natural world is heralded by violent crashing thunderstorms, but sometimes only by the gentle whisper of wind through the windows. Suddenly and almost miraculously your outlook on life improves. The same summer sun still shines on the same scenery that only a few hours ago you were ready to abandon. But now you switch off the fan and reach for the sheets to cover your newly awakened body as the cool dry air and the bright blue sky awaken your soul.
My wife has become a local celebrity of sorts, with photos and quotes plastered on the first page of the Sun's Maryland section. Click these links to check out the article and pictures (*links no longer working 3/2008). In the meantime, I've made it halfway through my OB/GYN clerkship - the first rotation in my third year of medical school. Today is my first day off in about three weeks, but it's been a lot of fun learning in a clinical setting instead of just sitting at a desk all the time. In my two weeks on Labor & Delivery, I got to scrub in on several c-sections, witness numerous deliveries, and even got to "catch a baby" with some close supervision! Now I've got one more week of GYN surgery and then two weeks of OB/GYN outpatient clinic before I start my pediatrics rotation in late August. Oh, by the way, I passed Step 1!
Amy and I made a quick trip up to Lancaster and back yesterday to check out the fonk fest and to hang out with family for a bit. After dinner at my parent's place a storm moved in from the west over the farm bringing needed rain. I thought it would suffice to just get a picture of the sun and clouds, but was lucky enough to snap the photo above as well.
It's time to go barefoot - at least south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Last night on our ride down 295 the sweet aroma of locust blossoms filled our nostrils and heralded the imminence of summer. Where I grew up in Pennsylvania, locust blossoms were a natural sign that going barefoot would no longer put you at risk for catching pneumonia (whether cold weather actually disposes you to illness is another topic). For me, the sweet smelling blossoms, like barefeet were a fitting symbol of freedom. I officially finished (and passed) my second year of medical school yesterday with one last three-hour exam. This marks the halfway point for my classmates and I, but it's coming is not as freeing as we'd like it to be. In the coming weeks we each must buckle down yet again to study for the first step of the USMLE or the "boards." So although we might prefer a barefoot stroll in the park or on the beach, much of our "summer break" will be spent studying so that we can indeed progress to our clinical years (which begin July 2) with a passing Step 1 score.
I don't know where my neighbors are getting their weather information these days. On Monday, as I was leaving on my bicycle to go take an exam, I heard that 18 hurricanes (count them, eighteen!) were headed straight towards Baltimore. All I could find on weather-dot-com (while also trying to cram a few more test-worthy morsels of information into my brain) was something about a nor'easter and hurricane-like winds, but as far as I could tell, not even one actual hurricane was headed towards Baltimore. Today I was told that we're going to have another "cold spell" starting tomorrow. The forecasts I've found say that it's supposed to be near 80 degrees tomorrow and likewise for the next three or four days. Anyway, despite their meteorologic shortcomings, I really do have great neighbors and the weather has been awesome the past two days.
Did you know that Barack Obama is the only African American currently in the U.S Senate and only the third Black senator since Reconstruction? (Reconstruction was right after the U.S. Civil War - 1865-1877 in case you forgot.) What year is it now again? (source: NPR)
Late night caller: Is Mike there?
Me: (groggily & angrily) No; you got the wrong number.
LNC: Well, when he gets in tell him to bring me my crack.
Me: (annoyed) Did you hear what I said?
Me: I said you've got the wrong number.
LNC: Ok bud, but when he gets in, tell him to bring me my crack!
There was a teacher
who was asked by his disciples,
“How can we determine the hour of dawn, when the night ends and the day begins.”
“Is it when from a distance you can distinguish between a dog and a sheep?”
“No,” said the teacher.
“Is it when from a distance you can distinguish between a rabbit and a mouse?”
“No,” said the teacher.
“Tell us,” they said. “When is it?”
“It is,” said the teacher, “when you can look into the face of another human being and you have enough light to recognize them as your brother or sister. Up until then it is night, and the darkness is still with us.”
From Getting In The Way: Stories From Christian Peacemaker Teams, edited by Tricia Gates Brown.