Archive for August, 2009

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Loving Neighbors: Even on Vacation?

August 15, 2009

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” –Galatians 5:14

Do I have to love my neighbor on vacation? Technically, she/he’s not my real neighbor.

Taking vacation on a small lake in Michigan means cottages close together. Thin cottages. Or rather, walls that are thin. The kind of thin that allows you to hear sweet sounds of summer as you fall asleep. Birds chirping and water lapping upon the shore. What’s not poetic? The chainsaw. At 8:00 a.m..

Now, I ask, is that neighborly? Construction work before the sun has warmed the dock? And what about barking dogs? Or screaming kids splashing in the lake? Oh right, those are mine.

It does take an extra stretch to be kind sometimes. Like when tourists drive backwards down the “off” ramp. Or when a wave runner comes deathly close to your swimming 7-year-old. Love may be hard to muster when you wait in line for an hour at Dairy Queen. Then again, it’s not so hard. Just watch your kids trying to decide between a double chocolate-coated cone with sprinkles or a Butterfinger Blizzard. Big choices. Big love.

I guess I can tolerate the chain saw. Maybe it’s my guilt. The fireworks we brought were a little loud. Vacation is all that. It’s ice-cream and laughter. Swimming and s’mores. It can even be a hammer next door.

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Speak or Silence?

August 5, 2009

When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.  –Audre Lorde

According to Audre Lorde, I guess I should be pleased my kids aren’t afraid to be heard. They just speak and speak and speak and speak. All the time.

The youngest found her voice recently. I use to worry she was quiet, hiding her rambling thoughts inside her head. Be careful what you wish for. Now her mouth runs like the energizer bunny.

The oldest found her teenage voice recently too. Enough said.

As a middleman, my son’s never had a problem NOT speaking. He wakes us singing opera. Or with nonstop verbiage such as: “ Yo, you man what you talkn’ about? Hey no way. That’s mine. Wait, I want that one. Why can’t I have the last blueberry muffin? But why does she get it? That’s totally not fair. Fine then. I’m eating all the cream cheese…” and on it goes. Perhaps his long discourses will train him well in a political profession.

By the end of the day my ears don’t just ring. They whirl and twirl with noise. But now, in this very minute there is silence. The joy of camp. For moms.

Funny thing is, after a minute I miss it (well, okay, maybe an hour). I miss the chaos of voices. I miss the complaining and the arguing and the life that my kids give to my space. I miss the speak. And the speaking and speaking and speaking.