Saturday, December 15, 2007

Why Noah!? Why!?

Why didn't he throw the little lice couple off the boat?

Oh well, 10 months of killing critters in my hair is ok, it will help me to get into a more regular routine. Wash, rinse, comb, REPEAT.

In all seriousness though, I do give thanks to God that I went this long without having little insects living off of me, but I would have been even more grateful if I could have gone say...11 months instead of 1.

In other News:

I was I was kind of homesick today so I called home, with Skype, and talked for about an hour to Mom and Pop about some of my adventures, their winter struggles with getting enough firewood, and a new glow-plug for the stove. I also told them about how I think Jubilee, my little sister, should come and visit the Sisters here. I have only recently realized that they are ALL a bunch of Juby's! It's amazing, she would fit in just like a little peg. Of course since my family has no money, I suppose she will have to fund raise, that is if God does want her to come. Of course she will have to finish this school year before she comes, etc. but she could come in May and the weather would still be reasonable for a month... O I hope she can come!

I have been writing my Christmas and Thank you letters and although I had hoped that I would be able to send them before Christmas it seems that I will have to wait because the envelopes I need are still on their way to me. Thank you Mammy!

By the way I will not need any more sports bras to be mailed to me! Mom mailed me a bunch from home, and so did my best friend Mary. So, please let's not mention any 'under garments' again, mkay?

You know what I am realizing would be awesome to have mailed though? No, I don't suppose you all do, WELL I was thinking a board game or two would be wonderful! Something that all of us volunteers can do together to relax a bit. We have given this some thought and we like games that can be played by non-native english speakers as well as english speakers, so although I love games like Boggle and Scrabble, they simply won't do here. Instead games like RISK, and Monopoly wold do wonderfully. Risk would be hilarious for us because we are all from so many different countries alreday I bet we could start in all the continents of our birth... YES now that I think about it I am sure we could... Serena is from Australia, Toshi is from Japan, Hortense is from France, 'What's Her Name' from South Africa, Sr. Karina from Mexico, and me from the US! Perfect! He he he!!!! Just imagine kicking someone out of their own continent!

Well, I am out of time online now, because I spent so much on the phone, so I won't be able to edit this post and make it anymore coherent. I'm sorry. This will have to do for now!

Happy Gaudete Sunday Everyone!

Christmas is so close!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Oot, Brother Dave here.

I love you, and am very proud of you. Do more than you think you are capable of doing and you will do well.

Last Sunday, the most Christian man I have ever met passed away from cancer at a horribly young age. He left behind two children and his beloved.

So, even though you are thousands of miles from La Crosse, if you find the time, please pray for the Madary family.

I am saddened that you did not get to meet him. I am saddened for the loss the world has taken through losing him. Most, I am saddened for his family.

His name was Earl, and Oot, you would have loved him. He sang. Lord, he sang. I mean, he could've been an opera superstar, but became one of the great teachers of his generation. Cut down, Lord, he was cut down.

You should know that he worked miniscule miracles in the hearts of those he taught.

I read your blog frequently. Reach out to us when you can, but know your work is there.

I hope to learn God's love. Now, I just pray in silence, wondering.

It is, I think, difficult to appreciate and reciprocate love. We are creatures so filled with war.

Most, I think, it is hard for stubborn humans, such as myself, to supplicate, and thereby receive God's love.

Stay your course. Love everything bigger and smaller than yourself (lice included), and you will discover amazing things. Of this, I have no doubt.

Oot (and everyone else reading this post), I want to copy and paste Earl's Teacher of the Year Award Speech from 2006. Keep in mind that he was dying when he gave it, and that he lived for so many more than himself. Here it is. Read through the first part. Trust me, it gets bountiful at the end.

If you want to know his tone, see the speech Viggo Mortenson gives at the end of The Lord of The Rings. His eyes and his speaking voice sounded so much like when Viggo says to the hobbits, "Friends, you bow to no one." Except we all bow to God.

Thus begins Earl's teacher of the year speech.

To say that I was stunned last year in receiving this recognition is an understatement. The notes and messages that I received from colleagues and especially former students was truly a delight. Some of the guys I lived in the dorm with here at Viterbo back in 80’s were surprised to say the least. They promised, ala Las Vegas Commercials, to let what happened in Marian Hall stay in Marian Hall…I am eternally grateful.

It took me until August of this last year to understand that when some of you called me the toty you were not calling me a toady. Toty of course is teacher of the year, toady is the oft misunderstood, misshapen underling of the mad genius Dr. Frankenstein! Enunciation is everything. Also, thanks to my dear friend Dr. Rolf Samuels for dropping into several of classes over the last year and announcing with glee that those particular students were studying with the teacher of year. It did little to boost my confidence when often one or more would ask “who?”

This is an odd honor, both to have received last year at this time and then to give this brief address this year. Odd in that it was one of the great kindnesses that I have received in my life as well as a constant challenge this year to know myself as a teacher. To know what I do, how I do it, how I work in relationship with the rest of you here in this great enterprise of offering education. This is dangerous conversation to have about what we do each day. This is also a worthy conversation to have. Your thoughtfulness last year has touched me deeply.

I came in here, this recital hall, in January to sit and think about this address. I come here often, actually, when the hall is empty to sit and think and to listen. For me as an alumnus of this institution there are voices that echo from these very bricks. Brother George, Laurian, Celestine, Arita, and Maureen. Some of you sitting here today, your voices are in this room too. I was taught in the classroom and studio by some you sitting here today. I am not certain that you would always want to claim me but I am proud to claim you. Then there are the rest of you here. You teach me each day how to live in community, dare to be idealistic, practical, outrageous, kind, and filled with conviction.

When I was student here I was taught many things. What I was taught then continues to be the heart of what I convinced we must dare to teach now. I was taught the power of joy. I was taught to recognize my own voice in a chorus of voices and to blend and to cause deliberate dissonance! I was given the strength to recognize an artist’s heart within myself and others. I was taught to stand for peace. The Christianity that I was taught here had room at the table for everyone. Everyone.

My mother, an immigrant to this country and a child survivor of the Second World War would look out our kitchen window, each spring, and say with genuine surprise, “There is green left in the world! It looks like we have another chance.” We teachers are believers, disciples, and holders of the second chance. At our best we work for the “greening” of this world hoping that each generation that follows will do better.

As we place our hopes in our students I would like to offer an open letter to them on this day…so here it is…

Dear Students of Ours and Fellow Learners…..

We must appear to be quite eccentric in our many ways to your eyes….our insistence on well crafted sentences, good reasoning, deliberate kindness, historical accuracy, academic integrity, staying on pitch, good science, knowing your lines, service to your community, changing the world, and becoming a person worthy of the privilege of education. For as you know and have heard, you and we your teachers constitute a very small part of the world in our privilege. The privilege of education.

For you see we teachers were captured by hope a long time ago….

A dream was born in us that a well crafted sentence and reasoned argument could cause the mob to drop their stones….that songs must be sung in the dark to remember light….that great stories are told and danced to help us become human…that there is an ecstasy in the unfolding of life over billions of years…that we must be with those who suffer and journey with them wherever their pain may take them…that we could travel over the wastelands of despair and war and finally become the great city on the hill…that this republic will one day be worthy of the dreams that gave it form and being…that every human person is by some unimaginable grace the living image of an infinite love that is God and therefore no human is ever unnatural or disordered in very essence…that we might find in the end the power to forgive and more miraculously allow ourselves to be forgiven.

There are great challenges that lie at the heart of our society. Our self destructive obsession with power and control is rotting our church and government from the inside out. You are going to have to do a better job than we did. There is poverty and suffering at home. More people die each month from violent crime than on 9/11. Wars of genocide rage in places not connected to our national oil reserve, voices of the dead cry to us for justice. Please forgive us for the ways we have failed you and your future.

I wonder if you know how much we care about you and your learning. How our hearts break when you are lost and how much joy we feel for you at your success. We are humbled by how hard you work…by the sacrifices you as students and your families make so that you can be here. We learn so much from you each day. As we watch another generation of Americans come home in body bags from other countries we are filled with a sadness that only those older can feel at loss….we worry for you and your future.

We don’t wish an easy life for you. We wish you iron. The iron of your convictions and ideas. Never forget, however, the iron of mercy. You will never regret the mercy you give while I promise you will always regret those you have judged. We demand that you be extraordinary. We insist that you use the privilege of education to build the common good. Please don’t fear failure. Learn, learn, learn, and then learn again. Find a worthy purpose and cause and crash yourself against it. Don’t be afraid to be broken. Be brave. For in the end we know that you are the green left in this world. May your life be a garden.