Sidenote: The videos regarding September 11 in the previous post have been pretty popular, judging from the number of times they have been viewed. I want all to know that they are free to do what they wish with them (as is true of all I place in this blog).
Now for today's post.
Sometimes when folks ask how I am, I answer: "Old and fat!"
It's not all that true. I'm a little over weight, I weigh 230 pounds, but that isn't too bad for someone five foot 11 inches. And though I'm 50, that isn't really all that old (except to the middle schoolers I teach).
That's the flippant answer. The truth is today has been one of ups and downs. It was the first day of school at our middle school and it went so well! I think I haven't been this happy and excited since I first became a teacher. There was an assembly in which we presented the history of the events of 9/11 and the Peace Garden, and things went so well!
But I am set in my ways a little bit and it is difficult to always be patient and loving. True confessions here:
My father in law has been here about a week and he is... hmmmmm... what's a tactful way to put it?... ah yes, ornery.
The MRIs have shown some brain damage and slight shrinkage from all his drinking, and I try to keep that in mind. (But he has always been domineering.) When he gets verbally abusive to Brenda or even to his own wife, I try, as gently as possible, to defuse the situation.
But he has been talking consistently for about a week now how it was drugs from the surgery which caused his delirium tremons and not alchohol withdrawal. He tries to get me to agree and I have, until this afternoon, successfully dodged being pigeon-holed into his set of rationalizations.
Today I told him that his trying to intimidate me wasn't working and that I knew what was real, what was true, and no matter how much he ranted, I wasn't going to change my opinion of what I believe his doctors are trying to tell him.
It's uncomfortable to be called a fool and nuts in my home by my guest, but that does not mean I shouldn't continue to show him love and compassion.
I've been thinking about him quite a bit lately. In fact I have been doing a lot of praying about it, which helps.
And two things seem clear to me (caution, abrupt mental tangent ahead):
1. Zacchaeus was a jerk.
2. Zacchaeus was loved by Jesus.
This tiny little man (a trait shared by my father in law) loved money (another shared trait) and apparently was an important wealthy tax collector (who didn't mind a little shady accounting as the middle man between Jericho and Rome).
Though his neighbors and fellow jews hated him, Jesus loved him.
Jesus was like that.
Jesus loved all sorts of people. I don't know any prostitutes, but Jesus did. In fact Jesus didn't spend a lot of time with the sorts of people I surround myself with, such as people of faith, upstanding citizens, politicians and police officers and fire chiefs. Jesus spent His time with people other folks found difficult to be near.
It is not to my credit that I get frustrated by his, uh, lack of accuracy in the bathroom. And it is definately not to my credit that I allow an edge to my voice when tell him that I am not in agreement with all of his positions on issues.
While writing this post I have gone for two walks, one alone, one with my son Isaac.
We walked by the burned out church, which is nearly gone now. Some people came by while we were looking at it (I was explaining parts of the structure and history of the building to him). They had questions about it, which I answered. Afterwards Isaac said he was glad I didn't say anything about who started the fire. I told him we don't need to tell everyone everything.
I sensed he is uncomfortable with our familial connection to that fire. I told him I think Jeremiah is sorry about what happened, and that we will always love him, no matter what.
There was a pensive silence.
I looked at him for a moment.
"I hope this is something you learn from my life, buddy. I will always love him no matter what he does. I will always love you. I may not always agree with what you or Jeremiah do, but I will always love you.
"That goes for Grampa too."