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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Advance Copy! Epiphany Episodes

Epiphany Episodes 2010

Where did they go?

We had these two girls here just a minute ago. I swear. They were roller-blading and playing the piano and running out to basketball games and soccer practice and drama practice and choir rehearsal and they played Polly Pocket and Playmobil Circus and Beany Babies and Little People and Inch Worm. Where did they go?

New York. St. Paul.

Be careful what you wish for. And what you do. We prepared them for this and, by george, they did it. They left. These beautiful mountains! These fifteen feet of snow. They left!

They both graduated. Kaia graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul and Annika graduated from Arapahoe High School. One ceremony featured bagpipes and kilts, and the other one was blessed by the presence of the Chief of the Arapaho Peoples. One was mellow and laid back – Mac, living up to its longtime reputation, and the other, at Arapahoe, was rich with the rituals that have accrued over time, especially with respect to the school’s warm relationship with the Arapaho Nation. At Mac, we celebrated the strength and essential character of Kaia’s international education, her time in South Africa, and her specific engagement in service to the local community. Closer to home, Arapahoe and the Arapaho have an amazing, active, and heartwarming relationship that has deeply affected our sense of who we are as Americans.

It was great to celebrate both events with family, including Pearson’s and my brother, Jim, who made the trips to both. When over 187 people responded to the party invitation on Facebook we knew we needed more cake. I know that the impact of Macalester will live on as Kaia makes her commitments to service and a global perspective. But not with respect to kilts. Arapahoe continues to make itself felt through the impact of Annika’s leadership skills and her musical excellence.

But then. They moved on. Sure enough.

Kaia is one of those rare creatures: a college graduate with a job in her field. Biology and Pre-Med. She is working in the Twin Cities in a hospital Emergency Department with doctors who are teaching her to be expert in differential diagnoses and taking medical histories, survive all night on bad coffee and sleep standing up. She can spot a kidney stone a mile away and is, at this very moment, reading about intubation of crisis patients. She plans on med school in a year or two. Meanwhile, she’s skiing and coaching girls’ basketball, baking bread, enjoying other Mac alums, and glad for the wonderful presence of family (Pearson’s) nearby. She’s even claimed her true Nordic heritage by learning to love living in snow.

Annika has made herself completely at home in New York City, more specifically at New York University. She loves it. All of it. Subways, odors, strangeness, all of it. She lives right on Washington Square and knows all forty or so of the Liza’s (Minelli) who hang out there from time to time and the old men who play chess on the tables in the park’s corner. Student “rush” tickets make it possible for her to regularly enjoy the Ballet, Philharmonic, Broadway shows, the Guggenheim and the Met, and she is equally diligent about her studies, although she has maxxed out on Marx. She is still thinking of Politics or Philosophy. Greenwich Village is truly like a small town, a great learning and living environment! (I’m jealous. Yep, I am.)

And us, well, now that they’re gone, we got nothin’.

There’s really nothing new under our suns, no big news to report from here.

I’m still trying to arrange the letters of the alphabet into meaningful combinations and Dave is still finding people. We have fun with friends, mountains, tuba concerts, burro races, books, music and all of the rich variety that life provides. No big trips, just lots of little ones.

It is gut-wrenching to see the suffering of the world and we do what is ours to do to try to bring healing and peace. There is much we can do.

And we do have something: plane tickets. Skype, tweets, IM’s, text messages, email and even the phone. Snail mail eludes us. Except for now. Some traditions are well worth keeping and these Epiphany Episodes are one way of expressing that we treasure your friendship over the years, look forward to hearing your news, and wish for you the blessings that God wants for us all.

(You can catch my frequent reflections at Peace!)

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