Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Grand Bazaar across from The Citadel, which has been continuously inhabited for 6,000 years, is full of those fidgets as well.

For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
    a great king over all the earth. Psalm 47:2

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed His offspring.’ Acts  7:24-28

All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Allelula, allelula!
O burning sun with golden beam,
And shining moon with silver gleam,
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Allelula, allelula, allelula!

Alan Wale’s eleven-year-old nephew’s eyes lit up when he saw me. He sidled up and asked, “Are you a teacher?” I nodded in the affirmative, to which he responded, “So, do you let students bring their phones into class?”

In one of Scott’s recent missives there was a rhetorical query, “Do you feel the earth from there? Do you feel the far-flung lands and people? Do you feel how close we really are, geographically and humanly?” 

Dusk is the favorite time of day. I just returned from my first solitary stroll, just as the haze shifted from gold to deep orange and darkness. I brought my cell phone just in case, but the tangled web of streets is starting to form patterns in my memory.

Ladies dressed in black from head to toe are out watering their grapevines and oleanders. The guy whose garden is just at the big turn in the road has a bunch of the ugliest scrawniest chickens ever who delight to gobble whatever he is tossing at them. The mother from the other morning was sitting at the corner in her plastic chair enjoying the tiniest hint of a breeze, but alas, I was unable to answer the volley of questions that sounded an awful lot like a dinner invitation. Another guy was washing his truck, Dustin style, and I ached a bit for my French family. Another was kneeling, laying a tiny brick patio in his garden.

The coolest thing around here is the walking track, so I did a couple of vueltas. It is much smaller than the Udall track, but it has some great heavy plastic weightlifting equipment in the middle that attracts all sorts. Dre would even like it, it so cool. There were a few old men on the benches smoking cigarettes, but really, most folks were pretty brisk and focused. Across the street popcorn was being sold. One by one, bright neon signs popped on over the shops hoping to attract the evening crowd.

And yes, there is nothing new under the sun.

On the back of the “Draw a scientist, and you have ten minutes” paper, I asked the teachers to answer the very same questions I have asked sixth graders for twenty-seven years: What is the best thing about school; the most difficult thing about school; and one thing I should know about you.

Every single one of the middle school teachers struggle with classroom management.

Except for the kindly old Physics teacher, they are all young, passionate and vaguely overwhelmed. Me too. I sent them home with the assignment to write three Students Will Be Able To Objectives for the end of our three weeks together, but as I stare at files and files of possibilities I flounder wondering how to weave together meaningful, engaging and most of all, helpful classes that will truly make life just a little easier for these guys when I get onto my plane for Istanbul on that last Saturday before dawn flight.

Dear LORD God, give me creativity and clarity. May I listen without interrupting and may I finish my sentences.

Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed His offspring.’

Exactly one year ago I sat in the garden outside of San Damiano monastery, Assisi, Italy, where St. Francis first received His calling, joining so many throughout the centuries seeking to hear His voice. So very far away, so very long ago.

My brother sent me a poem yesterday that I carried in my heart all day long.
Answer to Prayer
I pray sometimes
            sometimes in English or emptiness
            sometimes in longing or in the mystery of incarnation
I don’t know how long to sit waiting on the morning rock
            or on the pine needle chair
            or on the tide-bound sand for your answers
You might speak back to me in any one of innumerable languages—
            maybe in silence or Cantonese or Arabic
            maybe a bird fluttering in the sunrise or a whispering coniferous wind
In the shallows of my relativity, I know that you own all of the sounds and spaces
            all of the lights and shadows
            all of the words and not-words
At the end of the day I know that you have, after all, spoken
            spoken so much that your words have taken up all of everything
            spoken until there is nothing left without your voice in it
And I, usually hard-of-hearing, just might have to listen for you
            in a variety of
            unexpected languages  -Scott Coverdale

I think there is a full moon tonight.