Friday, July 7, 2017

Sands Through an Hourglass

Yesterday was punctuated by 3 soul satisfying times.  I started by writing part of a poem.  I'd been thinking about a Jesus in the world poem:  Jesus and the accrediting team.  I wrote part of it before becoming a bit stumped by Jesus taking the team to an externship site.  So I went for a walk and got to see a beautiful pre-sunrise near the marina, where the sailboats who don't want to pay slip fees park for the night.  The sight made me happy, as it always does, but the poem writing made me happier; it has not come easily to me this summer.

I got to work and midway through the morning, we had a swearing in ceremony of the Student Ambassadors--it's a group that's a mix of honor society and service club, and we haven't had one on our campus in a very long time, if ever.  When we first talked about resurrecting it, I must confess to feeling doubtful that we would have much student interest--but I was happy to be wrong. 

I was pleased with my remarks--I kept them short and focused on students and leadership.  I had a sense of what I wanted to say, but I didn't write it all out, so I was even more pleased that the words came easily.  My new boss later complimented me on the ceremony, which made me happy.

On my way home from work, I stopped by the Hollywood library.  I browsed the new book section and picked up Dani Shapiro's Hourglass:  Time, Memory, Marriage, which I came home and devoured in one big gulp.  What a wonderful book.

Once I'd have read this book and been frustrated because I would have wanted more information about The Writing Life.  While this book has some of that, it's more of an exploration of both marriage and aging--not the aging that comes later in life, but midlife aging.  The memoir does its exploring through the lens of marriage:  two people who would have had very different lives and careers if they hadn't met, two people who have been together 18 years.  It's poignant and tender, as one would expect.  It's also bracingly honest:  there's no betrayal, in the form we might be expecting, but there's the betrayal of careers that suddenly stall, of family members who have crises, of a house that needs constant work.  There's the writing of our youth that haunts our midlife.  There's the loss of people who are no longer with us--including our younger selves.

In short, it spoke to me exactly where I am.  It's rare that I encounter a book that wrestles with much of what haunts me during the times I stop to ponder my life.

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