Friday, April 27, 2007

School's Out!

I have a big stack of papers to grade, but after I'm done, I'll be free until mid-August to do whatever I want.

Having to read so many essays during the school year doesn't allow me much time to read what I want to read, and by the time summer arrives, I've forgotten about all the books I've heard of during the previous months that I thought I might like to read. So if you have any suggestions for my summer reading list, I'll be glad to hear them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Could it Have Been Prevented?

The young man who killed all those people at Virginia Tech was obviously a very troubled individual. News stories have portrayed him as a loner, someone who didn't have close friends. Students who knew him said that when they would speak to him, he'd stare right through them without saying a word. Perhaps we'll learn about his past as time wears on--I wonder what he went through to make him end up the way he was?

When we encounter people who are obviously very troubled, how are we to respond? How do you reach out to a person who no longer wants to be reached out to? Is a person ever too far gone to be helped by another human being?

If you look at all these school shootings, it seems that it was always the "weird" loner who perpetrated the crime. Have we been guilty of contributing to their weirdness? Have we ever not taken the time to become friendly with weird people because it's just so much trouble to try to relate to them? We need to do our part to make all people feel like they are treasured; otherwise we run the risk of helping to drive some people to commit these desperate acts. Jesus hung out with the social outcasts of his day, and we need to not be afraid to do the same. Perhaps we might help to save a life.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Checking In

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately, but I've been swamped at work, and the time I haven't been working, I've just not felt like blogging much. I still have lots to say, but just no time or energy to say it.

I did take some time for an outing with my mom last week. We went to a spa and had a massage and a facial. It was my first time, and it was GREAT! I can't believe I waited so long to get a massage--I won't wait that long again. When I get done grading all the reasearch papers I'll be collecting very soon, I'll probably go again.

Y'all have a wonderful day!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Picking Up Strays

Yesterday, a little black and white beagle showed up and started hanging around at our house. He’s a friendly little dog, and we liked him from the start. He rolled over onto his back, showing us his belly, and, of course, we obliged to give him a belly rub. Since we were outside for a big part of the day, he stayed around, alternating between following us around as we worked and taking naps in the shade. Because he was wearing a collar with a tag, we figured out pretty quickly that he belongs to one of the neighbors, so I decided to walk him back home. However, he didn’t want to stay, and about five minutes after I got back to my house, he showed up again. So I called and left the neighbors a message, thinking they’d come get their dog after they got home. But they didn’t. He ended up spending the night on our front porch. We figure he’ll go home eventually, but for now, we have a new little companion.

The problem is that our dogs do not like this situation at all. At his first chance, one of our Jack Russell Terriers, Pete, took out after this little dog and left a mark on his face. Of course, we punished him, but he is still very upset that this little dog is here. This morning he took out after the beagle again, so we ended up trying to be dog whisperers and making him be friendly. After a few minutes, our dog seemed to calm down, the two dogs enjoyed a wary truce. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Our dogs are very territorial and protective, and if you know Jack Russell Terriers, you know that they’re very jealous little dogs, and our dog Pete is jealous of even the other two dogs in our house. So he’s especially jealous when a strange dog comes around and we’re friendly with it.

People are like that too. When we have a circle of friends, and a new person tries to come into that circle, we sometimes are jealous and don’t want to be hospitable. We’ll even do what we can to let that person know that he or she is not welcome, sometimes resorting not necessarily to violence, but to meanness and spite. We don’t want to get to know that person because doing so means that the relationships we share with our circle of friends that we have become so comfortable with will be different. If a new person comes in, those relationships might change; we might lose our place in the circle. Our friends might decide that they like spending time with the new person rather than us. We don’t consider that we might end up having a great relationship with the new person. Instead, we fear the changes that inevitably will take place, even if the changes might be good ones. Like dogs, we become territorial, allowing our insecurities to turn us into snarling animals instead of the loving creatures that we are called to be. Fear and insecurity are terrible emotions that we would do well to overcome if we want to be better humans than our dogs are.