Move is a Four-Letter Word

Monday, April 30, 2012

We got the keys to the condo late Tuesday afternoon, and I spent all day Wednesday cleaning. Since we had to be out of the house by the end of the day on Thursday, that one day was all the pre-move time I had.

The movers (two trucks and four men) arrived at the house just after 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, and they left the condo about 2:30 p.m. Roland and I were so tired that we unpacked only what we needed to make the condo habitable for the night.

The move went smoothly until we started on my new office. The hall is narrow, and its ceiling is lower than the others are. To get into the room, the movers had to take the furniture halfway down the hall and through a doorway, making a sharp turn in the process. Hard as they tried, they couldn't get my desk, my bookcases, or my reading chair into the office.

It could have been worse. Roland was going to buy a new desk, so now he has mine. He was also going to use the bookcases that had been in our family room. Since they are shorter than the ones from my office and could make it down the hall and around the turn, we ended up switching. Using the family room bookcases in my office means a more awkward floor plan, but I'll make it do. Still, I love the bookcases I had to give up.

I also love my office reading chair, which is now searching for a spot in the living room. I only hope I can find a new one that is narrower but just as comfortable. And yes, I do need a reading chair in my office. (Have you ever tried reading legal cases with the TV blaring in the background?)

The office situation means we will be eating off of TV trays until we buy either a dining table or a new desk and get it delivered and assembled. We gave our dining table to the Salvation Army because we wanted to buy a new one after moving, and we had a folding table to use in the meantime. That table is now my temporary desk.

Then there are all the lamps we've had to buy to make up for the lack of overhead lighting... The boxes that still need unpacking... The new floor plan to adjust to...

Move is a four-letter word, but we'll make it through.


From House to Condo

Monday, April 23, 2012

Although I'm still a homeowner, I no longer own a house. This past Thursday Roland and I went to two closings and transitioned from house owners to condo owners. The actual move will take place this coming Thursday.

We are both happy to give up some of the responsibilities of house ownership, such as mowing the lawn and shoveling snow. And twenty or thirty years from now, when we become less mobile, we won't have to worry about climbing stairs. Those are the two main reasons for the change. Our health isn't an issue yet, but as we get older we will get creakier. It's nice to have matters resolved before they become an emergency.

From my point of view, there are also a few cons to the change. The condo is well-built, and noise from neighbors shouldn't be a concern. In fact, it will probably be quieter than where we are now. But I'm an independent person, and I chafe at the idea of having to ask permission before I can decorate my balcony.We aren't even allowed to put a welcome mat outside our door.

My new office will provide some challenges for furniture placement, but at least I still have a dedicated office. (Roland wouldn't have convinced me to move without one.)

This move has more advantages than disadvantages, but it will be an adjustment.

And this will be a busy week.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Saturday was the 100th anniversary of the day the unsinkable became the unthinkable. The picture shows the RMS Titanic at Southampton in 1912, shortly before leaving on its maiden voyage.

I've always been fascinated by the disaster. This isn't history told with dry facts and figures. It is primarily a story of real people and how they reacted in a crisis.

While there are some reports of cowardly actions, many more speak of courage. And even most of the actions some call cowardly are at least understandable. For example, 21-year-old Daniel Buckley jumped into a lifeboat with several other men while the crew was loading women and children. The sailors forced the other men out, but a woman threw a shawl over Daniel as he lay sniveling in the bottom of the boat, and he escaped notice. Is that cowardice? Maybe. But I can sympathize with his desire to live.

I can also understand the different reaction from Mrs. Isador Straus, the wife of one of the owners of Macy's Department Store. When someone suggested that her husband accompany her in a lifeboat because of his advanced age (67), he refused to go before the other men. Mrs. Straus decided to stay with her husband, saying something like, "We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go." They were last seen sitting side by side on deck chairs.

The Straus children were grown and out on their own. Their mother's decision would be hard on them, but they could go on. So I can understand her decision.

But I can't understand why Mrs. Hudson Allison chose to stay. By doing so, she orphaned her 11-month-old son and condemned her 2-year-old daughter to an awful death. The boy entered a boat with his nurse, and the girl was last seen clinging to her mother's leg--the only first class child who died. (In fairness to Mrs. Allison, there is conflicting testimony on this issue, with one eyewitness saying she was frantically searching for her husband and son until it was too late.)

Mr. Straus was a hero, as were the many other men who stood aside without protest to let the women and children go first. Then there is Edith Evans. When she and a married friend reached one of the last remaining lifeboats, there was only room for one more. So Edith told her friend to go first because she had children at home who needed their mother. The friend survived, but Edith did not.

Also among the heroes were Captain Smith (died), Second Officer Lightoller (survived), and the many other crew members who remained calm and worked feverishly to save as many lives as possible.

These people were true heroes and should be remembered that way. They willingly gave, or at least risked, their lives for others.

But the number of lives they saved is insignificant next to the number saved when Jesus willingly gave up his life. He died for all, although not everyone takes advantage of his sacrifice. And there is another distinction between Jesus and the heroes of the Titanic disaster. Many deny Jesus' heroic act, and others persecute or vilify his followers.

I'm grateful for the heroes of the Titanic.

And I'm even more grateful for Jesus.

From Criminal to Conqueror

Monday, April 9, 2012

On Easter morning in 1958, I attended the Easter service at the Garden Tomb. That's when my father took this picture.

The service was in Arabic, so I didn't understand any of it. Also, the tomb's authenticity is questionable. Still, it was a great setting to celebrate a man who died as a criminal and rose as a conqueror.

To use Paul's words from I Corinthians 15:54-57:

"Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In  his rising, Jesus conquered death and sin.

That's something I could never have done. I'm responsible for the sin, but not the victory.

A victory he obtained for me and for you at great cost to himself.

And I'm grateful.



From Celebrity to Criminal

Monday, April 2, 2012

No, this post isn't about Lindsay Lohan or Mike Tyson or Paris Hilton. A hundred years from now (or less), they will have faded from the public memory.

Something they don't share with the man who rode into town to cheering crowds on a Sunday, only to be mocked and executed as a criminal before the week was up. Events we are still talking about 2000 years later.

Talking about and celebrating. My father took this picture while my family was attending the Palm Sunday festivities in Jerusalem in 1958.

Lindsay and Mike and Paris didn't lose their celebrity status when they were convicted of their crimes, and neither did Jesus of Nazareth.

But here is the crucial difference: Jesus was sinless. He had no guilt to convict him.

Well, that isn't quite true.

He was guilty of love. A love so great that he paid the penalty for the sins of all humankind.

His heart was heavy and he died in anguish. But he did it by choice.

For me. For you.

And that's something to remember not just during Holy Week but every day of the year.