God of all people,
none of us know fully
the challenges that another person faces
the burdens that another person carries
the troubles that weigh upon another person.
As we encounter one another,
inspire us to refrain from quick judgement and easy criticism,
to treat each person gently with grace and kindness and love,
and to seek to understand.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
Sometimes understanding comes from painful experience.
Sometimes understanding comes after hard work and significant reflection.
Sometimes understanding eludes me.
Sometimes I fail to have even a glimmer of what it is I want to understand.
But sometimes … sometimes … understanding comes in a surprising flash of insight that almost carries a physical impact.
I have started an effort at self-care. Again. I have lost track years ago of how many times I have been down this path.
It involves a change in my food choices, a reduction in the amount I consume, and an increase in activity. This marks the third day. I did not walk as much as I want because of allergy issues, but other than that, all has gone well … until about an hour or so ago.
Cravings for chocolate and chips and crackers and cookies and all sorts of other junk food filled my head. I exchanged some text messages with a friend and that helped. I stayed home and did not wander over to the all too convenient convenience store to buy enough junk food to put the owner’s children through college. Still I felt hungry. To be more precise, I felt that I felt hungry.
Before I could leave, understanding came upon me in an instant.
I had the Steelers game on my computer; I had the BYU – Washington State game on the television.
When I watch football or when I listen to football or when I do both at the same time, I eat. I eat not because I am hungry but because eating is what I do when following football. All those parties and gatherings through the years have taught me that when the game is on, so is the feed bag.
Tonight that insight has helped me refrain from mindless overeating. Hopefully that insight will serve me will throughout this year’s football season.
See you along the Trail.
I am sure that everyone has been anxiously awaiting this news.
Following some valuable and valued input; following the testing and weighing of several possibilities; following deep thought and careful reflection, I have decided for a name for my new abode.
At times this seemed a difficult decision. One that might not ever be made.
But then, suddenly, things crystallized. It became clear that for all the good options, for all the creative possibilities, there is only one choice. As clarity snapped into focus, peace descended.
And now it can be revealed. The name, the only possible name for the new abode is:
There is a practical reason that this is the only name. I have realized that it is the name I am going to call where I live. Whatever other name I might try to apply to the place, I will call it the Shire. I have already found myself doing that. Why fight it? It is what is.
But there is another deeper reason – as I have worked through the naming process and reached this conclusion, I have realized that the Shire may be a place, but it is also a way of being – an attitude – an understanding – an ethos – a vision and practice of living. In affirmation of that reality, I proclaim my new place:
While there remain two primary abodes for the Shire (Louisville and Manhattan), I will try to distinguish between them in writings to help people know where I am. Of course my practical side immediately tells me that I will not succeed at that. So be it. That is part of the reality of being a resident of:
In usage, there will be the Shire West (Louisville) and the Shire on the Hudson (Manhattan).
See you along the Trail.