Thursday, September 22, 2011

When they were all brave and good

I'm watching a live streaming inauguration ceremony for the incoming president of my University, Eric Kaler.  The faculty in all their robes and silly hats have just processed in to the stirring notes of a student orchestra.  Faces are appropriately solemn as the colorfully-robed assembly of dignified academics stand wait for the national anthem.  Three uniformed ROTC students carried in the flags - the nation, state, and University. 

It just occurs to me, seeing these academic faces, both of people I know and many I don't, that there's a point to this pomp and formality.  It can be a catalyst for endeavors beyond the call of duty - to service to what these individuals find to be their personal lodestone, conecting them back to the core of why they have entered into these careers, what they deeply care about.  And channeling that sort of engagement and commitment is like creating a laser beam.

We do so much need something to believe in and care about, something to bring us together for the common good, something to help ease us past our petty daily preoccupations.

May this day, and all of our institutional ceremonies (in this, our national civil religion), help bring out what is brave and good in us.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Changing season - changing household

My youngest progeny, age 23, is back home, having graduated from college (in the spring) and then filled out the year-long lease without finding a job and new place to live.  It's OK, though challenging for all of us.  We're trying to make the upstairs into actual living space after having it turn into a large and jam-packed storage area (like the basement is . . . and much of the rest of the house too, unfortunately).

I'm thinking - if not working for someone else, the kid can work for us to earn spending money - and has been doing so, yard work for the last couple of days.  After that - some household dreck purging?  Helping us part with some of the thousands of books / videotapes / magazines?

The hardest part of the transition is working to adjust pronouns, as the former young man moves through the steps to become a young woman.  Can't say "he" anymore, but "she" doesn't come trippingly to the tongue either.

I don't know how to talk about it, really.  Gender transition hasn't become as common as same-sex preference.  My mom lamented, when told about the situation, that it would have been so much easier to handle the kid's coming out as gay - we've got cousins, friends, etc., who have done that, and it's a known quantity.

Will love and trust and a good sense of humor pull us all through this?

In a fairly small house with only one bathroom?