Friday, November 23, 2007

A Most Excellent Thanksgiving

November 23, 2007

It was a most excellent Thanksgiving. Our feast and celebreation were hosted by our local son and daughter-in-law in Hurst. Due to his work shifts and other schedule conflicts, the traditional meal was an early evening affair, opened with a Psalm reading and a time of each person present giving thanks for something most special to them. Her parents were also present, along with all of our family, all the kids and grandkids. Above is a picture of the entire Bennett tribe on the thankful occassion. I cannot imagine a more perfect Thanksgiving evening with the food, fellowship, football and thanks. Hope yours was well, too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sea World and San Antonio

November 21, 2007:

As my son's Sabbatical and time in Bedford draw to a close, we took the opportunity to go to San Antonio for a couple of days this early this week. The main activity was to go to Sea World on Monday, but since we had lived in San Antonio for 6 years, many years ago, we also showed the grandchildren some places where their dad had lived and played as a little boy. Included in this list was the legendary Skateboard Hill, an office parking lot near our house where I used to take the boys and Ben the Wonder Dog on Sunday afternoons (and yes, Ben-dog did skateboard down the hill, but he had to stand on his rear legs and use a skateboard with a handle). We also took in a boat tour along the River Walk, and ate an authentic Mexican dinner at an "off the beaten path" ('way off) establishment where we were the only English-speaking people on the premises (or maybe within a half-mile radius of the premises). The activities were a lot of fun. The time with our children and grandchildren was beyond words' ability to describe. Here are some Sea World pictures:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Congrats to Andrew! (Hug to Emily)

November 15, 2007:

After many years of diligent study on actual college campuses, in the air obtaining a commercial pilot's license, and through course work on line, my second oldest son is completing his college education, and will graduate this December with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology. Attaboy, Andrew! Last evening, my daughter-in-law gave a wonderful dinner in his honor at a fancy Italian (actually, Sardinian) restaurant in downtown Dallas. What a meal and what an evening! What an event to commemorate! Here's a picture of my daughter and me at the dinner.

A Most Glorious Mess

November 15, 2007:

My oldest son is on a two month Sabbatical from his pastoral position in Peoria, Illinois, and he and his wife have chosen to spend a good portion of it here in Bedford, Texas. Although they have their own apartment locally, it still means we're getting a lot (never enough) of good visiting time over meals, drop-ins, hanging out and going places together, including some early morning swims with my son at the gym.

This also means we are having some most excellent GRANDCHILDREN time, as they also come by the house to play and hang out with Grandma and Grandpa. At the outset of this time together, Carol and I decided not to worry too much about making sure all the toys were picked up each time when it was time for the grandkids to leave - just get the big stuff cleared away, keep it down to a mild mess, not waste precious grandparent/grandchild time with cleaning up, and have toys ready to be played with when the grandchildren walked through the front door. The house has been a most glorious mess of grandchild toys, and we are loving every minute of it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Memento Mori

November 7, 2007

In paintings of medieval scholars, they are often shown in their studies with a human skull on their desk. Such was the practice of the day, and the scholars would refer to the skull as their "memento mori", or their reminder of their own mortality, their death. There's no denying that cancer is a memento mori.

The type of cancer I have is like eating breakfast every morning with a ravenous wolf seated across the table from you, restrained by a chain. You sit there in the pre-dawn hours, munching on your Cheerios and staring at the wolf, who is snarling and growling, but can't get to you - for now. The two of you sit and stare at each other, and as he salivates, you know he isn't thinking about those cheery little O's of oats in your milk bowl and spoon. And there are other things you know, too...

But mementos mori (momentii mori?) are good things. Solomon was aware of this when he penned the words,
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

A memento mori makes you savor every sip of coffee. For a believer in Christ, a memento mori makes every joy is that much greater, every trouble that much smaller, as you view them more through a lens of eternity. You realize that temporal things and are only temporary, and eternal things are, well, eternal. You are forced to number your days, and that should cause you to present to God a heart of wisdom.

I would not wish cancer upon anyone, not even my worst enemy, if I had one, unless it would be used by God to draw him to salvation. I do, however, hope you can find some memento mori to help you place eternity in its proper perspective (but, uh, for the record, that human skull on the desk is a pretty tacky idea).