Friday, February 22, 2008

oh, DEAR

50 lashes with a wet noodle for me --- sorry to have left all of you with nothing to do as you try to waste time at work!! Just kidding; well, mostly. I know that's a true statement for at least one of you. I can't believe so much time has passed since my last post!!

Not much news here --- but I have several friends getting ready to welcome little ones to their families, which is pretty exciting. No names, but you know who you are, and CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

Training for the 1/2 marathon is going well. We're doing 11 miles tomorrow, can you believe it?? The Ides of March will be here before we know it, though.

There is something to be said for the great, cosmic sense of humor -- I was out at a coffee shop for my weekly Stammtisch with students last night. Little did I know, but 1/2 of the shop was taken up by a Jewish group there for a lecture. This lecture went on for most of the evening, so I just tried to meet quietly with my students in the other corner. When I went up to get my coffee, I could hear the professor talking about prayer and blessing food. He said that he is always jealous of Christians, because they hold hands around the table and bless food before they eat. (I felt more than a little convicted because I'm not really good about doing this). His point, to his students, was that showing gratitude is important; even if you don't believe in God, it is a good thing to pause and be grateful for the food you're about to receive (and by extension for the good that is in your life). It was interesting, and thought-provoking; but here's where the cosmic sense-of-humor comes in: some of the students from my adult class joined us for Stammtisch and one woman brought her father. Well, he is in his 80s and speaks beautiful German -- that he learned as a prisoner of war during WWII. He knows his POW number by heart, and can say all of the phrases he heard (and had to obey) with heartbreaking clarity. He's hard-of-hearing and speaks quite loudly, so on one side of the room you had the Jewish class talking about remembering to be grateful, and on the other side an elderly gentleman talking (loudly) about seeing a friend get his head bashed in; his mother's cousin, who was killed by the Nazis in 1934; and the one time in 8 months they were allowed to take a shower --- the fleas and lice had gotten so bad that the soldiers took their clothes and put them in the gas chamber and then let them take a shower while the fleas and lice were being killed.

It was quite a surreal experience -- but has reminded me to be grateful; for what I eat, for the fact that I can buy gas (even at $3.00) a gallon and drive anywhere I'd like; for the fact that I can say what I want to whom I want without fear that I will be kidnapped by the government or anyone else and never seen again.

We are incredibly lucky --- to put it another way, we are blessed. I suppose we shouldn't forget, though, that "to whom much is given, much shall be required".