Archive for November 2009

Departures and Arrivals

November 30, 2009

Today I have been reviewing the website of Schiphol Airport, near Amsterdam, Holland. I will be flying out of Portland tomorrow and arriving at Schiphol on Tuesday morning.  For those of you who have traveled to or through Schiphol, you might agree with me when I say that this is a city in and of itself.  My plan is to fly into the airport, leave one bag in a locker there, take the train to Rotterdam, stay there for two nights and then back up to Schiphol to pick up my bag and fly out on Thursday morning to Kigali, via Nairobi.  My stopover in Rotterdam allows me to visit my friend Joop and his family, and hopefully my friend Anneke who lives in Amsterdam.  I visited them in 2008 and had a great time.  See pictures of that trip here.

What I have been thinking about is how and why I am going to leave a  bag in the airport for two days.  It seems that there are lockers in the airport and since I am going to be taking two bags, I figure that I can store one bag while I make my trip into Rotterdam.  The reason I am taking two bags is that I am carrying quite a few items for friends and family members of friends who are stationed in Kigali.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to carry things for folks, yet I don’t relish the thought of hauling around two bags onto the train, and through the busy city streets of Rotterdam.  I expect that I will be walking from the train station to Joop’s house and I want to minimize my load.  Check back in a couple of days to see if I was successful in accomplishing that goal.

As I think about this, I am seeing that my situation is somewhat akin to our spiritual journey through this life.  We come into this world with nothing, and we will leave with the same.  Along the way we (Americans) accumulate mounds of stuff and hold on to much of it.  I was thinking about my friendship with Ev Sullivan a few years back.  Everett was an elderly fellow who lived near my home. I sometimes did errands for him and took him shopping.  I’ve not seen Mr. Sullivan in a couple of years, as his family moved him to a care home.  However, for many years he lived in a small house on River Street in Newberg.  His house was piled high with stuff.  He had newspapers and boxes and mail, and more boxes, and clothes and magazines and televisions and food containers and trash piled high in his home.  There were little paths between the piles where he could move back and forth between rooms.  He did not seem to dispose of much.

So, here I am thinking about how I am a collector of stuff as well.  And not just the material goods that fill our attic and garage and the books that are piled up around our bed and the toys mounded over in our family room.  I have file after file stored on my computer and in various storage sites.  I have books and papers piled around my office.  In addition to all these things I have memories, both good and bad, and emotions, both up and down, actions and reactions, leanings and leanings avoided.  I have friends and I have people I avoid.  I have tasks I put off and chores I do when I get angry.  I have dreams, dreams and more dreams.  I have hopes and disappointments, expectations and dismissed hopes.  I have deep insight and shallow thinking.  All of these wrapped up and carried with me,  each and every day.

Where is the storage locker where I might let off some of these ideas, feelings and dreams?  How many of these am I able to carry around at one time?  Where are they when I sleep and how do I carry the dreams I dream into the light of day.  And how do I determine which leadings to follow and which to ignore?

It seems as if storing or hauling a suitcase is not much of a decision, really.  After all, its just a bag, filled with stuff and when I go, it will stay behind.  But ideas, relationsips, feelings and memories?  Well, I expect those will be carried with me forever.  I hope so, anyway.

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NaNoWriMo and Away I Go

November 28, 2009

Yesterday, I accomplished my goal of writing 50,000 words on a novel during November.  I have been participating in the National Novel Writing Month.  This international effort supports would be novel writers with a tremendous network of online and local support.  I joined a local writing group in Yamhill County and also a group in Second Life.  Several friends were very supportive of my efforts and my family took great interest in my writing.

The Novel is tenatively titled Past Northwest. It is s0mehat difficult to identify the genre of this work though I would say that science fiction is the best category for it.  To see some pictures of a local NanoWriMo event, held in Newberg, go here. There seems to be quite a community of emerging or at least hopeful writers out here.

This project has been a lot of fun, and hard work.  I am guessing I have another 25,000 words to add to finish it off, but I am taking a few days off, as I am now preparing for my next project.  I will be leaving soon for another trip to Rwanda.  I will be traveling for about three weeks, during that time I will stop in the Netherlands to see friends there, and then on to Kigali, Rwanda to work with faculty and administrators at the Kigali Institute of Education.  Depending on availability of internet while I am traveling, I will be posting here.

I appreciate your prayers for my travels for my family and for the work in Rwanda.