Thoughts on Being in Abilene

So focused in Abilene on the need to be going and doing, on owning and having. I want “the perfect house” to make up for what I feel like I lost in moving—space, money (because we would have had two incomes).

However, I have gained things. I need to look at those.

One, Ron is able to work more for himself, try things out, do different things. He took City University. He learned a lot about Abilene.

Two, I am able to teach a variety of different classes and I am being pushed to grow in my teaching (iBooks and grad class, linguistics, Old English class this spring).

Three, I am connecting with some people, though not as deeply or often as I would like. The bunko group keeps me connected with Nancy. Being a newbie helped me develop a relationship with Karen. Mikee was an incredible encouragement to me when I was here without Ron particularly. In addition, we have met Neil and Melanie. She makes me smile and makes me grow. (I played pool volleyball for the first time ever. I am definitely not athletic and yet, I did it.)

How can I focus more on my work—this summer—while still feeling a change? Last summer I spent the summer recovering from teaching and being alone. I don’t think I have to recover this summer, but I do have a lot of things to do that I am not willing to or wanting to work on and that lack of desire is pushing me away from getting stuff done.

This morning I was thinking that I needed to go online and find some more fans in the “right” colors so I would have fans to match my different outfits. I don’t need more fans. The one I have (or really ones I have) are more than sufficient.

Ownership and sense of self… I think I have connected my mother’s things to my mother and held onto them to hold onto her. But she is always going to be part of my life, even if she has died. She is always going to be part of whom I am and how I am. I only hope that in some small way I can be more like her in terms of loving people and being open to getting to know folks.

I read a paper that said 50 to 60 years after you die, no one will remember you anyway, and I think that may be accurate, if you live to be an old person. If I live to be 70 and my grandkids are in their teens, they’ll live another 60 years and then they’ll be gone. It really shocks you into a sense of the ephemerality of this world when you have already lived 50 years and you think about all the people who will be forgotten when you die…. My Grampa Ben, my Great-Uncle Charles, Uncle Ward… None of my siblings or children met those people, knew them, and loved them. So they will leave the world, too.

And that is part, I think, of my need to hang on to possessions that belonged to family—to keep holding on to that family that is gone. In a real sense they don’t exist anymore.

We have given lots of things away this last two years, as we have moved, inherited goods, and moved some more. I am okay with having given those things away.

But I can think of my office and know that I have held on to many things simply because at one point I could not have afforded to replace them. And some of those things I may never use. … Or by the time I got around to using them they might not be usable.

Since I own all I need (and most of what I want) I really need to start thinking about paring down. What can I give away or get rid of that is just sitting around taking up space for no good reason? Yes, there are even some pieces of furniture I have that I kept because they reminded me of something when I was a girl. But I will always have those memories and I don’t really need that furniture.

I have also told myself that part of the issue is that I don’t know what the boys may/will want. Well, I asked Micah and I know what he wants. And I asked Elijah and he says he doesn’t want anything. I know that he might take some things eventually, but he doesn’t want anything. So I need to stop letting that idea enable me to hold onto items that I don’t need and that are filling up my space in a less-than-useful way.

God, I need your help. I need your focus and guidance to figure out what I need to be concentrating on and I need your grace to get my work done and let go of the physical possessions that are unimportant—both to my family and to my life.

God, I also need your help to integrate my life into Abilene, to become a part of Abilene. Please give Ron more contacts and people to be in touch with. Please help us to reach out, to plan to spend time with, and to make the successful effort to develop some relationships as a couple.

Finally, God, please help me to think about and concentrate on you more. I tend to leave you on the periphery and say it is because I am busy. But really it is because I am so focused on myself. One of the things I hoped Abilene would give me/us was a stronger relationship with you, because it seemed that it happened that way before. But really both of us have drifted farther away from a relationship with you rather than into one. Give me grace, strength, and focus to see that you are the eternal, you are what will last, and help me to invest my treasures of time and money more in you and your work and your will than in my ephemeral interests.

God, thank you for my wonderful experience at Houston Community College. Thank you for my getting to know Linda at Houston Baptist. Thank you for the teaching experience, writing experience, and presentation experience I have gained in the last five years.

God, you are creator god, maker of heaven and earth, ruler of the stars in the sky and you call them by name—you are amazing God! indescribable, miraculous, loving, focused on me, on my family…

Thank you for that.