Wednesday, July 16, 2008

fear and hope

Sam begins kindergarten in 3 1/2 weeks...bringing excitement as well as opening the can of fears. There are so many levels for parents to work through as a child becomes a student. One we're faced with here in Nashville is that the public school system for the metro county has performed poor enough (for several years) for the State of TN to "take control" of the district over the summer: assessing the current situation district wide and reorganizing the central office, moving principals around, etc. Its a move that should improve everything over time, yet its hard to believe more government from above that's disconnected is what's best for the kids...and our child.

We looked at schooling options in the Winter and Spring and applied for a lottery spot at several schools, none of which have come through. We visited our zoned neighborhood school several times and at the end of the day have felt ok about Sam starting there. In April I spoke with the principal for 30-45 minutes and was very encouraged by his philosophy and leadership. It was a strong encouragement and "positive" if Sam was going to attend that school. And there's not a lot to be encouraged about in the public school situation here.

Yesterday brought hard news and spun us into the emotional whirlwind again...disappointment, frustration, sadness, anger. With 4 weeks before school starts, the State and local board announced the shifting of about 20 principles (mostly moving around, a few new ones). And our school was on the list. We immediately tried to find out more about the new principal; a dead end because the info on the actual school's website hadn't been updated yet. We emailed our friend who has worked with that principal the past couple of years, wanting to know more yet dreading what may be hard to hear.

In my despair I try to keep running back to God for his promises. If I don't have the Spirit alive in my heart, I'm overwhelmed and lose hope. Colossians 3: let the peace of Christ rule in my heart; let the word of Christ dwell in me richly. 1 John 4: So we have come to know and rely on the love God has for us; There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

When I am consumed with the cares of this world, I'm a slave to fear. It rules over me. I have no hope. Only if I'm led to the fountain of Christ can I shake off those guilty fears and doubting fears and rise with hope. And this hope does not disappoint us.

This is my prayer today: that I would know and rely on Christ; that I would be a slave to love and hope, not fear; that I would feel the wounds of disappointment and anger, yet be driven to the cross 10 times over; that hope would overflow from me, not just optimism or pessimism; that the God of hope would fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in him, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Disclaimer: The decision-making process in full is by no means summarized is far too deep and wide for this entry and best served over a cup of coffee (or several).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Beauty vs booty

Interesting - or just silly - tag line, I know. We had dinner with some friends at our house last night and had a great discussion based on "beauty vs. booty". Subtitle: Is beauty objective or is it relegated to mere subjectivity ("in the eye of the beholder"). And is something still beautiful when it has become a currency?

The discussion had a broad range. How do various cultures view beauty? Is there an underlying "constant" with beauty that is present in any and all cultures? How does the media promote beauty to a better place? or to a worse place?

Beauty brings to mind words like "unbroken" and "pure". Our eyes constantly look at good things - amazing things - that are still broken and incomplete. Directors can manipulate film to make us long for the scenery on a movie screen more than in real life. We just get bored with reality. Magazine staff can manipulate pictures so that we see beauty in an unrealistic way. We try to live up to skewed images, thinking we can achieve with our bodies (not created by us) something created by man.

Indeed we've lost much of our senses for beauty. Thankfully we still have occasions when we see or hear something and it triggers a specific reaction that we were made for. What is it objective, or subjective?

Beauty is very subjective in that every human finds pleasure in different things. But the acknowledgment of beauty is objective, always a realization that we as humans long for something beyond our imagination and capabilities.

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