Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a adult, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love."
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, 13:4-13

This morning at church, the substitute pastor addressed the hearers young and old of children's sermon with the above verses. He skipped the middle part about prophesies passing away and knowledge and looking in a mirror yadda yadda. He gave them the "Greatest Hits" parts of this famous "love letter" that Paul wrote to the church of Corinth. The parts that are used in weddings, the parts that we all have heard over the years. The Faith Hope and Charity bits.

Paul's letter to the Corinthians was sent to them at a time they needed to hear these things. Stop acting like babies, act like grown ups, love one another as God loves you. Love isn't petty and bickering, so you shouldn't be either. When I was a child, I acted like a child, mewling and puking and whining and stomping my feet. Now that I am an adult, I put these things behind me.

The parts that come before what I have featured above are equally moving. If I speak with the tongues of angels, but do not have love... I am a clanging gong. If I have all the riches of the world, but do not have love, I am and have nothing.

Paul is mostly talking about loving behavior in community, but I also believe he's talking about love between people who are IN LOVE. Husbands, wives; children, parents; boyfriends, girlfriends; significant others and their others.

Love is an amazing force. Love moves mountains. Love makes people reach out to others in ways that they never would have if they did not have this spark in their hearts. Love is the single most amazing gift we can give one another, be it serving at a homeless shelter or cuddling on the couch and kissing while ignoring that bad made for TV movie you started watching an hour ago.

This afternoon after church, Geoff was expressing to me that he felt a little ripped off that I didn't buy any valentine's candy for him. I told him that every day is valentine's day. He disagreed and I laid out my philosophy of the Big Scam that is valentine's day.

I've written about this in the past here in the blog, that every day is valentine's day for Doug and Chris. Setting aside just one day to tell people "I love you" is bullshit.

Valentine's day is for people who do not know how to love the other 364 days of the year.

I do not WANT anything on valentine's day that I wouldn't be given the other days of the year. I especially do not want it if it costs 10 times what it SHOULD cost any of the other days of the year.

Geoff told me that may be true, but Valentine's Day is all about "Love to the EXTREME." I told him that his future girlfriend might appreciate that. But for the most part, as long as he loves her extremely all the days of the year in addition to Valentine's Day, hopefully she will appreciate a small gesture on the actual holiday and realize how lucky she is all the time.

I hate valentine's day.

I really do. A fake-assed, made-up holiday that puts pressure on people who are in relationship to do above and beyond; and a horrible day for those who aren't in relationship which makes them feel guilty and left out and unloved. It is a lie. An expensive lie. Ridiculous. I hate it.

I want my children to know that to expect to receive something red and heart shaped on Valentine's day makes them greedy. I want them to know that all day every day they should exemplify love to others, either in relationship our just friends. And their expectations of what should be given to them shouldn't land solely on Valentine's Day as the be all end all of love.

I want Geoff to know especially that he should make sure to find a woman who isn't shallow and only focused upon what is to be given to her for Valentine's Day, and if she pouts and spits venom and hates on anything that he does for her... that's not love. That's crap.

I want my daughter to know that something given to her for no reason in the middle of August is more thoughtful and heartfelt than something given to her on a day blessed by Hallmark. And I want her to know that gestures all year given of her heart are more valuable to friends and loved ones than a freaking Vermont Teddy Bear.

Love is not an industry.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Boy Scout Sunday

Oh hai. Not much has been going on in life which makes it semi-pointless to journal. Doug picked up a part time 13 week gig which hopefully will make a huge difference financially in our lives. I am redoing cateringman's website so I spent a day with him photographing a bridal tasting (no brides were tasted, smartypants) yesterday. I feel like we're keeping busy and almost kind of crazy. Which is good.

When it comes to the kids though, they're keeping us on our toes. Especially the boy. You would think February is a month that Scouting activities would be minimal. You'd be wrong.

You knew in the last entry about Geoff's trip to the Deep Freeze, and the whole run in with the other parent. I'm pleased to report that whole mess worked out well. Geoff ended up getting a ride home from that same dad, and I think that he proved himself to be not a psycho, and just a boy. Not a perfect boy, but also not a monster either. I think that part of that is because of prayer and mojo that was sent to him by many people around the intertoobs.

So thank you dear friends for your ongoing spiritual support for my kid.

He's been REALLY intensely interested in God in the past several weeks. Thank you "History Channel" presentations on the Seven Deadly Sins and The Ten Commandments. I have spent more time with him in the past two weeks talking about things like the difference between "pride" and "vaingloriousness" and why there are protestants and Catholics, and why there are so many different types of protestants... and why we don't cross ourselves in our church but some other people do.

This weekend the kids did "Scouting For Food" on Saturday, and today was Scout Sunday.

I volunteered to organize the Scout Sunday festivities, and decided that instead of doing it at the same church that sponsors our charter, and go to our church instead. Our pastor is an Eagle Scout, and he really does love scouting. And one of the parishioners is the District Chairman, so I figured they'd both be pretty into it.

Scout Sunday 2009I thought maybe five of our guys would show up.

There were were about 15 from our troop, and about 10 from Newburyport, and one from the Newbury troop who just became a boy scout last night in his Arrow of Light ceremony.

At one point, I thought maybe there were more scouts in the audience than there were parishioners. When our pastor walked out to begin the service he was shocked at the amount of people there.

We had two of our guys play guitar and one played trumpet for Taps at the end. We then had tours of the church, top to bottom. Our church was a very important church in the Great Awakening in America, being founded by George Whitefield. If you like American history and stuff, you'll know about Whitefield and the Wesley Brothers and the Great Awakening. In fact, Whitefield is buried in the basement of the church. The boys had a great time touring the church after the service, and the weather was luckily nice enough that we could go up in the steeple and hang out up there for a bit. Some of the guys were freaking out a bit, overwhelmed by the height of the building. Others were eating it up.

"Hey Mr. G___," said one boy, "What would you give me to jump off of here?"

"About ten seconds," said Mr. G___.

"A really nice memorial service is what we'll give you," I said. "Maybe even AT this church. It'd be only appropriate."

All told, this was a tremendously fun event and I'm really glad that the kids went and had such a good time.

Pictures are here.

Tonight we're going snowshoeing with the troop. There's a local "Stonehenge" and they do night-time hiking and snowshoeing with the full moon. We reserved the trails to ourselves for tonight. Luckily it is about 40 degrees out right now, but it's kind of windy and I'm worried that we'll freeze to death once the sun goes down. Hopefully it won't be awful. Cross your fingers.

And on that note, I have to find my thermal undershirt and my fleece jammy bottoms so I can put them on under my pants. Pray for me tonight. I don't know how hard snowshoeing is, but I'm hoping I get out there and don't immediately say "this sucks!!! get me outtahere!"