Sunday, May 25, 2008

Update, summer goals, and other brick-o-brack

There are a lot of things happening in my subjective corner of the world, so perhaps it is worth a semi-biographical update. This summer is going to be extremely busy for me. Unfortunately, it hasn't started yet. I know! the high school I work at ends and begins a month later than most colleges I know about.

A. Reconnecting with God. I need a kick in the butt when it comes to church involvement. I've been hanging on for dear life, and apart from old bad habits, I haven't compromised any of my Catholic values. But I haven't exactly striven for excellence, either. When I become mindful of God, the first fact that confronts me is my horrible inadequacy. My prayers always beg God to overlook their unworthiness. I have an acedia that is old and big and heavy, and the burnout of trying unsuccessfully to fight it while in the seminary has turned into a sort of embittered complacency. I've lost the war against my own torpor. Maybe I'll declare a new one, but I'm tired, and I don't care as much as I used to. Two scripture verses rise up to condemn me: Galatians 6:9 and Revelation 6:13. But others offer me hope. Ezekiel 37, and Luke 4:18-21. But the hopeful passages represent a hope in God, not a hope in myself. God has sent me the invitation, and I need to at least RSVP.

B. Reconnecting with friends. Thanks to Facebook, I have been contacted and "friended" by dozens of friends from the seminary and from high school. Unfortunately, I just found out that I missed Fr. Nick Parker's priesthood ordination. GUILT. Nick, I am so sorry, I've been so absorbed in things here I didn't even think to check my calendar. I could have taken days off to come and see you, and I did not. But I would like to take a week out and visit friends from the seminary. As well, I have the ordination of my own former 'diocesan brothers' to think about. Basically I need to get my butt back into Facebook and see who I can reasonably visit, within the boundaries of time and budget. Facebook is a wonderful tool for people like me who tend to drop off the face of the earth; I should stop neglecting it.

C. Getting healthy (especially teeth). I need to schedule appointments with dentists, doctors, and therapists to make sure that I have all of my bodily ducks in a row.

D. Getting skilled/certified. Now that I'm almost done being a teaching, I need to go back to being a student. I'll be collecting lots of important pieces of paper in the next months, including: A+ computer tech certificate, GRE completion, SEI completion, motorcycle license, Diocesan ministry certificate, etc.

E. Planning the new year. No more over-night frenetic planning sessions for me. My second year of teaching is going to be smooth and exciting. I do not want to miss this opportunity to lay out the year, establish a limited set of goals and a series of small, achievable steps to reach them, and to take those steps.

F. Satisfying more material concupiscence. I used my "economic stimulus package" check to buy a 37" Westinghouse LCD monitor (it's a TV without a coaxial cable input, but I achieved a work-around by connecting a coaxial via an old VCR from Good Will). I also managed to pick up a couch, a nice dinner table (free), and possibly, soon, a free recliner. I'm turning my dark little cave of an apartment into a welcome place for guests and gatherings. The last piece of the puzzle at this point is that my walls are still bare.

There's also the video game itch. The biggest itch right now is to be able to play World of Warcraft, which I enjoyed on my ancient (2001) Dell system for the 10-day demo, and now would like to get into more extensively. Considering that the only game I play on my XBox anyway is Oblivion, and it is available on the PC (with downloadable mods!), the XBox is doomed to be replaced with a halfway decent gaming PC. The other major itch is the Wii + Mario Kart and Smash Brothers. The Gamecube versions of these games were staples of my seminary entertainment repertoire.

The last item I've been long contemplating is a motor scooter (hence the motorcycle license above). At the time that I replaced my car, a hybrid vehicle was simply out of my means; unfortunately, even a car with 26mpg in the city is painful to fill up for $160 a month. At that rate, a $4-grand motor scooter would pay for itself after a couple of years, prolong the life and value of the car, take the cost equation out of inner city travel, etc.

G. The dating game. For the last month and a half or so, I've been actively dating. So far, I've made a few good friends, including one who has become very dear to me, but so far I haven't met anyone with much romantic potential. My wise younger brother reminds me that if I go back to grad school theology full time, I'll be surrounded by pretty, like-minded Catholic women. This provides a good amount of caution against becoming too attached to somebody right now. Still, love and relationships can be an unpredictable thing. Last Saturday I had Thai food with a girl who enjoys video games, science fiction, and talking about religion. She also plays the cello, digs the "goth" style, and, oh yeah, is really, really pretty. So far, she seems to have her head screwed on more or less tightly. Always a plus. And yet nothing is ever that simple. Sigh.

So that's what's going with me in a nutshell. I have a week left of exams to take care of, and a few days the following week up cleaning up after myself before I am finally and irrevocably free. Say a prayer for me that my summer follows God's will.

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