Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New office politics

A few weeks ago I moved out of my rented office space and back into the small home office in which I did some of my best work. "Out of the Whirlwind" (now known as "How Can A Good God Let Bad Things Happen?"), "Living With Less," and everything in between came out of this small space. I don't mind the size. All I need is a keyboard and a window, and my home office has plenty of both.

There is, however, one downsize to the new/ old arrangement, one that slipped my mind during my three year exile to the north side of Highway 40. Six years ago I bought my wife the best birthday present I've ever given her before or since: a miniature dachshund puppy. Back when I first brought him home he spent most days perched on my lap while I pecked out words on my keyboard. His presence didn't create any problems when he weighed three pounds and didn't quite fill my two hands put together. Today he is by no means a large dog, even by dachshund standards, weighing in at a hefty eleven pounds and stretching out a foot and half, maybe a little more from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. He has, however, reclaimed his daily spot atop my lap, with his his head perched atop my right arm. (This gives him the best view out the window so that he can make sure the neighbor's cats don't get away with anything.) The downward pressure of the family dog on my right arm makes typing a bit tricky even in the best of days. Throw my soon-to-be surgically repaired right shoulder into the mix, and the dog's act has become less than cute and charming.

Unfortunately for me, office politics being what they are, the dog usually gets what he wants. Like a nine year old whose life will end if she doesn't get an iPhone for her birthday, my dog doesn't like to take "no" for an answer. Thankfully the new/ old office has more substantial doors than its previous incarnation. The little dictator may insist on his prime spot with the view out the window, but there's not a lot he can do when he's locked out on the other side. Still, I close the doors with a sense of unease. I full well know that I will be in serious trouble if he ever develops opposable thumbs.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


This is my third post today, yet I felt it necessary. I really needed to explain why, after signing off as a blogger, I suddenly jumped back in with both feet. I have no explanation other than to say that I haven't written a book since October, and the longer I go without writing, the more I feel the life draining out of me. So blogging it is until a new book idea comes along to capture all of my attention. Hopefully this makes sense to the two or three people who read this blog.

MRI time

Two months ago I hurt my shoulder while fighting a fire. No, my house wasn't burning down. I am a volunteer fire fighter, which is why I was inside a smoke filled house, SCBA on my back, a pike pole in my hands. That latter was a mistake. By the time my airpack ran out of air, I could hardly life my right arm. Doctor's visits followed, and weeks of physical therapy. When my arm still hurt every time I tried to lift anything larger than a carton of orange juice, I told the insurance company I need to see a shoulder specialist. Three weeks later I finally got in to see the doctor. He prescribed an MRI, which only took the insurance company another two weeks to approve. The arm doesn't hurt nearly as bad as it did two weeks ago, but then again, I haven't done much with it. I subscribe to the Archie Campbell school of medical thought (only those of you who grew up watching Hee Haw understand this reference): If it hurts when I do this or that, I don't do this or that.

So now, after all this waiting, I finally get to have a look inside my arm to see how severe of a labrial tear I have. Why we couldn't have done all of this when the injury first happened is beyond me. Hopefully the snapshot of the interior of my right shoulder will help bring all of this to a satisfying conclusion. I would really like to use my right arm again.


I often wonder why lessons from God have to be repeated time after time. Usually this reflection comes in a moment of self pity, when the old "woe is me I thought we were passed this" kicks into high gear. In the midst of one such moment I suddenly realized that these are not lessons to be learned like endless repetition of the times tables in grade school, but skills to be used every moment of every day. The moments of testing are instead an opportunity for me to use the skills, skills which prepare me for more difficult days which lay ahead, the running with horses God promised Jeremiah, rather than mere speed bumps which lay between me and a life of spiritual ease. The latter is an illusion, a lie from the pit of hell itself, which tempts me to question God's wisdom, rather than applauding His grace. Patience is a virtue, a wise man once said. Perhaps. Yet I find that the more I ask God for patience, the more I realize that it is He who must exercise this most illusive virtue with me. Why are we so slow to learn, and so quick to forget?