Saturday, January 3, 2009

How to Make Lancer Salad in One Easy Step

We may be purchasing a new car sooner than we expected. Phil and I were in an accident a few days ago and our little Mitsubishi Lancer now resides in the local body shop getting an assessment. We are waiting to hear about whether or not they will pronounce it a "totaled" vehicle.

The experience was traumatic as we were driving to meet some friends for lunch and crashed into the side of an older lady's car. Phil watched her not look to her left (as we approached her from that side) and she pulled through her stop sign. We didn't have a stop sign. The last thing I remember before we hit her was seeing her white car pulling forward directly in front of us and Phil saying, "She's not looking!" And then the sound of skidding tires, a hubcap flying through the air and this eerie crashing sound as metal hit metal. I think we spun a bit too, but it gets hazy at this point. Scary.

Later, the lady called us to apologize, which was a very sweet gesture. At this point, her insurance company is assuming the responsibility, which we think is appropriate.

It was weird. Immediately after the accident, we were walking around and seemed to feel OK, but in the days following, this weird stiffness set in with both of us. Our doctor told us to wait and see. Bummer. We have both been training for a half marathon and we have to put that on hold for a while.

It was funny though. Throughout the entire experience, I didn't think about God's presence in it and that bothers me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Zen and the Art of Post-Holiday Clean-Up

Phil and I have been deliberating over the true meaning of Christmas. Phil (a self-proclaimed Scrooge) believes that the extraneous messages attached to this sacred holiday (in the form of Norman Rockwell paintings, Hallmark cards and even Dickens's "A Christmas Carol") combine to make up the chimera that interlopes on the Advent season. This gluttonous monster, subtly sneaks in and imposes its humanistic philosophies on what should be a carefully guarded and authentic Christ-centered holiday.

Contrary to my husband, I am the gal who excitedly sets up and adorns the precious *Wal-Mart artificial Christmas tree, hangs the red furry stockings (bought on clearance some years ago) with joyful expectation and throws twinkling lights on just about everything that needs a little razzle dazzle. can probably imagine how our conversations go every year at around this time.

But today as I am taking down the tree, I find that this is actually the period of the holidays that I treasure most - the clean-up. It's at this point when I can bask in the zen-like experience of minimizing. After every bauble is lovingly put back into the Rubbermaid box, I will dust, vacuum and place a single solitary white candle on the coffee table. Surprisingly, this is the environment that cultivates real focus on things that matter most - the spirituality that inherently comes with simplicity. This must be a piece of Phil's argument. We must challenge ourselves to cut through the distractions (even when they are well-intended) and focus on the unmistakable and profound meaning of the incarnate Christ. During this frenzied season (exacerbated by the idol of American consumerism), we must not allow ourselves to be misdirected on this critical point: God's love is interacting with us and in this season we celebrate its inception. Profound. Simple. More than enough.

*We bought this tree at Wal-Mart some years ago. We no longer purchase products from this chain. Email me if you want the details.