Beginning of LAST QUARTER OF SCHOOL
Got on the bicycle this morning and rode, just a few miles, just enough to get hot and sweaty and tired--first ride of the spring, and it felt good. The legs usually tone up pretty quickly, so before long I'll be able to ride gratifying distances. I hope. The little old dogs, despite being little, and old, and each having things wrong with them, can now walk a mile and then come home and play, so exercise is available.
In the midst of one learning goal: preaching three sermons in a row. Actually, past the middle. I have done two, one is left. I could get used to this. Once I've done the research and reading, I have this very weird way of going about sermon prep--sometimes it is absolutely clear to me that I have to write the thing out and memorize, other times it is clear to me that I cannot use that tool, have to have it more "in my mind." Not consistent, and what has been hard is to allow the inconsistency and not force a "method" of prep. Many of my congregation are from more Pentecostal backgrounds where the experience of Spirit working in life is familiar and also prized, and I suspect they would tell me to listen to the Spirit and her guidance as much as possible.
A very well-known speaker from my denomination came to seminary and gave a sermon at weekly worship. Reactions were very wide. Some felt the message was the most liberating thing they had ever heard, that it provided new life and hope to them on their own journeys. Others, including a professor I very much respect, felt the speaker had a very "off" personal vibe, something that, in the words of a younger student, "creeped them right out." The speaker acted like kind of a jerk to me, nothing new for this speaker, but the whole thing is great grist for my discernment mill.
I so miss my big fuzzy darling. Each time I have to tell someone he is gone, it is like an echo of that awful night again. Saturday I was up with friends who also have wolfhounds. They have a young male about a year old, a rescue, who is just settling into his new digs in wolfhound heaven up there in the foothills. He was fearful of all the guests until it was proven that we all had treats and that we could sit down and be at his height, at which point wild kisses and tail-wagging were forthcoming. Their older wolfhound, a female, instructed me to scratch her ears and rub her chest before I left. Content, she rested her big head in the crook of my elbow just as Wilson did when he died. I had to bury my face in her fur and take several deep breaths. Wolfhound fur absorbs lots of salt water and it was a very good thing indeed. I did get such a huge kick out of seeing their terrier mix and the male pup play--the terrier is WAY smarter and can corner on a dime, but she can't outrun the pup, so they were having a hugely good time up among the rocks and the trees, in the fog and rain. That pup will be solid muscle in another week--his new owners are trying to put weight on him, but I suspect it is a lost cause with all that running, which is actually really good for him and them. A tired puppy is a good puppy, in fact sometimes a tired puppy is THE ONLY good puppy.