So, this morning I awoke full of excitement and hope for the first time in a very, very long time. If you’ve read my recent posts on this blog, you know our sojourn here in NE Ohio has been long and difficult. We’ve struggled to make connections with folks with whom we could build genuine community in the way of Jesus, with just a handful of exceptions. We came here for all kinds of wrong reasons, and even the few good ones proved to be illusions. So, especially lately, it’s been nearly unbearable to get up and face each new day while feeling so terribly “stuck” here and having no hope for the future. Last night, that all changed, and now I think it will continue to be nearly intolerable to get up and face each new day here, though now because I do have hope for the future and I’ve located the kind of community we want to be a part of. We just have to move across the country (again) in order to be a part of it, and I’m eager for that to happen ASAP. So what am I so excited about? Well- this, and this, and most especially this (click the links). The fact that all this happens to be in my hometown that I mostly have avoided at all costs for the past 16 years is a serendipitous, perhaps even providential, turn of events that I’m extremely grateful for, especially given the fact that in those 16 years and in the 12 of them that we’ve been married we’ve mostly ignored my family of origin that is still there. That family includes my dad, who is getting on in years and doesn’t have the greatest health history, and my much older siblings, some of whom also have significant health issues, plus my niece and her twin boys. So, in quite rare fashion I’m excited, and hopeful, and eager to get to work to make this change. I only pray that God will speed our way.
Oh, and Gandalf? You may know him as the (eventual) white wizard in Lord of the Rings, one of the truly wise and inspiring heroic characters in all of literature. There’s a pivotal scene in The Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers in which all seems lost for the forces of good, until Gandalf appears on horseback, in blazing white, charging down a hill with reinforcements (at least as it’s pictured in the film). You might call this moment a “Eucatastrophe,” a term coined by Tolkien to describe “