Friday, June 27, 2008

Skybluesky - Either way

Someone asked recently how was the Wilco concert. I been thinkin bout it…

Either Way
Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will blow away
Maybe I won’t feel so afraid
I will try to understand
Either way

Maybe you still love me
Maybe you don’t
Either you will or you won’t
Maybe you just need some time alone
I will try to understand
Everything has its plan
Either way
I’m gonna stay
Right for you…

It was the first night of their SkyblueSky tour. We speculated that when Wilco signed the contract for Rochester they might have thought they were going to New York not Minnesota. Fans who drove in from Mpls were galled to leave their sophisticated venues for our wastelands. But it was sold out after all. Wilco pulled songs from some past albums and the band was beautifully tight, all good musicians. Jeff Tweedy has a unique, interesting voice, his lyrics are imaginative, he’s a serious singer/songwriter. I like him a lot. The drummer was a wild man, but then most drummers are fun to watch. The lead guitarist could swivel his knees 380 degrees so as he played one leg was usually in the air pivoting around his body with a long foot dangling off the end which fascinated me for about thirty minutes.

We went with friends and afterwards no one specifically asked how I liked it so I didn’t have to say. Everyone else loved it. And now I feel bad, like I need to come out.

So this is hard to admit? I liked about 25 percent of the concert. I’d like to forget the rest. I guess I love the CD cause I can turn down the volume and forget this is a rock band? In live concert you don’t forget. One song was either a remake of Shock and Awe or Chicago’s O’Hare airport with runway lights full-up and 747s taking off en masse. The guitars and keyboards screamed and screamed and roared and roared and a million watts of white light were aimed directly into our eyeballs. Even with my eyes tight shut I could have read a size five font. For ten minutes they did this even though I got the point after fifteen seconds. While the fans whooped and squealed their e-ow, e-ows, I put on my sunglasses, got out my ear plugs, and felt a little sad for the rest of the concert.

Even carrying our first child I went to friends’ gigs and stood in front of their amps and felt the bass through layers of tissue, baby, and water all the way to my spine. Probably not a good idea for pregnant mothers. I like Wilco. Their Skybluesky album is still a favorite. I even like thunder and lightening and a bit of screaming for a second or two but, for now, live, I guess it’ll be Kimya or Rosie. Apologies to Travis: I love the Avett Brothers, but they might kill me in concert.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What was June 15?

So Sunday, our first day back from a cabin in Wisconsin, we’re in church, our granddaughter, Manessah between us, and Denis passes me a note: “I need to go home now.” I thought it was some kind of joke, then I looked at him. We left in middle of David’s sermon. I drove us home, and he staggered up to bed. Later I found him with unmistakable flu symptoms and possibly some other complication. Who knows. I take his temperature, bring him ice water, and continue playing Monopoly with Manessah. She has an attitude when I refuse to give her $200 after she forgot to pick it up when rounding Go. (I never let a child win because they’re a child. I know some consider this mean.) But her delighted giggle when she bankrupts me after the third time I land on her bristling Pacific Garden sort of justifies my attitude. Monopoly passed the time and made her last day with us not so disappointing with Grandpa sick and all.

It was Father’s Day and I had forgotten. It was also our Fortieth Wedding Anniversary, which we had forgotten. I finally mentioned it to Denis, who sort of moaned, though I don’t know if that was due to regret or delirium. I guess we’re not a family into big parties. Sometimes for a second, I wish we were. Just saying “forty” smacks me. How can that be?! Back in January I said let’s wait until our vacation in September – that will be our big celebration – we’ll go to our friends’ condo in Colorado and we’ll drink red wine and look at each other for a long time and try to fathom the meaning of forty years of wedded-lock. I don’t really know what it means. I used to think of couples married forty years as wizened in body and mind, the undertaker on-call, and living in apartments that smelled of boiled cabbage, but that isn’t exactly our life. Marriage is less and more than I’d imagined.

My first difficult disappointment way back was that he did not make me happy every moment of every day, in fact, I couldn’t believe he called to the worst in me and I gave it. I spent a lot of time, still do, actually, in confession and prayer, confession and prayer, repeat, repeat. I was also shocked that I should feel lonely. Ever. Of course, I was only twenty then and hadn’t read the books. Blame it on that. Over the years after we went to bed, I learned not to mention getting rid of the carpenter ants, which are attacking the back of our house as we lie here. And he’s learned to tolerate my allergic coughing and wheezing with just the slightest rattle of his magazine.

Marriage is more than I imagined. We share a purpose and calling that has made the years both intense and lovely. We’re friends and lovers, but we’re not the same. I’m still learning how healthy it is to be differentiated (he will never like gardening and I will never enjoy list checking) and how good not to be responsible for the mate’s ultimate happiness. In learning a little more of what it means that Jesus is the lover of my soul I find it easier to rest in darkness. He is steadier and more comforting than a man, or a woman. We just aren’t equipped to do what only God can do – love us to redemption. We actually love each other better knowing this.

The thing that caught me on Sunday was that this little illness, this fever, and headache put a constriction in my throat – the what if. What if this is it and he dies. What will I do about our ministry if? Where will I live if? What will I do with myself without him? This is something I don’t want to imagine. The thought of your spouse’s death can be very self-absorbing.

I’ve always believed that in this fallen world marriage is not a given – not for any of us at any time. Statistically, I will likely join my single friends at some point, since women live longer. (I hope they’re around to help teach me to live alone if that should happen.) I’ve been blessed with forty years of God sustaining us through enough to write a book. Who knows, maybe I will.

So to Denis – who is in Baltimore today, having mostly recovered from whatever it was, and is now addressing the General Assembly of the EPC along with our dear friend, Steve Garber – Happy Fortieth Anniversary and may we continue, by God’s grace, with passion for one another for many more years.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The delight of hair

Manessah, our granddaughter, arrived for her annual summer visit with hair down the middle of her back. She wants it cut off. All of it. “Too hot,” she says. At the salon she decides to donate her heavy mane to Locks of Love – an organization that makes wigs for kids with cancer. Her hair is so thick and heavy the stylist said it was enough for three wigs.