This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Midsummer pause

There’s no real break in the action, and technically, it’s nowhere close to “mid” summer. Actually, we don’t even hit REAL summer for another week or so. But it feels like school has been out forever and this is the first moment there has been to sit down and reflect.

I still can’t give you much about my job. With 10 days to go, I’ve been invited to apply for the job I already hold (though on a part time basis now), with a description I practically wrote, and that literally NOBODY else given the posting will be interested in. I’m rather hopeful about my chances.

Besides the insanely long and drawn out process of figuring out what will happen with Hamma Library and my job, other things are going on in the world. So many other things. My little corner of chaos is so insignificant. I am so saddened by the continued deep divisions in our world. Our country continues to dig deeper into our polarized habits. We constantly discount the experiences and opinions of anyone we disagree with, often without even thinking about what the person is actually saying. You voted for Trump? You must be a racist, rich, conservative with no empathy for your fellow man. What? You’re upset by what Trump’s tweets? You have GOT to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal snowflake. End of conversation.

Like, really, END OF CONVERSATION. Anything said afterwards is just platitudes if we’re lucky, and more likely vitriol. We are so ruled by social media. I heard someone describe how we get information today as “through a fire hose.” So very true. It’s so much faster and with way more force than we could ever actually absorb. Then, because we cannot accept the input in that form, we pick and choose what to accept according to the dreaded “confirmation bias.” It’s a real thing. A real, really powerful thing. Anyone who tells you they have NO bias should terrify you.

I don’t know what the answer is. I keep researching more about how our brains work, how we are unable to avoid bias etc. I’m unable to find a way to gather news myself that doesn’t leave me even more terrified about our future. Yeah, there’s no doubt that I land on the liberal side of the spectrum, but I’m nowhere near the most liberal person you know. I know some folks who are about as far from center on the conservative side and they seem so very rational. So ready to get things done. Why is it then, that the only thing we hear from politicians is the extreme? Nothing is ever going to get done this way. EVER. If you listen to the Republicans, then the Democrats are just blocking progress. If you listen to the Democrats, than the Republicans are turning back the clock. In the meanwhile the “forgotten folks” is becoming a larger and larger class. I’m feeling pretty damn forgotten today. I hope we can rally the troops like those “forgotten folks” of 2016.

Nothing I’ve said can’t be found on the Internet in a million other places. There are hundreds of thousands of other Americans who feel this way. Why are we only whispering on the Internet? Probably because we’re the folks who don’t want to argue with our neighbors on Facebook. We aren’t willing to be labeled in anyway for our social media usage. (Okay, if you actually follow me, you probably would label me, and I can live with that.) We’re going to have to speak up, or the polarization is going to get worse, not better.

My children know. They know that there are these incredibly split sides. They obviously parrot a lot of what they hear their dad and I say, but they do think on their own. They ask questions that make me proud. I pray every single night that they never lose that! When did the rest of us lose that? When did we pick a side and just go with it? These aren’t sports teams, folks. Undying loyalty is extremely dangerous.

So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Not exactly earth shattering, as I’m sure there are thousands of us thinking the same things these days. We are all dealing with it in different ways. Some have become unexpected activists, making phone calls and rallying their friends. Some have completely tuned out, just ignoring the news and avoiding any Facebook post with a political bent. But there are some of us who are listening, but doing very little. I feel a bit like a watched pot. I’ll still boil, and the boil IS coming, but it’s just gonna seem like forever before the bubbles roll.

PhotoGrid_1497659563228Meanwhile, summer rolls on. I take a child to work most days, the other two stay home and do chores and watch many hours of TV. I sit outside until dusk, then hurry everyone to bed before it’s obscenely late. I worry about school supply lists and summer bridge homework. We grill. Man, I love to grill. I’m a privileged member of a privileged society. So, there’s that, too. It’s a good life full of blessings, but I want to find more, not less, ways to spread those blessings around.

And any free time I find, I read about Lutheran theologians. You know, because who isn’t fascinated by these old, dead, white guys?¯\_(ツ)_/¯


And lastly, I don’t want to close without acknowledging my friends in the LGBTQ+ community. I stand with you, friends. It’s Pride Week and I hope you feel celebrated! I’m still sad that such a celebration is even necessary and I look forward when being LGBTQ+ is just shrugged off like being a redhead, or a left hander. Different, but not so much. Just a different spot on the spectrum of human, of Child of God! My siblings in Christ, I love you, I see you, and I’m proud to be your ally.



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So, at midnight I can register for classes for spring term. Next week I’ll complete my first full year of the MLIS program. It’s going very fast and I’m starting to panic a little about finishing and not having any experience. I find myself thinking that I’ll do a thesis/research project for graduation, but that seems silly. I’ve GOT to get some experience! Had a lovely exchange on twitter with @winelibrarian and @sarainthestacks who were very helpful in offering thoughts on getting a job. They only confirmed that experience is KEY! I have to fit this in, and I know it, and I just don’t know how to do it. There were some helpful tips offered in all that, though. I think I’ll be looking to volunteer with digitizing archives, or at least photos. I’ve got to have some sort of job, or a volunteer position, or something, like now. I keep saying “after the holidays” but I think that’s a mistake, too. I can’t wait. Classes will start up again, and I’ll just put it off. I’m going to have to go ahead and get going BEFORE the holidays. At least get busy looking. I land what I land and start when they need me. Surely someone an put me to work a couple hours a week for free, right?

I’m feeling like I’m catching up. Weird, huh? I mean, I’m still behind in school. I’m still swimming upstream this term, but this weekend was sort of a lull before the final push, and I got some stuff done. The toilets are all clean and the floors have actually been vacuumed, so that’s comforting. I was supposed to take a workshop the weekend after classes ended, but it was cancelled, so that will be a clear weekend. Then Daddy Bird heads to his annual hunting trip with his dad and uncle for week on the 11th. I’ll be solo parenting for just over a week. Strangely, I look forward to that each year. I mean, I miss him, and the kids miss him, but I do tend to get a lot done without him here. I’m not sure why that is, but it just is. I’m so looking forward to getting the house really clean and ready to decorate for Christmas. I love my house, but never more than when it’s all dressed up for Christmas.

mlI had a weird experience in church this morning. It is Reformation Sunday, the day us Lutherans celebrate Martin Luther and how we’re not Catholic anymore. Okay, there is a bit more to it than that, but you get the gist. As usual, the lessons and point of the day is justification by faith. Grace, and grace alone saves us. I’m happy to drone on about that bit, but it isn’t really the point of this blog. What I want to relate is a feeling that came over me as we sang the final hymn of the service. The last verse…

“When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in his righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid rock i stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.”

Hope you don’t find this morbid or creepy, but let me just tell you now, I want this sung at my funeral. If you are there, sing it. Sing it LOUD! Even if it means nothing to you, sing it loud and know that it means EVERYTHING to me! And somebody make sure there’s brass. Because as our distinguished director/organist Josh Brodbeck put it today, brass is really just the bacon of the music world. I feel like I should write a whole post on the merits of planning, or letting other know your thoughts anyway, your own funeral. Yeah, I’m only 42, but I really want this sung at my funeral. I’m not kidding. It’s important to me. If you take no other message from knowing me, take this. Jesus Christ is my salvation and I do not deserve it, but i do receive it.

Okay, sermon over.

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Holy Saturday

Here we are in that limbo of holidays.  Last night was Good Friday, and we wore black to church.  We heard the crucifixion story again and we mourned.  Tomorrow will be Easter and we’ll rejoice with the greatest news ever.  Today, eh.  We should still be in Good Friday mode, I suppose, but that’s not the way it works in our real lives, is it?  We dye eggs.  Or, in my case, devil them.  We iron our Easter outfits.  We watch basketball.  (Go Bucks)  Some years we’ve gone to church for Easter Vigil, Baby Bird was baptized three years ago at that service.  But it’s so poorly attended, I don’t think our church is even holding that service this year.  So, as Daddy Bird is a “recovering Catholic” we call it Holy Saturday, but we don’t observe much.  Or maybe we do.

522229_10150758601519748_1008239585_nMost of what we do today will be in preparation of Easter.  I will iron everyone’s outfit for tomorrow.  I will pick up Middle Bird’s pants at the cleaners where they were hemmed.  I will make deviled eggs, and cheesy potato casserole, and banana pudding.  I will run to the store for a few more treats for the baskets.  I will make everyone bathe, even if they took a bath last night.  I will call Mom and make sure there’s nothing else I’m supposed to bring tomorrow for the big family gathering.

We have an advantage that the disciples did not have.  Jesus told them what would happen, but nothing in their experience had prepared them to really believe it.  We have celebrated Easter for our whole lives, most of us, or at least heard the story.  We KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, that on the third day after that dark, morbid, almost spooky Good Friday service, there will be a lily laden, bright and cheerful, trumpet and bell filled Easter morning service.  While there are almost never many children in church on Friday evening, except a few unnerved and unsettled and spooked into being quiet for the relatively short service, on Easter morning, the church will be filled with skipping, giggling, pastel clad kids.  We joke about the Easter and Christmas Christians, but it’s not that so many only come those two times, it’s that even the ones who are not there three out of four Sundays come on Easter morning!  Families who had soccer schedules to work around, or jobs, or heavy schoolwork loads, they’re all there in Easter morning!  And we KNOW we’ll see that tomorrow.

We can manage some morbidity and solemness on Good Friday for an hour or so.  We can pray and contemplate our part in the story of the crucifixion.  We can attempt to imagine the fear and mortification of the followers of Jesus, but only for a little while.  We can never really forget that the story has the happiest of endings.  We know how it turns out.  We can only sustain that level of solemnity for a short while before we remember that it’s okay, it all turns out well, there’s a happy ending!

Today we will continue to refrain from shouts of Alleluia.  But tomorrow?  Tomorrow I will wake each of my children with a cheerful, “Good Morning!  He is RISEN!”  And they will respond with “He is RISEN, indeed!  Alleluia!”  Well, the little one will probably need prompted, but the big ones will remember!  And we’ll spend the morning with our fellow believers greeting each other that way.  We’ll sing the Hallelujah Chorus.  We’ll sing “Christ is Risen, Alleluia.”  We’ll hear trumpets, and bells, and we’ll try to wrap our heads around the far fetched story that a man who was dead is not dead.  But we know it’s coming and that makes today anything but solemn.

So, if I don’t get around to posting tomorrow, it’s okay if I go ahead and say to you now… “HE IS RISEN!  ALLELUIA!”