2012/07/19 Th – The Road Goes Ever On and On

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On Sunday, Janet Calvert smiled at me, perhaps inadvertently, as I walked past the primary class hallway where she was, on my way home.  She has a nice smile — unsurprisingly.  She and hers were the custodians of that smile I loved.

Outside, Vivian Smith called a greeting as I passed the vehicle she was helping her clan into.

These are my blessings, and I’m glad for them.

I’ve drifted into a bit of apathy these days, having recognised my own idolatry in loving that girl, and the others… and the morbid futility of those hopes.  Even the blooming flowers lose their cheer, when one considers their great, fleeting deception.

I loved that girl for her beauty.  I don’t deny the love, but it was blind, anyway.

Myeong-Seon reminded me of my obligations in a recent chat, and I saw my folly.

I’m still not clear on Myeong-Seon… but I draw daily nearer to her country.  The familial and amicable debt I’ve come to owe her cannot, I think, be fully repaid.  She will be a part of me forever; whether in matrimony or fraternity, it mattereth not.

I was arranged by my recruiters, AST, to have an interview on Skype with a Korean middle school in Osan, not far from Seoul.  I thought I heard their name as 매홀, but I can’t be sure.  The meeting took place on Tuesday.  I’m not sure how it went.  There is a lot of advice to be “enthusiastic”, “outgoing”, and so forth, but it disgusts me to imagine first conformity (apparently so common to that culture — but only superficially), and second, insincerity.  Whoever hires me will know who I am, and will receive the service that I can give.  Teachers couldn’t be the same even if they tried.  Variety is a principle of life, and of heaven.

Later on Tuesday night, I talked on Yahoo Messenger with Erica Sit, the Hong Kong girl transplanted with her family to Salt Lake, who once knocked on my door whilst advertising her realty services.  I met her a few times subsequently and talked with her by phone for a period, but we’d had only a virtual connection for years.  As we chatted, the chance arose, and I pressed it: we made a plan to meet.  Today, I think, was her birthday, but I’ll receive her on Saturday afternoon — for the last time, as she believes, presuming me to intend to marry and settle in Korea.

Today was softball.  I hurried over just after 7:30 in my mom’s car, joined by my sister, who’d expected to go for a bike ride together.  I told her I’d just make sure the 9th ward had enough players.  It turns out they were short, so I played for the first time.

We faced the 4th ward.  Rob Truax was our star again, popping them over the fence with nearly every swing.  The others all played quite well; we had a Joe and a Nate, familiar faces Ben and Brian, and Todd Calvert (who might’ve been our #2, and whose nice wife also came), along with a final guy I can’t remember.  Our coach, Chris Barrie, was there as always.  I found out what a weak swinger I was, managing only three singles (out of three pitches) in our four innings.  I was second to last to bat, and due to some rule I wasn’t clear on, we had to forfeit every inning at the end due to an insufficient line-up.  So, I got to second twice, and suddenly the inning was called.  In the third inning, we didn’t make it to my turn.

I played catcher, a first for me.  Well, the softball itself was a first, maybe.  I can’t quite reconstruct the memories of my childhood games.  I was on a tee-ball team for a while when small, as well as a baseball team.  Anyway, I managed the position, but I dropped several bounced pitches off my toes, and so on.  I think I even gave up a base once when I mis-returned to the pitcher.  But at least I didn’t get smacked in the head with a bat.  I also caught an extremely fast throw from Rob in the outfield to tag a guy out, I think to end either the third or fourth inning.

We were last to bat in the fourth; I guess it was tied.  I think I led out, having been just short of a turn the last time.  Another weak single got me on base, though I was tagged almost simultaneously.  (I’d forgotten that I could just run through the base, and had slowed down to stop at it.)  I knew I was in, but deferred to the call of the fill-in referee from the 4th ward.  He didn’t want to say otherwise, so I stayed.

I’m not sure on the rest.  I think the nameless guy got to first and put me on second, but he may’ve been thrown out.  I tried heading to third a little hesitatingly, but returned to second right as the baseman caught the ball.  It was behind my head, so I wasn’t quite sure on timing, but I was left on base.  Then I think it was Todd up again.  He drove a fine one out over my head, and I ran home, apparently putting us into the lead and immediately finishing the game (the next teams, the 7th/11th and my 2nd, were ready to start theirs).  Shanna and I left, then took our bike ride over to Rick Coyle’s and then up to Upland Terrace to see the fading sunset.  She went home from there, while I continued on to Skyline for more jogging.  I’ve been getting back up there for a week, or maybe just this week.

On Tuesday night (before talking with Erica), I met Brandon, my cousin, and Bradley Fagg, a neighbourhood friend a year younger than I, up at that track.  We talked a bit about our exporting idea, inspired by Shane, that I shared with Brandon back on the 4th, at his family’s cabin, and that since then I have sort of abdicated to him.  After some research, I don’t think I see the easy returns from it that he does.  He seems confident in supply questions that trip me up.  I don’t really have the drive for it, and I have English-teaching to lean on right now.  But if he’s got the energy, I’ll see what I can do to help.

I met Brandon there again on Wednesday night.  Our cousin-in-law, Bryan Archibald, also appeared.  But tonight, I saw no faces I knew.

It’s been tricky to keep up with my typing job.  I’ve been late a few times.  My problems are my own delaying, and that some of the files are of a troublingly low quality, cutting into my productivity.  It seems the workload, which was supposed to be governed by duration of files but which still allows for a good deal of variation in production based on the contents of those files, has been creeping upward.  This week, I’ve tried to start going to bed earlier.  When my temporary teaching job starts next week, I’ll have to do all my files in the afternoon or night of the day assigned.

Romney’s getting ready to win the election.  Partisanship still grips the other side tightly, and they flee to their mean refuges of campaign propaganda, distracting from policies, holding up the president in polls despite that his natural approval is on the unfavourable side.  But I’m confident.  It’s in God’s hands, anyway, whatever reward he’ll give us.  And ultimately, a nation is fixed or ruined from the bottom up, not from the top down.

What bothers me is the deepening of the phenomenon I started to notice some years ago, of religious persecution of Muslims by the party that boasts religious freedom.  Of course, this behaviour was abundantly plain in the 2008 election, when I almost considered not voting with my fellow Republicans due to their depraved religious attacks.  They’ve repented of that error now by selecting their former target as their candidate — but their hypocrisy against Islam remains.  Their phobia spreads, its terror and alarm justifying a dissolution of the Constitutional safeguards and moral restraints so fiercely clung to to in other contexts.

But, is the fear not justified?

No.  Fear is never justified, to a Christian.  Fear is not their idol; Christ is their God.  Understanding and repressing all fears is the true Christian hallmark.  Not all Republicans claim Christianity, but enough do that they’re damning themselves afresh, like they did over 150 years ago, when they martyred and drove out LDS, and then turned on each other.  Some of my fathers were spared from that ultimate relic of barbarism, civil war.  Others were caught in it.  It was caused by the mutual fears and hatreds of Americans toward each other.  God’s hand was in it, as always, and it was not a divine caress, though one side was granted supremacy.

Now they want more blood.

If they want it badly enough, they may have it.

There’s no justification for it.  Our great testimony, our prophecy of America, the Book of Mormon, showed the doom awaiting blame, hatred, vengeance, and aggression, regardless of whether their motives were presumed pure.  It’s not human justifications that secure God’s favour, or allay his disfavour.

Criminality, we may always oppose — security, we may pursue — but we may not hate our own flesh, unto violence.  The emotional violence grows into the physical.

Islam is nobody’s enemy.  A man’s heart is his greatest enemy.  God is faithful to defend the faithful; in him lies all our safety that we, in our mortal idiocy, would rather impute to every false source.

Yes, the headline saddened me — but the wrathfulness in the comment section flabbergasted me, in the following article.  My comment was:

(Islamic Clerics Call on Egypt to Destroy Great Pyramids)

Agkcrbs commented:

Wow.  Too bad we’re wasting ourselves on so much reciprocal racism, hatred, and murderousness, or we might have still been able to influence them to better choices as their brothers, instead of what we prefer to make ourselves after provocations great and small: their bitter, sworn enemies.

Little do we know, God raises up conquerors and destroyers as divine guillotines, lifting up scourges on his own, inciting the wicked to rage against the less wicked as chastisement, to show us our nothingness, to entice us civilised to cleanse our own blackened hearts and open our minds to a greater reality than self-worship.  But we miss the cue, cursing God along with his scourges, wishing only death right back upon them.  We create our own destruction by listening to the devils in our minds encouraging such violence.

In the long run, this planet and its pyramids are toast anyway.  In our short lives here, the key we hold into eternity is called…

…Forgiveness.  Hear, if you have ears.

Well, if any happen across this journal entry, know that hatred will not save you from misery, and neither will merely calling other people “hateful” save you.

Faith in God saves us.

There is a living faith that saves, and another false faith that breeds arrogance and contempt.

At a funeral, we can plainly tell the difference between the living people and the dead body.

With equal facility, we can discriminate between the faith of obedience, and the faith of prideful hostility.  Look at their fruits.  Don’t try to cast “Jesus” spells on yourself, to thrust you into a heaven you never knew, and could never love.

The command of Jesus?  To love our enemies; to do good to those that hate us.  To bear the shame of a sacrificial Lamb, who did justify his God, but didn’t seek his own life.  We may lose the battle and the war, but such defeats and victories are only dreams that old men finally close their eyes and wake up from.

My political vote has been decided for years.  But may the vote of my life be cast for our common party — for God and his children.  I have a long way to go.

-Steve

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