East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


East Of Eden

Lent 2019: Uncommonly common.

Still posing for selfies even with two needles in my chest for plasmapheresis... while wearing a jaunty beret. (taken March 2019)

 

Last Sunday, Z and I met up with my girl Nicole and her daughter for church. We visited an Anglican/ Episcopal parish close to my home. Although we are all officially members of another Episcopal church a couple of towns away, neither of us, for various reasons, have been there since last year. (Look, maybe I'll go into why in another post, but that's not what this is about). We weren't first time visitors- her aunt is a member and I first checked the place out in 2014.

The Gospel reading came from I Corinthians 10. Check out verse 13:

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind...

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Lent 2019: Are you there God? It's me, Alisha.

Some of the contents of the inside and from the outside of the recently departed fridge.

 

I've had a few days lately that have made me wonder what is up with me and God's communication. Life is life... and sometimes it just piles up like a stack of dishes being dirtied by my family on a snow day with only me picking up the sponge and Dawn to clean. 

 

Last week, our refrigerator became "a dead appliance running" so to speak when it suddenly stopped pushing out cold air. After tossing out over a hundred bucks of groceries, K decided to give it one last chance to cool by turning the temp to 9 and banning us from so much as cracking it open the width of a Kraft single. And to my amazement, it haltingly came back to life..

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Lent 2019: Lacking merit in the meritocracy.

(Image Credit)

 

In the midst of teaching Zoe about The Stamp Act and The Sugar Act, and a bunch of other lead-ups to the American Revolution this morning, news broke that a number of Hollywood stars and other elites were snagged by the FBI for attempting to pay out bribes to ensure their kids got into top colleges. From The Hollywood Reporter:

 

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among 40 charged in a nationwide college entrance exam scandal, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Boston and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

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Lent 2019: Dreading the unexpected, even when it's expected.

 

(Image Source)

 

Last month, my mom was admitted to the hospital for a list of reasons: kidney stones, a urinary tract infection, dehydration, anemia, and the flu. When my brother Joe called to tell me, my heart began to pound. He sounded concerned, but not overly-worried, as he explained how Mom's nursing home doctor had her transported to a nearby, affiliated hospital. This has been something of a semi-regular experience over the last few years. She has breast cancer, and being on chemo makes her very susceptible to infection. She's had so many bronchial infections at this point, I've lost count. Still... my heart was pounding and I was... scared.

 

This week, during one of my Lenten devotions, I came across Matthew...

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Lent- Day 36: Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

My palms from Sunday, twisted into a cross. Please note, I have no idea how to do this and just kept bending until I got this.

 

On Sunday at church, we read from Matthew 27. Verse 46 always breaks my heart:

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

 

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Lent- Palm Sunday: Hosanna


(Image Source: Youtube)

 

Happy Palm Sunday! Today's song is Israel Haughton's "Hosanna". I hope you have a blessed Holy Week. Please remember to say a prayer for our Coptic Brothers and Sisters in Egypt.

 

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Lent- Day 2: More Glorious.


(Google CC Image: link)

 

I was feeling pretty low on the general state of humanity yesterday, and rightfully so. Today's Scripture reading of Romans 8:22 shows just how deep our stinkiness sinks: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." Yup, ALL of creation is in a perpetual state of labor because... us. 

Now if you read the title of this post and got hopeful that I had ditched the Debbie Downer-flow I had yesterday and are reading  with a sense of betrayal and dread and you're about to close the tab and head back to Facebook, hold up. Things are about to make a sharp ascent.

This Lent, I'm using Preparing for Easter as a devotional...

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Until you return to the ground.

 

By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

-Genesis 3:19

 Ash Wednesday- actually the whole concept of Lent- jolts me. I grew up Holiness/Pentecostal, belonged to another such church during college, and then spent another five years as a member of a nondenominational Evangelical fellowship. So yeah, I always find myself shocked by the starkness of this day.

The verses read, including the one above, are blunt. We're going to die. All of us. And we, as in humanity, really stink. We are the worse. We oppress others, are selfish, and a quick skim...

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Lent- Day 31: Let it be to me.

"Paolo de Matteis - The Annunciation" by Paolo de Matteis (Wiki Commons)

 

 

 

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. For those unfamiliar, from Wikipedia:

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Lent- Day 30: For whom the bell tolls.

 

(Wiki Commons)

 

So I am totally being lazy in the Soren Kierkegaard class I'm taking. Assigned to read Plato's "Euthyphro", I haven't been able to read more than a few pages before having my brain scream "Nope" and start daydreaming of how cute K would look in a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. 

 

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Lent- Day 29: Before one of them came to be.

 

(Source)

 

 

 

Momma Kathy is busy, with the help of Monica, arranging Daddy's funeral.

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Lent- Days 27 & 28: We'll always love Big Poppa.

 

 

My daddy passed away today a few minutes after one P.M. Defying expectations, he survived over two days off the respirator, which makes perfect sense knowing how big his heart was and how powerful those lungs, which powered a loud booming voice, were.

 

I want to thank everyone who's reached out to offer sympathy, prayers and condolences. It's truly appreciated. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

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Lent- Day 26: Waiting.

We sat today, waiting. Waiting for my dad to die.

 

He was moved to hospice this week, and a little after 11 this morning, they shut off the respirator.

 

My grandmother, cousin Velvet, her husband Mike, cousin John, brother Joe, his wife Jenny, stepmom Kathy, her sister Monica, K, Z and I all sat vigil. Prayed, sang, talked and laughed. Streamed music through an iPad and sipped coffee and tea.

 

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Lent- Day 25: Sorry Ms. Jackson.

 

 

I was visited again today by Friend 2 from last week. Repeatedly throughout her visit, the conversation veered into some of the more difficult areas of life- illness, breakups and death. I kept responding to her frustrated statements with, "But I can't control that" and "I cannot make people do what they do not want to do".  She would agree, only to turn right around and then go into complaints. Exasperated (and my voice going screechily high pitched), I finally declared, "Don't you get it? We aren't really in control of many things in life!"

 

I said control so many times I started to hear the Janet Jackson classic in my head.

 

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Lent- Day 24: Euphoria in aporia.

A drawing of Soren Kierkegaard I did yesterday.

 

 

I haven't been sleeping well the last few nights. My thoughts, during the day and night, are on my daddy, who's been on life support since last week. We- the family- know, but are still grappling with the reality that we are nearing the end.

 

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Lent- Day 23: The Jinx is brought to light.

(IMDB)

 

 

Have you heard about Robert Durst? There's a lot- and that's an understatement- to tell about the stranger-than-fiction-yet-very-real man at the center of multiple murders. From The New York Times:

 

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Lent- Day 22: Wading in the nihil.

 

Jay-Z in "On the Run" (Radio Lab)

 

It's been a long, long day. Rainy, gray and layered thickly with foreboding. A real walking in "the valley of the shadow of death". I'm not being dramatic, it's just really been that kind of day.

 

This morning I began "Søren Kierkegaard - Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity", an online University of Copenhagen class offered through Coursera. It's totally free, so if you're a nerd, and cheap, like me, you can still register if you like. In the "About" descriptor:

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Lent- Day 12: Trashed teddies and trust.

 

I snapped the picture above while out running errands this afternoon. I spotted what Zoe calls "The sad teddy bear on the ice" set out for trash. Filthy, wet and torn, I felt sad looking at it. Zoe had brought her stuffed Curious George along for the outing, and I couldn't help but compare the two. George, clean and dry in Zoe's arms, her favorite since Christmas, very much loved. I wondered if that bear was once some other little girl's beloved cuddly friend... now discarded.

 

I spoke to my good friend Kandi who lives overseas a few hours later via video call, catching up on family, career, and Zoe. She talked over the past decade of her life which has seen her move 12 (!) times, change jobs,  live in two different...

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Lent- Day 11: Burn after reading.

William Powell (JP Laffont / Sygma / Corbis)

 

 

In Harper's there's an interesting story about William Powell, who in 1971 at age 19, "published The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide to making bombs and drugs at home. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print." (H/T: Micah Mattix)

 

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Lent- Day 10: Bookends.

Our poor little Civic. :-(

 

 

 

I started the week feeling frightened by my father's declining health. I'm ending it feeling shaken by a car accident.

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