I’m back. About a month ago I was sitting with a few friends over breakfast, and I posited that balance in one’s life (between work and leisure, the topic at the time) was achieved when one was equally content to switch between one and the other. If that measure is correct, I haven’t found the balance yet. I’m not quite ready to go back to work, but close… it’s been a good two-week holiday. We have around 800 photos to sort through,
many most of which were taken with the expression, “Hey, we’re not wasting film…” You know, first major outing with the digital camera.
And for all the stewing I did about which books to take along, I didn’t end up doing a whole lot of reading. In the end I wish I’d taken a novel, as it would have done my weary brain a lot of good… but I did finish Jim Collins’ Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, which is the best business book I’ve read since Cluetrain. It’s left me with some fresh vision — or rather, a fresh resolve for what my instincts have been telling me. It’s nice to have someone else outline in a convincing fashion the real reasons why you should do the right stuff in the right way. Slow, methodical. The tortoise, not the hare.
Having wrapped that one up (all but the appendices, anyway), I turned my attention to Michael Frost’s Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture. Fortunately, Len Hjalmarson noted my previously expressed book envy following his first review installment for the book. When we arrived in Kelowna last week, we made sure to arrange an evening visit with Len and Betty, at which Len presented me with his extra copy of the book. Colour me grateful — this being the public acknowledgement of same.
We had a nice evening with the Hjalmarsons, though much too short… we’ll have to work at arranging another one when next we happen to be in the same city at the same time. This was of course amidst the hectic time at the McAlpine’s (also previously mentioned) at a point in time where things peaked at 16 people kicking about the house — 18 with the Hjalmarsons over. Our time in Kelowna was memorable, and perhaps that weekend marked a fairly strange confluence of events; planetary alignment or something. The evening that the Hjalmarsons were over, was the day that my wife and I, having bribed their eldest daughter to mind the kids, stole away with Rob and Wendy (that’d be Mrs. Robbymac to the uninitiated) for dinner at some Celtic/Irish joint where the wait staff all wore kilts and didn’t rush the pouring of a Guinness. We returned around 8:00 to meet Len and Betty, when Rob and Wendy received some, let’s say mildly distressing, news from some family friends. The next morning we joined the throng at New Life Church in Kelowna on the particular Sunday where they chose to do some “family business” and publicly read to the church for the first time a joint statement between the elders of the church and Wes and Stacey Campbell ending their formal relationship. That evening was the graduation dinner for the YWAM Okanagan DTS that most of the then-occupants of the McAlpine house had just completed, so it was a privilege to be there to celebrate with them later that evening… them and the other hardy stock that survived the whole program.
So there it is, I’m back in town, back at the helm of the blog, but not really feeling like I’m back in the saddle just yet. We actually snuck into town mid-day yesterday, having worked things out to return in time to collect the dog from the kennel and take in one pavillion on the last night of Folklorama followed by an extra-long sleep in our own beds. Today was a bit of re-settling, blueberry pancakes, and a few hours at a nearby beach which we don’t usually frequent, just for a change. In some ways we’re just resisting that natural and expected process of getting back into the regular routine. Or maybe we’re creating some kind of transition for ourselves.
So today I was sitting in the car waiting for the kids to finish changing before we headed back to the city, and I was reading from Frost’s Exiles. I’ll be wanting to blog a lot more about the book as I dig deeper into it… so far I’m through the introduction and not quite through the first chapter, and I find that I’ll read about three paragraphs, then stop and reflect on the one I’d just read, thinking I could quote that particular paragraph and blog through a whole ton of thoughts that it sparks. I tend to go off and pursue some train of thought that it sparks, which really tends to slow down the reading of the book. Anyway, if I quote all of the meaningful and quotable material, it’d probably be enough that the publisher would quote the copyright at me. Like his earlier work with Alan Hirsch, this one strikes me already as an important book. In fact, it’s a Dangerous Book — which is a more impacting thing to call it once you’ve started to read it, as it fits into a context with dangerous memories, promises, criticism, and songs — the four sections of the book. It was just a moment, sitting there and listening to Van Morrison and reading about dangerous songs.
So post-holiday, there are some things I’m ready to resume and some I’m not… but fortunately I do feel somewhat refreshed. I had a moment the other day where I thought I was ready to go back to work… I figure that was the sign that one more week would do me, so by Wednesday maybe I’ll be alright. Wednesday I’ve got the day booked for golfing though. I think I’ll start by going in late tomorrow… no alarm clock for me tonight. I did have the foresight before I left to book off the first two days after I got back (Monday and Tuesday) as though I was still out of the office, so I can ramp up slowly without finding a lot of things pre-booked in my absence for those days. So far I’ve read all the email, and will start actually responding tomorrow.
I’ve got a lot of thoughts swirling around, some significant, some not; thoughts about the CBC, about Krispy Kreme, about YouTube and about “Refrigerator Rights” (there’s a book, and you want to listen to a guy whose website calls him both a psychotherapist and a standup commedian). I’m thinking about many more things besides, and hopefully I’ll be able to grab some of the swirling ideas and plaster them into the blog a bit in the coming days and weeks. Or in the case of thoughts sparked by Frost’s book, months and years.