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I’ve been wanting to put up a real picture just so you’d know we actually exist.  I’d love for this to be the picture at the top of the blog, but I’m pretty sure that’s impossible or would at least take more figuring out than I have patience for.  A friend of ours who is a fantastic photographer took it, and I completely love it.  It also may be the only picture of the 3 of us together taken in the last six months (I have no idea how that happens, but it’s true). It’s also a little misleading since it was taken on one of the six days all year that we all need heavy coats (these are heavy to us!  And yes, I’m holding my daughter’s instead of making her wear it.) and it’s currently 95 degrees outside, but again, I just like the picture.  Hope you do too!

A new article at newheartgathering.com

http://www.newheartgathering.org/articles/117/oneness-the-miracle-in-the-church

Last week I was invited to join a Facebook group celebrating my 11th grade English teacher and his classes.  He was that great, fun teacher, letting us write quotes on the walls and sit on an old couch.  He introduced me to William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Pat Conroy, and to Toni Morrison, who helped me fall completely in love with words and language.  He also gave us vocabulary, and lots of it.  I still have the stacks of index cards, cataloging words that I’m pretty sure live only to be used on the SAT and in The New Yorker.  The invitation’s timing was a fun coincidence, because I’d just been remembering all that as I considered naming this blog.  I really wanted it to be “Searching for Propinquity”.

propinquity (n.) – proximity; nearness in space and time

I’ve always loved that definition, the picture it gives, the idea it represents:  being close to something in multiple dimensions.  Sadly I think the word itself is just a little lacking in finesse and a little too much for what we’re doing here.  For a while a few years ago, I actually convinced myself that the word was propensity, which I promptly began using incorrectly and is something else entirely.  I also recently discovered through a little Googling that propinquity is a big concept in social psychology, including something called the propinquity effect.  It sounded kind of fascinating, and maybe it’s relevant, but in the end it was just too much to sort out for naming a blog. 

Still, it’s kind of what this is all about.  We want to be near, to be close, and even when we’ve found that closeness, it draws us in and we want other people to have it too.  I think often that’s why we’re so struck by writing or music or art.  I hear or read or see something and the distance between me and the creator disappears, because it’s explained me better than I can explain myself.  In that moment we’ve been seen, understood, and connected.  And then we want to share, post it, tweet it, pass it out – “look at this, listen; this is me. ” We see and feel and know, and want to know that someone else does, too.

It’s a tricky desire, this need for closeness, and it’s full of dangerous points that I still only navigate with moderate success (I’m remembering Relational Dialectics theory, but we’ll save that for another post, maybe after the one about why I’m having all these school flashbacks!).  

The point is, I think (and write) on these things a lot – relationships, connection – sometimes obsessively, because I know when we get them right, they’re amazing and worth all the effort.  If you get tired of hearing about it, or have it all figured out and can fill me in, let me know.  I’ll switch topics to being the father of a two-year-old girl, which makes all this seem easy.

Since it’s nearly spring, it seems like a good time to start on this New Year’s resolution (I like to feel things out a little).  I have been working on it.  I’ve reformatted it and changed the name.  I’ve tried to figure out every little feature in WordPress, and waited just long enough between each attempt to make sure I have to re-learn it each time.  I’ve agonized over each of those choices, all while fully aware that I’m the only one who will even see their results at this point.  I’ve read lots of other blogs and decided about weekly that this is a bad idea.  I have plans for what I’ll do if no one reads this and if so many read it that the server crashes (I’m sure that could happen!). 

So now we’ve come to the point of write and post and see, or leave it and move on to another item on my “Things That Will Make Me a Better Person” list.  I know my copy of Learn Spanish in 24 Hours is around here somewhere…

I do know that there’s a great sense of possibility these days.  We depend a lot on hope, which can be hard to see, so I’m learning that sometimes we just have to start. 

This idea began with poems, unmanageable, indulgent, and persistent, so it only seems fair that they go first.

An article of mine recently posted on New Heart Gathering’s website

http://www.newheartgathering.org/articles/111/if-the-son-has-set-you-free-you-are-free-indeed