Progressing

Good morning from my office,

I am back in the quiet confines of Bakeless, where I am able to just work because we are on break and there is no one to disturb my progress. The quietness reminds me of the very first morning I walked into the church where I had just be called to be a pastor. It was my first Sunday to preach and I got to the church at 5:00 a.m. . In spite of the early hour, I was wide awake because I was nervous to deliver or preach my first sermon in my first call. So, with only the exit sign light, I put the key into my office door, and got ready to open it. At that precise moment, a hand reached out an touched my shoulder and a voice said, “Good Morning, Pastor”. I also died at that very moment. I jumped and spun around to look into the eyes of a kind and smiling, but elderly, gentleman. He was dressed a bit shabbily and had a couple-day stubble covering his weathered face, but he extended his hand and said, excitedly, “I’m Arthur!”. I managed to get my breath back somehow and shook his hand and said, “Good Morning, Arthur; how nice to meet you.” To this day, that might be the closest I have ever come to wetting myself. What I found out was Arthur often slept in the church at night because he was a bit of transient.

Fortunately for me at Bakeless, after a certain hour and before another certain hour, the doors are locked and you have to either have card access and then a key to get into the complex where my office is located. That is probably good because at this point, I would probably have a coronary. A couple of Wednesdays ago, I was rather tired and working in my office early evening and I inadvertently dozed off in my chair in my office. Someone came into the office and I was certainly sleeping. When they spoke it awakened me and I was a bit startled, and embarrassed I might add, that I have been discovered in such a state. I jumped almost as much as I did with Arthur that morning. The difference between then and now is there are cameras everywhere to catch such moments. Fortunately, that did not happen. Thank God, for small (or large) favors.

I have two of my three classes completely caught up and managed, I took a break from some of that yesterday and worked on my article for Programmatic Perspectives. I made good headway, which pleases me. I am working on that again this morning and want to do that until about 3:30 or so. If I can put in a good 5 or 6 hours writing, I think I should made some progress. The second thing on the agenda today is to make the revisions needed to the minor and certificate proposals so they can go back to the Curriculum Committee immediately after break. I have one other course proposal to go forward. Then it will be working through the process to hopefully have the major discussed and buy-in accomplished. The buy-in is there, but I am not sure most are aware of what they are buying, so to speak, and that creates the possibility for backlash. I do not want any such thing to occur. The third task today is to focus on the work done in the Writing for Multiple Media class. I want to be completely prepared for the remainder of the semester by next Monday night’s class.

Yesterday, I spoke with a former student (actually we Skyped each other) from Spain. Her name is Elena and I had her as a student in a HU102 class in the fall of 1997, the same semester I had emergency surgery. This was the first time I have seen her “in-person”, albeit on Skype since the Spring of 1998 before she left Houghton. What is really interesting is I have a picture of the sunset on Lake Superior, which she gave to me, still setting in my kitchen. I send her a photo of that in Facebook once and she sent me a picture of the same picture in her apartment in Spain. What an interesting connection. We had the most wonderful conversation and she speaks English fluently now. She has a bit of a Scottish accent to her English, which is there because she has been conversing with someone from Scotland. Interesting to hear such an accent from someone who is a native Spaniard. What was most exciting is we have set up a weekly time to Skype with each other.

What I have learned about myself, something new again, is that I want to learn about other cultures and other peoples. I want to know as much as I can about their languages and their cultures. If I made a list of the languages, places, or things I want to learn, I am afraid it might be a bit ridiculous. There are two in particular as far as languages: the one, as already noted is Spanish, but the other is Russian or Ukrainian (though I am not sure I want to visit there at the present moment.). I am going to work on my editing again. Somehow the last think I wrote in this post disappeared. Yesterday seemed to be a day in which I caught up with former students or acquaintances. It was a good day and I have the opportunity to speak with my graduate colleague and former work colleague; I spoke with another teacher and person I consider a friend and sort of colleague. I heard from a former student by FB messenger and she is struggling, but has at least reached out. I am afraid that the dire predicament she is in will not change unless she makes some significant changes.

Later last night I had the opportunity to speak with (text with) yet another person who has somehow seemed to figure me out better than I have myself. This is a bit disconcerting, but I deem it as a gift. It has required that I do yet again more introspective work. Not in a navel-gazing way, but rather in a way that forces me to consider my strengths and weaknesses and to embrace them both. I do certainly know them, but I am not always sure what to do with them. That being said, it is time to get back to work. I leave you with the following video because I think it offers hope.

This Gives me Hope

Thanks for reading as always,

Dr. Martin

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