A “Fourth” Away from “Home”

Home of the free

Editor’s note: Here are some past thoughts about living a Fourth away from home, from 4July2009. A new post will be coming soon.

Regular readers of AnthonyGanzer.com may be surprised by this, given my frequent jaunts to Europe over the last few years, but this is my first “Fourth of July” not on American soil.  The “Fourth” has taken its hits as a holiday just as others have.  Christmas was adorned with Santa and commercialism, Easter with rabbits and biologically inaccurate eggs, and the “Fourth” has its customary PBS concert specials and sales on charcoal briquettes–the things on which freedom was built, of course.  And who can forget the elaborate fireworks displays, and toddlers running around with “harmless” sparklers in the front yard.

But even those subtle remembrances to our country’s founding are absent here in Germany, though a faint sense of patriotism still wafts in the air.

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Reflections on a falling crucifix

CBS

I’d like to begin this post by expressing my regret that, after enduring the pain and emotional exhaustion of a wife battling cancer, a man lost his leg in an accident involving a falling crucifix.  I begin with that expression of regret because I want to be clear that I don’t bear any negative feelings toward the man described in this CBS 2 story from New York.  It was tragic.  But in reading this story I was presented with a few theological considerations, perhaps prompted by poor or unclear writing–“David Jimenez believed his devotion to a crucifix was responsible for his wife being cured of cancer,” it says.  This sentence infers the man had a devotion to a particular object, a crucifix.  And in his desire to show reverence for that object, it dislodged and crushed his leg.  What is this story saying, or not, about faith, and about God?

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Musical Introspection

Urban beauty

Editor’s note: This is a post about  projecting our own experiences, troubles, and musings on prose of all kinds, and how it relates to my times of spiritual renaissance.

With each breath the wheat stalks seemed to blur into golden oceans begging for navigation.  Though I have sailed true blue water, these golden waves of grain could not be traversed by wind, but by will.  My breathing and straining formed the cadence.  My mind drifted in and out of the large and small problems of me.

The Chipman Trail connects Moscow, Idaho with Pullman, Washington—two university towns in the agriculture-rich Palouse region.  Chipman is a smoothly paved pathway for bicycles and runners traveling between the towns, running parallel to the highway.  Despite traffic nearby, the grain, barns, bridges, and animals give a uniquely American impression: that space is wide-open, and nature can still seem unlimited.

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A House of God

Cathedral
There’s a calm that comes from a river blown breeze.  Like a chilled embrace of an unseen watcher, the breeze brings me past the crowds of gawkers and pilgrims, and sets me in the foyer of Cologne’s massive cathedral.

I dip my fingers in the blessed water, and make the sign of the cross while moving hurriedly into the church.  I kneel.  I make another sign of the cross and take a solemn seat in the stiff-backed pew, and begin to pray.  I ask for wisdom, discernment and protection.  I open my eyes, only to see more eyes…looking at me…watching me.  I have become the attraction.

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