Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lewis on Hope and Heaven

"Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time."

" . . . we are so little reconciled to time that we are even astonished at it. 'How he's grown!' we exclaim, 'How time flies!' as though the universal form of our experiences were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal."

"The Christian says, 'Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy. The most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
I can't help but add what Lewis writes just a bit further in this last passage: "There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of 'Heaven' ridiculous by saying they do not want 'to spend eternity playing harps.' The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, then they should not talk about them . . . People who take these symbols literally [harps, crowns, gold, etc.] might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Time and Eternity

From the work of Angelus Silesius (1624-1677):

Time is of your own making,
its clock ticks in your head.
The moment you stop thought
time too stops dead.

"Time flies fast" we say, but who
Has seen the fleeting of Time's wings?
Time stands moveless in a view
That sees the Whole of Things.

Man, if thou findest Time
On earth drag on too slow.
Turn unto God — live
In the Everlasting Now.

God still creates the World.
Strange does this thing appear?
God knows neither Then nor Now,
As men know here.

There, in Eternity, events
Together strike a single chime:
There is no After, no Before,
As here, as in the realm of Time.

Do not compute eternity
as light-year after year
One step across
that line called Time
Eternity is here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Gift

One of my students gave this to me as a St. Patrick's Day gift today. How cool is that? :-)

Here's what it looks like when you open it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reminder to Self

The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11

The LORD answered Moses, "Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."
Numbers 11:23

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's That Time Again


Do we really have to "spring forward" again?


Way back when good ol' Ben Franklin thought this would be a good idea in order to save candles - because people burned them at night but slept past dawn in the summer. The US didn't institute Daylight Saving Time until World War I, thinking then that it would save fuel.

Experts disagree on whether it actually does save energy. And for people who think we get an extra hour of daylight - uh - think again, we don't actually control how long the sun is up, we just change the faces of our clocks.

There are few if any known good effects to this change, but there are known bad effects, some of them really bad, for instance the number of heart attacks increases 6% to 10% in the 3 workdays following the change.

Is any potential savings of electricity worth that?

It's also not pleasant or healthy for dairy cows - especially the switch back in the fall when they have to hold their milk half an hour to an hour longer, depending on how the dairyman deals with the change.

Other than health problems, it causes a lot of confusion in general. Other contries that also observe DST do not necessarily do so on the same day, which can cause confusion for travelers and business communications. Some US states and territories do not observe DST, so at some times in the year they are on the same time as adjoining states and at other times of the year they are not. The start of DST is determined by local time, so on the day of the switch the differences in times between states across the country is different than it normally is.

This sort of confusion led to an innocent student being accused of making a bomb threat against his school. He had called an automated line to get information about scheduled classes. Someone else had made the bomb threat an hour later.

This crazy shift not only causes these sorts of confusion and causes ill health in cows and people, but it very negatively affects people with sleep disorders.

And this is where it gets personal for me.

I feel absolutely nauseated at the thought of the upcoming change. I have a sleep disorder that makes rising early VERY difficult for me.

I teach at the college level, so my schedule varies from semester to semester. This semester I've had to get up at 6:30 daily to teach my 8 o'clock calculus class, and I feel ill every single work day because of that. It has nothing to do with how many hours I sleep, it has to do with rising early in the morning - so it does no good for me just to go to bed an hour earlier. Starting this week I'll be getting up at what was 5:30. I'm not even sure I can do it, and I'm certainly not feeling too confident about how well I'll be able to teach. Both I and my students will have to suffer the consequences of that. Thankfully my schedule next semester does not include an 8am class.

This affects me so strongly that I still remember 5 years ago when it was time to "fall back:" I got the kids up and ready for church. We arrived only to find that the parking lot was empty. It was then that I realized I had missed my chance to stay in bed an hour later, and I actually CRIED over that loss as I drove back home.

Please, PLEASE, someone repeal this INSANE practice between now and tonight. PLEASE!! I BEG YOU!

In 2005, citing negative health effects, the government of Kazakhstan did away with Daylight Saving Time. If only the US government were as smart as that of Kazakhstan in this matter.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Hearts

It was two years ago yesterday that David had the heart procedure (pictured above) to repair the hole that caused his stroke. He goes in every 6 months to have an ultrasound done to make sure the device remains in place and that there are no issues, and all has been well each time. We are so thankful to God that we live in a time in which technological advances allow for this type of procedure to take place - truly amazing stuff, and we are thankful that He who knits us together in our mother's womb brings about healing as He has for David's heart!It has been David's dream to run again, really run, and he keeps working at it. He was able to run in an 8K last month at the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival. He finds that his body will cooperate with either walking or running but not both. If he is out running a lot, walking is difficult and hurts. If he does a lot of walking, running becomes difficult - must be something different enough about the two motions that cause that, and his body doesn't adjust back and forth well, but he is "on the road again." We are thankful for how far he has come and for the healing God has granted, and we also can't help but hope for more to come!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Calculus of Friendship

As soon as the semester ends, and I have time to read again, I am looking forward to reading this book that recently came to my attention. It is about mathematics and relationships - specifically the relationship between a math professor and his high school math teacher, the change in role from teacher/student to former teacher/professor. Calculus is a study of change, so the title reflects both mathematics and relationship.

This came to my attention on NPR's Science Friday a couple of weeks ago on which the author was interviewed. It was a pretty fun interview with interesting comments from callers about mathematics and the teaching of mathematics - kind of got me excited again in the midst of this overwhelming semester in which I was kind of losing my passion. If you'd like to listen in too, the link is:

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Time Again

It's happening again, and I'm sad because I haven't had a chance to get out and experience the "gold:"

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost (1923)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Edna St. Vincent Millay


by Edna St. Vincent Millay

It's little I care what path I take,
And where it leads it's little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.

It's little I know what's in my heart,
What's in my mind it's little I know,
But there's that in me must up and start,
And it's little I care where my feet go.

I wish I could walk for a day and a night,
And find me at dawn in a desolate place
With never the rut of a road in sight,
Nor the roof of a house, nor the eyes of a face.

I wish I could walk till my blood should spout,
And drop me, never to stir again,
On a shore that is wide, for the tide is out,
And the weedy rocks are bare to the rain.

But dump or dock, where the path I take
Brings up, it's little enough I care;
And it's little I'd mind the fuss they'll make,
Huddled dead in a ditch somewhere.

"Is something the matter, dear," she said,
"That you sit at your work so silently?"
"No, mother, no, 'twas a knot in my thread.
There goes the kettle, I'll make the tea."