A little over six years ago, I had jury duty in New Haven. I went through voir dire but didn’t end up on the jury. I wrote a bit about my experiences back then. Tomorrow, I go back for another day of jury duty. We will see if I get selected for a trial.

Tomorrow is also Fiona’s birthday. After jury duty we will gather to celebrate.

At school, Fiona is reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I tried to find one of my text books from the history of the English language years ago. I couldn’t, but I did find copies of the text as well as recordings of people reading it, in Middle English.

I recorded a quick video to use as my video profile on Facebook. Unfortunately, I’m not configured for video profiles yet.

Meanwhile, I’m still a bit run down, so I’ll crash soon. Let’s see what we get for stories tomorrow.

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Too little sleep
and too much
cold and damp
has left me felling

The car is acting up,
systems around the house
are not running
as smoothly
as should be
only adding
to the fatigue.

At church this morning
a baby cried
She had just eaten
and probably needed to burp.

The mother rocked her
back and forth
patting her back
hoping to quiet her
though I doubt anyone
in the congregation minded.

I remembered
trying to comfort my daughters,
their heads on my shoulder
just above my heart,
swaying back and forth.

I found myself swaying
as we prayed
for the victims of shootings,
of floods,
of cancer,
of loneliness,
holding these people in my heart,

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Shootout at the City upon a Hill

The New Republic suggests that “Liberals Are Unfairly Taking Jeb Bush's ‘Stuff Happens’ Out of Context” but goes on to say “There are plenty of problems with his statement about the Oregon massacre, but that wasn't one of them.”

The article quotes Bush as follows

“We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this,” he said. “I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s very sad to see. But I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor, because, look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do.”

So, what context should we take this in? One context is comparing it to Jesus saying “For you always have the poor with you.” Yes, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis. You will always have the poor. Yet the quote from Jesus comes in the context of the coming crucifixion, perhaps not the context Bush is looking for.

To me, it seems more like a retreat from American Exceptionalism, something conservatives often accuse liberals of doing. In this case it seems like conservatives response to mass shootings. Either America is not exceptional enough to address mass shootings, or even worse, it is exceptional in its inability to address them.

I can understand the conservative view that ‘more government’ isn’t necessarily the answer to every crisis, but whether or not the solution is more government, we are all called to show compassion and to show leadership in finding solutions to the problems our country faces. Jeb Bush failed to do both.

Being a Hynes

When I was a kid, my father was a member of Mensa, as well as some other similar groups. I was brought up believing I was exceptionally smart, as well as kind, creative, and other positive attributes. The beliefs and expectations about who I was shaped who I am.

Recently, I stumbled across, “Picture yourself as a stereotypical male”. I mentioned this article when I first found it saying that I hoped to explore it in more detail later.

This morning is a good morning to explore this a little. I have three daughters who grew up as Hyneses, believing they are exceptionally smart, kind, creative, and so on. In their early school days, they sang with their classmates, “I believe I can fly.” The past few days were a reminder that they can fly. The oldest two are flying.

On Thursday evening, my youngest daughter and I went to the opening for “Big Art: Tiny House” in Concord, MA. Miranda is building a tiny house as a public art project to help reconnect art to daily. Miranda did fantastic explaining her ideas and afterwards many artists made comments to me about how proud I must be to be Miranda’s father. I am. Her talk deserves a blog post (or more) of its own and I hope to get to that later.

On Friday morning, I received a Facebook message from my eldest daughter in Japan. She has been accepted into a graduate program in modern Japanese women's history in the Global Studies Department at Doshisha University in Kyoto. She is receiving a full scholarship. Years ago she spoke about going to graduate school in Japan. She’s a Hynes. She can do it. Her studies also deserves a blog post (or more) on its own as well.

Next week, we will celebrate Fiona’s birthday. She is still young, so we don’t know what her great successes will be but we are already seeing signs.

Yet this also gets issues of privilege and internalized racism. My daughters have a great privilege of growing up believing they are going to do great things. They have a great privilege of being surrounded by people believing the same thing. All children should grow up this way. Unfortunately, too many kids grow up believing they are trouble, that they are not loved. Too many kids grow up having those around them believing that they are trouble.

As I think of this, two quotes come to mind. One is from Virginia Woolf, to the effect that the only thing wrong with privilege is that not everyone has it. The other is about Lake Wobegon, where every kid is above average.

So, I will celebrate successes of my daughters and seek to help others also be successful.

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Frederick Buechner writes,

“In the year that King Uzziah died, or in the year that John F. Kennedy died, or in the year that somebody you loved died” in his post about vocation based on Isaiah 6:1-9

I’ve been thinking about this, mostly in terms of “Here I am; Send me”. I struggle with the response of “Go”, seeking discernment about where I should go, how I should go, and I overlook the first part.

I write this as a friend sits by her mother’s bedside during the final moments of her mother’s life. I write this on the birthday of a friend that died a couple years ago. I write this as Hurricane Joaquin approaches, remembering the death of my mother a few years ago during Hurricane Sandy. I write this thinking about a friend whose son died in the first moments of life.

I write this as I read the news about the latest shooting, this time in Oregon. I think of Sandy Hook, Charleston, and … The list is too long. I think of Trayvon, Michael, Sandy, the list is too long.

Last night, I attended an opening for one of my daughters’ art project. It was great and I want to write more about it soon. This morning I received great news from another one of my daughters. I also want to write more about this soon.

How is it that all of this comes up in my Facebook timeline, including the link to Buechner as a sponsored post? How does this all fit together?

Buechner ends his post with “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.”

I must respond like Isaiah. “Here I am; Send Me”.

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