Donner und Blitzen

When my sister and I were in Kentucky, she kept demanding that she get to see a thunderstorm before we left. Not wanting to disappoint her, nature obliged. In spades. Instead of a thunderstorm, we got Noah-like rains as we drove down to Nashville. It was really a bad scene, with absolutely no visibility and constant radio warnings of the current location of the storm and the direction it was heading. Unsure of what to do, we pulled off the freeway and waited it out. We felt much better when, after pulling off, we say even locals had the same idea. It passed relatively quickly and we got on our way.

Last night, here in Elyria, OH, there was another thunderstorm. I had not, however, called it down from the heavens like she had done. Instead, I was fitfully sleeping in my hotel room when a long, bellowing rumble of thunder woke me up at 1:00am. This is bad, especially considering I had finally coaxed myself to sleep a half hour previously. The storm was not nearly as drenching as the one in Kentucky (at least it didn't seem so from my room), but it was loud. Mercy, was it ever loud.

This post, then, is to say this: Thunderstorms, you're on strike two. Keep your nose clean or else you're out. For good.

looking backward, looking forward

I am currently one week either direction from pretty serious milestones in my life. Last Tuesday, I hit the twenty year mark as an official member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's strange for me to think about how little I remember of that actual day. Though, I remember much more about that day than I do about the day four years later when I was ordained to the Priesthood. These events didn't really stick in my brain. I'm not sure what that says about me. I mean, part of it is just that I don't have a particularly strong memory for personal events. But that's not entirely true. I remember quite well my ninth birthday party, or the birthday where I was given two fish as a present by my older sisters (though I could not, in fact, tell you which birthday it was).

My life has not passed away as it were unto me a dream, but I am a lot hazy about details. Things get better later on. I remember quite well being ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. I came home the night before from my summer at Berkeley with blue hair. My bishop practically demanded that I dye it out before standing up to be voted on by the congregation, something that still bothers me. I also remember other spiritual events quite well. A random evening reading the Book of Mormon, my patriarchal blessing, a particularly powerful Sunday School lesson. It's these events, the minor ones, the ones that we don't mark with a family meal or a lot of hubbub that have most knit me into being a Mormon. Which is not to say that 20 years ago, my dunking and confirmation had no impact, just that I'm alright with not remembering the details. God was in those details. That's all that matters.

My other milestone, the one coming up in a week, is one I'm not really looking forward to. Next Tuesday, my little Honda Civic and I will get on I-80 East and head out of Utah. About four days later, we will (god-willing) roll into Syracuse, my home for at least the next two years.

When I was applying for grad schools, all the possibilities seemed so shiny and alluring. Then, I got some rejections, so that shut down some choices. Then, some acceptances. I made a decision largely based on financial pressures, and am still unsure if it was the right one. Regret, even preemptive regret, is a constant for me. I'm not sure about moving 2,000 miles away. I'm not sure that I'll survive those winters, with their 120 inches of snow. I'm not sure I'll be able to hack the whole grad school thing. I'm not sure I'll even still like studying religion when I start doing it for realsies. I am sure it'll be hard meeting new people. I am sure I'll be stressed about money. I am sure that new places means the chance for new problems. I am sure that I'm going to miss so, so much about Utah. My family. My friends. My jobs. The comfortable familiarity of the roads and the restaurants and the rocky horizons.

I don't doubt that I'll survive. That it's not the worst decision in the world. But, man, it's going to be hard to drive away in a week. Here's hoping the drive goes well and the future better. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go back to silently panicking about my lack of preparation.