The Long Haul

The route from Cohasset to Manchester

My car limped into Manchester at 4:02am overflowing with almost all my worldly goods. I had left Chicago a mere 18 hours before. The wheel wells hovered just above the tires, maxing out the exhausted struts. My tailpipe had broken seven hours earlier in upstate New York causing my car to emit a deafening roar. The muffler made it all the way to Massachusetts before it fell off. I was glad when the journey was over.

Here are the vital stats from my trip: Continue reading

Grandma’s House

Ryan, Jacque, Me, Dad, Grandma, Mom, Angie

In my grandma’s last week, she called each of her children in to say goodbye to them individually. When she had talked to each of them, she called my mom in again with a special message for my sister. She said, “Tell Angie that I’ll be waiting to dance with her in heaven.”

Grandma graduated to heaven on Friday afternoon. She was worn out and ready to go. By God’s grace her mind remained clear and she was without pain right up until the end.

When I was worshipping in church this Sunday, I imagined my grandma standing in the presence of Christ singing and maybe even dancing. It was a beautiful vision.

At the end of my senior year of college I preached a sermon from Romans 8 where Paul says that the pain of this life is not worth comparing to the glory of the next. In that sermon I talked about my favorite place in the world: grandma’s house. The video below includes that story and is a tribute to the best grandma that ever lived.

Lord Willing

Grandma

My grandma grew up in Iowa. She had a peculiar way of saying certain things. For example, when she answered the phone she would say, “yell –o” instead of “hello.” She said “pie-anna” instead of “piano” and “warsh” instead of “wash.” These are things that made grandma unique and just one of the many reasons that she was the greatest grandma in the world.

For as long as I can remember, every time my grandma would say goodnight, she would say, “See you in the mornin’, Lord willin’.” I heard her say it so many times that I started to pick up the habit. It’s probably one of my better habits. Continue reading

Lord Bless You and Keep You

Nick really loves his My Little Pony Cake

The research students had a picnic two weeks ago to say goodbye to our friend Dr. Nicholas Gatzke who moved back to Minnesota. He’s been by far my most valuable friend in the five months that I’ve spent here. I bought him a My Little Pony Cake for £.60 to show him how much I’ve appreciated all that he’s done for me.

I know that I’m going to see Nick again (we have a standing appointment to play golf when I return to the States) but I’ve recently said goodbye to others that I’m pretty sure I will never see again. It’s been a good opportunity to reflect on the games that we play when we try to avoid painful or awkward situations. Being a professional student, I see it every spring when students prepare to leave campus for the summer or, for some of them, for life. To be honest, I play the game myself.

There’s really just one rule to this game: Continue reading

Adventures in May

an intercontinental map of Eric's travel in the month of May

I went back to the States at the end of April so that I could stand in Dave Salsedo’s wedding. My first destination was Minnesota where I spent some time with friends and family.

When I arrived in Cohasset, about half of the ice on my parents’ lake had melted, leaving a hundred yards of open water between the shore and the ice. However, there was still one large chunk of ice floating by the dock. We eyed the iceberg for a day and made some jokes about taking it for a ride.

After hitting some golf balls onto the ice in the center of the lake, we decided to check out the iceberg. After some thorough testing (hitting it with a large stick and throwing a rock on it) we determined that it was safe for boarding. We put on lifejackets, threw some navigational instruments onto the berg, and then jumped on. Continue reading

Finding the Way

I am navigationally challenged. It’s so bad that I sometimes still get lost in my hometown. Whenever I move to a new place, I spend hours trying to find my way around. Anytime that I need to make a decision about which way to turn, I inevitably choose the wrong way. No matter how hard I think about it or how firmly I believe that I am going the right way, I am usually wrong.

The only way I choose correctly is when something breaks down in my logic. One time I went for a run in a massive park in Madrid. When I realized that it was time to start going back to the apartment I was staying in, I didn’t know what side of the park I was on. I had seen several maps of the area so I began to picture them in my head. Continue reading

Back Home

After three flights, seven train journeys, and numerous tense Moroccan taxi rides, I returned home from my trip to Spain and Africa this week. I went for a run the morning after I returned and there was a group of cyclists coming from the other direction. As our paths crossed the rider at the rear of the group looked at me and said, “Cheers.” Two months ago I would have find that a strange way to greet someone but this time it seemed completely normal. After a week and a half of greeting people with “Hola” and “Salam Alaykum,” having someone greet me with “cheers” made me feel at home… or at least as close to home as I’ll be for awhile.

My trip down south was spectacular. I saw, experienced, and learned a lot. The time spent reconnecting with friends was also great.

By way of summary, I’ve put together six statements that I can now make that I couldn’t before the trip. Continue reading