Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Checking Out Pensacola Beach

After our water aerobics class this morning, AdventureMan and I drove out to the beautiful sugar-white sandy beaches of Pensacola to check the damage. The clean up crews have been busy, and the beaches look gorgeous. People are sunning, swimming, and sharing the beaches with the clean up crews.

A big huge electronic sign announces that the road to the beach will be closed all day tomorrow. How can you close a major road? Is this Kuwait, or Qatar, where the will of the Amir says “Make it so!” and it is so? Oh. Wait. President Obama is coming, so the road will be his and his alone to go out to the beaches and see what we saw today.

The huge, gigantic glob of oil has only sent tendrils, so far, to the pristine white beaches, but doom impends as storms and winds blow the thick oily sludge toward the shores. God willing, President Obama will find a way to encourage British Petroleum to work with a little more conviction and energy to find a long term solution to this unthinkable TWO MONTHS and hundreds of thousands of gallons spewing into the Gulf.

June 14, 2010 Posted by | Beauty, Community, Cultural, Environment, ExPat Life, Florida, Health Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Leadership, Pensacola, Qatar | 8 Comments

Breath of Fresh Air at Christ’s Church, Pensacola

AdventureMan and I slid into our seats just as the bell started ringing, and looked at one another in concern – “Does it feel hot in here to you?” “Yep.”

It was only eight in the morning, but the church was breathless.

It made me smile, remembering our church in Tunisia, St. George’s, where there was no air conditioning, only fans – when the electricity was working. St. George’s is the oldest Anglican Church in Africa, and is located in the large Tunis souk. Summers were long and hot, and many a Sunday I had to gather my squirming two-year-old and take him out to the garden for a stern talking-to. It was a wonderful, diverse church, and we loved our time there – breathless or not.

And we got through the service, heat and all, it wasn’t that bad.

The sermon was really good. Father Neal was talking about Jesus, invited to a banquet, having his feet washed by the tears of Mary Magdelen, and dried with her hair.

As an aside, one of the things I love about Jesus was his kindness to women, including them when he talked, healing their hurts, defending them against stoning – in a culture not unlike that in which we have been living, where women are contracted into marriage, “protected” by laws which often deprive them of independence and choices, and living lives greatly separate from men. Jesus spoke to women, and he spoke to their hearts. He included them among his followers and supporters. In the context of his society, his behavior was radical and challenging to the status quo.

Father Neal totally got that. He talked about the scandalous sensuality of Mary’s act, washing Jesus feet and then drying them with her long hair. He talked about hair, traditionally covered in that part of the world, being a woman’s glory, and only privately displayed among family and to husband. He talked about her remorse, and her humility, and that through her loving act, her spirit was cleansed and her sins forgiven. And he talked about the customs and traditions of hospitality, and the shock of Jesus criticizing his host – who was criticizing him – for his lack of welcome, and signs of hospitality to an honored guest.

His sermon was a breath of fresh air in a very warm church. We held on to every word.

Later in the day, old friends came for dinner, and our son and his wife and our grandson. Cannot imagine a more wonderful day. 🙂

June 14, 2010 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Spiritual, Weather | Leave a comment