I Gave You Up For Lent

I normally take Thursdays off. I don’t know why, but that just seems to be a good night to hand and relax and not write. So, this past Thursday night, I did just that: not write.

Friday night, the girls had more cookie sellin’, this time at a Knights of Columbus fish fry. Jenni had a migraine, so I covered the parental part and took the girls up there. 90 minutes later, hungry and smelling of fried fish, we returned home for family movie night. Of course, I had to make dinner first, so the movie didn’t really even start until 8:30 or so. So sometime after 10, I was faced with the decision: blog as I should, or blow it off and come back the next night.

I blew it off.

Saturday: cookie sales in the morning (Jenni took them to the local Rainbow Foods). Then off to the Mall of America so the kids could play and cavort with their cousins in the huge indoor amusement park. Unbeknownst to us, however, was the fact that Saturday was “Come to the Mall of America, oh entire population of North Dakota, South Dakota, and that corner of Wyoming that only has six inhabitants” day. Hence, there was no parking readily available, hence we parked in a park and ride lot for the light rail and took the train the six blocks or so to the mall. Everyone had a good time (okay, I did get a bit owly and channeled several of my grumpier and morose ancestors for much of the afternoon and evening), but we didn’t get home until after 7:30. Dinner came after, then we realized the loss of an hour overnight, so bedtime was summarily moved up. Blogging became a task pushed far from my mind.

Then Sunday. Ah, Sunday. Day of rest and relaxation and maybe a movie on my computer, some meaningless surfing and just…Oh wait…

Somehow we all agreed to give up technology–our much beloved technology–on Sundays for Lent. Which is all fine and good for Jenni, who has books to read either for pleasure or for school anyway, and for the kids, all of whom have vast expanses of toys not requiring power. I, however, have built up my life to either completely encompass, or be encompassed by my technology. So I had to think of things to do besides laundry to keep me occupied for the day.

Board games with the kids were fine diversions, but you don’t want to play games all day. So I cooked: brownies, pumpkin muffins, and, yes, sadly perhaps, a turkey dinner. By the end of the day–or 10 p.m., as it turned out, after six loads of laundry, the time change, and the tryptophan, I was beat, and I headed to bed, obviously not blogging so as not to render my Lenten promise of a silicon-based apparatus free day short-lived.

So here it is Monday, and I find myself again apologizing, this time for being away for four days. Maybe I’ll plan this week out a little bit better.

It’s depressing, though, to think of all that has happened in that short time, even just outside of my little life: top of which is obviously the earthquake and even more devastating tsunami in Japan.

Disasters like this are difficult things: you can’t help watching them and absorbing the pictures and stories online about the scene, the problems, the death and destruction; but at the same time, it’s so difficult to watch. I found myself deeply disturbed today when hearing about an entire village completely wiped off the map: Saito, a town of about 250 people and 70 or so houses, which, up until last week, could at least be pinpointed on a map. And today, there is nothing but rubble, a few streets, and many missing inhabitants.

I saw more video of the water running into towns and cities, just engulfing everything in its path. And suddenly it hit me: what if that were my home? What if that were my city? What if those who were missing my wife and kids? I’m certain that it was no mere coincidence that the very next picture I saw was of a man reduced to a heap outside of a makeshift morgue, having just discovered that his wife and kids were victims of the disaster.

I’ve said it before: nothing in life is fair, and I really need to keep remembering that. I’ve done everything I can to make sure that I will spend time with my family for many days and years to come, but there’s no promise. And meanwhile, so far away from us, there are so many who know that feeling that all of us work to avoid.

I really did miss you all over the weekend, and even though most of you don’t see me on a daily basis, I still would miss you all if we found ourselves in such a horrible disaster. So extra hugs all around, at least where they wouldn’t be awkward. Thanks for checking in here every day. It really does mean a lot.

See you tomorrow.

I promise, or at least as much as I can.