God Save the Hymn

During our worship services, in between speakers, we sometimes have an intermediate hymn–or rest hymn as they’re sometimes called, so that we don’t feel too restless, because listening to people talk for 40 minutes is a long time. So yeah, we sing a hymn in the middle to break it up a bit.

Today the rest hymn was “My Country, ’tis of Thee.” I get that last week was the Fourth of July, and it’s totally fine to keep celebrating our country.

But for some weird reason the congregation stood up to sing this hymn. Which isn’t “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It’s the exact tune of England’s anthem, “God Save the Queen.”

I don’t know, maybe we have English nationals in the congregation? Which might explain the seeming random standing. But wouldn’t we be singing the words to “God Save the Queen” and not “My Country, ’tis of Thee”?

I was confused.

Anyway, there are four verses to this American rip-off hymn. At the end of the third verse Reilly whispered that he was stepping out to use the bathroom. So I sat down with Z while everyone else stood up and sang.


Man, This Day

This time last year I was in Australia. Becky, Karl and I spent the weekend in the Blue Mountains (after Karl voted in the Prime Minister election), then I spent the last four days of my visit doing really low-key things, like watching wonderful Australian television and having really nice dinners. My prospective boss and I exchanged a couple emails about scheduling an interview for the Friday before school starts, and my flight would arrive at Salt Lake City from Los Angeles Thursday close to midnight. If I remember correctly, we arranged an afternoon interview so that I could sleep a little. I don’t remember sleeping that much. Which is nothing new.

The rest is a bit blurry. I don’t remember buying books or other supplies; and I don’t really remember the first week of school. I totally blame jetlag.

Today feels crowded. Students are back to take over their campus. They look so . . . I shouldn’t say. I like an empty campus. I like solitude. I like small groups.

I’m just cranky. Campus is crowded and I don’t feel like sharing it. Only a week left before classes start, and I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed, but that’s the way it goes every time. I’m just going to keep enjoying the quiet walks in the morning to work. I’m going to keep watching people and wondering what their stories are. I’m going to keep being a good friend. I’m going to keep listening and trying as hard as I can to understand.

I’m going to keep my peace.

It was a busy weekend

and I’m not all that sure it even happened.

Of course it did; there’s too much proof.

It just happened quickly, and I need more time.

I sought out a few of you to vent or catch up or what not.

Thanks for being around.

If you weren’t around, it happens.

Can’t argue with that.

Just like this past weekend.

Catch you next time.

Something Else

The space gets less blank as I type, but it’s like the words are blank, too.
I could sit and speculate instead of focusing my anxiety.
I could wait for it to dissipate.
It’s nothing; these words are nothing.
You’re staring at empty whiteness, trying to discern, extract, fabricate meaning
Like it’s modern art.

A secret code, but there’s nothing secret about it.  Just a void.
But I see something, and not because I make it appear.
It’s there. Words sinking into an abyss, chasing gravity.
Do I follow? Do I wait?
Will I end up wishing you would come back when you’ve been right beside me all along?

Writing Right Now Will Probably Make Me Late for Work

So, I’ve tried visualizing it.

What’s blurry is the part where I give my consent to my mom’s cousin, whose brother happened to run into my biological father. In the Philippines. Right place at the right time. Probability baffles.

What’s a little more clear is me sitting somewhere with him, and we’re talking. I don’t know where we decide to meet. In my mind it looks like a counter in a public place. Is it in the United States? Is it in the Philippines? Would he be willing to travel? Do I need to continue sitting on my hands waiting for the government to let me know when I can swear in as a US citizen so I can apply for a passport so I can travel?

Who are my half-brothers and sisters?

How long has he been looking for me?

How often did I cross his mind these last 32 years?

I imagine him being slightly tortured. He knew I existed all this time, but I had no idea of him until I was about 20 years old.

If I had known longer, would I have gone looking for him? He’s been a faint blip on my radar, but like I said, the possibility of meeting had never really occurred to me. It wasn’t possible. It wasn’t reality.  Plus, I already have a Dad.

I have this full life, halfway around the world, with friends and career and family. I could strive for more and probably will, but this is probably the happiest I’ve ever been.

That doesn’t explain the sudden tears from two days ago. I still don’t understand it. Usually I can identify emotions. This one’s new, or the reason behind it is one I haven’t experienced. Of course. Maybe I’ve deliberately or subconsciously set this part of my life aside, I haven’t processed it the way I should. So maybe that’s why I’m confused.


Confused? Well, yeah, I guess. This loose end is now more prominent, more present, more immediate, and I have to address it. It didn’t seem to need closure, but now it is an issue I understand needs a resolution. That’s all I understand. I understand enough to be redundant, that’s how confused I am. At least I understand that.

Is he religious?

What are his sensibilities? his tendencies? Do we have similar gestures? facial expressions? idiosyncrasies?

I guess I’m also curious. But the stronger emotion wins here. It makes everthing blurry.

Maybe there’s something he needs to say to me. And maybe it’s something I need to hear.

I wish this made sense.