Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Late Summer Ponderings

It's been a busy, yet fulfilling, August. For efficiency's sake, I'll just provide some barebone narrative of the few pictures I did snap over the past month, and then finish off with some of my reflections on the month.

Joo and I arrived back from Korea just in time to head out to Harrisonburg, VA for a friend's wedding (Ben Shank). We had the good fortune of staying with Ben and Lori and the girls which seems to be an annual event.

Everyone was healthy and looking good, except for maybe the dog who was a tad bit ugly if we're to be honest.

Claire had grown quite a bit, even when her new hairstyle was subtracted from her overall height.

Joo seems to be quite the child magnet when we go places these days...

Ben's wedding was held out at Natural Chimney - a beautiful place out in the Shenandoah Valley countryside. The skies were brooding overhead, infusing a nervous energy through the wedding party and guests.

Right before the wedding, it started to rain, so we all gathered under the willows for a moment or two.
But, then it stopped for awhile and the wedding was underway.

As soon as Ben and Sarah kissed to seal the deal, we headed up to a decorated barn, just before the skies opened to release a thunderous downpour. This event was made even more special when Sarah's father told the story of how they had been missionaries in Botswana many years ago. After several years of drought without a drop of rain, the country was falling apart, and then, minutes after Sarah was born, the rains came. Thus, Sarah was given a name in Swahili which means, "She brings the rain."

The food at the reception was catered in from four international restaurants in the area - a delicious spread from Ethiopia, Thailand, a Middle Eastern country which I can't recall, and India.

Back at the Trost homestead, Joo spent some time with her fan club.

Grandma was getting ready to move into a different section of the retirement home, so her children all gathered for an afternoon.

When we got back from Virginia, Joo was spending a lot of time watching videos of our nephew on youtube and I realized that he would be a totally different person by the next time we could make it out to Korea (Jusu and SangOk were preparing to move back to Korea). I encouraged her to fly out to California to spend a few weeks together while I did a flurry of summertime research. Before she left though, we did have a visit from Drew and Laura and Mom and Dad...

As well as a short drop-in by Matt and Crystal and the kids...

Joo flew the coup and I helped Drew and Laura with some house-hunting...

One of the prospective spots would land them a short drive from this gorgeous lake where we had a picnic one afternoon.

So... reflections on the summer... it was odd to be away from Joo for over half of the summer after being together almost every day since we started dating. Just as the smell of a freshly baked apple pie might summon up memories of childhood (no clue why I randomly picked that example - we didn't even eat that much pie growing up)... being alone in the house summoned up my old mind trails from my years of singlehood before I met Joo. That included many of my old mental wrestling matches with my self and with God. It also included a good dose of life-reflection which, for the first time in 10 years, had me attempting to examine connections between my personal and professional lives. Up until now, the two have remained fairly distinct.

While the research I've done was on topics that I felt were interesting, it did feel like more of a game than something with potential to impact society. Add to that the fact that I had long given up on trying to impact society, in favor of simply radiating love and kindness in my immediate social circles. So, some of the research I'm involved with now is causing me to re-evaluate that approach to life... do I hope to change society at all through my career? If so, how do I want to impact it? The most valuable lessons I've learned over my past 10 years of world travel and rich high-kairego experiences are how to Listen, to Tolerate, to Mediate, to Outwait, to Detach, to Cleanse myself of Want... all beautiful and powerful lessons - but they seem to run counter to an ambitious professional goal like Impacting Change which has some strong positive connotations like with Social Justice, but conjures up mostly negative images of Judgment, Conflict, Taking a side, Opinionation, Egocentrism, etc.

I have plenty of time to explore these issues during the doctoral program, but now that I'm transitioning from mathematics to mathematics education, it's clear that I'm going to have to start Thinking more.

1 comment:

  1. Daniel - just wanted you to know I read your latest post. Glad to have been able to see your home on our way through Athens this summer. It was just like old times, hanging out and finding something engaging to do together... Those little fish were a hit with the kids! Tell Joo we will try to come next time when she's home too. :-) One word of reflection on your reflections - I've tried to have an impact on the world through my local relationships and connections over the years. I can have a more global impact through purchasing choices I make, and through giving to orgs like MCC. So far, I've been most satisfied with the local aspect of involvement and relationships. That seems to be where we are most able to have positive influence and interaction. Few of us can reach beyond the local to have significant impact, and I commend anyone who is able to have a positive impact locally, let alone beyond it. :-) Teaching mathematics is something I could see you using as an inroad to students, helping them to see how they might reach beyond the local, and you would, thereby, as well. ;-)