Tuesday, August 31, 2004

1 CorinthiansChapter 2
10 this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
11 Among human beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
13 And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.
14 Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually.
15 The spiritual person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment 3 by anyone.
16 For "who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

PsalmsChapter 145
7 They publish the renown of your abounding goodness and joyfully sing of your justice.
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love.
9 The LORD is good to all, compassionate to every creature.
10 All your works give you thanks, O LORD and your faithful bless you.
11 They speak of the glory of your reign and tell of your great works,
12 Making known to all your power, the glorious splendor of your rule.
13 Your reign is a reign for all ages, your dominion for all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work

LukeChapter 4
31 Jesus then went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath,
32 and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority.
33 In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice,
34 "Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"
35 Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.
36 They were all amazed and said to one another, "What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."
37 And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

Monday, August 30, 2004

1 CorinthiansChapter 2
1 When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
4 and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom, 3 but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
5 so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

PsalmsChapter 119
97 How I love your teaching, Lord! I study it all day long.
98 Your command makes me wiser than my foes, for it is always with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, because I ponder your decrees.
100 I have more insight than my elders, because I observe your precepts.
101 I keep my steps from every evil path, that I may obey your word.
102 From your edicts I do not turn, for you have taught them to me.

LukeChapter 4
16 He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom 2 into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read
17 and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
19 and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."
20 Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
21 He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
22 And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?"
23 He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb, 'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'"
24 And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
25 Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
26 It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
27 Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
28 When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.
29 They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
30 But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

I am a little confused. The first reading says I don't come to persuade you with words but by actions and then Jesus reads the words but they want Him to use actions to prove Himself and He doesn't. When I read the first reading I was thinking about being involved in a retreat and how hard it is to leave it all in God's hand. I know I probable talk a lot about retreats. Not really sure why. I guess leaving all of our life in God's hand is hard. I guess I find it easy to relate because on a retreat we are trying to spread Jesus and it seems by doing less thinking on the retreat, more is accomplished. And by doing less I mean by letting God do more.
But what got me really thinking is the Gospel. What if, and I don't believe this for a second, but what if David Kuresh, and I don't think I spelled that right, was who he said he was. And I don't know exactly who he said he was, but some kind of prophet. Let's take it further. What if he said he was Jesus coming back. None of us believe him, of cource, and at Waco we attack and kill him and his followers. But Jesus tells us that the only place He is not accepted is His home. Would we believe Jesus if He did come back. I think the first thing I would say is, "If you are Jesus then answer some questions or heal somebody." How would you know otherwise. Because He said He was. Obviously that isn't enough for us or else we would believe anyone that said they were Jesus. If Jesus wouldn't do signs to prove He was who He said He was, what made people believe. Obviously many didn't because they killed Him, but now we all say we believe. What would He do to reveal Him self in a second coming, if there was anything like that. It makes me wonder where I would fit in if I had been alive 2000 years ago.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

SirachChapter 3
17 My son, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
18 Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.
20 What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not.
28 The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the wise man's joy.
29 Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.

PsalmsChapter 68
3 The wind will disperse them like smoke; as wax is melted by fire, so the wicked will perish before God.
4 Then the just will be glad; they will rejoice before God; they will celebrate with great joy.
5 Sing to God, praise the divine name; exalt the rider of the clouds. Rejoice before this God whose name is the LORD.
6 Father of the fatherless, defender of widows-- this is the God whose abode is holy,
9 The earth quaked, the heavens shook, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.
10 You claimed a land as your own, O God;

HebrewsChapter 12
18 You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm
19 and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them,
22 No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering,
23 and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect,
24 and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

LukeChapter 14
1 On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.
7 He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
8 "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
9 and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, 'Give your place to this man,' and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.
10 Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, 'My friend, move up to a higher position.' Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
12 Then he said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
14 blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Friday, August 27, 2004

1 CorinthiansChapter 1
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
18 The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside."
20 Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

PsalmsChapter 33
1 Rejoice, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting.
2 Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.
4 For the LORD'S word is true; all his works are trustworthy.
5 The LORD loves justice and right and fills the earth with goodness.
10 The LORD foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples.
11 But the plan of the LORD stands forever, wise designs through all generations.

MatthewChapter 25
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
3 The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them,
4 but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
5 Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
7 Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
9 But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.'
10 While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked.
11 Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!'
12 But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.'
13 Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The first reading talks about finding strength in the place where you least expect it. To those who did not believe, the crucifixtion looks weak and a defeated. But that is where we look to find strength. I find that when I am in church and maybe become distracted or bored, the thing that always brings me back is the crucifix. I can concentrate on that and begin to focus again. I think that is a hard thing to do, looking for strength in our weaknesses. I think first we have to admit we are weak. I learn a lot about that while being in charge of retreats. I found out that I had a weakness of needing to do things and not trusting people. Now that I think about it, I don't think I found strength in my weakness but overcoming it. I finally learned to allow people to help and it became more enjoyable. But I don't think I found strength in my weakness. Now I can't seem to wrap my head around that idea.
I enjoy the Psalm. His works are trustworthy and He foils the nations. Trusting that no matter what happens, it is all for His plan and for some higher purpose. Hard to do but really uplifting when you do it and actually see things happening around you completly in His hands.
The footnotes after the Gospel say that lamp and oil are good deeds and the wise do good deeds while the foolish do not. I have never heard that interpretaion before. I am not really satisfied that it fits. I am sensing the theme of not being caught with your guard down. But I have talked enough about death. Maybe this time, think about keeping your guard up, not for the end, but for oppurtunities to do good deeds and for times when you may be slipping. Always looking for times when you can help another or stopping yourself from hurting another. I know we all fail at one time or another, but I guess the more are guard is up and we are aware of what is happening around us, the more likely we are to not slip and keep on track.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

1 CorinthiansChapter 1
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 to the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
5 that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge,
6 as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus (Christ).
9 God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

PsalmsChapter 145
1 Praise. Of David. I will extol you, my God and king; I will bless your name forever.
2 Every day I will bless you; I will praise your name forever.
3 Great is the LORD and worthy of high praise; God's grandeur is beyond understanding.
4 One generation praises your deeds to the next and proclaims your mighty works.
5 They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory, tell of your wonderful deeds.
6 They speak of your fearsome power and attest to your great deeds.

MatthewChapter 24
42 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
43 Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.
44 So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
45 "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
46 Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
47 Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is long delayed,'
49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards,
50 the servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
51 and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

I always hear this reading annd people talking about the end of all time adn being ready for that. I have always heard this and thought about death. You never know when your time will come. I often think about this when I am driving. It would not take but the blink of an eye for another of the many drivers to lose control or for me to not pay attention and it is all over. Today, I was turned off the coffee and went back to bed and almost fell forward on my face. I live by myself, and if something happened that was serious, it might become something more serious because no one is there. You just never know. Being ready to die is something that most people don't like to talk about. I think we have to accept that we can die at anytime. I don't really think we can totally accept it. But I think we can't really live if don't try. But now that I write that I wonder about that line you cross into being reckless with your life. But I will leave that for another day. I am going to but some meditations I find on the internet in the comments section. Feel free to talk about them, the readings, my comments, or anything at all.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

2 Thessalonian 3: 6 - 10, 16 - 18
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you,
8 we did not eat any one's bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you.
9 It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate.
10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat.
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all.
17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Psalm 128:1-5
1 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5 The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!

Matthew 23:27-32
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like white washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31 Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.

If we were alive in the 1860's would we have fought against slavery. If we were alive in the 1960's would be have been fighting for civil rights or equality in the genders. This seems to be what Jesus is telling us about. Times change. We weren't round back then, so can we really judge them. Can we really say we are so much better than the people that did things we think are so wrong now. I don't think we struggle enough with this question. If you know anything about history, you realize that the masses usually don't know what is really going on. For the most part the masses are usually uneducated and blind to what is actually happening in the world. How many Germans knew about the holacost. You would probable be surprised. Most Germans probable did not like the Jews and discriminated against them, but the actual extermination was not common knowledge. The bad things a country does are not usually the fault of the common citizens. Know that I say that, I think that is the case most the time. But not in our country. If you have a king or a dictator, the everyday person has absolutly nothing to feel bad about when the ruler decides to do something wrong. In our country, we elect our leaders. If they do something wrong, we all must bare a share of the responsibility. Now I don't know where I am going. I guess what I got from the Gospel is not to judge actions taken by those in the past because we do not understand them or their situation. I guess you can say the same for people living anywhere else outside the United States. But really can't you say the same about the person living across the street or across the hall.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Revelation 21: 9 - 14
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."
10 And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed;
13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Psalms 145: 10 - 13, 17 - 18
10 All thy works shall give thanks to thee, O LORD, and all thy saints shall bless thee!
11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and tell of thy power,
12 to make known to the sons of men thy mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of thy kingdom.
13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
17 The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

John 1: 45 - 51
45 Philip found Nathan'a-el, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
46 Nathan'a-el said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
47 Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
48 Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
49 Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
50 Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."
51 And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

When Phillip says come and see, it reminds me of people talking about trying to get someone on a TEC or going to church at all. Although, Phillip seems to be a lot smarter than most of us. Instead of persisting in trying to tell Nathanael about Jesus, he takes him there. I see this a lot at the end of a TEC weekend when people say, "I didn't really want to come but am glad I did". They were not preached to about Jesus, but taken there and shown. I think we are called to act out our faith and not preach it so much.

Monday, August 23, 2004

2 ThessaloniansChapter 1
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 grace to you and peace from God (our) Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We ought to thank God always for you, brothers, as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.
4 Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions you endure.
5 This is evidence of the just judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are suffering.
11 To this end, we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith,
12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

PsalmsChapter 96
1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; announce his salvation day after day.
3 Tell God's glory among the nations; among all peoples, God's marvelous deeds.
4 For great is the LORD and highly to be praised, to be feared above all gods.
5 For the gods of the nations all do nothing, but the LORD made the heavens.

MatthewChapter 23
13 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.
14 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. Because of this, you will receive a very severe condemnation."
15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.
16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.'
17 Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred?
18 And you say, 'If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.'
19 You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
20 One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;
21 one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it;
22 one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.

When I read that gospel, all I could think of is how many different Christian sects there are. Of all the different ones, how many do you think are right or even close for that matter. Since they all seem to know the Bible by heart, do they ever read these words and get worried. So we read these words and get worried. Sometimes I wonder, because I know I am not the smartest person ever, but even the smartest people couldn't solve these mysteries. In you elieve in your heart that you are right, and try to tell others, what happens if you are wrong. I believe Catholics are right. Believe me, I have had many doubts and continue to have them sometimes, but I have been reassured and convinced into a stronger faith. So I worry about those that are not Catholic. But I see non-Catholics doing good things in the name of their religion and you have to think that they are pleacing God. This reading just gove me chills because it talked about going out and teaching and being wrong and that those you bring to your ideas will be punished twice as much. It makes you wondered who is right and makes you hope it is you.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

IsaiahChapter 66
18 I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.
19 I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
20 They shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
21 Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

PsalmsChapter 117
1 Praise the LORD, all you nations! Give glory, all you peoples!
2 The LORD'S love for us is strong; the LORD is faithful forever. Hallelujah!

HebrewsChapter 12
5 You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: "My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him;
6 for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges."
7 Endure your trials as "discipline"; God treats you as sons. For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline?
11 At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.
12 So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
13 Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.

LukeChapter 13
22 He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
23 Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them,
24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
25 After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.'
26 And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.'
27 Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where (you) are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!'
28 And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.
29 And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
30 For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."

I am going to try something new since I have run out of journal. The daily readings are a good way to keep your mind focused when all around you the world goes crazy. I figure the best wasy for me to keep with it will be to put them on here. Then the best way to make sense of it all is to discuss it, so I will write a short reflection, or long, depending on how I feel, and we can all try and learn something. Let me know if you agree or disagree or what came to your mind while you were reading.
The first reading mentions how all the different lands will come together. When this is mentioned so many times in the Bible, how can we always be so divided. Not just by countries or religions, but in anyway you can think of. Sometimes I get so frustrated with the way we only talk about how we are different.
The Second reading talk about accepting God's dicsipline. I don't ever recall hearing our struggles called "disciplines" before. I always thought that the "you caused a sin and so something bad happens" idea was hogwash. I know that we have to accept the struggles we have in life and that they make us stonger andd more appreciative, but I don't like thinking of them as a punishment. What did we do wrong. Unless it was Adam and Eve and we are all being punished for that still. I might have to think about that one more.
In the Gospel, when He says the door will be shut, what does He mean. Will there be a time when we won't have any chance of going to heaven or does He mean after the end of the world.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Thursday, August 14 I should be home, yet I am only to St. Louis. Still, not the slightest apology. She said that I should have left her. I guess that is as close as it will come. I am riding home with her dad and uncle. But I am out of the planes and a quick 2 hour drive and I will be home. This will surpass the Dublin to Rome fiasco. But it will all be behind me soon. “We have done…what we set out to do. I do so much want to go home.” What have I accomplished? Found a love, changed my views, realized the life in front of me will be a tricky road or a slightly easier path if I so choose. To teach or change. I guess they are similar, only different in scale and effect. Who knows what the future will bring. After reading my Winston Churchill book, I find it hard to side with modern appeasers. I guess you have to decide that there is am extremely large difference between Hitler and Hussein. I mean, we sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler. I think Hussein and Stalin are more similar, looks, ideas and all. Makes you wonder that after 9-11 if Hussein would have offered help or handed Bin Laden over, would our government had allied with them to conquer a worse evil. It is strange what bedfellows war makes. But insane dictators are not the most intelligent actors. Stalin trusted Hitler, as did British until almost it was too late, and Bin Laden and Hussein may be in bed together. Would we ever use one of the two to get to the other? We did as much in the Cold War. Has our strategy changed so much? Just crossed the Mississippi and am back in Illinois, although I am not sure how or what way we are going. Jenn’s dad in driving and he knows we are going to Quincy. I am certain I will make it home eventually, just do not know when. But I am in Illinois and in a van, so I will be able to guide anyone to my home if they ask. But I am not going to tell them how now. And there lies my fault. The non confrontational me. The choice I will have to make is when to kill that son of a bitch that holds me back. And Jenn’s uncle sounds like Michelle’s dad which is kind of spooky. We are taking 55 North towards Springfield. I am only assuming at some point we will head west. I have a suspicion we are heading to Verdun and then Quincy, which will not put me home until 3. We will see though. Maybe these Van Fossans will do something shocking and drop me off first. Cannot see the logic in the route though. Another thing. We waited for Jenn’s dad because he had the flight to St. Louis after us. So, we waited and she called people for her ride and then she come with her dad and said, “ready”, which I was not, and took off. I got my bags ready and followed, got outside and saw her way in the distance. But not her dad. I tried to catch her because I did not know what was going on and she got in a car and split. I am wondering whether I had followed the wrong girl, turned around to se her dad standing along the wall. She left, no good bye, no wave, nothing. Left me with her dad, waiting for her uncle. Ands she took my Auschwitz lighter, which is not anything more than a BIC lighter I got at the camp, but a souvenir none the less. Has to be the most self serving person I know. I really do not know how I will act around her when school starts. I do not think I can spend too much time with her without blowing up at one point, and I do not want to even put myself in that position. I guess we will see. Well, I am in Verdun, and just like a reliable Van Fossan, Jenn’s dad wants mom or dad to meet us half way. I do not blame him, but it just bites to have to call them. Mom had lunch waiting for me too. And I am so very hungry. But home is getting closer. It may be coming slow, but coming none the less, which is what really matters. I think I have been drained of the excitement factor. It is more of a need than any sort of want right now. This trip home has given me nothing but bad taste in my moth and I cannot help but long for it to end and wonder why it does not seem to. Nothing will seem to go my way, but I am heading in the right direction at least. We will now see what else could possible happen in the next 2 hours to impede me. The view is definitely different. Not drastically, will accept for the mountains, but different. The trees, there are less and they seem different. More roads, bigger form silos, different style homes. Not the prettiest sight, but home. Corn is still pretty green but the fields look full. Wonder how the weathers been.

Wednesday, August 13 The level of anger I feel right now can not be explained. It is 3:00 and guess what, I am still in Paris. That means I have missed the flight home. Home to my family, friends, and mostly Michelle. Oh, and no fault of my own. That question about whether patience is a bad thing. Yes, it can be. I arrived at the exact spot I was supposed to be at 11:00. Flight leaves at 2:45. Maybe a little extreme, but I wanted to take no chances. And I wait and wait and wait. It is now 2:00 and uses who shows up, Jenn, with her father. We know we are in a hurry, so we get in line and start to check our bags and then they tell us the flight is closed. Closed. You must check your bags 45 minutes before departure. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. It was 2:04 when we found this out. I had waited for Jenn and now I was screwed. Why am I such a fool? Why can’t I be an asshole just once in my life and have left her ass here in Paris. Now I must take another flight, through New York that arrives tomorrow morning in St. Louis. Then, catch a ride with Jenn’s father to home. I will not see Michelle for at least another week probable. And Jenn has showed any remorse, any guilt. Not in the least. God forbid she say sorry, but she does not even act it, let alone say it. My cut was healing quite well, starting to scab. Reopened it in the bustle and now it is bleeding again. We will be overnight in New York with no place to stay. This was supposed to be a great day. Long and all, but great. See Michelle, drive and talk, see home, family. Rest and have fun Thursday. All for not. And why, because Jenn. Not even an excuse has she given me. Not a reason, not a why. She shows up, ruins my whole trip back, and could care less tan anyone. Why did I ever agree to go on this thing? Why, with her. I doubted my ability to go alone and quite re right to do so, but why her. It would have been so easy to leave her. I would feel guilty, but I would be home. Why give such graces to a person who needs them so little, or deserves them less. 2 or three options. Either I am English, Old fashioned, or an alcoholic. All those would get drunk when pissed off. And so I am drunk. So drunk that the steward gave me a free wine because I had bought so much liquor. It makes flying s much more enjoyable and really does make trouble disappear. I do not think I have been “driven to drinking” before today, but I do not know if I have ever been so furious. If they say when you trust someone with small things, those are the people you will also trust with big things. If it works both ways, and I actually do this, I will never lend Jenn the amount of 5 dollars because she is the most unreliable person and self centered person I have ever met. And I go to law school. There may actually be some of the students form USF that could take the cake, but I ever had to rely on them, so I have no room to judge. Jean Gray is definitely coming back. Just got done watching X-Men 2. This time I was not the most hung over I have ever been in my life. She is going to come back pretty powerful too. I wonder how someone is going to finish what Strider started, or who. The problem with 2 is that they did not leave a human enemy. You knew from 1 that Wolverine’s past would be involved in 2, but, although there will be a sequel, this one did not leave too many clues as to the plot. Oh well. Still a bit tipsy. I imagine that before long I am going to start getting really tired. Have not looked at my watch in a while but I imagine we are a least half way through our voyage. I forgot, or did not realize, how much I missed country music. Over the one month without hearing one note at all. The plane has a country station that plays the same songs over and over, but they are pretty good ones, so I will not complain. Oh, by the way, if this overnight in New York is anything like the fiasco of Bath, then I will be up all night watching over sweet Pocketsize while she sleeps. Just more of the patient, gentlemanly sap I am.

Tuesday, August 12 The more I think about it, the more I think Jenn meant 10:30 at night. I am going tin the morning so I guarantee an early start. I hear the Luuve is a lot to see and I do not really know too much about art so I do not know what today is going to be like. After that concert tonight, I will am thinking about walking around Paris at night. I do not know what I will feel like because museums make me tired, we will see. I think it is going to be one of those days. I must have pushed my hand too far because it broke open and started bleeding. Then I got squashed by the doors on the train trying to squeeze through. Everyone on the train thought it was mighty funny. Me too, if it had not been me. Now I am waiting for Jenn and I really do not think she is going to come this morning. I will wait till 11 and then head for the Luuve. Like I said, one of those days. Who would guess that one of the biggest and most famous museums in the world would be closed on a Tuesday? And yet, that is what has happened today. The Luuve is closed. Jenn was not there either. I guess she did mean 10:30 at night. That concert does not start till 8:30 and I cannot see it not lasting 2 hours, so I hope she makes it to the airport. Do not really know what to do with myself now. The Luuve is supposed to be an all day event. What a great way to end the trip. The music was wonderful. It was 10 strings and then for 2 songs, there was a girl that sang. It lasted about 2 hours and when you walked out you were looking at Concord Square at night. I saw that and just decided to end the trip on a high note and not chance walking around. I already realize that I have to come back sometime and I do not think Paris will ever change. I almost forgot to mention that yesterday I ate at McDonald’s. I did not want to, but I realized I had to get a “Royal with Cheese”.

Monday, August 11 Well, I am not on a train and today is the last day my pass will work, so I guess no more trains for me. The hand I to big of a gash to close, so I do not know how it will heal. It is going to be a pretty ugly scar, I imagine. Just walking around Paris. I wish I had more time here. There is so much to see that you could not do it in a lifetime. The people are not as bad as some made it out to be, although when you look at those who told me, they were probable being assholes first. Bought Lucy a sweatshirt and mug, could not think of anything better. So that is everyone I needed something for. I have a lot more for some than others, so I might just keep some things, but probable not. Where I am right now is actually pretty quite. It is even hot in the shade because it is such a stale heat, although there is more of a breeze today. Somebody important just went by because there was 1 motorcycle, 2 cars, and 3 vans all with their lights going in a caravan away from the capitol. I think I did pretty well today. Spent a lot of money on other people, but it will be saved when Christmas comes. Who and I kidding, I will spend the same amount then too. I am just sitting here, sweating to death, thinking that I can finally start counting the hours and not days till I am home. I think my hand is going to be fine. Two things to do tomorrow. The Luuve and Napoleon’s grave. Meeting Jenn at 10:30 at one of the Eiffel Tower legs. Not sure if she meant 10:30 in the morning or at night. I bought tickets for a concert in some grand cathedral for tomorrow night, so if it is tomorrow night, I will not be able to meet her. Walked under the giant today. I still do not think it is bigger than the Arch, but I am going to have to see the Arch again.

Sunday, August 10 Well, another hell of a day. Yesterday, Frankfurt was so American and had nothing to do, so I went and saw 2 movies. T3 was disappointing. Then, while I was waiting for the overnight to Paris, I wrote Michelle a letter the probable worried the shit out of her. (Above). It was just ranting about life and what not and I was a little tipsy. Then, the dreaded over night train. Oh how I hate them. I did not manage a couple hours sleep. Got to Paris and got on the right train, only to find the station I needed to switch trains at was closed for construction. So, more walking with a full load. Finally found the hostel, not too much walking as compared to Berlin. So I drop my bags off and go for a walk, because the room is not ready. They give me, what looks to be a very good map. It has a red dot that shows the hostel I am staying in and so I start to wander. But funny thing is that none of the streets match. Come to realize that my hostel takes their maps from another hotel. The red dot is that hotel and by the time I realize where I am, I realize how far away from most of Paris I am. But no worries, it was still pretty early so I just started walking. Paris is a lovely town. Many churches and beautiful buildings. I was rather enjoying myself. I knew I had about 6 blocks till the Arch de Triomphe and I was going to rest there a while. Then it happened. I really do not know how. I walked out to the middle of the road, took a picture, was walking back, and putting the camera away, reached the sidewalk and “slice”, some plastic lid on a container cut me. It was not like I fell into it or was throwing anything away. I was just walking by and it cut me. And not any paper cut, this thing is deep. It looked like it just took a chunk because I could see past skin deep. It is about an inch and a half long, but did not bleed too badly. Actually, I do not know how much I bled because I used my red shirt to hold it the rest of the day. Knowing how far I was, but not wanting to waste a day or walk the sights, I jumped on a sightseeing bus, which really was not too bad a deal. 22 Euros to get on and off as you like and is good for 2 days, so if I feel up to it I can use it tomorrow. I rode that around, got a feel for the city, walked inside Notre Dame; saw the Eiffel Tower, not to bad really. Then I figured I better call it a day, with my hurt hand and no sleep. I do not think I will make it to Normandy, but those are the breaks. See how I feel tomorrow and try to do Paris again.

Saturday, August 9 (Letter to Michelle) Sent the last one just to make sure you had not responded yet. However, you had not so on with the banter. Well actually, I cannot think of any, but I want you to know how much I love you. I know we have not said it face to face and over the phone was nice but not what I really want. I am so looking forward to the day that I can look you in the eyes and say it. I also thought I would say it since I am flying across an ocean soon and although planes have been proven the safest form of travel and I have found that I rather enjoy flying, things happen in the world that are out of our hands and cannot be explained. Many people have lost there lives to many silly ways and air travel is one of them. You will not like me talking about it and I do not like to admit it myself, but men were not meant to sit with the clouds between their feet and I just want you to know, if things do not work out so well, how much you mean to me. God has a plan, never more have I believed this, never more have I realized I am to actually do something, and never more have I had absolutely no clue what that is. People have actually told me that I am to do great things, before this trip. On this trip, I have learned of the many, many problems in the world, but no one has any real answers. I have learned that the US causes and prohibits the solving of many of the problems. I am aware that most the people in the US do not know much about anything and believe their leaders and the press. I am only 23 and I fear that I am too young to do anything, but by the time I am old enough it will be too late. This leaves my heart in great despair. I would love nothing more than to be a teacher in Quincy or outside, and marry you and raise our children in our little house in the country. I have to apologize and fore warn you that in my heart, this seems to me to be my easy way out. If I were to have this life, I fear for the future of our children. I have never been and environmentalist, and when I throw something on the ground and someone says think about your children and grandchildren, I have taken it as a weak argument. Something they say when they do not have a good reason and just want to make you feel bad. That is not the case when it comes to war and politics. I am afraid of the world we are leaving for our children. I fear that it is going to be a place that rules will hold no sway and that government will be ruled by money. I feel that our country is heading on a path of destruction and there are no brakes. I want to know why I think I can do anything. Why am I not satisfied with a small country house with children, you, and happiness? I want someone to talk me out of it. I want to know what will satisfy me. Why is the question to which no one has the answer, but it is the only answer I seek? Michelle, if this trip was supposed to change me in some way, I think it has. It has shown me that I was correct in most things I assumed about our country and showed me that if anything, things are worse. What I did not get on this trip were answers. I am in a deep state of confusion. My mind is filled with more thoughts than usual and being alone most the time does not help. I do not know why I just spilled all that. I imagine that it sounds pretty depressing and confusing, and it is, but I am a little tipsy too. I like to get that way before a long train ride. It seems to help. However, consider yourself warned. I intend to marry you in the future and the path that life leads me, as of right now, does not look to be a road of meadows and flowers. Not that any life is simple or easy. I really do not know what I am trying to say, only that, after this trip, I do not think I can be around your Grandfather and not open my mouth. I have a feeling that a time will come for me to make a choice, and it will not be a simple one or one that is well supported. That choice will determine many things about the life I will live and the man I think I am. It will be a difficult time and I pray that when the smoke clears, I will see your smiling face. Do not be alarmed because I do not see this happening for a while. Just had to do some ranting and I had some time. Save this letter to remind me later when I might seem to lose whatever spark has seem to have been lit under my ass. Know that I love you and as long as I live and you will have me, we will never be apart for this long again. Love Matt.

Friday, August 8
Here I am, on one of the most important rivers in European history. The Rhine River as been a huge trade route for centuries and still is. An hour boat ride will due, I guess. The cathedral was quite amazing. Well worth the trip. They had the tomb of Saint Christopher. Did not know that is where that was. The cathedral is more amazing from the river. A trip down the Rhine is one of the things to do next time. I do not know how long it would take, but it would be quite a good time.
The Rhine is a lot wider than most of the rivers I have been seeing. No wonder it was such an intricate part of history. Reminds a person a lot of the Mississippi. They have little fortresses all along the banks. Hitler’s first victory came here. Taking the Rhineland back. No guns fired, only his persuasive tongue and a good argument and weak minded enemies
What a trip back. The heat is so bad it is causing problems on the trains. I have been talking to some that have never seen it this bad. One lady said it was so weird to see everyone sweating. The train from Cologne to Frankfurt’s main station was canceled all day. Had to get one from Cologne to Frankfurt airport, then get off and go to Frankfurt Main. Just was lucky to figure that out. It is hard to know a train is canceled when the loudspeaker is in German only. I finally went to where the train was suppose to be, waited for the German announcement, and then followed the masses wherever they went. Pretty nifty I would say. Then the train to the airport was not air conditioned and stunk like an outhouse. Evidently all the bathrooms were full and they could not unload them. The heat is affecting the train’s electronics. The radio was not working either.
Finally made it to the airport and the train to the city was ½ hour late. Some of the people making the excretion with me said there was a tram to the city that left sooner, but I did not want to risk having to pay anything, so I waited.
It is becoming quite clear to me how much patience I have. It is almost to the point where it could get me in trouble because I will wait too long. There must be a fine line somewhere so that a patient person will not miss opportunities because they are being patient. The key is to find the line before it is too late and not go over it while searching. There have been a lot of people on this trip that have told me how patient I am, it does not seem to be a quality of too many law students. If it is a virtue and pays great dividends in the long run, I only hope the prices paid will not be too great. Arriving at Frankfurt Main for the third and final time.

Thursday, August 7
On the rode again. Last night was nice. Went and saw an IMAX show that was 3D. If that is the direction movies are going, I cannot wait. There were parts that I almost thought things were sitting in my lap, even though I knew they were not. During the credits, people were standing up to leave and I thought they were going to get hit with asteroids that were coming at us. Had a Kebob that was a sandwich and not on a stick. Drank a couple of beers and went to sleep. Woke up at 5 to see everyone in the room active. Evidently, one of the guys staying in the room had done something to his ankle and they had to call on ambulance because it was so swollen. After all the commotion, I kept thinking if something happened, I really do not know what to do. This kid was one of a group of six, so he had some help. I like to say I do not conform to peer-pressure, at least not as bad as most, but I think I do enjoy an audience. In the right circumstances it is a rush. But with risk comes pain. I cannot imagine how seriously I could have actually got hurt on that escalator or caught some illness in the Gap, but so far, the stupid things I have done in my life have left some scars, but no real damage.
Quincy is definitely a German town and Koetters is definitely a German name. Although it is mispronounced by our family. “oe” sounds like “oo” in smooth. And the “tters” is pronounced “tears”. That is not right. The second “e” is like the “ai” in stairs. So it should look like Kootairs or something like that. Anyway, people here recognize it as a German name, even if I butcher its pronunciation.
And I saw a man who could have been Ralph Koetters. And a lot of familiar looking people once you get outside the tourist areas. And the older couple on the train that I am sitting by could be on vacation from Quincy. Patty was right about Northern Germany. It does remind a person of Illinois, but Southern Germany is, now that I think about it, a lot like Southern Illinois. More hills, less fields. Less than a week left and I really do not know how to feel about leaving. Ready to get home, but always wanting to see more. My eyes have never been so busy. That IMAX 3D made them work so hard that it almost gave me a headache. Knowing how much I have seen, yet so little in the large concept of the world makes me a little discouraged. Somebody was telling me yesterday that when we learn something new, it only makes us realize how stupid we are and how little we know. I really do not want to walk through life with that attitude. There is no satisfying a person like that.
My God is it hot in Frankfurt. Not only is it hot, it is the hottest heat wav Europe has seen in a long, long time. I almost measured their highest temperature ever. I repeat, ever. A bunch of things have popped into my head and I figure here is a good place to put them.
First, who came up with the term African American? I mean, I think I used to agree that it sounded less negative than black person, but does it really make a difference. They are just 2 different words that mean the same thing. The reason black is bad is because it conjures up negative ideas in our head. African American does the same. We still make people out to be different. This is what really got me thinking, should you call a black person from Germany, and African German. I have never heard that before. How arrogant are we to call black people African Americans.
Another thing. There are a lot of grown men over here walking around with ice cream cones. I have seen construction workers to business men ordering ice cream cones during their lunches or breaks. Either that tells us they are not worried about their appearance, eating ice cream does not effect your appearance, or the ice cream is really, really good. Nest time you are in Berlin, try the smurf flavored ice cream.
Another thing, Frankfurt is too much like an American big city to be enjoyable. Tall skyscrapers and the lot. This hostel is in the middle of the red light district. Nothing but porn shops and strip clubs on all sides. I would not recommend Frankfurt except that they have a nice railway station and evidently a nice airport. This has also been my first repeated town. I remember spending my couple of hours here on the way down to Rome. Boy that seems like an age ago. I am not only eager to get home, see Michelle, drive my car, but to start looking back at the crap I have written. I have not looked back at all since I started. It should be interesting. I really wonder how much I have already forgotten.

Wednesday, August 6
Well Berlin sucked the first half and has not been too bad since. First, the hostel was not where it said it was on the internet, so I walked for 2 hours before finding anybody who knew what the hell I was talking about. Then this morning, I got a ticket for the train. The bus driver last night said you did not have to stamp it, so I did not. Got checked once on the first train, nothing happened. Got off and got on another train and got checked again. Guess what, you need to stamp them. That would have a 14 Euros fine, but I did not have 14 Euros. I had 20 dollars, more than enough, but the police would not take it. So I got a ticket. Had to go to a bank and pay 40 Euros. That was the last of the bad stuff so far, but that is the way I started my vacation.
Christen and I took a walking tour of Berlin. Second best tour guide I have had, after Dillon. It was very interesting and lasted almost 5 hours. Had smurf ice cream, saw the Berlin Wall, all the touristy stuff, and walked over the place where Hitler shat himself. It is a parking lot now, on purpose, but it reminded me of something. Bear with me. This explanation will take a while.
In one of the sequel parts to Star Wars, the books, Luke’s X-Wing stales on him and he is just floating in space. He does some kind of Jedi sleep thing to pass the time and then wakes up because he sensed some sort of evil. He was passing through the space where the Second Death Star had been and where the Emperor had died. It was many years in the future, but the evil was still in that spot. I did not feel any evil but you definitely feel something walking over the place where a man that took so may lives, took his and the easy way out. When you think about all he accomplished, how smart he was, it is sad to think how much he could have done if he had not been a complete maniac. Of course, if he had not been so crazy a few of the decisions he make might have turned things for the worse for the good guys and it might be a whole new world. Off to Frankfurt tomorrow. We will see more of the German country side, which does look a lot like home, except the houses look different.

Tuesday, August 5
Well, my last few hours in Prague. Sitting at the railway station. Last night it finally happened. We all know it would eventually. Acting stupid got me hurt. Last night in Prague so everybody was crazy. When we sere going down to the Metro, one of us, inspired by me, ran down the up escalator. He made it down and everyone cheered. Not to be shown up by my own ideas, when we got off the Metro I was encouraged to run up the down escalator. Now you must realize how large there escalators are. They are 3 times the size of any normal escalator and 2 times longer than any I have seen before. With that in mind, picture me, in sandals, drunk, out of shape, going the wrong way on this giant. I started off pretty well, hopping 2 or 3 steps at a time. I made it all the way to the last tem feet and I ran out of steam. The stairs began to disappear before I could get to them and I fell twice. Regaining my composer, I finally make it.
At the top, I really thought I was going to die. I have not had to exert that much energy in a long time. And I had cuts on my knees, my left ankle and my big toe on my right foot. The toe injury seems to be the most drastic. But the night continued and I fought through the pain till the end of the night.
It really kind of stunk, ending the night the way we did. Everyone got split up and lost and by the time we got to the place we were going, no one was there. Then, this morning, not too many people were around, so there were not too many people to say good bye to. It was kind of disappointing to not see everybody to say good bye, but that is how the cookie crumbles. There are enough e-mails floating around that those that want to keep in touch can. But my time with USF is through. I guess this is my vacation. It will be 2 nights in Berlin, 2 nights in Frankfurt, overnight train from Munich to Paris, 3 nights in Paris, then heading home. That is the plan, and it is pretty secure since I have already booked all those nights already. That seems a little risky, seeing as how plans change all the time, but think there are enough trains running around Germany that I should be ok. Will not get to see Kristen in Hamburg, which I am disappointed, but she seemed busy with her job anyway, so I guess it all works out.
Well, I think I am on the right train, I just do not know if I have the right train. I showed the man my rail-pass, told him where I wanted to go, and he gave me the ticket. Problem is, it only cast 10 dollars, which is far less than I thought it would be. That is a good thing if I got the right ticket, but it is going to suck if it is wrong. I do not know if they just kick you off or fine you. They seem to take advantage of stupid Americans whenever they can. I guess we will just wait and see. The train is pretty empty, which is nice. Should be a smooth ride, finger crossed.
Had the right ticket after all. That means I am taking a 60 dollar ride for 10. Not bad. From Prague to the Czech border was gorgeous. The tracks follow a river through the mountains. Every now and then there would be a good size city, but mainly it was scattered houses and small towns. It was one of the prettiest rides I have been on, and that includes the Alps. As we head north through Germany the towns get bigger and less beautiful. Kind of dreary cities. I imagine all the towns that were a part of communism have their bad or ugly parts, it just seems like the train finds them in every town. Makes sense cause the tracks would be near a factory which would be where most the worked which would mean the apartment complexes would be near them.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Sunday, August 3
Yep, it is August. Missed Michelle and mine’s anniversary. Did not miss it, I just did not have the number call out of Prague. Someone borrowed it and I never got it back. Figures with law students. Friday night was crazy. I have pretty much proven I am a good guy. Took care of the shyest girl in the program when she decided to tackle of Jim. Made it as far as the Metro station when we had to turn back. Just me and her while everyone else went out. She managed to puck twice and fell asleep before I had to piggy-back her to her room. Sat outside her bathroom making sure she kept breathing. It was not too bad; least I thought so, but people may a big deal, like I was supposed to leave her or something. Oh well.
Went swimming yesterday at one of the public pools. It was really cold water, but felt good. It was about the size of Wavering without life guards and grass everywhere. People were laying out, mostly old topless ladies and old guys in Speedos, but it was fun. Went to church today. Almost lost it when they sang Amazing Grace. I have missed hearing that song. Makes me realize I just missed the mini TEC. I bet that was a good time. They always are. Well, we have a test tomorrow that I need to get cracking on. (Remind myself to remember manna and fishes and loaves for the next TEC talk.)

Monday, August 02, 2004

Thursday, July 31
It has been a couple of days without writing because I ran out of pens; actually those 2 I have been using lasted longer than I ever figured. Things have been going as normal, till last night, more on that later. I have had a couple afternoons f tourist stuff and it makes me realize how much there really is to see here and I feel bad for not seeing more, but that is not really my fault cause of the classes in the afternoon and a couple gloomy days here. But I have seen quite a bit and same things that are pretty obscure and not well traveled. Anyway, Monday was another late night/early morning. Got back at a decent time and then stayed up till sunrise just hanging out. Then slept from like 7 till the morning on Tuesday, which felt really refreshing. Then Wednesday happened.
Not really sure how to put a good spin on my actions. They are not that bad just not good. Everyone that knew any better gave me a lot of credit actually for not going any further, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. Last night a whole large group of us went on a jazz cruise on the river. It was a great place. The music was lively and the drinks flowed. Everyone was doing different kinds of shots and getting retarded, as was I. Nobody was dancing because there was not any room to do so. There were a couple of people talking about doing it and you know me, I was interested. Ended up, I was the first out there with this blonde that is not part of the program, but was a friend with someone from the program. We were dancing and a couple joined s. It was really tight quarters and we were not doing a very good job of not running into people and things. Did I mention the liquor and shots? Well we danced a couple of songs and gave the band something to laugh at and that seemed to be the end.
Turns out that the girl I was dancing with was, not a lesbian, but trying it out, and was there with another girl. They had just started trying to make it serious from what I could tell. So, we started hanging out and I watched these girls and everyone else get belligerent with me and we were having a blast. Then the boat ride ended and we had to do something else because it was only 11 and we could not go home that early. So we went to the place called Bombay where the night continued and would eventually finish.
A large group of us were at Bombay and along with these 2 that were a couple, there were some dancing. You know me, I was also dancing. It seems that the 2 took a liking to me and we 3 were dancing pretty much the whole night. It was dancing that would Patrick Swayze proud. More than a few times the 2 were upset when I told them I had a girlfriend and would not go home with the both of them. That will be the part that most will not believe or the part where guys will smack me stupid for turning down. I will not say I was not a little tempted. It has been a long time since I have held Michelle and every part of my being is anxious to be touched like these 2 would have. But all that came out of it was a few kisses with the blonde and some pecks with the brunette.
Well, that is the long and short of it. I got kissed by 2 almost lesbians. I do not know really how to feel. I feel bad for letting my guard down, but good that I was able to stop. Especially the state I was in. And that is really not a good way to say it. I am really starting to realize how much Michelle means to me. This test, I passed. Not with flying colors, but passed. And from the reactions out of most people, most would not have, especially when I tell them it has not even been 5 months that Michelle and I have been together. They do not realize that 5 months does not mean a normal 5 months, but I think I managed ok.
Well, enough of the taxi-cab confessions. I was lying here, hung-over, trying to think about what I could learn from this experience. The only thing I can come up with is, wow, is dancing powerful when used properly. Look at me. I have not had a haircut in 3 months, wearing the same cloths for 2 months, a ridiculous beard, curly hair, surrounded by these preppy rich boys and those girls would not give them the time of day, at least it seemed. Oh well.
The stories are starting to get pieced together when everybody start talking. I realized there as a lot that is pretty blurry. Not bad stuff, more funny. Karl says I came back last night bragging about my dancing ability. Do not remember taking my contacts out or the cab ride home. Last night was a massive case of debauchery.