ENTRY 1263 | March
from the waiting area for Gate A4 at SFO, San Francisco International
Airport, scheduled to depart for London and then on to Dublin, at
8:45 p.m. a bit over an hour from now. To update my previous post,
my British visa allowing me to work long term in Belfast, Northern
Ireland, arrived the morning after my original flight was scheduled,
February 28. This was a better outcome than I expected when I wrote
you on that date, as I was envisioning a week to find out why my visa
had been delayed and then another week or more to receive it. And
of course it was all Providential, by which I mean it was in God's
control and timing (but maybe sometime I should philosophize here
about why despite my great general optimism about life, I'm often
very pessimistic about short-range events and outcomes).
in Belfast, Marda and Ward Stothers, encouraged me to rebook my flight
and try to get there as quickly as possible, which is what I'm doing.
this is the evidence of God's guidance and timingthe sale of
my mobile home is much closer to reality now. I learned just this
morning, in fact, that the MH park has approved my prospective buyer
for residency in the park, which seemed to be the final hurdle to
get the transaction through escrow. Also, meanwhile, my daughter Chris
and I have cleared out all of my furnishings and accoutrements from
the place, whereas if I had flown on February 28 a much greater task
would have fallen on her (I am giving her a sizable commission on
the sale of the place for all of her help). And in consequence of
learning that my buyer has qualified, I signed a termination of my
residency contract with the park today, effective this Saturday, March
16. That date, since I won't be there any more beginning tonight,
is because Chris DeMille, who had been paying a share of the property
expenses in order to have a room there, had paid up through March
I have told the children that I expected to live at that address for
the rest of my life, and nowafter living there for more than
27 yearsthat chapter has been closed. I was going to say next
that I am now in fact homeless, but that's not the real case; I now
"reside" in Belfast and hope to be doing so for the next
two years, Lord willing. But now I have no telephone service, though
my email will continue at the same addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org,
What a learning
experience it was to dispose of most of my belongings over the past
month. At my age, I should be prepared for that phase of life in which
everything material is put aside to embark on the spiritual aferlife
when even our bodies are put aside to await the general resurrection.
So it should be instructive to give up most of my possessions, my
televisions and computer monitors, my hundreds of books lining the
walls of several rooms, all the audio tapes I used to listen to and
the hundreds of videotapes that were watched to great enjoyment. But
tapes have gone out of style, replaced by digital recordings on hard
drives, storage drives, "the cloud," and thumb drives and
SD cards. One of the hardest "possessions" I had to part
with was the digital video recorder that came with my Dish subscription
and the dozens of programs I had saved to watch on it at a better
is beginning to board, so I will have to interrupt this until we're
airborne and allowed to use electronic devices.
or so later... The monitor on the seatback in front of me says
the remaining flight time is 8:22 hours. We've been told dinner will
be served soon and even now stewards are proceeding through the aisles
offering first beverages. Domestic flights still have drinks and "snacks"
(a small bag of pretzels or peanuts, usually) but no longer offer
free meal service. Only the overseas flights retain that now...we
heard also that we'll be getting breakfast before arriving at Heathrow-London.
Back to our
possessions and how possessed we are by them! As I went through the
days of getting rid of things, I occasionally said, "this is
what my life has been," or this is what represents it. These
books, these notebooks, these manuscripts, copies of magazines, newspapers,
and books I have written articles for, written, edited or published.
At one point the house was piled high with things to be hauled away,
and I thought in passing, "my life is a pile of rubble."
I had to unpack
boxes and bags I had not looked into for decades, and found myself
revisiting parts of my past long since gone. I boxed up more than
50 pounds of notebooks, letters, diaries, and sample publications
my work has appeared in and sent it to the Historical Society in Nanty
Glo, my home town, where they may be made available as "my papers"
some day (professional writers usually leave behind their "papers")
to be used by anyone wanting to drop into the life and times of a
smalltown newspaper editor, and later the author of other miscellaneous
material, of the middle of the twentieth century and on into the early
years of the twenty-first. As already mentioned on its pages, the
Nanty Glo Home Page website that has been one of my avocations for
the past 15 years, has already been designated in a trust to the Historical
Society to be used as another resource of our era and our area.
even accomplishments we may like to claim, are not life. In fact,
they often get in the way and diminish life. "To me," Paul
the Apostle wrote, "to live is Christ." Anything else, however
much it once may have seemed essential to life, is just rubble, if
not yet, soon enough. History is significant for teaching future generations
what has happened, why we are where we are, what shaped our times
and our personalities ... perhaps where we want to go, and though
all that is something (some of it may be useful in the crafting
of a future dramatic script, for example), it doesn't save anyone.
be able to send this out, now that I'm airborne, until I finally get
to Belfast and am able to use the wifi there, so here I'll close this
first journal of my sojourn.
§ § §
If you missed
my earlier entry giving an overview of my new venture in Northern
Ireland, check it out here.
Webmaster Jon Kennedy