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December 30, 2004

jesus loves my bellybutton

ever since i read the superbly entertaining and enlightening God's Secretaries by Adam Nicolson, i've been oddly fascinated with the King James Version (the "kay-jay-vee") of the Bible, especially considering i am younger than, oh, 87 years old. lately, the New International Version (the "en-eye-vee"), the juggernaut translation of recent times, just isn't as interesting.
this past Sunday, i was stuck in a class that had only KJVs for those of us who had committed the cardinal sin of Not Bringing One's Own Bible To Church. this, it turned out, was quite fabulous. instead of having to pay attention to the teacher like i was supposed to, i began reading. don't judge me; the passage we were looking at was Proverbs 3:5-6. if you grew up going to church, you'd glaze over too. they're great verses; they're just on too many inspirational magnets /wall hangings/those little plaques you hang over the toilet.
almost immediately, i was struck by verse 8: "it shall be health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones."
thy navel? thy navel? how have i missed biblical bellybuttons all this time? and what if your navel is pierced? since this is the KJV, of course that would be "pier-SED," right? and marrow -- well, having a close friend just go through the experience of being chosen as a marrow donor for an anonymous leukemia patient, i am much more aware of how insightful this particular analogy is. now let's just, for kicks and giggles, check out the NIV: "this will be health to your body and nourishment to your bones." yawn.
lest you Nivvers take offense, i do still use the NIV for my normal Bible reading. i'm not going to pretend i actually like or even understand words like "froward" or "verily," but there is a music to the KJV that my cute lil' postmodern non-liturgical-service ears respond to. it's just good to interact with Scripture in a different way.
there is an excellent exhibit at my much-loved Huntington Library and Gardens called "The Bible and the People", which i recently saw, and last month i fulfilled a long-held dream by seeing the Book of Kells when i was at Trinity College, Dublin. i'm now so much more acutely aware of how cavalier i am towards the long and winding road that brought us the holly bibble, as my sister and i used to snickeringly call it. true, my bibble has no cool gold-leafed drawings of mice & cats having communion, but i didn't scrape calf hides or have to spend my life savings to obtain one. i take the Bible for granted: my response to Scripture is too often a *yawn!* or just skimming quickly over familiar verses -- especially ones with the ignoble fate of ending up in Christian bathrooms.
all i'm saying here is: give your bibble a chance. if you're a person who thinks the Bible is a load of hooey, at least read it for the really, really good stories (there are lots of rated-R ones!) -- you won't be bored. if it's gotten stale, find a new translation. you can go back in time, like me, with the KJV. or fast-forward to cool ones like the word on the street. maybe the most important thing is to let it read you too, to let it resonate, to tickle your bellybutton.

Posted by hadashi at 1:36 PM | Comments (2)

December 25, 2004


i love how the German language is like a particle accelerator for words: you may freely smash them together without grammatical limits, and whole new words come out of the reaction. so here we have the very useful vocabulary word "Christmas stress."
yes, amidst all the merry there is the strain of families re-negotiating their roles, some which remain dormant year-long until holiday gatherings. for me, who usually lives far away from parents & sibling, it's a jolt to suddenly be a daughter and sister again. it's also a jolt to realise my mother becomes a daughter and sister again too, here at the Chan Clan Christmas Gathering (a.k.a. "Joy Luck Club Revisited").
right now, as i write this, the Chan siblings + spouses are deciding the futures of their parents. my grandfather, 95, just got out of the hospital after being threatened with leg amputation. my grandmother, of unclear age (she thinks 95), who has until now lived with my youngest aunt, may need to go elsewhere.
right now i am acutely aware of my status as "child" since the "adults" are in the dining room discussing rest homes, financial issues, and emotional responsibility. i am banished to the basement, where i can more freely ponder this enormous role reversal.
the people upstairs around the dining room table began life helpless and vulnerable, completely dependent on two people whose choices literally decided much of their future. years later, those same two people, now vulnerable and helpless themselves, are dependent on the decisions that will occur within the next hour, brought about by the children they raised.
so i wonder: when it comes time for me to sit around a dining room table to decide my parents' fate, will i be as wise, loving, and patient as they were in determining mine?

Posted by hadashi at 7:27 AM | Comments (8)

December 20, 2004

promises, promises...

my confession: yes, i've been terrible about posting to this blog. why? well, quite frankly, i've been intimidated. it just seems so...weighty, this blog thing. but 2005 WILL bring newness! already, please note the lovely new banner featuring my hadashis. thanks, Jenifer.
this may be foolish, but i promise i shall be more faithful to my little blog in '05. maybe even before. if you'd like to be added to my "ping" list, tell me your e-mail and it shall be done...and any of you more "experienced" bloggers out there -- any advice or tips are always welcomed.
and now, back to writing Christmas cards & e-mails. sigh. at least right now i'm listening to Handel's Messiah, which, even after hearing a squillion times, still makes me feel like flying.

Posted by hadashi at 6:45 PM | Comments (2)

December 1, 2004

dolmen DOES, after all, mean "stone table..."


i'd always dreamed of going to Ireland. i'd also always dreamed of going to Narnia too, but didn't think that would happen until much, much later -- say, after my mortal life. but look! here i am anyway, on Thanksgiving Day, happy to be sharing the Poulnabrone Dolmen with Ms. Jenifer and a lot of placid cows. big props to the Peter for recognising BOTH identities of this location before i got around to writing this entry's text.

Posted by hadashi at 2:18 PM | Comments (2)