Things change. The changing itself is a constant. As Rush sings in "Tom Sawyer," "no change is permanent, but change is!" Sometimes these changes can seem magical, bizarre, or just weird.
Hence "transmogrify" ="
A couple years ago, unannounced on this blog, the Spiritual Diabetes family moved from Albany itself to a nearby suburb. The subsequently much longer drive to and from work has provided many opportunities for spiritual reflection (among other tasks, e.g., questioning the decisions of my fellow commuters). I've blogged about this here, and the process continues daily. From the outset, though, I couldn't help but think of this song:
In some ways this song is perfectly Reagan 80s: "in the shopping malls, in the high school halls, be cool or be cast out." Because that's exactly what life was like thirty years ago and it became de rigueur to castigate facile white middle-class conformism. Hence college music (REM, the Cure, the Dead Milkmen), grunge like Nirvana, and rap. Listen to those kinds of music and you were, in some small way, rebelling. Oh happy youth...so fanciful, so simplistic. Now, of course, the suburbs foster another kind of conformism. In the suburban northeast, at least, conformity involves an entire platform of sexual, social, spiritual, and political conclusions that must, in an secular parody of the Church's gospel of life, be accepted in its entirety. Catholics practice their faith cafeteria style, but NOBODY, rest assured, may deviate from contemporary secular suburban values. You must, as Geddy Lee sang, "be cool or be cast out." It's just that what currently defines "cool" has changed--significantly.
Speaking of work, I now occupy a new office: the Dean's office. So, yes, I have made the move (temporarily) from faculty to administration. This has produced already several insights into higher education which I would not have had otherwise....and will not blog about.
One day after my official start on the new job, my father died. It was not a surprise in that his type-II diabetes had, through dialysis and dementia, greatly reduced his abilities and mobility. On the other hand, when my sister called that things didn't look good, I asked "is this THE time?" She responded it was--and less than six hours later Dad had died. Many friends from all over sent condolences (for which I'm very grateful, of course), some of which presumed I was more worked up than I actually was/am. Allaert Claesz once depicted death as a drum-beating skeleton who surprises a respectable couple. In Dad's case, death came as a welcome friend, releasing and accompanying him to the after-life. Thomas Merton, in a far different situation, once quoted Genesis 5:24: "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him." That pretty covers the story. Over the five years of this blog I've written about the deaths of friends and teachers, losses that I still feel daily. My father's death, which I'm just beginning to process, leaves me instead with a desire to less, not more. I've taken comfort in the Rosary, especially the Luminous Mysteries. Scott Eric Alt has written about these, pointing to their sacramentality. Along a slightly different line, I've seen the Luminous Mysteries as celebrating transitions and transformations; Jesus undergoes them and so do we. Sometimes, of course, these transformations seem to us at least more like transmogrifications. So in your prayers, please include a petition for me and my own transformations, but more so please include my father and all the departed that they may be granted eternal rest in perpetual light from the Father.