Saturday, January 3, 2009

A time of transitions

I admit it's been difficult to add a new post, not only because I've been busy (as usual), but because I've enjoyed knowing I could go to my blog and see first thing a picture of the beautiful Obama family. But time passes, and newer memories need to take their place alongside older ones.

The present is a brief list of some of what has happened over the past two months.

In mid-November Margaret went to yet another film festival (this one in St. George); later in the month we had birthday celebrations for Kaila and Julie; Julie started a new job with the "kid's club" at 24 Hour Fitness gym; and we got a new cell phone family plan, which means that Misha and I now have cell phones of our own. We had a delightful Thanksgiving, combining traditional foods with some Greek dishes that Julie prepared.

In early December I had my C. S. Lewis class over to see the movie Shadowlands (I do this just about every year); and on December 14, we had a Young family party, allowing all of us in Utah (my family, the Tucketts, the Lifferths, Daren and Steve, and Grandpa Young) to spend time together and giving Grandpa Young a chance to see his Lifferth great-grandchildren before they moved. As the month proceeded, Fall Semester came to an end, and we had a wonderful Christmas, visiting with family, sharing gifts (including the very popular "Guitar Hero"), and remembering the glorious truths that the holiday commemorates. (In the photo to the left, Misha, Julie, and Rob line up outside our bedroom door, youngest to oldest--as is our tradition--to find their stockings and presents surrounding our fireplace.)

Christmas offered a brief break in the arduous grading process I have to finish up every semester. On the very day I turned in grades (December 30), my first copies of the book I've been working on for years arrived. (See the blog on "Finishing my book" below.) Besides the milestone of my book's publication (Family Life in the Age of Shakespeare--they've actually given it a 2009 copyright date), the last couple of months also mark the completion of a further stage of Margaret's documentary (Nobody Know: The Untold Story of Black Mormons)--special features for the DVD. Margaret and those she's working with (mainly Darius Gray and Jim Hughes) are hoping to release the DVD soon, and they've been working on having the documentary broadcast.

Two more major transitions took place before the end of the year. On December 28, Margaret and I were moved to a different branch at the MTC (Branch 45, also French-speaking)--a move that proved to be more difficult for us than we had anticipated because of our strong attachment to the missionaries we've been working with. But we're beginning to bond with the missionaries in our new branch and look forward to enjoying the new branch as much as we have the old one. Finally, on December 31, Kaila and her family moved to Indiana. I had the honor of picking them up at 5am and taking them to the airport. They're now staying in a hotel in Columbus, Indiana; will soon move into an apartment; and will be looking for a house.

A word on the Young family party on December 14: Besides allowing us to get together, the party turned out to be in part a commemoration of Grandma Young--my mother Ruth. Daren made chocolate chip cookies, using the recipe that we trace back to our Grandma Wilson, my mother's mother. (I plan on posting the recipe soon.) He also made the chex mix that our mother had often made for family events. And I brought a picture of her (along with her reminiscences of teaching at BY High) that I had gotten from a BY High web site. (I found a photo too--copied below--at a related site.)

As we noted at the beginning of our yearly Christmas quiz, this has been a year of "hard exits, joyous entrances, and many transitions. We grieved the passing of Bruce's baby sister, Lynda, in April, and of his mother, Ruth, in July. Only six and a half weeks after Ruth died, we welcomed our third grandbaby into the world--Oliver Wallace Lifferth." And now we have to deal with the fact that the Lifferths--Kaila and family--are many miles and many hours away in Indiana. Though I find all of these changes and separations difficult, I believe what I've often said about this sort of thing (elaborating on an idea I picked up from Arthur Henry King): these things must be part of the plan; for one thing, if it were not for these separations, we maybe wouldn't realize how much we love each other, how deeply connected we are.

For our year-in-review Christmas quiz, see you can take the quiz and have it automatically scored!


Kaila said...

Amen. We miss you Utah folk, and admit that the separation has brought us closer to the realization of how much we love our family (those we brought with us to Indi, and those we left behind).

Kaila said...

P.S. My, how the Christmas line up has changed!

Rob Young said...

It really has been an awesome year -- meaning awesome more in the older sense of being full of awe . . . .

There have been a great number of positive and negative things that have happened are quite nearly overwhelming. Stupid Kaila moving away . . . .

dramatic sporano said...

Great updates, Bruce! Now, you can return the Obamas to their proper place at the top of your list. You'll soon have a picture of yourself and your lovely wife in front of a cardboard cut-out of our new president, no? And surely you have something to say about the inauguration!

Bruce Young said...

Dear dramatic sporano (what is a sporano anyway?):

Yes, I'm eager to post something about the inauguration as well as our activities on the National Day of Service that preceded it. I'll get to that soon (but don't hold your breath--I hear that doing that has a bad effect on the singing ability of sporanoes).

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. You may be interested in a few recent posts about Levinas and Obama on my blog The Relative Absolute. I am just beginning to immerse myself in Levinas and have consequently started to see the world through Levanasian lenses. More specifically, I have started to reflect on the movie Revolutionary Road from a Levanasian perspective and plan to write a paper on these reflections. I would be interested in your reflections on this movie as well.

Bruce Young said...

Thanks, John. I haven't seen "Revolutionary Road"--with your prompting I'm adding it to my list. But I have noticed Levinasian implications in another movie--"Groundhog Day" (note today's date, by the way). I've never yet gotten around to fully trying to put my thoughts on that subject into writing.

I have just found your blog, "The Relative Absolute," and made the following comment on your most recent post:

I like the idea of "the event" as a way of talking about the irreducibility of the other. But I wonder if (in this post at least) you emphasize just one of two equally important approaches Levinas proposes. Besides pointing to ways the other is beyond being and is irreducible to concepts or definitions, he also questions the way Heidegger seems to reduce all beings to Being in general. Levinas's book "Existence and Existents" suggests that the way particular beings maintain themselves in their integrity or self-identification produces the separation necessary for the relation between the same and the other. I'm sorry if I've put this obscurely or inaccurately--I'm sure it's an imperfect attempt to translate Levinas's thought.

Another way to put it is that to be a self is to be both a noun and a verb--and the same may be said of the other. But would Levinas say the same about God, the absolutely Other? Perhaps not. But this is something about which I might want to exchange in a friendly argument with him.