My morning began by meditating on Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” I knew today would be very exciting with Barack Obama assuming the authority of President, but I also needed to be reminded and grounded in the truth of God’s Word. With that in mind, it has still been a very exciting day! When I arrived at work this morning, excitement permeated the air as teachers had televisions turned on, or were streaming live Webcasts of the inauguration through their computers and projecting them onto their SmartBoards for their kids to see. Thinking of kids, for a long time one of our 2nd graders thought that Obama’s first name was “Rock.” Rock Obama – I can see where he would get that. I also had a 1st grader tell me today, “If I were President I would paint the White House pink and make it sparkly.” I’m sure she would. But as I sat in the library watching the inaugural happenings, I couldn’t help but feel optimistic and united with others who, like me, desire to see how President Obama will help bring about positive change in the lives of all Americans. And yet, it starts with each of us being personally responsible to intentionally “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” I think I’ve heard Jesus say that somewhere before… During the inauguration I particularly enjoyed John Williams new quartet arrangement, “Air and Simple Gifts” featuring Itzhak Perlman (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Anthony McGill (clarinet), and Gabriela Montero (piano). This fall I saw Itzhak Perlman in concert and was so impressed with his (obvious) virtuosity. Knowing how well Williams has worked with both Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma in years past (soundtracks for “Seven Years in Tibet” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” with Ma and “Schindler’s List” with Perlman) made it an even more special occasion to take the original Shaker tune of “Simple Gifts” (later made popular by Aaron Copland in his ballet “Appalachian Spring”) and arrange it for such a diverse quartet of musicians. Just in case you’ve forgotten the beautifully simple lyrics to this tune, which Wikipedia credits to Elder Joseph, they are:
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Air and Simple Gifts (Click here to see it again on YouTube)
In addition to the Presidential proceedings, my spring semester classes have officially resumed, and am consequently about $200 in the hole thanks to three textbooks bought at the fancy new University bookstore. Gag. Though I won’t have a face-to-face class until next week, I will still have work to do and can hopefully get ahead of some projects and assignments! On Thursday, Oscar nominations will be announced. I’ve heard mixed reviews about “Slumdog Millionaire,” but really enjoyed seeing “Doubt” yesterday. So between our new Commander in Chief, my new classes, and the recognition of quality films, this week stirs within me feelings of excitement and anticipation for what is to come.
And now, recent photos of the day.
January 14 – I traded some books in my collection for these: My Friend Leonard by James Frey, My First Forty Years by Placido Domingo, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (winner of the 1994 Pulitzer for fiction), and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (winner of the 2005 Pulitzer for fiction – can you tell I’m beefing up on my Pulitzer fiction collection?). I really need to stop buying books…even if they are used and in need of good homes.