Saturday, May 14, 2005

War and Baptism

Today went quickly. Our friends Camille and Paul baptised their daughter, Morgan, today, so we went out to Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers to get a present. Normally, it's a place where we want to spend a lot of time, but we didn't have much time today. We bought a little rosary bracelet and prayer card at the Abbey Store for Morgan and browsed the bonsai garden but didn't buy one. They are very well known for their bonsai (is that plural?) and have a beautiful collection of trees that aren't for sale but are very inspiring and make one want to learn the art.

We stopped at the apartment to change our clothes, and Jack called. He said that he's been volunteering for missions occasionally, to break the monotony because it gets quite boring, even though he's always busy. He hasn't shot anyone yet, but he's been close when they charge the checkpoint in their cars. They have a routine of procedures to go through when a car is approaching, including signs, hand signals, flashing lights, and shooting out the tires, but sometimes none of that works and they have to shoot the people. There have been attempted suicide bombers at the checkpoints, so there is good reason why they should stop the cars. They also occasionally find IEDs (improvised explosive devices) but have thus far disarmed them before they've exploded.

He said that morale is mostly good and that he's fine. They have everything they need there and have a building where they can go to play darts or get baby wipes or other necessities. They stock that building with things that are sent to “any soldier” or “any Marine,” which, by the way, are not the same thing.

Everything we’ve read says that letters and packages to “any” aren’t allowed, but Jack said that there are two ways that you can actually do it. The first is to send a postcard so that it can be read before delivery. The other is to address it to the attention of a specific person but to address it to “any Marine.” That way, there is a specific name on it, and they can tell that it’s legitimate.

Jack’s gotten a bunch of postcards and had been writing back some middle schoolers from Colorado before he called. He said that a lot of them say to write back, so he does. We think they must be soooo excited to get a response! He said that they are really cute and that one said something like, “I would like a career in music because I have really good skills in hip-hop.” By the way, we asked him if the party stores in Iraq are owned by white guys there. He laughed.

Monsignor Kenny did the baptism, and the mass was very nice despite the fussy baby we had to take outside the sanctuary 3 times. Even though he was very vocal, lots of people told us that he is beautiful. We think so too, and we think that his beauty starts on the inside.

The reception at the Keslers’ was nice. We knew a few people there and met lots of others. It’s very easy to be someplace where we don’t know anyone, because Gabriel always provides a topic for conversation. We ate dinner there and left around 9:00 pm.

Mom and Dad K, Mom A and Nick, Grandpa, and Roy went over to the house to help clean and clean out some boxes so that it will show better. Dad K went back to spend the night and do some painting. We are so grateful for everything everyone is doing. We are also filled with anxiety about putting it on the market and hope that this all works out for the best. We’re certain that things happen for a reason and that we will be happy in our new home, wherever that happens to be.