December 9 – 14
Another destination for us in Texas that was solely to visit the amazing people who live there was the Fort Worth area. Stephen was one of Brad’s closest friends during our Harding days, and we hadn’t even had the joy of meeting his daughter, Ruth, new son, Andrew, or getting to know his wife Amy very well. So we spent several nights in the area to get some quality time with them. We enjoyed multiple meals together and even hosted them for dinner in Stumbo one night. The girls had a blast playing with 3-year old Ruthie, and all of us soaked up the joy of snuggling with 4-week old Andrew.
We attended their church on Sunday morning which was a Church of Christ very different from the ones we grew up attending. This was another mind-blowing experience better shared in person – so again – ask me if you’re interested. I will just share this…hearing a CofC preacher say from the pulpit, “The world, and especially the church, needs to catch up with Jesus’s stance on the role of women.” was a shocking thing to hear that moved some deep, old scars a little bit closer toward healing. I left there feeling surprised and hopeful.
I also had the chance to get coffee with one of my college roomies. We spent several sweet hours catching up on each other’s lives.
We spent the first couple of nights at an Army Corps of Engineers Campground on a reservoir. It was quite beautiful and there was lots of space for the girls to run around a play, but grumpy old gate attendants led us to the decision to move camp half-way through our time there. We relocated to a mobile home park where a friendly manager named Bonnie and I played the “I know some Fitzgeralds…are we related?” game.
We lived it up with our museum membership by visiting both the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History as well as the Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas. Both were huge and enjoyable. The girls and I attended our first ever planetarium show where we learned that the Star of Bethlehem leading ancient astronomers to Judea around 6 AD was most likely Jupiter, and a video about the origins of the universe narrated by Owen Wilson left me in stunned silence, contemplating whether perhaps the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost could better be described as gravity, heat, and dark matter. Everything that I see in these museums stretches my ideas about who we are and where we came from and how we relate to every other piece of material in the galaxy. When we walk from the exhibits about the origin of life to the outer space panoramas, I’m struck by how much looking at the tiniest building blocks of matter – the electrons and cells and forces that hold us together and enable life – look so much like the pictures of entire galaxies swirling around other galaxies and stars being born across vast distances. I get the sensation that even at our largest scale perhaps this entire show is actually just the tiniest building block of something much, much, much greater and unknowable and beautiful. It’s no wonder that people throughout history have personified the parts of the natural world like mountains and storms and star constellations – we are all made of the same fibers and are definitely connected in ways that we don’t yet understand.
When weighing these types of thoughts in your mind becomes too much, there’s always an overpriced gift shop to bring you back to a comfortable, materialistic focus so that you can continue to function in American society.
Also…how are there so many animals in the world that I’ve never even heard of?!