Friday, May 16, 2008

17th of May and My Blog One Year Later

Oslo Norway

Inside Minnekirken Church in Chicago

Viking Ship Replica in Chicago
Well today is the 17th of May or Syttende Mai. This is Norwegian Constitution Day. It is the equivalent of our Independence Day. There will be parades throughout Norway today. There will be parades in the upper Midwest and the Northwest, wherever large concentrations of Norwegian Americans are found there will be parades and celebrations.

As a child I loved this day. I would go to Humboldt Park in Chicago and watch the parade with my father. As young adults Cathi and I worked in the Norway Center in Chicago for one year. It was great, a Viking bar, and a Norse reception room. The reception room had been the center of Norwegian relief efforts during World War II. In 1976 the King of Norway visited Chicago and I saw him. I will never forget that day. So today is an important day to me.

However, today is also important to me for another reason. It is the one year anniversary of starting this blog. I had no idea if I would stick with it. I had no idea if I would attract readers. I certainly did not know how to make a blog. Still, one year later and I am still writing.

It has been a good year. I have learned a lot about a lot of different topics. I have leaned about different groups/peoples/faiths. Most importantly I have talked with so many interesting people.

I have communicated with African students studying in Poland, with old friends, friars, sisters and priests. I have communicated with some of the most interesting bloggers around. Including someone who actually thinks Notre Dame has a football team (just seeing if you’re paying attention), a Republican Catholic in Louisiana, a gay Catholic in Australia, Buddhists, Muslims, contemplatives, interfaith groups and so many more.

I have learned to pick my words carefully but to not deny my opinions. That has become difficult. I clearly care about the plight of Christians across the Middle East and Northern Africa. It is important to acknowledge the violence by fanatics who kill in the name of Islam without confusing Muslims with those fanatics. Not an easy thing. However, it is clear, fanatics, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu have more in common with each other than with folks who worship a loving God.

I have learned I need to seek balance. Yes, the world is full of violence, natural disasters, and mistrust. However, it is also full of peace-makers, natural beauty, fun and pilgrims. There are so many pilgrims!.

My goals last year were modest. At that time I stated:
So, the things I expect I will address:
Journeys and pilgrimages
Inter-faith interactions
Global Warming
Pastoral Counseling
Clinical Psychology
Disaster Mental Health

However, for today I am just learning the lay of the land. I am learning to navigate the template. My goal is modest: to connect with compassionate others who care about creation, the Creator and who do not take themselves too seriously. Only time will tell if this is worthwhile or folly!

So, blogging has been a dance for me. It is part travelogue, part journal, part op-ed page and part spiritual reflection. The order and priorities change. The joy of interacting with folks from around the globe does not.

So, Happy Syttende Mai and we will see if I am still around blogging a year from now.

Peace and all good,

Syttende Mai Norway

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