Sunday, February 08, 2015

Grasshoppers, Gravity, and a Really Great Story

Listen here!

Isaiah 40:21-31 (NRSV)
Mark 1:29-39  (NRSV)

Welcome to the fifth Sunday of Epiphany, the second to last Sunday before Lent. In the tradition of epiphany, we have read yet another story from Mark about the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

It’s a whopper of a text. Chock full of demon possession and deadly diseases and even a Christ who goes AWOL. The Old Testament text from Isaiah is a little easier to swallow except that the God who once called us the cream of the crop, humanity: the pinnacle of creation (in Genesis 1) is now reminding us that it is God who takes down the rulers of the earth and we, God’s creation, are like little grasshoppers in comparison. :)

Literature is the best. So many ways of communicating how we feel or how we feel God feels, or whatever.

I wonder if it was this passage from Isaiah that inspired Mary Oliver to pen “The Summer Day.”

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Hard to make much of your life when you’re lying in bed dying from a fever though. This, of course, was the predicament of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law in the Mark passage.

Aside from the dying part, this is a great story. We learn that Simon Peter has a family - he’s one of the few disciples who was married. And he brings his new friends and new messiah to his house, to stay with his family. As such, it is in Simon Peter’s home that Jesus performs his first healing miracle. It’s the second miracle and the first healing the disciples witness after having left everything - jobs, girls, family, their favorite spot to watch the sun set - to follow Jesus on this crazy vagabond adventure.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The. Gift.

I had it all planned. Weeks prior, I had written Brownie & Christy (friends from CRT) explaining that during our seven months living in Creede, Colorado, it was Brownie's paintings that Person* was most enchanted by. Did they have a small one I could purchase to surprise him with at Christmas? For the person (indeed, my Person) who has everything, this was one thing I reckoned I could get him that would really surprise and delight him.

So Brownie took off to get one of his paintings from a gallery in a neighboring town to store at his house in Lawrence until I arrived on the 20th - en route to St. Jo Mo. Meanwhile, I started saving. Not having had steady employment since August, I knew Person wouldn't expect a gift from me, which made this extra special - sacrifice and beauty. Nothing beats it.  

We arrived in Lawrence to hugs and a lovely fish dinner in an historic home. Christy and Brownie are lovers of history and their house is filled with it. Built in the 1800s it's gorgeous - tall ceilings, wood everything. It's amazing. And every inch is filled with something from an antique or thrift store. Wanna see what a POW built out of toothpicks while stuck in a cell during WWII? They've got it. Ever fancied a Celtic cross? - They've got a drawer full. It's like staying the night in a museum. 

But Brown, Christy, and I had a game plan. So I slipped out to the barn-turn-gallery to "see Brownie's studio." He hurried to a brown box and pulled out the painting. 

"I love it. He'll love it." 

"It's based on a memory I have during my time in France," he explained. Even more perfect. It was The. Gift. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


It's #GivingTuesday and this is a not so subtle attempt to market some of my favorite non-profits and tell you where to put your money (spoiler alert, it's not necessarily where your mouth is).

So, here they are, Ann's Top Nine (I don't know why I chose nine) Places to Give this Giving Tuesday...


Because, to be frank, art changes people. It may be our best ally.

1. Trinity Street Players. I admit it. I may be biased because I founded this theatre and now I'm helping them out again. But still. It's a theatre. In a church. Where thespians are allowed to be themselves, and make art, and not feel proselytized. It's a nice change from the unfortunate norm. (Note: go to the Trinity Street Players line item to donate).

2. Creede Repertory Theatre. Also a biased choice. This is where I worked over the summer and it's a dream. And an anomaly... considering there's only 400 people living in Creede, Colorado right now.

3.  The Rude Mechs. I love this internationally acclaimed theatre company whose home is ATX. However, they're trying to make the hard decision about staying or going. So, get your money and go vote. (Their marketing team is brilliant).


What do you care about the most? They alway ask this on those dang surveys that I get in the mail. Check one of the following.... Healthcare, Corruption on Walstreet, Gun Control. Well, needless to say, my X goes next to the environment box, cuz, y'all. Facts are facts. And it's going fast.

4. World Wildlife Fund - "WWF’s work has evolved from saving species and landscapes to addressing the larger global threats and forces that impact them." And, pandas.

5. The Conservation Fund - "From Alaska’s North Slope to Maryland’s Eastern shore, we’re working with groups to protect lands that that will allow vulnerable species to move and adapt." This is smart work.

6. PETA - Because people who are cruel to animals suck. And don't get me started on what it says about our culture that we have puppy farms and factory farms.


Because, cancer.

7. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Enough said.

Oh and ALS. Because our healthcare system is pretty corrupt, and trying to get resources to survive is pretty difficult.

8. The ALS Association.


9. NPR. Because, news and art. It's a lifesaver on those long drives. And its refreshing to know that thoughtful people still exist and are telling theirs and other's stories. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Big Burn

One of the interesting tidbits about the tiny town of Creede, CO is the plethora of artists who reside here. Whether its a TV throwing Cannon Ball Man or the distinct paintings of Mr. Quiller, or Mandy Patinkin himself, there are a lot of creative folks in these mountains.

One such person is Bev Chapman. Some of you Missouri and Kansas folk may remember her from KMBC. Now, however, she's specializing in film, and I saw Bev's work earlier this summer at the premier for her short film, Big Burn.

This documentary tells the story of what I have come to know as "the fire." Frequently referenced around town, whether discussing finances or tourism or residual injuries, the topic at hand often turns to "the fire."

What is "the fire?" Well, that's what I wanted to know. So I went to the completely packed movie premier where I met the sunny and lovely Bev Chapman, who shared the San Luis Valley's Fire story with me.

Check out the trailer.

From boy scouts to business owners, few went untouched. And the ones who did, tell the story here. If you'd like to check out the full movie, it will be available after it's premiered in a few film festivals. Until then, stay tuned, and maybe drop a few coins in the Creede Community Relief Fund which was started to help those who lost so much in "the fire."

And kudos to Bev and all the other artists who continue to tell the story of this amazing little town.

P.S. Quiller has an amazing Beauty in the Burn painting series. Check it out too!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September Hummingbird

why are you still here
drinking sugar water
from the red plastic and glass bottle feeder
hanging from my porch
outside the window where i watch
and wonder
why you linger here alone
no one else buzzes by your side
a companion
or a threat to the nectar i’ve concocted
so i can watch you light and fight
and try to count how many of you there are 
a couple of bees and some gnats are all that attempt 
the fake flower holes that hold the sweet goodness
these past few weeks
and most of them drown
i know because i wash them down the sink
when i clean the feeder 
and boil more water 
and stir in generic brand sugar from the grocery store in town

you drink
then bring your nose up
to look around
do you realize you’re alone
migration missed

panic ensues
or maybe delight
as you fly into the cloudless sky 
you look from my place
behind the paned glass
like you’ve scaled the mountain
over the green and into to blue

you are gone

(and now i’m alone)

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Story of the Three Thousand Dollar Pendant

At Creede Repertory Theatre's Illuminated Gala on Sunday, July 27, Manuel and I entered the South Fork Country Club in anticipation of a great evening. I was wearing an amazing dress, and would be singing. 
In addition, trapeze, dancing, testimonials, and an auction were scheduled to be scattered throughout the night. Dinner would be served, and there was to be an open bar which Manuel would typically not take advantage of. 

Manuel and I began the evening at the Gala having earlier made an agreement. With so many fun things to do this summer, and with big plans for the fall, I had made a pitch for fiscal conservatism (please don’t tell my fellow democrats), and asked him to limit his generosity to the $250 admission price. He complied, and agreed not to bid on any of the auction items. 

Truth be told, I didn’t trust him. The man grew up poor, and now that he has money, he loves to give it away. Frequently, I peered over the balcony of the club and observed the tables below. Had his been one of the hands that raised during the live auction? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

And Then I Moved to Colorado

I spent my birthday with strangers this year and it was one of the most exciting days of my life.

Not because anyone knew it was my birthday (or because anyone even knew me). Not because I moved into the triangle shaped upstairs of a house chock full of Harry Potter holes (small doors that monsters and bad guys could easily crawl out of - terrifying!). Not because I ate a delicious, gluten-filled brownie my roommate made because she likes to bake. Not because my other roommate had a long haired chiguagua with whom I knew I would become best friends. Not because I watched my first full Game of Thrones (which I hate) episode in an attempt to make human friends. 

Not even because of all those reasons.

Rather, it was one of the more momentous days of my life because I moved to Creede, Colorado to take a new job with a repertory theatre.   

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Turns 100... and a blind eye.

I don't want to come across as a hater. And Lord knows I love my mother (and am the spittin' image of her). But I do not like Mother's Day.

And I'm not the only one.

In 1923, nine years after Anna Jarvis talked President Woodrow Wilson into establishing a national "Mother's Day," Ms. Jarvis turned around and began protesting it.

On facebook today, fourteen months after the death of his mother, Jason Nethercut describes Mother's Day as "prominent, glaring and threatening."

And for five years when I served at First Baptist Church in Austin, TX, I could be counted on to cry (hopefully non-conspicuously) at one service every year: Mother's Day.

Why don't we like it?

Well, Anna Jarvis hated how commercial it became in just nine years (oh Lord, she'd HATE it now). You see, she didn't start the movement to create a national holiday for "we the people" to give our moms flowers, and candy and cheesy greeting cards. She petitioned for this national holiday because her own mother organized "Mother's Work Days" to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality, to tend to soldiers who had been injured in the Civil War.  Anna's mother's contemporary, Julia Ward Howe (who composed "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"), issued a widely read "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

Mother's Day, for Anna, was to recognize extraordinary women, and specifically the one she was the closest to: her mother.

In other words, "Mother's Day was born in the aftermath of the Civil War, as a rallying cry for women worldwide to oppose war and fight for social justice." It wasn't actually about mothers being good moms, it was about women being good people.

Mother's Day was a cry to action. It was a call from the feminist and Christian communities for women to live to their fullest potential as God's children... and to protect God's other children.

Happy 100th Birthday, Mother's Day. You have forgotten who you are.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Transition: Something Just Broke

The movement into Holy Week starts off strong and exciting - like any good religious festival. From Sunday's palm branch waving and animal joyriding to tomorrow night's dinner with friends, things seem to be going well for Jesus and the Disciples.

But today, Holy Wednesday is traditionally the day that Judas is said to have gone to the High Priests... "What will you give me if I betray him?" Thirty pieces of silver later, and our story takes a swift turn for the worse. Way beyond foreshadowing, the climax builds as things fall apart.

At the passover dinner, Jesus hints that one will deny him, another betray him, and a party guest leaves in a huff.

Bread is broken and eaten, wine is poured and drunk, but the symbolism isn't traditional, and the disciples wonder what these mixed up metaphors might mean.

After dinner, Jesus excuses himself up to the garden to pray, taking with him his three closest friends. He asks them to wait and keep watch, while he begs God: let there be another way.

But God says no, and when Jesus returns, more disappointment awaits him. He finds his comrades snoozing, the passover hangover already upon them.

Heading back down the hill, things go from bad to worse as the one who ran away comes running back with guards in tow, a kiss of death upon his lips.

Peter draws his sword and the fight escalates when he cuts off a slave's ear. But Jesus, usually the peacemaker, knows that violence must wait a day and it certainly won't come from an army of angry revolutionaries.

But as Jesus returns the ear to the poor servant's head, his friends begin to panic. Everyone takes flight now, one fleeing so fast that when a guard grabs his cloak the disciple wriggles free and runs naked all the way home.

Jesus, on the other hand, is restrained, imprisoned, and left to await trial and potential capital punishment.

And we move from Holy Wednesday to Maundy Thursday.

Sleepy stewards, double-crossing kisses, and then... something just broke.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Assassins... the Musical

"You know the FBI has a file on you now," a young man with a record informed me after I performed in Soubrette Production's Assassins last weekend.

"Oh honey, they've had a file on me for a long time," I replied. "You've read my blog, right?"

Seriously though, aside from the fact that I've actively and articulately criticized American politicians - conservatives and liberals (Though lets be honest, fundamentalists of the former persuasion are much more offensive and ridiculous than fundies of the latter - what would a fundamentalist liberal be anyway? a hippie? I digress.) - and aside from the fact that I am very opinionated about politics, race, sexism, issues of social justice and separation of church and state, I also dated someone who worked for the Department of Defense. Remember when I quit posting crazy boyfriend stories in the latter part of 2011? There was a reason for that. But it wasn't because I stopped dating men, it was because my man didn't have security clearance. Yep, that happened.

And now I've gone and performed in Assassins, the musical about successful and wanna-be assassins of American Presidents. So, add that to the file, Monsieur FBI.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Backhanded Sermon

Yesterday at First Austin, Rev. Dr. Roger Paynter preached on Leviticus 19 and Matthew 5... the turn the other cheek story. He said that while being told to turn the other cheek is often used by Christians to "baptize our masochism," it can also be a chance for us to allow for a "courageous assertion of ourselves."

I preached on this very text eleven years ago. It's a sermon on one of the best things I learned in seminary (I think). And since apparently University Baptist Waco has been on my mind lately (I threw on an old UBC shirt to run errands in on Saturday and then low and behold, Kyle Lake, visited me in a dream that night right before I headed to church to hear a text I once preached. So I got out the old scrapbooks, and I got out my old book of sermons (those files don't exist electronically anymore). And on my little iPad last night, I smiled and cringed and smiled some more and typed out that sermon to share with y'all. 

And of course I've included pictures. Because this text is tricky, and it required a full on demonstration from the stage that morning. Pre-blog apologies to Big Phil and Lance. And Kyle, it was nice to see you the other night. Thanks for visiting...

And now, we welcome to the blog 25-year-old Ann Pittman 
from UBC Waco 2003...

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm Working on MLK (and what it means to me)

It's MLK Day.

I've written about this day before. And over the years, I've spent it in a variety of ways: playing in the snow since I didn't have to go to school in Missouri, raking leaves when I didn't have to go to work in Texas. And one year I even attended an MLK Day breakfast at Huston-Tillotson University with Austin icon, Volma Overton.

This year though, I will go to work (ah, corporate America); and I admit MLK Jr. is on my mind.

I can't pinpoint why. Maybe it's because I listened to this weird "I'm over MLK" discussion on NPR. I mean, I can't even...

Or maybe I'm paranoid about the gentrification of my neighborhood. Though admittedly, on my block, its affected the poorer Latino families more than it's affected the African Americans.

Or maybe I'm dreading all the MLK meme that will undoubtedly be posted on FB tomorrow - by conservatives trying to show they're not racist and by liberals trying to tell people to stop being racist. (None of it really matters as history suggests that few change their mind because of Facebook posts). (Furthermore, I will post some lovely meme on this blog to break up the text and appeal to visual readers).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top Ten Twenty-Thirteen Theatre

Everyone has their favorites. And everyone's weighing in (Chronicle critics: AdamRoberts, Robert Faires ... a cat).

Of course, I have my own opinions :)

So here's my credential-free pick for Austin's Top Ten 2013 Theatre Experiences (p.s. I don't include national tours or shows I was in on this list... tours obvs. aren't Austin, and despite my first girl-on-girl kiss this year, its probably biased to nominate performances I was a part of). Of the over twenty shows I saw this year, here's some moments, people and experiences that I loved (in no particular order)...

1.    Barbara Chisholm in Fixing King John. This was a fun, smart show by the Rude Mechs, and pulling her hair out in the middle of it was a brilliant Barbara Chisholm.

2.    The amazing set of Nursery Crimes (the DAC has never been better utilized) and the supporting characters trio of Travis Bedard, Bobby DiPasquale, and Heath Thompson. Kudos to Last Act's Will Snider for some great choices.

3.    Ryan Crowder's big fat crocodile tears (in addition to the rest of his performance) in Penfold Theatre's Red.

4.    Martin Burke's final monologue in Harvey. Lovely.

5.    Kristi Brawner in general. From Sally in Reefer Madness to Lucy in Charlie Brown, she is quickly becoming Austin's most versatile 20 Something (sorry guys, she's taken).

6.    HPT's Ken Webster as Thom Pain. Again.

7.    Mad Beat Hip & Gone. I cannot understand why this didn't get more critical attention.  Whatev. You guys, it was great. And those lightbulbs...

8.    The Drawbridge/Gangplank lowering and raising set piece thing in Austin Playhouse's Man of La Mancha. Awesome and daunting. Broke up the play and the mood perfectly appropriately.

9.    Little Shop of Horrors' colorful costumes at Zilker Park.

10.  ZACH's A Christmas Story set. You'll shoot your eye out.

AND what I really, really wanted to see (which might have influenced the above list), but, alas, life had other exciting adventures...

1.    Mical Trejo in Teatro Vivo's Confessions of a Mexpatriot

2.    And Then There Were None by Austin Playhouse

3.    Tongues (in the swimming pool!) by Theatre at the J

4.    Fat Pig by Theatre En Bloc

So there you have it! Of the Austin theatre events I saw, these were the most super-duper. Maybe next year I'll be brave enough to give you The Worst Of... who knows! In the meantime, here's looking forward to more great, funny, meaningful, important, silly theatre in the heart of Texas in 2014!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 What A Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2013 proved most eventful. After a fun-filled 2012, 2013 started off... on the couch. New Year's Eve last year, I had dinner with Person and the Joneses and then promptly fell asleep on the couch missing all ringing in and other celebretory festivities. But perhaps I needed the sleep to prepare for the year ahead...

From a trip to Portland to visit my sister... to a Reverse Oregon Trail (Let's-Move-Amy-Back-To-Chicago-Trip)... to a brief nanny job in New York... to a relaxing fall leaves Colorado tour... to an Adriatric Cruise in the Adriatric (I realize this is redundant, but you guys - seriously!!)... this year I travelled much, and felt extremely grateful. I saw some gorgeous sites (mostly in the US!) and some amazing artifacts (mostly in Italy).  If I had to choose 2013's world's best sights, I really, really loved Crater Lake in southern Oregon,
The David in Florence, Italy, and the ancient Greek theatre (complete with coastal views) in Sicily, Italy.

Other totes awesome and random loveliness includes... experiencing Moltnoma Falls, 
hearing Pope Francis speak, 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas (2013)

On the first day of Christmas, the season gave to me... 
The annual picture 'round the Pittman Tree.

On the second day of Christmas, the season gave to me... 
Two dreamy friends, and a picture 'round the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Part Four: Adriatic, the Overview

Okay, so this is totes delayed, but as it's Christmas and I'm snuggled under a red blanket by a blazing fire and as the question of the day was "what was the best part of 2013," I felt a twinge of guilt (too many gluten-filled cookies?) about not finishing my Adriatic Cruise spectacularousness blogs.

That was a long sentence, but my brain is tired (too much wine and eggnog?).

So here goes. There are a few things about Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece you MUST know.

First of all, and you won't believe this, but... fish ate my feet. I swear to God. My Person didn't believe it either, which is why he shelled out our last 10 Euros to pay to see it happen.  And it did. I went all Kim Kardashian and let fish eat the dead skin off my feet.  Check this out.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Part Three: Disembarkation Day

"What I can't stop thinking about is what you were wearing while you were packing!"

A perfect stranger said this to me today.
Well, technically he was a retired Canadian with health issues who sat next to me in a taxi in Florence and upon falling asleep (confirmation made by snore factor) allowed his hand to fall on my leg which was not proper even for squished taxi etiquette but I let it slide. So, not a perfect stranger but, we weren't really that close.
So why was this decisively dirty old man picturing me packing? Well, do you want the context, or would you rather use your imagination?
Let me just say, reality will be just as impressive.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Part Two: The Ship

My Person and I have embarked on an Adriatic cruise.

I was wary. I get motion sick just riding on swing sets and elevators. I excused myself from the theater and threw up in the bathroom during that Captain-I-Got-Attacked-By-Somalie-Pirates movie. Plus the only other ship movie I've ever seen is Titanic, so this added to my anxiety. But my sister is a doctor, so, loaded with drugs and patches, I boarded on Nov. 18th. This is my view every morning. Cue jealousy.
There are a lot of people on board this ship... and most of them are old. By "old" I mean my parents would be in the younger crowd here. I've thoroughly scoped it out. I can tell you how many sets of parents with young kids (4), how many families with teenagers (3), how many gay couples (4), and how many random youngish couples in their 20s or 30s (eh, maybe 8).  And according the the lady couple we met who travels together on these cruises all the time, there is officially one (1) single man on board who boarded the ship by himself (there is apparently an art to cruising - more details on this later).

These numbers aren't exact of course (except the single guy one - the ladies actually go to the photo station and scope out all the pics that the photographers take of couples, families and parties when we embark. So they know - one single man who got on by himself. I told you, for cruise professionals, its a fine art). There are 2000 people on board and I only see these people during meal times (and there are like 7 restaurants on board, and two different dinner times (we're at the 8:30 slot), and 15 levels on this ship. So... I might be off by a handful in one category or another.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Adriatic Tour Part One: Rome

You can't imagine what its like here.

My mother's full-time job for 30 years was to teach Latin (and French), so you can probably imagine what it was like at home. Occasionally our bedtime stories included books with images of Greco-Roman gods and stories of valor and indiscretion. In the summertime, (when my mother wasn't drowning amidst the teenagers at work and three flamboyant daughters at home), Tuesday was fun day, so once a week she would take us to a museum or art show, or whatever was culturally beautiful and educational all at once (there is the obvious exception of World's of Fun - but I attribute those excursions to my grandparents anyway).
But all the books and museums in the world couldn't prepare me for what I saw in Rome... the Colosseum (built just 2-4 years after the fall of the Jerusalem Temple) with its cages for wild animals and men alike... the remarkably preserved Roman ruins sprinkled throughout the city - columns, floors, temples ... the Pantheon with its remarkable gold dome - architectural genius... and Saint Peter's Basilica which borrowed gold from the Pantheon for its own remarkable decorations.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Whirlwind of Change - 3 Years Later

A Whirlwind of Change

This is the third time I've delivered a version of this sermon. The first was at Lakeshore Baptist in Waco, Texas in 2004, the second was at Sanctuary in Tarrytown in 2010 and the third was last Sunday at First Baptist of Austin, the church I worked at from September 2005-October 2010. You may listen to the spoken words at First Austin's Website - "2013-10-27" will get you there, but be fair warned, I was a little weepy. While this is an impassioned sermon about change and loss, I did not expect to be as affected as I was. I attribute this to several realities in my life some of which I share in the sermon and others that remain hidden in my heart. Plus, this was my first time "back" at First Austin in a pastoral capacity. While I have helped with weddings and funerals since I left my position there, and performed with Trinity Street Players in Blood Brothers last year, this was my first time back to the pulpit. It was an honor to be asked back by my former boss and my former congregation, and a testimony to my journey these past three years that I was able to say yes. I've wrestled with calling... from the stage to the pulpit to the microphone to the computer - who am I? What should I do with my one wild and precious life? This fall has proved a ministerial season for me: four weddings and a funeral (yep, it's true), three lectures at UBC in Austin and finally preaching last Sunday at First Austin. No theatre this fall for Ann Catherine... no Les Mis, no Man of La Mancha, no Falsettos - too many performance conflicts. So unbeknownst to me, a season of ministry began in September and is now winding down. And amidst the winds of change in my own life, I preached this sermon about a man and a mentor and the great wind that blew over him. 
Enjoy (italics is sung). 

What can I do with my obsession?
With the things I cannot see?
Is there madness in my being?
Is it the wind that moves the trees?
Sometimes you’re further than the moon
Sometimes you’re closer than my skin
And you surround me like a winter fog
You come and burn me with a kiss
And my heart burns for you
And my heart burns

Elisha was obsessed, and Elijah (his master) had only three trips left to make before the Lord would take him away. Gilgal, Jericho and the Jordan all needed some final work done before he left. Elijah had anointed Elisha, and had just a few ends to tie up before he knew God would call him home.

We don’t know why he didn’t want Elisha to accompany him. Perhaps he wanted to finish those last three visits by himself. Perhaps he needed time to think or reflect before he left the earth. Maybe he worried about his disciple Elisha, and thought the trips and the whirlwind would be too much for him in these last few days. Or maybe he was tired of always being followed around by an obsessive student. But whatever the reason, three times Elijah told Elisha, “No, don’t come with me,” and three times Elisha replied, “Not gonna happen; I will not leave you.”

It’s almost humorous reading the text, for in each scenario the same thing happens. “Don’t come with me Elisha.” “Too late,” Elisha replies. Elisha’s obsession about staying with Elijah reminds me of the beginning of the book of Ruth when she refuses to return to her own county but vows to stay with Naomi instead.  It reminds me of Sam’s allegiance to Frodo, Sandy's following of the Little Orphan Annie, or of C3PO to R2D2.