Five Years On

About five years ago earlier this month, I went on Bahá’í pilgrimage to Haifa.

It is funny how in that post I wrote about the experience my expectation of some significant change. Even that post stated, “Something like serving at the Bahá’í World Center would be the kind of change I foresee,” which clearly states where my head was looking at the time. I think at the time I was terrified of where things were headed at work and very much tempted to flee a sinking ship. Many of our top talent at the time were. Anyway, I did apply for a job, but after the interview felt a crushing feeling it was not the right move for me so I withdrew. I am at a loss to figure out what changed.

Did not enter a relationship.

At the same employer. New job.

If anything, then the one big change is drifting from faith.

I still think about the statement I was told by some strangers that I ought to be an educator instead of wasting my potential working in IT.

ITS Spotlight Article

A Georgia native, Ezra graduated from Valdosta State University (VSU) with a BS in Psychology. While an undergraduate student, he worked at VSU’s Odum library until his last term when the Information Technology department hired him as a Cooperative Education student for the Campus Webmaster. Writing code and solving problems banished his thoughts of a career sitting at a reference desk and finding sources for other students’ papers. To retain Ezra as an employee, VSU’s IT department created a new position and eventually made him the Campus Webmaster. The role expanded from just managing servers and pages for the WWW web site and a few custom web applications to including the online class system, portal, 75 department web sites, and oversight of three students.

In March 2006, Ezra joined ITS to become the newest of three database and middleware administrators for GeorgiaVIEW. This program provides a platform for online classes to most USG institutions. In just under five years, GeorgiaVIEW has grown from 5,523 (spring 2006) to 34,581 (fall 2010) active sections, from two production clusters/databases to 10, and from about 40 web servers to 140. The technical support Ezra, Amy Edwards, and George Hernandez provide prevents cascading meltdowns. Sometimes students and their faculty never experience the problems. Ezra believes that this makes all the 4:00 a.m. false alarms worth it. Amy adds that “Ezra is committed to working for the common ITS goal of providing a quality online learning environment for our USG campuses” and quotes Dwight D. Eisenhower to sum up how she feels about working with Ezra: “It is better to have one person working with you than three people working for you.”

When not working, Ezra pursues several interests. In February 2010, he traveled to Haifa, Israel for pilgrimage to the holy places of the Bahá’í Faith. Just after joining ITS, Ezra bought a dSLR camera and is currently involved with social photography clubs. His favorite subject so far is the Eastern Box Turtle at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Also, Ezra has been writing a blog for more than a decade, “Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric.”

Merry Christmas

Christmas Tree

So far it has been a good day. My grandmother the whole family has rallied around appears to be improving. The rest of the family are doing well. Friends are scattered to the four winds to visit with family.

I am content. It as been a good year.


Project 365: Day 033Two weeks ago I met my mother at the airport to fly to Israel and make our way to Haifa, Israel to participate in the greatest bounty: Bahá’í pilgrimage.

Before making the trip, my life had settled into a funk. Back in 2005, Lacey invited me to her wedding in Chicago at the Bahá’í House of Worship. At the time, my life was mired in a similar funk and experiencing a whole morning praying there gave me both a warm calm and bubbling turmoil. It was the calm before the storm as during the next several months my grandmother lost two brothers sending me on driving trips to Arkansas twice, my gall bladder failed, and I landed a job prompting a move to Athens.

Returning from Chicago, I held no answers… just bouts of turmoil and using thoughts of my time in Chicago to produce serenity. Returning from Haifa, I feel more turmoil and serenity! Instead of a warm calm, I’m feeling like a stranger in my own home, driving my own car, chatting with my own friends. It’s like for a couple weeks I got to experience a different life and feel disappointment returning to my own.

Miscellaneous observations:

  • Pictures of the places I visited in no way prepared me for the experiencing the Bahá’í holy sites.
  • Clementine juice in particular is genius. Citrus products in general are fantastic.
  • Israelis know the name Ezra particularly well, so they expect the bearer to know Hebrew. Security  officials often wanted to know why I have the name.
  • As much as I read, I ought to read more Bahá’í works.
  • I expected to suffer greatly climbing anything more than a couple floors equivalent as the most exercise I get is just a single floor of stairs a few times a day. So we did quite a bit of walking down which was enough to make my calves burn. The trips up were shorter.
  • It is a teeny tiny Bahá’í world. I knew Mojan, Eric, and their son were in Haifa. Another 3 Bahá’ís from Georgia happened to be serving there. A couple others, Delara and Marla, happened to be in the my pilgrimage group as well.
  • Kat recognized me from somewhere upon sight of me in orientation. We didn’t figure it out in our 9 days together. Previously life? Or a connection to people serving or previously served in Haifa?
  • Shawarma… who knew?
  • I was told I am not fulfilling my potential. Instead of working with computers, I ought to be an educator.
  • Mom thought Ezra Jack Keats, my namesake, was black because he used a black child as the protagonist. Guess the web site didn’t exist back when I was born. I’ve known he was originally a Katz for almost a decade.

For a good description of the pilgrimage experience, see Myk’s pilgrimage blog postings.

If the aftermath of this pilgrimage is anything like my visit to Chicago in 2005, then I’ll experience some change. I don’t intend mistake attraction for Haifa as destiny to live there. My attraction to Chicago has never culminated in my living there, so I’m not holding on to imaginations I’ll miraculously move to Haifa. Something like serving at the Bahá’í World Center would be the kind of change I foresee. We’ll see. I’m not keen to completely disrupt my life at the moment. Hopefully events will not conspire against me to force my hand.