Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday. Spring. One thing and/or another...

When I finished up my last parish interim assignment at the end of January -- it was actually February 2nd, and included an Annual General Meeting and a potluck lunch as well as the regular Sunday Eucharist -- I came home and resorted to the Couch of Sunday Nappage, as is my wont and certainly seemed to be my due, at that point.

"Aha, " I said, "I will catch a couple of hours here under my fleecy throw (and a strategically placed cat), and then I will Rise Up and see about supper and the week to come."

I got right up off that couch -- eighteen hours later.....

"Hark!" I said, "I must have been more tired than I realized... and perhaps probably I could be Coming Down With Something, judging by this here sore throat..."

And I was.  Not to dwell on misery, but sore throat, congested head, nose running like Alph the Sacred River, and presently a rattling heavy "productive" (as they say) cough.

"Yes!" I said, "the well-remembered end-of-assignment, adrenalin-shut-down, immune-system-vanished, COLD.  Well, we'll just ride this out, and not be pestering the medical profession for a trifle."

That was about February 3rd.  Yesterday, having grown very very tired of the infinite loop, see paragraph #5 above, that I have been apparently stuck in, I went to my doctor.  "Six WEEKS?" I said.  "I don't think so..."

Diagnosis: bronchitis, probably pneumonia, possibly reactive asthma.

A FISTFUL of requisitions and prescriptions and a half day of running about in response -- I have an antibiotic (2 big pills daily WITH FOOD) -- I have Puffer #1 (red) (once daily and be sure to rinse mouth afterward) -- I have Puffer #2 (blue) (four times a day if necessary on a "rescue" basis) -- I also have the continuing threesome of pills combatting the usual blood pressure and cholesterol -- and I have a new bone-density medication (one pill weekly with plenty of water on an empty stomach, NO FOOD for an hour, and remember to stay upright after taking lest it LODGE somewhere).

You will be able to hear me coming because with all these meds in me I shall rattle like the bones in Ezekiel.

But the SCHEDULING involved in all this medication !!!!!!!!  What happened to the Merry Spntaneity that was supposed to characterize my Golden Years????? Eh?????

Maybe this IS my Lenten practice.

Meantime it is officially SPRING, saluted in these parts by a fresh fall of snow, plunging temperatures, and high winds.  

In other news, I have a new parish assignment 90 km away, half-time...again, interim.  

In other news, I have a vegan cookbook (no, but I have dear vegan friends) last purchase before Lent. 

Well, the last purchase until I found R. N. Whybray, The Making of the Pentateuch: A Methodological Study on the sale table in the theological library.  It was only 50 cents -- and signed by the author -- and dedicated to his son and his two stepdaughters -- and the stepdaughters are second cousins to the Rambler.  So how could one resist?  (Yes, it's a VERY long story -- some other time).

Time to pay some bills.  "Today we have Paying of Bills"... and some overdue correspondence... also LAUNDRY... and cookery toward the end of the week...


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Baptism of Jesus

All right, here we go.  

Nothing so stimulating as getting up to write the sermon at seven in the morning -- that would be, SUNDAY morning.  Just a little more of the Evel Knievel atmosphere about this than I quite like, but it's done, it'll preach...

And I've responded to that by concocting the ham/onion/jalapeno two-egg omelette, with home-made tomato ketchup on the side, and 1.5 home-made lattes, and a palmful of rattly pills -- time to find a clean black shirt and be gone.

No printer in this house -- at least, no printer that is on speaking terms with the laptop -- so the sermon is in longhand scribbles for a change.

Away we go.  Weather not too fierce for once.  Church, and a brief meeting, and then home and another clutter-clearing task for the afternoon, I think.

Green lights, everybody.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday again.

Not going  to look at the Friday Five -- or at least, not just now.

After a week enjoying ill health -- ill health at the beginning of the week, enjoying towards the end -- it is a day for putting the next few days in some kind of order.

Three calendars are involved: the briefcase day-timer; the fridge-door "Things This Week"; and the on-edge-behind-the-piano four-month monster.  And there's a small fistful of scribbles to organize onto these three ... the trick is to ensure that they all say the same thing about the same activities on the same day.

I spent time -- probably more than was wise -- sorting received Christmas cards into Meaningful Categories...hand-crafted ones, works-of-art ones, cute-animals ones (to share with the granddaughters on Important Projects with scissors and glue sticks), religious ones (for the friend who paints Christmas scenes on windows) and the eternal MISCELLANEOUS --raw material for the Great Recycled Christmas Card Little Tiny Boxes project.

In the course of this Great Sorting I filled the shredder and a waste-basket...and found (inevitably, comically), the sensible boxful of unused cards, labels, stickers, address book and other Yuletide Papergoods from last year.  These, with the sensible boxful of etc. etc. from THIS year, are all now arranged in a Rational Drawer, with a label on it... so I have some hope that come November 2014 I may, just may, be able to find them again.

All this working, and being retired, and working, and getting old, and living alone, and stuff, is a constant juggling of logistics and ergonomics, What?  Where? When?

And perhaps if we focus on those, we can defer dealing with Why??


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Reflection in the middle of the night...

I had a long conversation with myself, interrupted, the other night. 
For professional reasons, I was a guest at a local Conference/Retreat Centre (formerly, a very very large convent). 
For epidemiological reasons, I found myself on my knees shortly after midnight.  Not, alas, in any of the beautiful, tranquil, inspiring chapel spaces on the premises.  But in the little ensuite bathroom assigned to me.
I had extended opportunity to examine the furniture of that bathroom, closely.
And midway through the seance, it occurred to me: that the misery of gastro-intestinal upset is very materially lessened when all the porcelain ware within reach is as clean and shiny as your grandmother's bone china... as when you just have to rest your forehead on that rim...and you do so in the perfect tranquil confidence that you're not going to catch anything.  Else.
"Self," I said, reflecting..."how about we keep this moment in mind, the next time we decide we'd just rather  defer scrubbing the bathrooms at home, yet again?  How about we re-visit the Nasty Jobs, now and then, as welcome and easy opportunities to look after us, better?  H'm?  Instead of just Sordid Ordeals?"
And Self couldn't think of a single smart-aleck thing to say.
Believe me...if you get to pick the venue in which you're going to "hug the bowl," all night--hard to beat a NUN-CLEAN convent bathroom.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pentecost 20C -- got faith?

The point -- if there was a point of this sermon (notes below) was that the miracle done by faith is NOT the miracle of the spontaneously supernaturally uprooted mulberry tree.  The miracle is not moving the mulberry tree but moving the disciple[s].  The folks seemed to be happy with that -- and then we had a great potluck lunch.  There were little kids and even a three week old baby to cuddle...

Pentecost 20, preached at  St Swithin’s in the Swamp, October 6, 2013.

I speak with you this morning in the presence of God.  AMEN.
All summer and into the fall we have been reading in the gospel of Luke; and if we were going to put a title on what we’ve been reading, it might well be, “Things we wish Jesus hadn’t said.”  More formally, we might call them “The Hard Sayings…” – not necessarily hard in the sense tht we don’t understand what he means – sometimes hard in the sense that we are afraid we DO understand what he means, and we’re not sure we like it.  At the very least, Jesus upsets the disciples’ expectations, and our expectations as well. //a signal to pay attention//
This morning’s reading from the gospel is one of these passages.  Look with me for a few minutes at what happens.  The disciples ask to be given more faith.  What a natural, innocent, harmless, blameless request – the kind of thing one might well say in hard or challenging circumstances//lamentations//. 
But how does Jesus respond – does he say, “Why, sure, I thought you’d never ask” and comply with this Perfectly Reasonable Request?  Not a bit of it.  He is quite rude about their request, in fact.  He tells them they don’t have any faith at all (you can almost hear the “Huh”) and then he says something quite wild about a mulberry tree, and wraps up with a gratuitous scolding about something else entirely.
What on earth is going on here?  Something seems to have been wrong with the request!  1. What did they really want? 2. And why didn’t Jesus give it to them?
1.    He’s just told them about the obligation to forgive – and it’s a hard one.  So before they start in forgiving, they say, “if you give us enough faith, we’ll do it” – or, more likely, “if you don’t give us more faith, we’re not even going to try.”  “Increase our faith” turns out to mean, “give us more strength, more power ~~ make this task easier ~~ and then we’ll do it.”  “FAITH” is a kind of magic, a kind of superpower, that will keep the life of a disciple from costing us anything, including failure.
2.   And Jesus doesn’t give it to them; in fact he mocks their desire to do what they – and we – must do by supernatural means.  God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves.  That mulberry tree is there to demonstrate this.  If we want that mulberry tree flung into the sea, we can manage it without divine intervention, without extraordinary spiritual power… //lady evangelist story about new Christians wanting spiritual power – wouldn’t exercise what they already had//
3.   The word “exercise” takes us deeper into Jesus’ program here.  The disciples do need more faith (and often, so do we); and faith is a gift from God; but it is a gift like the other gifts we are given, such as a talent for music, or a capacity for athletic accomplishment.  None of these gifts comes as a wrapped-up, ribbon-tied accomplishment – every such gift is a gift of “potential” – not the finished expertise, or virtue, but something like “a kit” – some assembly is required; some exercise is required; some practice is required )Carnegie Hall story). Such gifts  never mere luxuries or mere ornaments, always given in response to need – courage, patience, only present where they are needed (in great fear, in great frustration)…  They don’t “make things easy” – they make us willing to confront what is hard.
4.   When we want to have the spiritual gift, such as faith, in its perfect form before we undertake the tasks that are set before us, we get the process backwards.  We have been given enough faith to start to be obedient in some small things – and by our obedience we find a) the limits of our faith[fulness] and b) the faithfulness of God toward us c)the increase in faith that we have desired – not in our own spiritual “easiness,” but in our capacity to be a blessing to other people, to our community, and to our world…

Thing One and Thing Two

In my most recent post I mentioned the Granddaughters (Thing One and Thing Two) and then thought, GOOD HEAVENS, it's time for up to date pictures.  So here they are: Annie at 19 months (nearly), and Lena at 10 months (just barely)... What's that zinger about "the lines have fallen unto me in very pleasant places?"  Yes.  And among very lovely creatures, too.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday Five (okay, okay...)

3dogmom has given us this prompt, for this week's Friday Five:
I’ve just returned from an extended road trip, a portion of which included travel through ancestral homelands. While I was gone our son’s first child, Hunter, was born, making me mindful of the gift that our roots can offer to us as we venture through life.  That juxtaposition inspires today’s Friday Five.
At a baby shower honoring Hunter guests filled out a card full of hopes and wishes for his life. Thinking about whatever new life may be touching yours (the birth of a child, a marriage, a new call…), choose five wishes from the following and do the same. (For instance, I wrote for Hunter, “I hope you laugh at your grandfather’s jokes.)
I hope you: learn, grow, remember, laugh, get, follow, aren’t afraid, love, respect, try to, never forget, become, experience.
Bonus: what hopes did someone in your life offer to you that have stayed with and inspired you?
Let us know in the comments if you play. You can leave a link old school if you want to be fancy, or you can simply cut and paste the URL, because that works on WordPress.

My wishes and hopes are for Thing One and Thing Two (the 2012 vintage granddaughters) -- but how do I keep it down to five? All right, here goes.

I hope you learn and go on learning as long as you live.
I hope you laugh whenever you can (and only cry when you must).
I hope you respect yourselves, and each other (and if there's any left over for Grandma that would be all right too).
I hope you never forget that you are tremendously loved, and tremendously loveable (because your RevGalBlogAunties can tell you, those are SUPERPOWERS).
I hope you aren't afraid of the world or the people in it.

There.  That's about it!
And I love you very much.