5/19/2013

wineskins

Today was Pentecost Sunday, and I missed the traditional commemorations that I've never actually had before. I missed the scarlet fabric draped over the cross and across the Table. I missed the red roses and geraniums and snapdragons at the base of the pulpit. The red, orange, and gold streamers spun from the pews to the ceiling, Holy Spirit fire blazing up to heaven and down to us. The songs and stories remembering the surge of power that swept through the tiny band of cowering disciples, filling them with Love That Casts Out Fear, changing the world. "The Comforter has come."

More and more my husband and I find ourselves longing for these things. He laments the missed opportunities to share Communion more often - especially following sermons about loving the stranger or what it means to be the Body of Christ. "This is my body..." "There is one body..." I long for altar cloths, floral arrangements, and those banners quilted by crafty church ladies that call out the names of God or the fruit of the Spirit or whathaveyou. Things that mark the turning of the seasons - Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide, Pentecost, Ordinary Time...

I feel a bit lost these days. Tired. Wrung out. Like the Old Wineskins have sprung too many leaks to be useful anymore, but I can't quite throw them out, because I haven't any New Wineskins to replace them with. I'm left with Ziplock baggies. Flimsy, temporary, and not made to hold Good Wine. Baby carrots, maybe, but not Good Wine. And aren't we supposed to be cutting down on our use of plastic anyway?

So, today I wore a red blouse and MM and I thanked God for giving us His Spirit. Tomorrow, I'll pick some geraniums and roses from our garden. I'll keep looking for wineskins and hope that the wine will last.

5/07/2013

liturgy of the hours

Vespers  -  The concrete steps radiate the heat of the day into my backside and bare feet. I glance down to see roly polys dawdling along the sidewalk and into the grass where bees bob from clover to clover, dodging water drops. Our old-timey fountain sprinkler shoots up from the lawn, a firework of gold in the setting sun.  The wings of tiny bugs also catch the light as they drift up from the crab grass like sparks from a fire. In the cool of the evening the neighborhood gardens release delicious fragrances - rose and jasmine and some undetermined tree blossoms that just popped out this week. I breathe deep this peace. God is in his heaven... Already summertime, and its not even May. My thoughts are full of baseball games, camping trips, ice cream recipes, and picnics. Fun to be had. But just now, I sit on my front step and try to take in the beauty of this moment. Only this one.

~ ~ ~

Compline  -  We blow past the "bedtime alarm." Again. Just one more hand of Phase 10. One more episode of Venture Brothers. One more chapter in our book. One more cookie.

We'll pay for it in the morning, and we always say we need to get better about going to bed on time. But, chances are, we'll blast through the alarm again tomorrow. Its just too fun to be together! Thank you for being my friend. I love you the MOST!

~ ~ ~

Vigils Don't turn off the light yet. I just want to look at you for a second. Hi. We smile and hold hands and chat just one more minute. He makes me laugh so hard I snort. I bonk into his eyeball with my cheekbone, and try to make up for it by caressing his face. We make out a little. And eventually it all settles down into our version of "Now I lay me down to sleep." But for grownups. With adult-sized worries and burdens - marriages and countries blowing up, economies and friend's lives going down the tubes, safe deliveries of babies or surgeries, a good diagnosis, another friend out of work... Keep us safe... Please be with us... Thank you. Thank you. We fall asleep holding hands, but in the end have to mumble a last I love you and flip over to our sides.

~ ~ ~

Lauds  -  I awake weeping in the middle of the night. Another nightmare. So much ancient pain working itself out in my soul. Can't do it all during the waking hours. This was a bad one. He has told me to wake him up when it happens. I do, and he holds me and comforts me reminds me of what is real and true while I try to explain the dream and cry out the hurt and fear. Oh, my soul. I know why you are so downcast, and it takes time. And lots of holding from this good man.

~ ~ ~

Prime  -  His alarm blasts into our early morning peace at 6 am. I'm a train wreck from an aching shoulder and painful dreams, but he figures out how to turn it off somehow. He rolls over smiling, "Good morning, Beautiful." What a name! He does an abbreviated morning prayer, something about helping me to get a little more sleep, and for his morning time of exercise and silence to go well. I mumble a few I love yous and roll over to do my part. (If I don't get enough sleep I turn into a two year old. This is vital for the health of our family, so I do my best: earplugs, eye mask, Complex Pillow System to accommodate my shoulder and back and other aches and pains.) I'm so proud of him for getting up every day and doing this. He's supposed to wake me before he takes his shower, so I can make breakfast, but most of the time he just lets me sleep. God bless him.

~ ~ ~

Terce  -  OK. Now I'm awake. I'm writing, journaling, reading, thinking, writing some more, drinking tea, planing... This is my hour. Bam! Best thinking, connecting, praying happens in mid morning for me. 9-12 is so good for my brain and my soul. This is when I am inspired. Art, poetry, music, scripture, wisdom, Good Writing, New Ideas! I dive in deep and take it all in, through every pore. I pray with my heart in the mornings. May the meditations of my heart...


~ ~ ~

Sext  -  Same. I usually forget to eat lunch, cuz I'm so into stuff. Go go go. Read, think, learn, pray, write, yeah, baby, yeah! I need to switch to water now, but I always forget. I am perpetually dehydrated. I need some kind of alarm or alert or something. But yes. By now I've grabbed on to a topic or a project that needs focus. I pray with my mind at mid-day. May the thoughts of my mind...

~ ~ ~

None  -  My brain is slowing down. I remember to eat lunch. And drink water. Dangit! And stretch and get up from my desk and connect with the earth and sky and weather. Now is the time to DO instead of think. Back in olden times, I'd save document formatting work or admin tasks for afternoons, when my brain was ready to downshift. It's still working, but it's churning away in the background as my hands click-click on the mouse, or sew or plant or clean or craft. I pray with my body in the afternoon. May the work of my hands...

~ ~ ~

Vespers  -  And here we are again. A glass of wine in the back yard, admiring our roses before we dance our daily rhythms of dinner and chores. A moment to catch the sunset colors and watch tiny bugs fly up like sparks into a summer evening. Peace. In this moment. Thank you.