Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The great leveller

Many years ago, we posted a New Yorker cartoon next to our washing machine that shows two very different women in front of a washer. The caption reads, "Laundry -- the great leveller."

I admit that I've always enjoyed carrying freshly laundered clothes, still warm from the dryer (except while at Seabury, where the great accumulation of lint and crud stuck to the machines was scary). And last year, I thought that black clergy shirts were the Mother of All Lint Gatherers because of those particular machines. But it turns out that I was wrong.

We've wondered why clergy shirts become a magnet for lint in a way that no other black clothes ever have or ever will. They go into the machine with no lint, and come out with too many globs of lint to count. I begin to imagine the lint as representing the "stuff" of peoples' lives that we carry. We're healthiest when we carry it for a while and then let it wash away. But then the shirts appear with even more lint than before. I'd thought I was learning to be more detached from bearing peoples' pain and disappointments, but the lint reminds me that the stuff that often clings to us continues tempting us to look in the wrong direction, misspend energy, or forget to trust and hope.

Maybe lint isn't such a bad thing. Maybe it's my great leveller as I make my way through this first year of priesthood.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Funniest hymn text award

In looking at service leaflets/bulletins/ordos (what's an ordo? has anyone ever used this word again after seminary?) for Easter services at our two churches, I realized that I still get the giggles at the end of verse one of "Come, ye faithful, raise the strain."

I find it very funny to sing "led them with unmoistened foot." Of course, later on this Maundy Thursday, my foot will not be unmoistened for very long...

Monday, March 17, 2008


Palm Sunday went fine, and I had a 10-hr. day instead of the usual Sunday of 12 or 13 hrs. It's only Monday, and I feel exhausted. Last week, I asked a respected colleague how he manages putting in so many hours. He said, "I'm not always at 100%."

I've been mulling over his words. I don't know how to give less than 100%. I can't imagine giving someone (or some work, some liturgy, or even some writing) less. Yet if I don't learn soon how not to use all the energy up so quickly, I fear I'll burn out.

I wonder about the practice of detachment in a place where I love my work (and I do). Can one give 100% and yet be detached, or at least engaged in a way that does not cost so much?

Friday, March 14, 2008


15926535897932.....It's pi day once again, so take this opportunity to enjoy a slice of pi(e) today.

And, speaking of pie, we sat through another dessert prayer at Fresh Start yesterday: " May God who goes before you through dessert places by night and by day be your companion and guide."

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I love onions. They become transparent in just minutes (as opposed to human beings) and can be sliced to show fascinating ring patterns. They signal something delicious to anticipate. (No. This is not the beginning of my latest sermon.)

My reason for posting: does anyone know a trick to cutting onions that prevents the eyes from stinging and tearing up? I have some serious onion slicing to do for tomorrow's campus ministry dinner.

I object

On behalf of all with early Sunday mornings: So whose bright idea was it to begin the time change on Sundays? When it's time to Spring Forward tomorrow, I'll probably feel more like kicking a piece of furniture across the room.

Ahem. Yes, I am now done. Whine, whine, whine.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Signs of approaching Old Lady-dom

You reach for the first of two morning prescription bottles, and your fingers can't work the locking cap, so you turn it harder. The cap comes off and the tablets spill onto the floor and into the sink, turning to powder.

You successfully open the second bottle and leave the cap in place loosely for the next day. While placing it back into the cabinet, the bottle spills, the cap falls off, and most of the pills drop into the sink.

You yell something not very becoming to your profession.

When stepping into a pair of pants, you pull on one leg successfully, but wobble when trying to get into the other. When you start laughing hard at yourself, you lose your balance completely and fall on your a** onto the hardwood floor, startling the sleeping dog, who utters a sharp bark in protest.

That was just the first hour. In defense, though, I hadn't yet started my second mug of Peet's.