Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poor potato underground!

The Clergy Cluster of which I am part met with our bishop yesterday in a nearby city. Participating in the meeting and travel would have eaten up five hours, and I wasn't delighted at the prospect. While I respect community building and colleagues, I'm becoming more irritable about the time given up for these gatherings. I enjoy my colleagues most of the time, but really -- I'd rather do the work I'm given to do.

Shortly before we were to depart for yesterday's meeting, the volunteer coordinator at the Agape Cafe (a program that my Chaplaincy sponsors) called to say she was short on volunteers, and desperate for my assistance in preparing the weekly breakfast for about 90 hungry neighbors. Could I please come help chop potatoes and set tables?

Clergy talk or potatoes? I chose potatoes. As the coordinator said when I declined to attend the meeting with the bishop, "So you decided to do ministry instead of talk about it." Sure, some meetings need to happen, but I think that institutions such as the Church spend far more time meeting than can be good for the soul.

Instead of meeting yesterday, I got my hands full of grainy potato skins, heard the satisfying sounds of a bubbling kettle, and talked about music with a man who works as a janitor. While chopping potatoes, a poem from Jack Prelutsky's book Ride a Purple Pelican came to mind:

"Poor potato underground/never gets to look around/never has a chance to see/a butterfly or bumblebee/never sees the sunny skies...what a waste of all those eyes."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One year later

On this date last year, I survived a serious auto accident on the interstate. Today I give thanks for that, and marvel at how long it's taken for psychological recovery. Until this week, I have spent the winter months terrified on the road. Then something shifted. The weather improved. Fear had set its grip deeply upon me, and only in the past few days, it's backing off. It's easier to be in the car (though not yet actually easy).

Time does matter in recovery, and as much we may wish to hurry it along, it won't be hurried. I'm hopeful that through this year I have gained some patience, not only with others, but with myself.

Part of gaining confidence came this week through joining a string orchestra in Iowa City. I'm one of seven violists. At the first rehearsal, the ability to sightread, play, and keep up with those who have not taken 20 years off amazed me. And finally, I have found both a new group of engaging friends and the joyous return of a passion that has nothing to do with church.

But, oh! The notes on the viola parts have gotten so, so much smaller!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Faces and books

Whoa! John joined Facebook today -- a most unlikely turn of events for someone who feels so at home in centuries long past (or, at least, with books from ages long gone)! His Facebook photo alone is worth seeing (it's from 1972, a year after we met).

I still enjoy being surprised...just didn't expect being THIS surprised on this very snowy Saturday!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Living under a rock

Well, no, I haven't been. But when I worked at the uppity wine shop before I left for "seminary school" (as they say on House, M.D.), my co-workers regularly asked me why I had no familiarity with television shows/plots/characters. At least two of them asked, "What, have you been living under a rock?"

During Christmas break, my favorite organist brought home a DVD with many episodes of House, and so introduced the series to us. I hadn't seen even one before that, nor did I suspect how much I would enjoy it. It's crazy funny!

Yesterday, after something in my sermon prompted it, another organist encouraged me to watch Joan of Arcadia, which I'd never seen, either. Better still, he loaned me a DVD set right away. J and I watched 2 episodes, and I'm hooked.

It seems as though the organists that make major appearances in my life are doing a great job of connecting me to the perfect way to finally relax, and to stop obsessing about work. know who you are!