Monday, March 22, 2010

Carrot orange and electric blue

Ever since my former seminary dean posted his reflection on Crayola crayons and the natural world (Feb. 28, '10), I've wanted to paw through a box of crayons. I had such an opportunity a few days ago, while waiting in my doctor's office. Gary was right. He'd read an article suggesting that the maker of these crayons no longer used color names that are drawn from the natural world.

Instead of burnt sienna and cornflower blue (my favorite), today's colors reveal that young people spend less and less time outdoors looking at trees, grass, birds, and sky. The new colors derive from images seen on television, on video games, and other electronic entertainment. Indeed, the colors I just saw had names like electric blue, green apples, and carrot orange. Probably there's one called big bird yellow, as well. (Sure, one might argue that apples and carrots are outdoor things, but I have doubts that many kids dig for carrots in the dirt, when they can reach into a plastic bag in the fridge for "baby" carrots.)

The natural world and I don't see a lot of each other in times of snow and ice, and it's been a long winter. But now, thanks to Gary's homily and the grass greening up right outside my back door (which opens out to an expanse of open field and its ceiling of sky blue), I'm determined to spend more time out in God's good creation. Right before my eyes, here's a colorful world that I'm lucky enough to be able to see, smell, hear, and touch. And most days, it's the ideal place to sit: on a bench with my dog, watching the turquoise water of the pond where ducks and geese dip their beaks and trees bat at the wind with their burnt sienna arms.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fit for a queen?

Let's just say it's been a rough week, and time to remember that God gave us the gift of laughter. I came home yesterday and heard the delightful sound of my dear spouse chortling. He was reading one of our local newspapers, whose name I won't mention here.

The article described a local fine dining experience. "Tuesday evening's theme was Italian, with the courses being caprese antipasto salad, Italian wedding soup, bison osso bucco and tiara misu for dessert." Ah, yes, the crowning touch!

Friday, March 05, 2010

An ordinary day

Some of my colleagues make a name for themselves in the community or in wider circles. One just had a curriculum published and placed on the reading list of one of the Episcopal seminaries. I am delighted for her. It's well-deserved recognition for hard work. Another colleague is known for making acquaintances all over town.

While I have some recognition within our Province and in the national Church for experience related to General Convention, that is not the work that is life-giving. I don't know a better way to say this, but I just want to be ordinary, do my job, and do it well. I'd like to make a difference, one person at a time. I'd rather be someone who's in the building, who's available and present when life presents situations that people can't deal with.

Such a thing happened yesterday; I had my coat on and was ready to walk out to a scheduled appointment. A couple passing by on our block walked into the church, the woman in extreme distress. Her 21-yr-old child is dying in the hospital nearby, and it's literally more than her body can stand. At one point I had to prop her up. The time with them, probably 30 minutes, was very intense and difficult. I cannot change what is to come for them. But I was the one present, while others were away. It's terribly hard work, and today I ache for them. This is what I signed up for: meeting people who at times have no where else to turn.

This is the work that means more to me than being out meeting people in the wider community. I am okay with being less visible -- and simply doing the best I can moment to moment, in the context of an ordinary day.