Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ten things meme ...

I got this meme from Share Cropper.

1. I have lived in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. I'm your basic Delaware Valley Girl. I have always lived near the Delaware River.

2. I have witnessed the grace which sometimes accompanies great suffering; people dying with dignity and in peace; the innocence of children; the astounding beauty of the world entrusted to us; the visceral bond which links me to my children; the strength of a parish in time of crisis.

3. I have heard the song of crickets on a summer night; rain on the roof and wind in the trees; my friend Carol hitting notes I couldn't hit with a stick; dogs barking in the night; fog-horns, one of my favorite river sounds; my kids' first cries.

4. I have lost my mom and dad, without really having time to say goodbye; my way in my 40s, when the hormones were wild and raging; my need for approval; my desire for an exciting career;

5. I have found new love with my husband in our third decade together; that you can never have too many dogs; that I might actually like to learn learn to cook someday (it's never too late!).

6. I love my husband, kids, and dogs; my parish family; the Order of Julian of Norwich, and the friends I have made among the affiliates; the Communion of Saints; leading the Sunday service as a lay reader; offering the chalice to the parish family at the communion rail; older people; funerals which celebrate someone's life in all its fullness; smiling and waving at babies on the subway; Friday nights!; the Weather Channel and CNN; horror novels and movies; being near any body of water.

7. I can read French, German, Italian, a little Latin, a little Welsh, a little (very little) Polish; I am formidable with a crockpot (that's easy -- anyone can do it!!); I can crochet (but not knit!);
I am a good low alto and mid-range singer, but spare me the high notes!; I am good in a crisis, and at taking care of the sick.

8. I loathe top-down management; bosses who can't remember your name; Mondays; my treadmill; coming home from work and having to cook dinner; summer; hot weather and humidity.

9. I hope to do something meaningful in retirement; to leave my kids something more important than money; to be able to adopt a greyhound one day; to be able to buy some land in the country and build a little house for my husband, the dogs, and me when the kids have moved out; to enjoy my grandchildren when (if) they come along.

10. I am trying to lose some weight; to develop a habit of daily meditation; to not resent having to get up and go to work; to go to bed earlier; to read the Bible daily.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Missing the absent

I almost hesitate to blog about this, but there are many faces absent from the Church on the Pike this summer.

Now we all know Episcopalians often take the summer off, as they head to their beach houses, but the pews seem strangely empty, even for summer. On those Sundays when I'm one of the Eucharistic Ministers, communion is over in a flash. It seems like we go down the rail only once or twice. I'm not liking this.

Some people who hardly ever miss church, even in the "off-season, " have been largely missing this summer. I suspect some of them are church-shopping. Change has come rapidly to our church, since we have become "Purpose-Driven," and some parishioners have told me they don't feel like they're in an Episcopal Church anymore. I don't like hearing it, but I do know what they mean. The atmosphere has changed quite a bit.

I don't want people to leave! Can't we all get through this together?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A day at the beach, and a surprise

I took a day off earlier this week, and went to the beach with one of my dearest friends, who dates back to college. The last time we were there together was the summer of 1977, another hot one right before I left town for grad school. I'm sure we were a picture, among the thong-bikini-clad high-school girls: two women, well into middle age, wading in the surf in their shorts. Oh well, youth fades, but friendships remain.

And I learned something I hadn't counted on. My friend has known for years how involved I am at church, but she's a former Catholic, and I haven't wanted to go overboard talking about religion. But we did start talking about it on the way home, and I told her about my association with the Order of Julian of Norwich, and how much it has meant to me to find a group of like-minded people. I also told her about this blog, and that I'd started it because I had no one at home with whom I could discuss religion.

"I haven't got anyone either," she said. Turns out she tries to read some of the Bible every day. and it also seems that her husband, like mine, is sort of unsympathetic to religion.

So on we rode, with the corn and alfalfa fields of southern Delaware opening out broadly on either side of the highway while the clouds threatened rain, and I felt so awful that I had not known this about my own nearest and dearest. I know in my head that most people are seeking God in some way or other, but I didn't know she was -- because I didn't ask.

"After all," she said, after a bit more talk, "If you thought this is all there is, how could you go on?"

How, indeed? I guess we will have a lot to talk about from now on. We need to make up for lost time.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Lammastide!

Today was the feast of Lammas Day in medieval England. The word lammas is probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon hlaef-maesse, or "loaf-mass, " a celebration of first-fruits. On this day, August 1, it was customary to bring a newly-baked loaf to church, so that the first wheat harvest could be blessed. Lammas was originally a pagan feast, and, falling between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, signalled the beginning of autumn in early England. After Lammastide, people expected the days to become shorter as the year waned. Winter actually began on October 31!

It's 90 degress or so here, and will be even hotter during the next few days -- not very autumnal! Nevertheless, I always feel more cheerful when August arrives. It's the beginning of the end of summer. There's something different about the light, somehow, as we move through August; and, of course, the days get slowly shorter. It won't be fall here for quite awhile, but never mind ...

I'll just smile and pretend I'm in England.