Today I’m thankful for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
In the small chance you’d missed the news, there was a royal wedding on Saturday. A lot of positive press is being given to Bishop Michael Curry. He is the primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion.
I’ve mentioned before that my relationship with religion is complex and I lean agnostic. I sing in the choir of a local Anglican church because 1) they have the best music in town, and 2) I need to sing like I need to breathe. Both are necessary. I’m also attached to the Anglican forms even if I doubt the substance.
I truly respect, and honestly like, Bishop Curry. His ecclesial history is a little like my own. We both come from rather rambunctious evangelical traditions and have adopted the (in my HUMBLE opinion, blatant sarcasm) more graceful forms of Anglicanism. He is learned, and gentle, and one hell of a preacher. I’m not nostalgic for the tradition I was formed in, but every now and then you just need a tent revival. He knows that, and brought it all the way to Westminster Abbey. That is worth celebrating.
This video does not belong to me. All rights belong to the rights holder(s).
Source: BBC News
Today I’m grateful for minor gripes.
I’m not generally confessional but for once this seems the best forum. I’ve been dealing with a lot of resentment of late. I’m a serious person by nature and lean cynical. This really isn’t helping. The source is a very minor part of my life and I’ve let it grow disproportionately. The fact that I know I’m being an ungrateful turd doesn’t help me reach any resolution because I then feel guilty about having the thoughts in the first place.
I’ve got an engineer’s mind, so I’m trying to break it down and troubleshoot the issue. I don’t know if that’s appropriate terminology for emotions but it is accurate. It’s a tiny thing and will recess soon so I don’t even have time to gripe about it. I’m grateful that I recognize when I’m being silly and can do something about it.
Today I’m thankful for small periods of perfection.
I was having a particularly trying day at work last week. I left at midday to get food. I mostly needed to get out of the building. It was utterly perfect, for me, as soon as I stepped through the door. A light rain had just started and the smell was intoxicating, especially mixed with the greenery around. There’s a church on the other side of the road and their bell started ringing. It was still and exquisite. For about five seconds. As I rounded the building I heard a hard-of-hearing colleague on a call. They are lovely, but notably loud. They’d agree with the sentiment. I laughed harder than I’ve laughed in a while at the sheer absurdity of it. It was I needed, when I needed it.
I’m allergic to dairy. What happened at Christmas happened again about two weeks ago, and it was worse. I haven’t been that sick in a very long time, even at Christmas. I’ve been adjusting what I eat. I haven’t even mourned the change. I guess one way to make a large life change is to have a fever and not be able to swallow solid food for a week. Works every time!
Today I’m thankful for slight dissatisfaction.
I visited the older lady I help last week. I think I’m going to call her “Julia” to avoid some of the usual linguistic wrangling I force on myself. She didn’t need my help with any cleaning so we sat and talked for almost two hours. She was fairly upbeat. One of her sons is visiting this week and she is looking forward to seeing him. She’s lived a full life, has an intriguing perspective, and is happy to help if she can. I always learn something from her.
My experience is that every so often life can feel stale, and you evolve or flounder. I’m generally satisfied with my life. I enjoy my colleagues, my family is healthy and my ridiculous dog makes me laugh – especially when she snores. My plants are still mostly alive. All together, it’s a stable place to determine what might come next. I asked “Julia” her thoughts. The woman never says the expected. As a result, I’m going to try completing some courses for a doctorate in forestry.
I say “try” because it depends on flexible I can be at work. My employer offers very generous tuition reimbursement. I don’t know that I want to pursue the actual doctoral degree (earning the post-grad degree I do have was a comically horrible experience that may one day earn its own post), but I’ve always been fascinated by the subject, I’m trying to live more consciously, and I’ve got the one life so I might as well try to pursue what I love. Excelsior.
Embed from Getty Images
It’s been an uneventful week and I wasn’t entirely sure what topic would make for a good post. Maybe this time I should celebrate the mundane.
The church I where I sing is undergoing extensive renovations. The building will be magnificent when complete, but for the moment we’re celebrating the services in the parish hall. The parish is known for its excellent music. Singing there is the only real reason I’ve got for attending. The sanctuary has pristine acoustics. The parish hall can be euphemistically described as “comfy.” There are no hard surfaces and any sound is swallowed. Construction is delayed a bit and now we’re not likely to be back in the sanctuary until after Easter.
Our director has used this as an opportunity to be creative, selecting anthems that sound lovely sung with a piano or a cappella. The organ isn’t an option so he doesn’t lament. I admit that I’d be prone to griping in similar circumstances. I’m not the director, I don’t have to worry about the music, and I’m fine with both things. Credit it to my Lenten maturity. Ha!
It’s probably privileged, but today I’m thankful I have such a variety of meatless foods to enjoy.
I’ve mentioned I suffered an autoimmune issue around Christmas. One of the things I learned as a result is that I’m allergic to some dairy products. I’d happily consumed them to that point without any issues. Now, I break out into hives (urticaria) and my throat swells. I guess that life is always change. I miss cheese very much.
I’ve been meatless for almost a year, for health and ethical reasons. Given the new dairy issue I’m seriously considering veganism. I’m fortunate that it’s simpler than it’s really ever been. I’m not limited to sad “cheese” and wooden biscuits. I’ve had a cheesecake for my birthday since I was five. If I can’t have that anymore I damn well need to find a tasty alternative. The search is on!
Today I’m thankful for my nephews, older and brand new.
My sister had her second son last week. His birth was easy. Her older son turned 3 in October. When he was born it was an emergency caesarean section. He has grown wonderfully. Both boys are healthy and my sister is recovering well.
I neither have nor want children. I adore my older nephew. I haven’t met the baby yet. I’ll visit in about a month. That should give them some breathing space as a family to start learning their new rhythms. The older boy is smart and caring. Since he isn’t mine I can give him back to his parents when we’ve each reached our limit.
I’m almost 6 years older than my sister. We’ve got a good relationship now but it took a long time to build. Growing up I was so far ahead of her that we had very little in common. We weren’t antagonistic; we largely didn’t know each other. She was pregnant a couple of months before this one. It wasn’t viable. I think we both hope that her boys will be closer as children because of the smaller age difference.
Today I’m thankful for Scottish synth-pop.
I am always hunting for new music. My taste is eclectic and I’ll happily listen to most things once. YouTube suggested a Chvrches video based on what I’d previously viewed. I’ve tended to either highly enjoy or immediately need to skip their songs. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.
They have a clean sound. I prefer that to distortion, except in some punk and sludge metal. Their production is crisp and the layering is precise. I appreciate the intricate beats, and the fact that each song is a complete item. They don’t meander to some strange musical future. This particular track has helped get me through a long work week. I was amused by the writer’s description of it as a “middle finger mic-drop.” That probably says more about how I handle stress than I actually care to admit. Listen and enjoy, I hope.
All rights belong to the artists. I do not own this video.
Today I’m thankful for occasional chances to live slowly.
Today is Ash Wednesday. I’m ambivalent toward formal religion and lean agnostic. Even so, I sing in the choir of a local Anglican church. Singing is like breathing to me. I need both to live. I attend most Sundays because we sing at set points through the entire service. I don’t believe in the metaphysical aspects but I still find beauty in the rituals, and consider “seeking justice and loving mercy” a worthy idea.
I honestly love the liturgical calendar. I’m struck by the idea that every day is a feast honoring someone. Every day becomes a celebration. Dividing the year into various “-tides” that reflect the cycle of seasons feels far less artificial to me than worrying about quarterly goals. I don’t suffer from misguided nostalgia in thinking the past was “purer” because survival required so much more effort. I do wonder whether we’ve compartmentalized and subdivided our lives so much as to be pointless.
I don’t sacrifice anything for Lent. That would mean abiding by proscriptions I just don’t believe. I do try to use the season to live an examined life. I don’t have any grand final insights. I write what I see. I probably won’t be an objectively better person by Easter but I will be reminded that what I do has consequences for good or ill. I don’t think knowing that is ever a bad thing.