Monday, February 27, 2012

One of Those Days

The last week has been quite hectic, and I can barely remember more than the last day or two. My trinitarian path has been particularly difficult, and I wish that I could separate each journey to make them easier to deal with. Today would be labeled a "seminarian" day; full of papers and reading, catching up on the homework I didn't do while I had "army wife" and "future army chaplain" days.

Friday afternoon and Saturday I allowed myself to put my books aside since my husband had his first day off since early January. There were a lot of errands to run in order to prepare for his upcoming move, so I can't say it was a day of fun and relaxation, though we did manage to squeeze in a few moments of sweetness among the other moment of necessary preparations for separation. I don't envy his schedule - he has a short term separation that starts at the end of this week and only a week or so between his return from that and his relocation 400 miles away. Trying to figure out how to get all of his stuff taken care of and ready leaves little room for things like making sure we have enough groceries. Especially when he is still working 12-14 hour days most days.

Sunday, I was able to join a Chaplain friend as she conducted a military memorial service. This was my "future army chaplain" day, learning about the many moving parts that come together in the touching display of full Military Honors at a funeral. It helped that I was not emotionally involved, which I have been in my other experiences of Military Honors at a funeral. I admire the troops assigned to this duty as I imagine that it is difficult to be around so much grief on a regular basis and not really be able to do anything about it.

Today the schedule reverts to "normal" and I once again struggle to balance my three-fold path and not find myself stuck in any one label for too long.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday 2012

Already? What ever happened to that stretch of time between Epiphany and Lent? Yes, it is shorter this year. It means an earlier Easter, but I am not ready yet. I am not even ready for it to be Lent.

I have felt that the semester really took off before I was completely aware of it; it is racing along as I struggle to keep up. Classes are going well and keeping me very busy, and the rest of my time is taken up with adjusting to the new realities that the Army is throwing at us. After three months of days so long we might as well not be living in the same house, we really will not be living in the same house. We will be one of the families separated by service. I will remain here at school and my husband will be 200 miles away, working with an ambulance company.

There are blessings in this separation. The chance for actual weekends that can be scheduled ahead of time instead of a few minutes to see each other snatched out of an early release from the class he is teaching. A schedule that can be relied upon.

With the plans that come with preparing for this separation, I am finding that Lent is falling between the cracks, so to speak. With classes and the ever-present homework colliding with the tasks of setting up a second household in a place that neither of us has seen yet, I wonder what discipline I could set for Lent. Some sort of giving up? Too penitential, and a little too harsh as I am preparing to give up the companionship of my husband on a daily basis. Some sort of adding on? In what time, and with what little scrap of what is fast becoming a mind like a sieve?

And so I am taken unawares and unprepared for Lent. Somehow, it seems appropriate this year to simply be in the waiting and watching through the transitions that this season is bringing. To remain faithful in the unknowing and the what-next, and to say a few extra prayers in the moments that come to me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week Two of the Adventure

It may be week two, but it still feels so new and unsure. The best part of last week was returning to community worship; gathering in the chapel that is finally beginning to feel a little bit familiar, in spite of all that makes it as awkward as a teenager on a first date. Our midday Eucharistic gatherings drew me into the rhythm of prayer that weaves through my weeks during the semester and ties me ever deeper to this place and this community. Thursday night was Candlemas. Also known as The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple or The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Candlemas is much easier, shorter, and certainly has a ring to it. We began by gathering outside, each of us holding a lovely beeswax candle. These were lit and blessed before we processed into the chapel, a nod to the tradition of blessing all of the candles for the year on that day. I love that continuation of tradition, the sense of being rooted in the past while moving forward into the future. Not to mention the glow of all those candles together as we moved from the twilight outside to the bright inside of the chapel.

Most of my books have finally arrived; they are filling my shelf and looking wise. There is a great deal of reading to be done this semester, much more than last, and it looks intimidating if I stare at the schedule for too long. Just a day at a time, a page at a time, is all I can do. I know it will get done, but it sure seems like a lot!

The main excitement this week is the coming trip home to attend Diocesan Convention, which will be held Friday and Saturday. It will be good to re-connect with friends from around the diocese and to see all of the exciting plans and ministries we have there. Sunday I'll be worshipping at All Souls', my home parish. Then it is back on a plane and back to school; a quick trip indeed.