Monday, March 19, 2012

Lenten What?

Everyone talks about Lenten disciplines. You know, giving up something you enjoy like chocolate or alcohol. Maybe you take on an extra something, a daily reading or meditation time. Apparently this year I have given up discipline. Actually, it appears that a hand greater than mine has chosen this for me. To walk in chaos just when I want to embrace structure and, well, discipline.

My husband is being moved to Riverside during Holy Week. That means that yesterday I picked him up from three months of training and dragged him into the one week that we have for him to get moved. The movers come on Wednesday to pack up everything that will be going with him. That's right. He has two days to decide what gets packed from our shared household. Sure, we've already talked about things like furniture and the obvious clothing and such. But how do we separate it all out so that the movers know what to pack and what not to pack? What about the little touches that make someplace home?

We will be spending Spring Break - next week - in Riverside scoping things out. Looking at possible apartments, trying to figure out where things are. A relaxing break from theology, right? Ha. More like diving head first into a Pastoral Theology Case Study. Only without the neat answers.

I can only hope that by embracing instead of fighting all of this chaos, fitting reading, writing papers, and studying for midterms into whatever little snippet of time I can find, I will be stronger for it. I can't say that I am sure that this is good for my research papers, but we'll just have to put that in God's hands. In the meantime, I am walking this hand in hand with God knowing that this is the only way to make it through this transition. Besides, who else chose to time it this way?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Shake it Up!

Things here are on the move. Literally.

My husband left Friday morning to continue with his current students as they complete their training out in the field. This leaves me doing the logistics dance of getting his more permanent move set up. It also leaves me once again moving in and out of the dance that is balancing my school and community with taking care of myself and my own little nest. Without him here to act as an external cue my timing is off. The routine that I built up through the first part of the semester relied on him returning home at some point in the evening to remind me to stop and focus away from the computer and gave me a time frame which I could reference. Now it is all up to me, and in these first days I find that I am in a bit of a fog when it comes to recognizing how time is passing.

But God does indeed have a sense of humor. This morning I had decided to luxuriate in setting my own time to wake up. 6:30 sounded good, sleeping in by an hour or so. At 5:33 a 4.0 earthquake rattled the apartment and shook me awake. Only 15 minutes later than the time the alarm has been going off daily for the past three months. I suppose I am grateful that I was already drifting toward waking so the shock to my system wasn't any greater, but I am not generally a huge fan of earthquakes and when I am alone my mind immediately begins to think about all the things that could possibly go wrong if this turns out to be "the big one."

As Lay Assistant in our chapel today, it is my responsibility to write the Prayers of the People. I have been praying with the propers we will use: Holy Women, Holy Men, pg 42. Only a slight hope in all of the readings and much to create a "proper" Lenten sense of abasement. Daniel 9: 3-10. Psalm 79: 1-9. Luke 6:27-38. Not much there to cheer anyone up. The collect has the beautiful images of  washing "us with the pure water of repentance" and preparing "us to be always a living sacrifice to you" which I find evocative and hopeful, however.

I suspect that my upbringing has a lot to do with my lack of utter discomfort with the association of Lent with repentance, atonement, sacrifice, and preparation. I actually look forward to this as a break from the unrelenting cheerfulness that sometimes pervades the Christian outlook. While I do not particularly enjoy the reminder that I am not as perfect and holy as I sometimes like to think I am I do believe that this is a good chance to remember that my relationship with God is a two-way street. As long as I realize that I have strayed and look for God wherever I find myself God will always be looking for me. Yes, I join in the jokes about a suitably penitential Lent; but in the end I will always be grateful that there is a time to recognize my fallibility and my mistakes. I rejoice that we still gather together to acknowledge one another in our current state in life and look forward to the resurrection as a community of faith.