Peace Out

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My son is an unintentional drama queen, although he’s just a guy whose neurology sometimes leads him there. And then there’s me, so. I have my theatrical moments.

Anyway, John does a thing that’s so common my wife and I both understand that one of us has experienced it without an explanation, just a look. He’ll pull me aside, sweating, shifty eyes, breathing a little hard, and he’ll whisper, “I have to tell you something,” and I’ll lean in and raise my eyebrows, and he’ll continue, “We’re almost out of milk. I mean, really close.”

You think he’s just messing with the old guy. Nope. In fact, he hates it when I tease him that way, by playing overdramatic for a laugh. He’d never do it on purpose. He just sometimes does it.

As he did last night, once again breathless and looking like someone who was in distress. We’d come home fairly late from the service, and I was zoning out, trying to find my zen place so I could catch some shut-eye, and why am I writing like some sort of combination of Phillip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler all of a sudden?

Anyway, he walked in, sat down on the ottoman (my feet were just there, dude), and proceeded to talk to me breathlessly about something weird until I figured out it was about Star Trek. I’m a big fan, always was, but you know. I’m pretty done. I’ll listen to the latest news and I’ll watch one of the new rebooted movies, because those have been mostly fun, but I stopped watching the series as they popped up. I have plenty of affection. Not as much interest.

This interlude kept me from doing what I was very interested in doing, which was reading back through these Lent entries. After he exhausted his passion at the new changes to the old series, I was too tired to read anymore.

I almost never do, anyway. It’s just a blog. I rarely go back and re-read, but I was curious as to how it started. That’s the fun part of doing this, writing for public consumption, digital or dead tree—you realize things weren’t as you remember them being.

This was a work in progress, something I decided to keep going, a blogathon for Lent. I didn’t begin that way. I was just blogging about my friend, and going to Ash Wednesday service, and we were off.

The essence was there, though, from the beginning. Some hope that I could work stuff out on paper, so to speak. Or at least share the story.

It was interesting reading, before I got interrupted. I’m tempted to collect them all and re-read once a year, something. Just to remind myself that there were little wins and little losses, there always are. Nothing major. I’m not of an age when I’m making major life changes, I suspect. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn.

It’s nice to end this, though, in a calm way. It is calm now, or calmer. My brush with a bad temper on Tuesday has faded away. My friend seems to be doing OK, although he’s very weak and that worries me. He’s got blood cancer; he’s very anemic, and I don’t know what you do. I’d give him a pint of my blood if I could.

No emergencies, though. He has food and still seems capable of negotiating the stairs. We have a bunch of appointments coming up I have to figure out, and that’s really on me. Time to step it up a little. I’m not the sick one.

But calm, as I said. As this site will be, calmed down a bit now. Writing every day is a great thing, at least for me. It doesn’t mean that someone else has to read it, or should.

...

We had 24 people at our Maundy Thursday service. That was a nice number, although a recognizable one (in this little church, it’s always about 20-25 people who come to most things other than Sunday morning worship; it really is a very small church). They have the luxury of having three pastors, so they divvy up the days and my wife got last night, so no more sermons for her to write. And she didn’t have a long one, more like a homily. Then we got to the business of washing feet and taking communion, then stripping the church bare of beauty. Color, candles, elements. This is what we do for Good Friday, as a reminder. Then it gets all gussied up again.

So our part is nearly done, other than music and lyrics. Everything is coming to a close. I’ve got some baking to do, but mostly tomorrow. Easter is always anticlimactic. For people who do the three days, it’s just dessert. We’ve done the work already. Everybody takes naps afterward.

So what have you learned, Dorothy?

...

All I need to know I really learned at Maundy Thursday. I know there are plenty of Christians who focus on the resurrection, the idea that we can have eternal life. I know a few who think that somebody just made that part up. I’ve met all kinds.

But it was what happened in the upper room that matters to me. Hearing the Gospel story last night, I was tempted to write a sketch. It was just so human. No, no, master! You can’t wash our feet! We’ll wash YOUR feet!

And Jesus sighs and rolls his eyes, and thinks once again, these are good guys but most just aren’t that bright. Look, this is the whole thing, right here. You all know about Moses and the commandments, right? OK, here’s a new one for you. Love each other.

See what I’m doing here? I’m being servant to you, because that’s the only way we know we belong to each other. Love one another, as I have loved you. Do that. The world will work better.

It’s just really, really hard to do. Obviously.

But that’s what I learned. A young woman I admire washed my feet last night. Her son ran to get more warm water and it was very warm. I mean, I didn’t get clean, I got sterilized. I had boiled lobsters for feet. She was embarrassed, this woman, although in a fun way. Nobody gets embarrassed at this place. But she apologized and tried to cool the water, and eventually it all worked out. I thanked her and put my shoes and socks on, and hobbled back to my seat. I glanced at my Fitbit.

I always look at it in church. It’s a funny thing. My pulse rate always drops big time. I spend most of my time in that building with my heart beating around 50 times a minute. Slow. Strong. Calm.

And that’s where it was, despite getting in hot water. Slow and strong. At peace. Because I feel loved there.

Go figure. Love is good for your heart. I don’t know why it takes 40 days to figure that out, but I’m glad it did.

Chuck Sigars4 Comments