I had one of those writer’s horrors happen yesterday. I was saving my “Bits Folder”, the folder where I keep all the work I have deleted from my novel but which I think is good enough to use elsewhere. I did something wrong and suddenly the “Bits Folder” was nowhere on my thumb drive. As near as I can figure I hit the wrong save and saved the form as a template which converted it from English to computer code.
For a moment I panicked. Then I remembered that I had built in redundancies just for this occasion. The Folder was saved to my hard drive and should that fail I also have a private cloud filter containing the work in raw form ( Should I need to resort to that it would be a lot of work to do over but at least it is there). So crisis averted. Still, the thought of losing all those words made me so emotional I had to step away from the writing world for the rest of the day.
This morning as I return to the editing process (which involves removing the word “suddenly” which I have used entirely too much in this book), I am thinking about the many people throughout our world who have watched their world’s go up in smoke over the last year. My little glitch sent me reeling and it wasn’t even really a problem. What is it like to be a that person who has lost their life’s dream to the year 2020?
It really hits home the fact that this is a season requiring massive amounts of grace. What are you going to do today to show the people around you grace?
As the holidays approach this year our state, Massachusetts, is preparing to face what may be its greatest days of challenge since the pandemic began.We received new protocols last week which include mask wearing in all public spaces including outdoors and even when you can socially distance, a 9:30 P.M. curfew, and a suggestion that families should not unite over the holidays and that no gathering over 10 people may be had in private homes. The buzz today is that governor is getting ready to reactivate the field hospitals in MA as our hospitals in the state are reaching capacity.
The gathering thing is not a hardship for us at the Vicarage our whole family together is 7 people, but I know many families for whom the gathering rule is going to be massively difficult come the holidays. I have now been wearing a mask so long in public the idea of not wearing one is almost uncomfortable…and please the idea of having to be in by 9:30 is a super-blessing for our family.
That said a pall has been laid over the holidays and everyone is feeling it. Everything is changing, including the way we are used to celebrating. We have to find new ways, new methods, new opportunities and we have to try them.
We were at Hobby Lobby the other day and my sister bought this urn. Now all four of us are dropping in a note about something we are thankful for every day. We will empty it and read our thanksgivings on Nov. 26th. As we eat our turkey pot pie…. I think the idea is that we have to figure out how to be thankful even when we cannot be traditional.
What creative thing are you doing to face the challenge of this year’s holiday season?
As usual the dogs and I were up at 4 and out for a walk by 5. Even with the turn back of the clocks it is still pitch black at that hour…and quiet, which I really love.
I find myself slipping easily into the prayer cave at this hour of the morning and these are moments of deep revelation. I feel sad for people who cannot make the connection with the Divine. God’s Spirit is so marvelous and mysterious to me I want to weep for anyone who cannot touch it. I find it even sadder that so many of my brothers and sisters have no desire for this place of prayer and communion. I do not know what I would do without it.
Today is hair cut day. 8 A.M. I really need it.
This rhythm of this day is already well established and so I am hoping it will continue on at its even easy pace so that I can have more time in the Preseence, more time to write, more time to read and more time to clean my office…..Oh yeah Mercedes is also in bad need of a bath.
The sky has been really stunning the last few days. Sunrises and sunsets come seemingly to remind me that there is a large part of life that simply transcends the everyday trials of this world.
No matter how crazy things get there is always the sky to look to.
5 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:25-28
Today was church day. So I had to make sure most of my extra work was done before I left the house for the morning. Sundays can end up being mostly a wash once church time comes so I try to make sure I have a jump on things before I head out for the day. To that end I spent an hour this morning writing. I exercised. I got a little housework done and then it was off to the races.
Pastor Dan and Pastor Jen preached a great message today on celebrating in every season of life. And then we practiced celebrating as a church at the end (socially distanced of course and with masks). This is a lesson then church needs to take to heart. It is a message I need to take to heart. We are the people of God. Of all people on the planet we have a reason to celebrate which trumps every difficulty.
If nothing else there is always the sky to look to…so let’s celebrate!
The dogs woke me up at four A.M. The morning coffee was brewing by 5 and I was already deeply engrossed in my morning reading and writing by 6 A.M.
I like the early mornings. Once I get that first cuppa in me I feel like I can take on the world….at least for a few hours.
I had coffee with a friends and mentor at 8 and then I was back home by 9:30 and back into the prayer space.
There is so much to pray about just now not the least of which prayers is just about me keeping my nose out of places it doesn’t belong. Have you noticed the world is full of opinions? Have you noticed that the world is constantly trying to prod you into giving your opinion just so it has something to disagree with?
One of my biggest requests is an echo of the prayer of St. Francis.
The world needs channels through which God can flow, and to my mind that is the church’s job. We have such a high calling and one of my greatest fears is that by my opinion of things in the world I will somehow be distracted by those very opinions and thereby disqualify myself from that true calling. Even worse I am afraid that by inserting my opinion where it does not belong I will distract someone else and they will miss out on the flow of God they could have otherwise brought into the world.
I know we say everyone is entitled to their opinion I am just really struggling with whether that is true or not.
The fall birds have come to the feeders. The juncos are back from their northern summer retreat and the sparrows have gathered enmasse. The cardinals are always about and the bluejays are prolific this year.
I have been working around the yard this week getting it ready for a long winter’s nap. The other day as I was working out by the crab apple tree I noticed one lone starling sitting on a branch there.
As the bird sat there staring back at me, I realized I had missed the flocking of these little birds which happens in the fall. I never miss the flocking of the starlings. Truth be told, it is kind of hard to miss. Usually hundreds gather in flocks all over the neighborhood. They hang from the tops of the trees and make a terrible amount of noise. They land in large groups and jump from the ground into the sky all together, great clouds of birds moving across the neighborhood.
I don’t think it happened this year. The crows have gone missing too. We usually have a small murder that sits in the maple trees across the street. They squawk so loudly being outside can be really annoying during their performances.
We have a few crows over at the Catholic church but the murder is conspicuously absent.
These are only small happenings which indicate that the world knows something is changing. We know something is changing. Our hearts are beating in synchronicity with the change even as we are desperately trying to keep it from coming. I think of a poem by Yeats as I think about our world right now and I wonder if somehow his words were not just a bit prophetic.
The days ahead are important days. What we do in them is equally important. I am preparing my heart for the battle of love that must be fought. Are you?
These days you can’t just walk into your barber and sit down in the chair. You have to make an appointment. Apparently I keep calling at the wrong time. I tried again last night and no answer. Today she is closed. So I wait and of course slather back my hair with lots of product before I go out the door.
Of one thing I am sure. Some day soon I will get a hair cut. I just have to keep trying and stay patient.
I suppose some people would chide my lack of persistence or tell me to just go to another barber. But you know in the grand scheme of things how important is a hair cut?
I guess that is a question I am asking about a lot of things in this world right now. Getting the yard set for the winter seems more important than a hair cut right now. Getting my book finished seems more important than a hair cut right now. And spending the appropriate amount of time in prayer ( what I call the Sage’s Cave) is more important than all of it right now.
I know that other people think the amount of time I spend in prayer is foolish even wasteful. I am pretty much OK with that. This is my call not theirs and I am learning that others not called to carry this ministry really don’t understand it. Their lack of understanding does not release me from God’s command…..So I move forward in prayer and wait for everything else to come at its proper time. Even my hair cut.
You know what I’m going to do the day after tomorrow if my candidate loses?Get up.Do my normal routineStrive to do my best and be my best. Find the positives.Appreciate my family and friends.Be happy. Create happiness for others. Be grateful.Love my country. Be kind to others.Yes…. Be kind to others – regardless of how they voted, whether they voted, their skin color, their eye color, their income, their education, their favorite color, their gender, their age, their sexual preferences, their name, their favorite ice cream flavor, their religion.You know what I’m going to do the day after tomorrow if my candidate wins?The same. The exact same.
Everyone who reads my blogs regularly knows that one thing I am after in this life is to live a constant rhythm,…slow, constant, intentional.
This morning I got up and began my normal routine: Pray, Read my Bible, Read the book I am studying, Eat and chat with my loved ones for a few minutes, Get ready for the day, walk the dogs, feed the dogs, do the laundry, check the furnace ( a seasonal chore), feed the birds, go to the store for Mom’s morning necessities and then write and get ready for daily ministry (which today consists of writing thank you notes, continuing a few on-line pastoral conversations, calling a pastor in the region who has some questions for me about the office of a prophet and a staff meeting).
The time has come for us as Christians to stop living for the world and its ways and that includes paying undue attention to the election. I am not saying we should not take our responsibility to vote seriously. I voted a week ago so I could avoid wasting hours waiting in line (for me time is a precious commodity I need to stop wasting). The time has come for us to realize that we live for and in a much larger Kingdom than America or England or India or…. You get the picture.
The Kingdom of Heaven is calling us to its work and we cannot let anything distract us from it! So today I am going to my work, the work I feel God gave me to do. Tomorrow I will go to my work, the work I feel God is giving me to do. I will keep the rhythm God has given me even if the world around me plays something entirely different. And I will play my God-given song with joy. How about you?
It snowed the day before Halloween. Even though snow at this time of year generally doesn’t last, just having snow that sticks to the ground and the cold that comes with it, makes for a long winter.
It is not unexpected though. My prayer times in the Spring were full of warnings to prepare for a long hard winter and here we are at the beginning of many forms of winter all at once.
We had several families cancel their reservations for church today, citing this second wave of the virus. One of the nurses brought an extra forehead thermometer to church so we could begin checking everyone’s temp as they came through the door and not just the leadership team.
It is really nice to be in a church that is taking the protocols seriously. We have a sister church nearby who was not quite so stringent and they had an outbreak of 38 cases stemming back to a weekend of revival services.
We have modified so much of our church life now. I miss some of what we have had to leave behind, but I am also greatly challenged and excited about the road that lies ahead of the church as we embrace this cultural change which is cutting deep into our methods, but never the foundations of our faith….God is the same yesterday, today and forever!
Just like the winter storm is showing us the beginning of a new and cold season, this pandemic is showing us the beginning of a new cultural normal. We cannot act like nothing is changing anymore than we can wear our Bahama shorts and flip flops out in the snow.
What lies ahead might not be easy, but we’ve weathered winters before, even long ones. There is beauty to be found in every season. We just have to look for it.
Well folks. I have to go make supper. I will chat with you tomorrow! PJ
It has been weeks since I wrote one of these “life-journal” posts. I miss them. Every day I’ve had intention to write one, but the shift of life has enabled me to make excuses about why not to do it. I really have to be done with the spirit of procrastination and launch into the space of accomplishment concerning my writing life.
There are so many things I really want to pay attention too and I still allow myself to get distracted by things I should not be doing… things that are not my work or things that are frankly just a waste of time.
So the spirit of procrastiniation is definitely a thing I am calling out here. That and my body has been really tired lately. It happens every year in the autumn as the days start getting shorter and the nights start getting longer. Add a pandemic into the mix and I end up just wanting to go inside and sleep through until Spring.
But I am not going to just give up in the face of these challenges. I am seeing improvement and it is not in fits and starts like usual in my life. I am seeing a slow and steady increase in my effectiveness and this is built around the slow, constant and intentional schedule I have built myself over the last several months. I am succeeding at living this pattern just about every day and the method of slow, constant, intentionality is actually paying off and is even helping me to begin overcoming the failures to reach my goals. It’s how I managed to write today.
Well I suppose I should end here with saying I am going to begin practicing this intention of writing a “life-post” here on The Vicarage page every day. I think I have it figured out…..So I will see you all tomorrow.