Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's been an interesting weekend...

starting with Friday morning at the lectionary group, when the four of us who attended discussed the disheartening condition of the world in general, the treachery of assorted leaders, both those we liked and those we loathed, the ambivalence we felt about the whole peace movement these days, the state of local politics and social conditions, and what our congregations were doing to effect change in the world, state, local community. We never did get to the scripture readings for the week, instead chewing on the dismalness of human life in general and what we couldn't do about it.

Sunk in gloom as we left the gathering, one other pastor and I looked at each other out on the street and said, essentially, "the hell with it, I'm going to enjoy the life I've got and take some time out from dithering". So I went home, ate lunch, and went out in the garden, my first task to eliminate the annoying oriental poppies that sprout every spring from a decrepit whiskey half-barrel and leave limp brown fronds and empty seed heads in their wake, after a blooming season too brief to be enjoyed fully.

In a way, I felt guilty about it, but that damned barrel of weedy floppy greens and blooms has given me so little pleasure over the four years I've lived here, that it was time to say goodbye. I thought about transplanting them, but I couldn't get enough of the roots out. So after dismantling the barrel and removing the rocks that had been placed underneath the soil, I spread the soil around the nearby tree and headed off to see what else I could fix.

Later in the afternoon, I went to Langley to do a little browsing and ran into a gentleman I've known slightly through his wife, a lovely woman who died several months ago but who, before she died, helped me think through some puzzling situations at my congregation. Barbara was a friend and a mentor, a retired Presbyterian pastor whose administrative skills were how she ministered to the world; her widower, John, is still struggling with her death, which came after a sudden recurrence of cancer. But he was volunteering at the local Good Cheer store and said hello, then came to sit with a group of us at the annual Youth Connection salmon dinner an hour later. I enjoyed talking with him and think I would like to know him better, both personally and pastorally. John is also a retired Presbyterian pastor, accustomed to helping others with their grief and hit very hard by Barbara's death.

Saturday afternoon a bunch of newbies (13 of them!) assembled at the meeting hall to learn about Unitarian Universalism. Teaching this course is always fun; we get to hear each other's spiritual journey stories, exchange views on various experiences we've had, and be impassioned about what we're looking for in a faith community. We're hoping several of these folks will join the congregation; one woman was already ready and signed the membership book then and there.

Last night, eight of us gathered at The Cove, a newish Thai restaurant in Coupeville for a fabulous dinner and conversation, a pleasure all the way around for the companionship, ambiance, and THE FOOD. The waiter got my order wrong, but it didn't matter; what he served me was delicious! Whatever it was----fried rice with seafood, I think, but definitely not panang curry!

This morning, I went over to the Freeland Cafe as usual for a blueberry pancake and sausage and now I'm home again, feeling much restored after a couple of days in which I quit worrying about the world situation, let go of some of that jadedness by not watching the news or reading the front page, sticking to the comics and the features pages in the paper, and doing something to improve my little corner of the world. I'll go back to changing the world in general after I've gotten my strength back. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a world leader and never be able to take a sabbatical from crisis. I cannot imagine. Ordinary life is tough enough!

Anyhow, this morning is church and I don't have to do it but can just enjoy it. This evening is the North End dine out and that's always a delight. Tomorrow it's time to take up the cudgels again and dope out next Sunday's service. To paraphrase my favorite prophet, "the world you have always with you" and I can turn my energies elsewhere for a little time.


Mile High Pixie said...

Well put, Rev. Kit. I've spent the past week lamenting the state of the world, the deadlines I have, and the fact that my kitty Maddy may be heading downhill again with her cancer. I know everything changes, and I know that I have to work for good without being attached solely to the result, but...ouch. ouch ouch ouch. I work on my presentation, then I fall in the floor with the cat and cry, then I wipe my eyes and go drink some hot tea, then I go to dinner with my husband and a gift card that my in-laws gave us, then I sigh about the economy, then I curl with my hubby and watch stand-up comedy. After the agony and the ecstasy, the laundry, eh?

ms. kitty said...

Yep, you said it, Pixie. Carry wood, chop water. Or some such.

Miss Kitty said...

That's it, MHP. Add more falling in floor with said kitteh, and some extra salmon treats. >^..^<

ms. kitty said...

Wow, Miss K, you have been reading up a storm tonight! Thanks for all your comments on all the posts!

Miss Kitty said...

I had a lot of catching up to do. :-)

kimc said...

There is something we can all do about the abuses of corporations: take their money away from them. Take your money out of big banks and put it in little local credit unions. Avoid buying from big corporations whenever possible. Buy American when you can, and local is even better. Encourage, or even start, businesses that are democratically run worker-owned cooperatives. Re-use, repair, and recycle. Don't watch ads. Don't buy products of big corporations: especially anything owned by Rupert Murdoch or his like.
Money is what they understand, and what they use against us. If we all withdraw our support, they will topple.
Call your government representatives and tell them that if corporations are people, they shouldn't get any more tax breaks or subsidies or bailouts than any other people. They should pay the same taxes we do. They should be denied health care for pre-existing conditions. (TARP funds are health care, right?)

ms. kitty said...

Good points, Kimc. I have thought about taking my money out of the bank I use locally and putting it in a local community bank or credit union. And then I think of Susie, who works at the big bank, and Sunshine, who also works there. And I think about how they might lose their jobs and not be able to find another one in their skill area or be transferred to another bank off the island. And I'm kind of stuck at that point. I think it's a good idea; but in our small rural community, it could be very hard on people I know.

LinguistFriend said...

I have been coming at issues of attitude adjustment from a different point of view, as I near the end of the second volume of Martin Buber's "Tales of the Hasidim", a group that focusses on joy in the world. It is mostly about charismatic East European rabbis, in the late 18th and first half of the 19th century. Most of us come from some version of Protestantism (it's in the air);
understanding such alternatives can be helpful.