I’m pretty sure I should get to add things to my resume. Not things about how I am proficient (cough cough, fingers crossed) at Excel, how many licenses I hold in how many states, how I know the difference between a 1910 Maxwell and a Model A; not those things. I should get to add things like: Can chant in Latin, sing in Spanish, average sight reader, great at singing hymns, learning to harmonize, good Eucharistic Minister (when I remember to wipe to the cup, sorry folks! Kidding, I only forgot one time). Now I can add thurifer, this person who swings the incense laden thurible to and fro, who babysits this small fire during the service.
Tonight my dear friend Chuck trained me to do this, he gave me a printed paper that talked about why we use incense and how you can swing it over someone’s head (which was appealing to me as the least possible thing a short person with a heavy metal object full of fire can accomplish), he said, look, lets just walk through it, I learn better that way.
And I do, too.
So we walked through the whole service, and on Friday I will try very hard to remember where I am to be, to follow the same advice I give Kaia when she is serving as an acolyte: keep your eyes on the verger, your eyes on the priest, just how mommy keeps her eyes on the organist and choirmaster.
In the meantime, I’m sitting here, in my “office” which is an alcove off the living room just big enough for my desk and a chair. Hospice Dog (his new nickname, as in, there can’t be too many treats for Hospice Dog! Or, Hospice Dog took himself for a walk <insert shrug>, he’ll be back when he damn well chooses to be) is laying is next to my chair snoring and Casey is watching college basketball.
And I am tired. I have not started a five page paper that is due no later than Friday morning. I’m not done with the readings I need to read to write that paper. I am tired and I am hiding and I am peopled out.
I was distinctly aware of my tone today, but unable to correct it. Distinctly aware of my impatience, but unable to find one single piece of ripe fruit on my dried up fruits of the spirit tree.
I am beginning to understand that when the Archdeacon who is also my teacher tells us things, and I scoff and sniff and think, NO, not me, that would never happen to me… well, she’s got about 30 years on me and has spent many of those years in service as a deacon. She sort of knows what she’s talking about.
When she talks about taking time for self care, taking time for our relationship with God and prayer life, I think, what time?
Tonight I told my children, after they had a slap fight on my bed simply because it was time for them to move to their beds, I said, look, don’t you know that I am up earlier than you, that I stay up later than you? Don’t you know that I am tired? (I may have gotten a little screechy at the end of that.)
When do I have time for the things the Archdeacon says I need to do?
Should I get up earlier, stay up later? Spend more time away from my family?
These are holy and divine mysteries tonight. How a person finds time for their own personhood. I am carving out a small amount of time now, but I should, in reality, be reading homework assignments and continuing to outline my paper.
I should probably get to work, at the tender hour of 10pm.
In the meantime, my middle finger on my right hand is sort of sore from wrapping the chain of the thurible around it, and I have the distinct scent of incense in my hair, though we did not light that fire tonight.
It reminds me, absurdly, that Christ is coming. That I am waiting, and that in that waiting no one ever said I would be well rested and caught up on all the things. It reminds me that all things have a season, and that this is my season to be tired, to try so very hard not to be sharp with my clients, to coax the one tender bud on my patience tree into a bloom, and then, into a fruit that can be plucked.
I will eat that fruit in the dead of winter, the juice will run down my chin. The tender flesh will carry me through this season of waiting, into the joyous celebration of Christmas, into the dirty and icky that is January and February; finally leaving me right at the fork in the red road; right at the season of Lent.
It happens this fast.
I hope the fruit adds a stain to my patchwork cloak. I hope it nourishes me in the way that I am longing to be nourished, and I hope that I have the energy to talk softly to the tender flower, to coax the bloom into a piece of fruit that will give me back if not the pieces of myself I feel are missing, then a medicine to soothe the ache.
I am putting myself together again, or trying to, when I remember. I am a girl sized jigsaw puzzle and all spread out on the formica table in my great grandmother’s kitchen. She’s probably baking ginger snaps and her bathroom probably smells of Dove soap, but I am pouring over these pieces, seeing an eye here, the arch of an eyebrow there.
This is backbreaking heartrending work, but the only one who can do it is me.
Carry me in your thoughts, in your prayers.
I love you still.