Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Holy Scramble of a Day

Dear John,
 
It's been a lovely, mixed-up, scrambled day. This morning's liturgy was wonderful. There were some snacks afterward, which was good since all the fasting is getting to most of us. Kelly had brought Panera bagels, in your honor, she said. She remembers how you always used to bring them for meals, especially fasting meals, and how much everybody loved that. And I remember that you always gave the left-overs to them since they had five children to feed. So today she brought them. She was telling me how special you were and how much she misses you.
 
Then we had choir practice, and I stayed to help Brian organize-copy-collate-staple some music for tonight. It's a good combination - he's creative and I'm anal. And, as I told him and Bekah, by this point in Holy Week, between the two of us we have one functioning brain.
 
Next I went to Walmart for a head of cabbage. I'm making cole slaw for tonight's feast. This will be this group's first exposure to real, deep-south cole slaw. We'll see how much of a shock it is. But I remember that mine was the only cole slaw you ever liked, and that is encouraging. I have part of the cabbage left to make some for Sunday afternoon's festivities.
 
I wanted to come see you today, so I got a burrito at Taco Bell and came to the cemetery for lunch. I decided to call your mother while I was there - a sort of three-way call, I suppose. It was warm and sunny, a lovely day. At one point she heard noises and asked if there were children around, and I told her about the park right across the creek. And trains kept coming by, but that's Goshen - no matter where you are, there are always trains.
 
After prayers at the cemetery, I came home and took a nap. I slept for a solid hour and a half. As soon as I lay down on the couch, Hunter came and lay down on my side. For some reason he loves lying on my side while I sleep. I'd think the motion of my breathing would bother him, but it doesn't seem to. It was especially good to have my heating pad/cat there today. My back is feeling all this standing I've been doing in church. So I took Motrin before I lay down, and between it and the heating pad/cat, I feel much better now.
 
I've fed myself and the animals, and have the cole slaw made. All I have to do is get dressed. Since I missed the unction service Wednesday night and didn't get anointed, Father said he'll anoint me if I get there early tonight. I love to be there early anyway. And I can spend the time cramming for Agape Vespers, running through the Gospel passage in German and Latin. Brian has picked up the Greek since you're not here, and does a good job with it. He was running through that this morning. Chris will probably do French and Arabic, if Gabriella is there she's do Romanian, and I have no idea what other languages we might have.
 
Part of the disorientation of this week is that the services are all done in anticipation - we have Vespers in the morning and Orthros in the evening. But part of it is that things come so thick and fast that you barely have time to get ready for the next service. And with little sleep and fasting and being either asleep or in church, I think it's rather like what monasticism must be. The things of this world move very far away. You keep doing them - you go to work and pay the bills and feed the animals and look after the children, but your attention is held by God and the Church.
 
And it's wonderful. But you know all of this. I don't need to tell you anything about it. Now you don't have to worry about the earthly things, and you don't have an earthly body that needs to sleep and be fed. Maybe this week is a little taste of what Heaven in like. If so, I'd like more than just a taste, please. I'd like the whole thing. That will be when and as God pleases. But, if you have any pull, please pray that it's not too long. Instead of saying, "Next year in Jerusalem," how about, "Next year in Heaven"?
 
For now, the floor of the church is covered with rose petals from last night's Lamentations, in honor of the spices the ointment-bearing women brought to the tomb, and bay leaves from this morning's commemoration of the Harrowing of Hell: Hades took a body and was broken; its bars and gates were trampled, and the righteous dead were raised to Heaven. Tonight we'll bring candles and receive the light from the Light. that is not overtaken by night. The stone will be rolled back and Life will reign.
 
Next year in Heaven!
Joan.

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