Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Stir up

After weeks of no rain, we had a glorious thunderstorm Monday afternoon, such that darkness came on before three o’clock. I heard lots of thunder, meaning lots of lightning, don’t know if there was damage anywhere local. A ministry task I enjoy is drafting the ten-thirty worship bulletin for Sunday mornings, which was my work as the storm raged. Good collect for Sunday, Advent Three: 

Third Sunday of Advent
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come 
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, 
let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver 
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and 
the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end.


Advent Three is Gaudete Sunday for any who observe, we do somewhat as we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath and sing a Rejoice! hymn or two. Although I admit to knowing nothing, I have noticed that there are those even more ignorant than I, specifically who say the pink candle is for the BVM and call the day Mary Sunday. Wrong: if we insist on putting names on them, Mary Sunday is Advent Four when in the gospel the angel of the Lord appears to Mary (in Luke) or to Joseph (as this year in Matthew) to discuss the source of Mary’s pregnancy. The pink candle is because see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06394b.htm as I get tired of explaining it every year, though I never tire of pointing out that some think the pink candle is because Mary was hoping for a Girl. If so, Boy was mom surprised -- and a sword shall pierce your very soul -- Luke 2:35. Mary had several children, was He her favorite?

Lots of things stirring in my mind. Saturday morning dressing for Mike's ordination, I donned a black clergy shirt and reached into my ditty bag for the two collar buttons I'd carefully packed -- it takes two collar buttons to secure the round white clergy collar that is de rigueur for ecclesiastical events in the Episcopal Church. One. One collar button. The other missing. Searching at length yielded zilch, all I found was an unknown hole in the bottom of my ditty bag, so one was lost: no clericals. Taking off the black shirt, I put on a fresh white shirt w/o necktie, having brought no tie, we don't wear neckties. Not how a priest shows up, but nevertheless. Sunday no problem, as there are plenty of collar buttons at home. Monday as I dressed to go to the office, the missing collar button dropped from the extra underwear packed for the Mobile trip. I could see that it expected to be celebrated as the found lost coin (Luke 15:8f) or the found lost sheep (Luke 15:3f), but I simply dropped it back into the little green box where these things are kept. Having let me down when needed, it will be punished, not celebrated.  

More. As yesterday, sometimes I’m disturbed by dreams that seem clearly to have broken out of the right brain while the left brain had its guard down. Generally upon waking dreams evaporate, I reckon because the left brain comes stomping into my consciousness with heavy boots and crushes the night visitor so I can’t remember. However, some emotional but illogical dreams hang in there to haunt. Here's what I think. The real Bubba escapes in my dreams. If as a child I’d yielded to my nature of being left-handed, my life history would have been very, very different (and "very" is to me a greatly overused and therefore shunned four-letter word), I’m quite certain of that. My right-brain would have prevailed. More music, pianist, no naval or other military service and no Navy career, early on to seminary as my destiny began, all would have been well, and all would have been well, and all manner of things would have been well, and a nod to Julian of Norwich as in porridge.

+Time is not a “poor sick me” blog like some FB sludge along with folks announcing such realtime personal crises as an empty toilet paper roll; but I take all these alphabet pills, see, and don’t know what the nighttime half dozen or ten do to me while sleeping, but the morning four unfailingly drop my blood pressure forcing a lie-down until it quickly passes and clears back to 106/68. Often 70/40, but yesterday morning 57/36, bringing on a nonfunctioning zonk-out from eight-fifteen a.m. to twelve-fifteen afternoon! Earlier though, Robert and I had a great walk on a magnificently beautiful morning, including a brief sit-down on a bench along East Beach Drive to admire our Lonesome Pine as the yellow boat testing Mercury marine motors went roaring by -> 


Stirring up heavy -- my brother and sister can speak for themselves -- anticipating our first week of January trip to Louisiana to visit Walt, this has been on mind. My father and I never hit it off, never really got along together, with each other, the friction was thick — the word would be "palpable". Why? IDK, maybe being so different, opposite, was a reason, reasons, causes. I never understood. My father seemed to fight any expression of feelings in my direction and it became mutual. At a summer family camp in August 1951 a counselor cautioned my father, I've told this here before, that every word he spoke to me was sarcasm; which seldom changed in our fifty-seven years as father and son. My father has been dead nearly a quarter century now, and that the relationship still so saddens me tells that I'll take the distress into the sod. I hope -- my prayer -- is my children have not, do not, hold me similarly, in other than fond memory, as their years go on after mine.  

Yet, still, on the other hand: in response to constant begging, my father taught me to drive before any of my friends, beginning the Sunday afternoon after my 12th birthday, September 1947 all the family out in the woods and trails of western Bay County in our 1942 Chevrolet and my mother panicked, gasping, grabbing the arm-rest, scared half to death by the leaping, lurching car as I learned to balance left foot clutch pedal, right foot accelerator pedal while jerkily shifting and grinding gears. My father let me drive and trusted me with our cars long years before any of my friends. This time of year, December 1991, twenty-five years ago, my father, with the same heart issues that his mother had and now me, had the same open heart surgery as mine exactly twenty years on. And I have an old Florida drivers license that I literally and with some dismay cannot tell whether the picture is me or my father, TCW Sr or TCW Jr. And Carroll, the shared name of A Boy Named Sue. So there are things in common and there are good memories; but they are not what my conscious holds as the day-to-day growing up dread for eighteen years till I broke free by offing to university. 


What stirs all this? Perhaps again seeing the annual words “Stir up” in the collect for Advent Three. Perhaps the time of year when memory stirs of my father’s heart surgery and his death nineteen months later. Perhaps strain between my daughter and daughter-granddaughter and recalling similar strain between that daughter and her mother, and wondering if it's natural, strain between same-sex child and parent. Perhaps … IDK, I don't understand. But that's okay: I once had a priest, my rector in the 1980s, say of a severing strain between us, "I don't understand what happened, but then I don't have to understand." 


At any event, +Time is my mental exercise, a release of sorts from Time to Time: lying here stretched out on my psychic introspection couch, I may jot what the right brain blurts, then immediately press Delete as the left brain says it's illogical to share. Sometimes without examining, maybe while the left brain goes to the bathroom or to get another cup of coffee or some such, the right brain presses Publish anyway and it gets out, as unrecallable as the spoken word, into the ether. Sometimes I regret, more often not. 

DThos+ in +Time+


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