what messes us up

My friend Fran referenced this quote on Facebook:

What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.

I immediately saw in this how I relate to my job. I have certain expectations about how things should be at work. Those expectations are not met. I am, therefore, unhappy.

I validated this with my spiritual director. She added that it is a lot of work to keep holding up an image of how things “should” be and comparing that to how things are. Certainly keeping this in mind does not remove all stress from work, but it helps.

Of course there are times when we should have a picture in our head of how it is supposed to be. Like when there is social injustice and inequality that needs to be fixed. But in the case of my job not having expectations means not being unhappy because expectations are not met.

Margaret Mead, the mountaintop & the war on women

If you saw my quote from Susan Russell last week on the war against women and appreciated the truth she was conveying, you’ll want to view this. The words were extracted from this sermon, which she delivered on 19 February. Don’t be fooled by the first six and a half minutes. She really shifts gears at right about 6:30. She confronts the reality, but she leaves us with hope.

reflections on Ash Wednesday

I had time for the Ash Wednesday service blocked off on my work calendar so I could get away and participate. Nonetheless, I was considering blowing it off. After all, it’s not the most uplifting service of the year. But Terry had a trade show she needed to be at, so I wouldn’t be able to have lunch with her. Given that, no reason not to go.

Wednesday morning I read the Forward Day-by-Day meditation, which made the point that Ash Wednesday was important. It made me think of my first Last Sunday after Epiphany service at All Saints’, where my first Episcopal rector, Margaret, said exactly that. In fact, she said that if you can’t make it to Ash Wednesday services here, please attend a service where you can. That had an impact on me, and has stuck with me since. I’ve attended Ash Wednesday services most years since then. As I did last Wednesday.

The service was lightly attended. There were probably ten adults and some kids. It was a very plain service, with no music. But I’m glad I was there. Fr. Phil pointed out that the other part of “You are dust and to dust you will return” is “You are spirit, and spirit you will always be.”

It was a good start to my Lenten journey.

Sacred Music Friday: Ubi Caritas

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, setting by Duruflé.

informed or sane

I’ve been listening to NPR more of late than I have for some time. This is exactly how I feel. Thanks to Jane Redmont.

Ash Wednesday

May your Lent be gentle yet meaningful.

the more things change..

All societies we know of are governed by the selfish interest of the ruling class.

         —Plato, The Republic, about 380 B.C., quoted by Joseph Heller on Bill Moyers: A World of Ideas in 1988

‘nuff said.

the war against women

As one whose values were established in my college days during the 1970’s, the views on the Right about women, women’s health, and women’s rights is an anathema to everything I believe. Susan Russell really nails it here.

Oh Lord Not that again
Didn’t we do that in the 70’s
when we were women and you heard us roar
and we got in touch with our bodies and ourselves
and we grew up to be priests and bishops
and doctors and lawyers
and Secretaries of State and Studio Heads
… and here we are again watching our rights be questioned
and our choices be challenged
in the name of religious liberty
and in response to a fictitious
War on Religion.

Sacred Music Friday: Magnificat

John Rutter’s Magnificat, first movement, performed by the Bow Valley Chorus. And a great performance it is!

word usage: cut down vs. prune

Our next door neighbors to the south are, I think, an older Latino couple. We don’t see much of them, but we do see the adult children, who are frequently around helping out. One of the sons knocked on the door one day and said he was going to “cut down the tree.” I was glad to have the warning, because nearly half of the branches of that tree hung over into our yard. But this surprised me a little, because the tree seemed perfectly healthy.

English is clearly not his first language, and his command of English is not the best. As it turned out, he did not cut down the tree at all, but simply pruned it way back. Now the distinction in English between “cut down” and “cut back” or “prune back” is not all that subtle, so you can see where I would say that his English skills are not all that strong.

Whatever his English proficiency, the tree has been pruned and the leaf canopy is gone. That means, for a couple of years at least, no more massive amounts of leaves falling in our yard in January. It also means more light and therefore, with luck, a bigger, brighter tulip crop for Terry in the spring.