* mainlined "Witches of East End." Soap opera. Whatever. Meh
* Sister in law working for a NGO that trains North Koreans to understand international business law
* Niece S is 2, cute. Knows how to tantrum.
* Nephew D is doing Houdini escapes from rope and handcuffs. "Don't throw your brother into the pool, i'll do it" says the mom about her hogtied son. Soccer, triathalon, nascent 6 pack abs on the 7 year old, good grief.
* Nephew Z wonderful to talk to about fish and dinosaurs and natural history. He's brillant! And perhaps not as nurtured as i would nurture his interest: a geek among not-geeks. So, i've ordered John McPhee's Founding Fish to give to him when i see him next. He's not a geeky geek: he has a definite talent for social flair and attention (and i cannot help but project that as learned to cover his geekiness).
Elephant issues may have been pressing because I was under the weather: i noted a definite uptick in my energies yesterday. (I had worried so about having the kids over.) With a little more strength, i am able to be present for the Elephant.
In worship yesterday i reflected about the varieties of skill different folks bring to worship. Apparently, having the chairs arranged in one way or another causes significant distress for certain folks. My first reaction is incredulity with an undercurrent of "You're doing it wrong." But with reflection came some compassion. What is it like to first come? I think of a minister who joined a few friends and i for silent prayer ages ago and her restlessness and walking. For some, just the stillness is a challenge. Then, there's being present in the stillness, then learning how to actively listen. And it could be scary: i can appreciate that. I can imagine worship may be a wilderness for some. So, i understand that for some, the framework of no noises, chairs just so, is a signal to center, a framework to hold the center.
But i still come to this conclusion: if you are distressed because you cannot find "your chair" you need to be in that distress for a while and learn about it.
I imagined worship as a landscape: cultivated land on the edge of a wood. I remember walking with some kids at the retreat center through the redwoods and the fear one child had about being in the woods. For me, it's a delight, even though i have stories of being hurt or lost (in the real world), and while i can't think of an experience in worship where i have been hurt or lost, i know one can encounter unpleasant and difficult experiences.
I suspect, as someone who is chronically depressed, i can so easily be lost that i don't associate the experience with worship. If one did first encounter existential despair in the silence of worship - -that could make it a very scary place.
In my reflections, offering my impatience up to be changed by compassion, i then began to ask: if i feel so comfortable with worship, what is my responsibility to the community? How can i comfort others as i comforted that child in the wood? Also, with what am i so comfortable that i need to move out of my comfort to a place i feel uncertain and scared?
Well, the latter is offering vocal ministry. That is a challenge and a stretch for me: when my listening is rich and powerful for me -- what am i to share? The near sermons? The full lessons? How do i not ramble on to the point of distracting? Yet if i share just the queries, will there be enough signal to cut through the noise?
And i did offer vocal ministry yesterday. The noise of my poor speaking skills meant at least one person became certain i had said "competence" where i was trying to say "confidence." Had i offered up the stronger message, the instruction i was feeling so powerfully, would that confusion have existed? On the other hand, the person clarified the message for any others who misheard by understanding that the query was about confidence despite mishearing me.