Thursday, March 6, 2008

Seasons of the Church

It's eleven o'clock again. I'm thinking about that load of laundry in the dryer, about the nearly-completed piece of enbroidery on the sewing table; about the roughed-out costumes I need for the play rehearsal by Sunday, Cathie's birthday party on Saturday, and the weeks ahead that are telescoping toward me. All meetings are being scheduled post-Easter, and that too is a little dismaying; because I am not in a hurry for Easter, even though it means I get to wear makeup again if I want. (Because I gave up cosmetics for Lent in an attempt to address my vanity and my 40-fixation.)

I like Lent. After last year's alarming number of random deaths close to myself and the church, I was I confess a little bit scared of Lent this year. But we seem to be having a reasonable season. And so the focused nature of worship (and the extra services), the pre-Passion tension, the underlaying eagerness for spring to advance all work for me. I enjoy the general sense of having a common meditation level with my co-worshipers. I like having something to think about besides the impending Election. And my husband's job worries. An emotional focus outside those alarming conditions of personal life over which I feel little control.

Both the election and his tenure hopes combine for my husband into a constant state of near-hysteria, compounded by our plummeting property value and potential state budget cuts which affect his job security regardless of tenure. I complain about him, because he's especially tense and tired these days -- which I understand -- but mainly I'm trying to be a little sunbeam at home while focusing considerable attention on other happenings. Like Lent. Because I can't make any of those big-picture economic landmines disappear, and I think my husband has nightmares about having to lead his family through that minefield blindfolded. What can I tell him?

I tell him everything will be all right. He knows I have no reason to think so. We are balanced on opposing ends of the tightrope walker's pole, with no idea whether this acrobat has a chance of making it across. I have faith that we will make it -- I pray we will -- I know it has nothing to do with whether or not we deserve to suffer the way so many people I know are already suffering. My husband says we are just two steps away from being the working poor ourselves, and I can't argue with that. He's over-educated, and I'm just a nice person with a good resume but no degree, not even a driver's license. Everyone wants to know when we'll have another child -- I have to laugh. In all of this, Lenten denial takes on additional meaning, and value.

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