Monday, November 29, 2004

cold feet

I couldn't think of any other title, so I decided on cold feet, because my feet are freezing, and I'm too lazy to go and get my slippers, and I'll probably get a cold.

Today at work they intimated that they might give us some time off for good grants behavior. Believe me, there are women in that office who deserve it more than I do, though I did give up a day and a half of my vacation to go in.

So, is this going to become the religion blog, all the time? I hope not.

But Dana issued a challenge: for every day of the Christmas season, she wants us to post one thing we are doing that is holiday-related.

Today at Hy-Vee, I picked up a long, purple candle (what are the long ones called? Tapers? The little ones are votives, and this is not a votive) and then I broke it. So I put white duct tape on it. I went up to the attic and got the plastic holly candle ring that I have never before use around a candle, for the wreath, and found a child's Advent prayer and printed that out, because it talks about lighting the way for Mary and Joseph, and I thought we should go with child friendly.

So, right before I am to put Tommy to bed, I start rounding up kids. Sam is doing homework: easy. Tommy runs to hide. I get Christian, who comes into the dining room, and then I run to get matches, and when I come back, Tommy is hovering over the candle on a chair, and Christian is... gone. I go find him, and bring him back, and then try to shoo Tommy, and at this point the dog is barking and won't stop.

But we manage to light the candle and say the prayer and talk just a little bit about Advent (which I know nothing about, having been raised heathen Mormon) and then the kids disperse again.

And you know what? It is like this every time I want to do something cool or reverent or ceremonial or important. I can't tell you how many Shabbats I had this summer when I was saying weekly prayers with murder in my heart, hissing the words out between clenched teeth.

Small children (though mine can hardly be called small any longer) simply are not conducive to anything reverent or ceremonial, but it's still important to try. And they do love candles, I'll give them that.

So, I taught Sam The Lord's Prayer tonight, because I figured it's something he ought to know, being eleven now.

We are going to light the Advent candle every night, so they'll get used to it.

I had told them in the car that we were going to do it, and Christian said, "What about Hanukah?"

I said, "Do you want to celebrate Hanukah?"

Christian: "NO."

Dereck and I washed dishes before dinner tonight (shhhh, don't tell anyone or we'll lose our reputation as complete slobs) and talked about Orthodoxy and he reminded me that it was actually he who turned me onto icons. It came up because he said he had some books in his office about iconography he'd bring home for me, and I said, "Really?" And he just looked at me and said, "I had the icons up first, Jen." Well, he said it more nicely than it translates onto the page.

'Tis true.

It's weird because generally speaking, Dereck is not a particular fan of organized religion and really not Catholicism, and Christianity-- well, we have both had our moments. Some Christians drive us nuts. But he likes Judaism, and well, he likes Orthodoxy, too.

It's so funny that there is this ancient religion around, older than Catholicism, and to the general outsider, members of both faiths will say that they are the same church (ahem), but the digger you deep, the more you learn that it is not. They are taking steps toward a reconciliation, but there are some pretty deep pockets people are going to have to jump over if that happens.

It's like Orthodoxy manages to marry everything I like about Catholicism while differing enough on the points I kind of bite my tongue about that I can feel my teeth unclenching. It's spooky church, it's mysterious, it's old, but it is loving above and under everything else.

And it's just there, kind of minding its own business, and I had no idea this was available to me as an option. No idea. Until recently. And yet, there it is. Hunh.

And so. Another post that nobody will respond to because what are you going to say, after all? That Jen has gone Jesus freaky on you?

Well, I retain my sense of humor in all of it, and one day recently at the coffeeshop, I couldn't help but just let it rip.

Liza was telling me about the altar and some of the things at Mary Immaculate (Catholic) and she said about this one cabinet, "That's where they keep Jesus." Meaning the wafers, of course. And I just couldn't help it.

Jen: "Maybe they should let him out of the closet."

Jen: "Do you think he was thin and neat?"

Liza: "Well, you know, he was 33 and lived with his mother."

Jen: "He never married, and he hung out with these twelve guys..."

So, you see, even in my earnestness and searching, I haven't lost my terrible sense of humor. I think God has a wicked sense of humor, so why shouldn't I?

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