Set in Stone

There is no artful way for me to describe the wonder of today, so I will simply resort to bullet points. Don’t hold it against me. No, wait. Do hold it against me . . .

  • The music today was indescribably beautiful, thus I will make no attempt to describe its beauty, but will include a sample of it at the end. What a gift!
  • Yesterday flowed into today and made both days better for it because yesterday was tough. It was my day off and I had set up several meetings. And the entire day was complicated because I had only slept two hours the night before, mostly due to praying for hours in a garden, seriously, and because I just woke at 4 a.m. and was done with sleeping. Meeting one: always great to see him, this friend of mine. Meeting two was with a person in a profession whose job it is to give vital assistance in working out individual, personal issues. This meeting was a resounding success, and I was able to say things that are unsayable. But HIPAA law applies, so I said the unsayable safely and went through two small boxes of tissues. Meeting three was with two pastors at my church, a meeting I had requested in order to receive some sort of guidance regarding an important matter that could affect my place at this wonderful church where I do and hear and say things. And sometimes see them. If you want to know more about the church, search around WaughPaper and you can find out where it is. If you want to know more about the meeting, then I will tell you in person sometime. If you want to know about the two pastors, here it is: they are very different. I knew this going into it and did correctly anticipate the differences, but did not anticipate the level of, hmmm, let’s say sternness of one and gentleness of the other. If we were going to describe the difference by using a fashion analogy we would say that one had on a crisply starched button-down collar, creased slacks, and shiny shoes. The other had on a t-shirt, cut-offs, and was wearing sandals. This may, in fact, be more than an analogy. As to the content of the meeting, as I said, we can discuss it in person sometime, but here are some clues. One came at me really hard and used the Bible to do it. Now, I can hold my own there, believe me, discussing that book. Once, years ago in another life (I am not making this up), I debated an elder at a meeting. Elders are a thing that some churches have, and they are sort of like board members who run the church, etc. They are in the Bible, so that is why some churches have them. This particular elder was also a professor who has two PhDs from Harvard, one in Old Testament and one in New Testament studies. The OT and NT are the two main parts of the Bible, so he had it pretty well covered. And since he had no doubt studied the Apocrypha too, then that is all of the Bible (I don’t mean to insult you here as I know that you know this, but some may not). Anyway, the topic was what women could or should do at that former-life church. It is an issue called “The Role of Women in the Church” and yes things like this really are discussed at many churches. Well, we (we pastors, as I was one of them, and all of the elders) were given the assignment to write papers detailing our views. It was fine until I read mine. And this professor starts trying to counter my points, again using the Bible. I held my own just fine, and after the meeting guess whose paper everyone wanted a copy of? Well, this meeting yesterday could have been like that, with a gentleness there, asking for my paper, and with a stern narrowness there wanting to throw a book at me. It could have been like a debate, but instead, I sat mostly in silence and simply listened, and then I agreed to do two things: think and pray. [And how is it, that just as I am typing about thinking and praying Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 has come on the radio here at my place?] You see, I did think and pray. And I had already been doing that for months, years. That’s all I agreed to do. I was not about to do the things that shiny shoes was telling me that I should do just because they are written in a book, even one called the Bible. There are many ways to look at those words there, first of all. Many ways. And second, the word is alive and active as well as being sharp. You see, here we enter the realm of the Living Word. It extends into the margins of the page and then continues into the air, into the spirit wind, that fresh breeze that surrounds us always. And that God, the one who is spoken of in the Bible, is a God whose benevolence is beyond book boundaries, whose love is without limits, whose mercy is unmerited, and whose grace is a gift. So, when I did the things that I said I’d do, think and pray, I heard our God repeat what he had already told me many times. He said it again clearly and then today it was all confirmed. Besides, I found out today that it is too late to do any one of the things that shiny shoes said I should do, because it’s already set in stone. It’s done, and been done for days even though I did not know it, and it is not going to be un-done. Ever. Oh, and here is a remarkable thing, and one reason why I love this church I am part of. Both of these pastors . . . well, they used words that you would say are cuss words. Not directed toward me, but they just used them to emphasize their points. I loved it because that’s not normative for church pastors, and so it made the meeting more special. What did they say? I won’t tell you. But I will tell you that today as I was puttering around on Shade thinking about writing this very paragraph, thinking about the very cuss word that button-downed said, the radio announcer played a concerto in F major. No kidding. Now, if the next song had been in the key of SH major, well that would have been too much. But, you see, all day and into the evening and even now that Living Word is speaking. Oh well, enough about those meetings.
  • I also should admit that before today, I thought that I had probably lost all hope of any potential of the possibility of remotely resembling anything that could even be a mere reflection of being close to an image of a hero. I do have that fatal flaw that seems common, so there is that much going for me. In fact, I discovered that I am very bad at two things. One is that fatal flaw, but it will not prove to be fatal, believe me. I have an army who is with me in that matter, and I have already said that I will not shoot myself in the foot again, even though I may be prone to walking around with a gun pointed at my own foot. I just won’t be carrying around a gun anymore, and have taken measures to prevent my doing so. The other thing I am really bad at is croquet, you know the game with the wickets and the balls and the mallets. I am tempted to make so many jokes about wickets. And we could have a ball with it, laughing with no mallets aforethought. But, I won’t joke about the things I am really bad at. The weird thing is that, yes, we started playing croquet at this church party last Sunday night. I had been placed in charge of setting it up, so I decided to play too. And I was horrible! All the other players were passing me, and it’s only a game, but I am good at a few things. And I am so bad at that first one up there, and everyone at the party knew it because I had told them that morning, so I really wanted to be good at croquet as a sign of redemption. But I simply was not good. And then a strange thing happened. I realized that it is just physics and geometry. I looked at the gorgeous manicured grass and calculated that the ball needed a certain speed to overcome the resistance of each blade of a living breathing plant rising up from the earth, individuals connected as one by their roots forming a thing called a lawn. And I noted that the mallet I held could apply any amount of force to propel the ball so that it could indeed overcome the resistance. It was in my hands. And holy crap I had pushed the wickets in myself cuz I was in charge of setting up, so I looked at the angle a little more closely and then just computed the line of travel, factoring in force and resistance. And like I said, weird, but I won. I am horrible at croquet but I won. It’s gonna be okay after all.
  • Oh, another thing is set in stone too. I saw it clearly today, and the image remains with me still. Bob the Squirrel is a permanent fixture now and is not going away. I am worried about the second-hand smoke, however.

Here is that sample:

Photograph “Bob and Some Butts” © 2018 Timothy Waugh