Ink & Penwipers

Scribbles, screeds, speculations, and the occasional reference to Schrodinger's cat.

11 October 2004

Tea and Brie

It's raining, steadily and heavily, like it hasn't in weeks. The weatherman didn't say it, but it looks like the remnants of Tropical Storm Matthew are giving us an end to our mini-drought. It is damp and cold, and outside it is gorgeous, everything wet and rich, the leaves beginning to turn.

I stopped keeping track of TS Lisa awhile back, and haven't heard anything, so I presume she's petered out or wandered off. And I had such plans for her!

My mood is an oil-and-water mood -- I feel trapped, with no refuge, then I feel more or less content and Okay. Shake me up and I'm a vinaigrette of sweetness and bitterness. I've been writing some, which is usually a good outlet, or else cathartic, or else lancing, or else distracting. I worry about our country, then I worry about me, then I worry about both, then I pray. I will not fear the ten thousands of people who set themselves against me round about....Thou O Lord art a shield for me, the glory and the lifter of my head....

Yesterday I woke almost too late to go to church. I popped out of bed at 10:18, pulled on some clothes, applied some scent and lip balm, and walked a block to St. John's. Since my car died I've been walking there a lot rather than bumming rides to Christ Church -- and most of the people I've made friends with at Christ Church are gone now, except for a few that I love, so I suppose it's as well I can't often go. The people at St. John's are getting used to me and my silent, stiff facade of gravitas, I think. They are now coming up to me in the coffee hour and asking if there's something I'd like to do. It is nice to be asked that; in order to make a connection at my old church, a very large suburban one, I decided (after six years or so) to find something to get involved with; and it worked. In a little church, people will ask -- you don't have the luxury of coasting on programs and many hands to help when you're small. I was introduced to some other library folk. There seems to be a disproportionate number of Episcopalian library people at St. John's, not that I'm complaining. Three of us (the other two women were both probably older than my mother) had a mind-blowing discussion about the decline of literacy and its political implications in the current national and global climate. If you had told me two years ago that it was possible to have such a cogent, erudite, and wide-ranging discussion at a church coffee hour, I would have laughed at you. Not that you can just walk into any Episcopal church and do that: people "give thanks always and everywhere", but people's minds and temperaments vary "always and everywhere" too. But to have it only a block from where I live! God gives me little gifts.

For my late breakfast today I had tea and French bread with the last of the Brie. A very nice, rainy day meal, taken with my eyes out the window on the dripping world.

I think I am frightened not of loss but of paralysis.

It strikes me that everybody knows their hearts. I do not think there is one person who does not know, under all the bluster, where they are wrong. But what to do about it; ah, there's the rub. Because oneself is not the only person who is wrong -- other people are, too -- and what do we do about them? I confess my method has its ups and downs: I leave them alone to figure it out. I leave them alone, and sometimes they never do confess; sometimes they grow worse. Sometimes there are things I can do, like voting W, the abusive husband of our country, out of office. But in everyday situations it just seems so wearifying to confront and confront and confront. Most often, I will not do it. Not just out of cowardice: I hate being confronted myself, with a passion, and I hate the whole business of removing specks and planks from one another's eyes. Everybody knows their limitations, their besetting faults, their unattractivenesses: why rub it in for them? Why scold, when they already have to stand before God as Dante stood before Beatrice, with face downcast? Why scorn, when their own sin has already put them in a state of isolation?

On the other hand I hate watching people think they have a right never to be questioned. It is a besetting sin of mine, and so I hate it tenfold in other people, especially people with more power than I have. I think it is the crying sin of this age, and while many wise people of this past century have said you have to start with yourself to change the world, I do not want to start with myself while other people, with more power, have no inclination to do so. It is like a moral Cold War, with red telephones, voluminous treaties, and no glasnost or perestroika in sight.

How very tiring it all is.

For now, I think the most I can do is sip tea, and watch the rain, and pray.


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