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Sabbath Day

March 7, 2014

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The Stella Blues Band will be in residence at Garcia’s again during the month of March. After Ash Wednesday worship last night I headed over to Port Chester to dance away the night. It was oddly sweet to see so many deadheads with ashes on their foreheads swaying and spinning to such grace-filled memento mori tunes as Sugaree. I kept waiting for the anthem, Throwing Stones, but it never came. Maybe next year:

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin’ stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Early morning today was spent puttering in a few books. For one, I finished reading Roberta Bondi’s 1995 memoir Memories of God: Theological Reflections on a Life. This book was a gift way back when, but has lain in a box, forgotten, for almost two decades. I honestly don’t know how I missed it, especially when I now see that it was blurbed by no less than Carolyn Walker Bynum and Rowen Williams. One of the great things about our family’s efforts to divest ourselves of stuff is that we are discovering things like this book. I decided to give it a quick read before giving it away to my church library. I’m so glad I did. In light of my congregation’s Lenten focus on how “Words Matter,” this book turned out to be a profound reflection on God, gender and language.

I also spent time today with Proust’s Remembrance of  Things Past.

Late morning found me in the gym, working the winter out of my muscles. I only did six climbs, but they included three V3s clean. I’m satisfied (and sore) for now.

I then spent the first half of the afternoon cooking and cleaning. I made an outstanding brisket (6 hours) and dug through an old box of letters from jr. high and high school, reading and tossing. It was fun for a while, reading notes written to me by friends and girlfriends from thirty years ago. I could still remember just how I felt when I received some of the notes, like the one from an obsessional girlfriend who simply wrote “I love [my high school nickname]” over and over on both sides of a piece of paper. I had completely forgotten about the poem written by a fellow wrestler about his family (I hadn’t even remembered that guys wrote letters to one another). Most surprising was a double-sided page of short notes from many hands which had obviously circulated through a bio-lab when everyone should have been studying.  One of them read: “Howdy Jeff. You don’t know me but I know you. Doesn’t that make you nervous? [The obsessional girlfriend] tells us ALL about you! Later, [JB]”  We didn’t know one another then, but we do now and stay in touch via Facebook. What a gift for throw-back Thursday. She and I had a good laugh today when I told her about it

There were other less fun notes. The break-up letter from a friend who had invited me to her prom. Or the angry note from a girl who felt like she was only a “substitute girlfriend” to me, holding a place until the next girl came along. The truth is, she was depressed and that scared me and I didn’t know what else to do; so the next girl came along pretty quickly.

Proust is right, remembrance of  things past, if not easy, is good for the soul. Today it was positively Lenten.

Come 3:00, August and I got his homework done in record time and then spent a hour on the frozen playground where kids were basically playing with the ice. After a quick change to warm and dry clothes the whole family headed over the Dunne’s Irish Pub for the monthly Oktoberfest menu and then back home to read Harry Potter.

This has been a good day.

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