Sunday, November 05, 2006


Between yesterday's retreat and today's train ride to church, I've been reading Henri Nouwen's Out of Solitude. In the third meditation, he tells the story of an old Notre Dame professor who said, "I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work."

I'm often pretty good at remembering this, especially since I'm in a field that's sort of composed of interruptions, but since I'd already given the last two days to other things (retreat, dinner with friends, sleeping enough), I'd really been counting on getting a fair amount of school work done today. That hasn't happened - in fact I've accomplished nothing that's directly related to a class (though I have managed a little Greek). In a lot of ways, this has been a weekend of interruptions. But Nouwen is fresh in my mind, so I'm choosing to reframe this weekend. Instead of complaining that I've gotten nothing done, here's what I have accomplished today:

~I made it to church, something that wasn't a foregone conclusion when I went to bed last night. While there, I filled in as torchbearer/server for the first time. I'd rehearsed the process a couple of weeks ago, but this isn't your standard torchbearing routine, so I wasn't totally on top of things - still, I made only one mistake, thanks to a very helpful and experienced lead torchbearer/server. Doing this for real for the first time also reminded me how often we take things for granted once we've done them for a while, and how teaching and training need not to assume that kind of basic knowledge right off the bat. Two years at Seabury has taught me a lot, but my instincts are still pretty much formed by a low church childhood and a background in stage managing dance - both pretty forgiving environments.

~I finished the last bit of Out of Solitude on the way home from church.

~I had four good phone conversations. One was general catching up with an out-of-town friend who's visiting soon. One was with another out-of-town friend whose grandmother isn't doing so well, so that one was less joyful, but I'm always grateful when my friends feel free to call on me for help of any sort. One was with my father, who gave me a chance to be proud of him and my mother. They'll be putting up my friend this week while he visits his grandmother, and I'm proud of how natural that kind of hospitality has become for my parents. Maybe it was always that natural, but I don't remember growing up that way, and it's always exciting to me to hear my parents view their house as something to be shared. The last call was from a friend who's just out of town for a little while, but whom I've missed seeing and hearing from over the last week. It was great to laugh with him some, and to remember how soon all of the Plunge groups will be back. I can't wait - this year's Plungers are a very cool bunch.

~My bathroom is cleaner now than it's been in a while. I don't like cleaning it at all, but there's always a sense of satisfaction in having such a clean bathroom. My sink especially had just not looked quite clean enough lately, and it's nice to see it scrubbed down again.

~I took time to eat when I was hungry, despite the fact that there were other things to be done, and I ate simple, decent food. I sometimes let myself pretend that other things are more important than taking care of such mundane bodily demands as food, and I recognize that that's not my healthiest tendency. Today I paid attention.

In light of those kinds of interruptions, I'm more willing to say that I made the most the time I had this weekend. No, my history and Hebrew aren't done, and I haven't made any progress on my end-of-term projects, but looking at my list I don't see anything that's not important. Sometimes there are more things that qualify as important than there is time for them. The work always gets done, in the end, at least here in the stained glass penthouse, but I don't always manage time for these others. I'll get back to the work now, but with a sense of gratitude and not resentment for the fullness of the weekend.

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