Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Spirituality of Advent--Day 1, Week 1

What a morning!  It is 7:40.  I have done more than an hour of work, run 10k, showered and shaved, and driven my son from our house to Ice World (two counties away) for his Sunday morning skating lesson.  I love living life to the fullest.  I really enjoyed seeing the thin sliver of moon with the curve toward the earth as I ran on this relatively warm morning.  Here is a website that called it a waning crescent.  Good description.  Extra pretty that it faced the Earth rather than being upright as shown on the website. Relative is the key--it was still in the 20's but it was in the city and there was no wind.  I was so glad to get out.  Now, I am typing while drinking a Diet Coke and eating leftover banana-chocolate chip bread.  

This morning is the first morning of the first week of Advent.  A few days ago I noted that I would write each day during Advent this year to see where it takes me.  I found a website that describes the four candles with the first standing for hope.  Not sure that this website provides the "final word" on the issue, but I like the idea.

So, we begin with hope.

And I begin with a discussion that draws on a public radio program I heard recently.  While I have not been completely impressed with all the recent changes in programming on NPR in general or on local public radio stations, when I was driving to meet my friend to run 12 miles yesterday morning I heard a program on WYPR that caught my attention--Studio 360.  The specific program talked about the Wizard of Oz.  

It is probably clear to anyone who has ever seen the movie or read the book why this would be an interesting juxtaposition with hope. But what I found most moving was listening to Salman Rushdie.  He had written an essay that he read from.  In it he talked about the tension between the desire to return home and the desire to be someplace else.  Someplace where dreams really do come true.  He thinks that while many people interpret the movie as focusing on getting home, the movie was definitely favoring the yearning to be someplace else as its guiding purpose. He suggested that the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, should be the anthem for immigrants who move because of hope.  I don't believe that Mr. Rushdie actually used the world hope but it is an obvious way to summarize what he was getting at. 

I almost teared up when I heard Mr. Rushdie read from his own book about the Wizard of Oz.  I think I may seek out the book and read it.  It seems like it would be a good read. The story of the conflict between a desire to explore and get to someplace new versus the desire to get home.

What does all of this with Salman Rushdie and the Wizard of Oz have to do with Advent and hope?

Hope for a guiding light.  Realizing that the guiding light has been here all along hope for a brighter guiding light than I had last year.  Hope for a place where dreams come true.  Dreams of understanding my faith.  Dreams of being able to communicate that faith better to the children I teach.  Dreams of being able to share that faith better with my family.  Dreams of understanding the words I hear at St. Pius X every Sunday.  Dreams of building more interesting, more informed, and more informative links between different aspects of my spiritual life.  

I am not an immigrant, so Somewhere Over the Rainbow cannot be my theme in the way that Mr. Rushdie suggested.  But I am a constant seeker.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow can be my theme as a message for seeking.  Seeking something better.  Not that I am dissatisfied with what I have.  But there is always room for improvement.  Deeper understanding.  More comfort.  More serenity.  May I live up to this moving ahead.  

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