Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Spirituality of Advent, Day 1, Week 3

Today, the pink (or as some priests call it "rose-colored") candle on the Advent wreath was lit.  Gaudete Sunday.  The beginning of the week of joy.

And while I am writing this from a British Airways lounge waiting for a flight that is delayed by over two and one-half hours, I have had a day of joy.

Joy of little things.

We got everyone where they needed to be for this morning.  My eight year old was at Patterson Park by 7 AM to get in the ice rink for a game at 8.  And his team won!  He played a great defensive game.

I went to meet a friend to run at the Charm City Run store in Timonium.  I did not have a working cell phone this morning, so I was not able to get the message that the streets were still pretty bad where my friend lives.  As it turned out that was okay.  The streets in Timonium were wet but not icy but I did feel the need to look carefully as the temps were still around 32 degrees.  And once I realized just how many things I had on my to do list before the flight this evening, the lack of someone to run with as a blessing in disguise.  I ran just 3.1 miles in a little under one-half hour rather than 8 or 9 miles.  It just felt good to get my legs going after the race yesterday.  And watching the sky grow light as I took an easy tour around the Timonium/Lutherville area just from the store to Charmuth and Seminary and back again was relaxing.

Then I stopped at Giant on the way home. When I reached home, I had my 14 year old unpack the groceries for me.  I found joy in his ability to identify what I planned for the three meals starting tonight and concluding with the evening of my return on Tuesday.  I also found joy in the fact that when I realized I had forgotten to buy rolls for the steak sandwiches that we served before my ride picked me up tonight, I decided just to whip up some dough.  In less than 10 minutes, we had enough water, yeast, sugar, flour, and salted mixed and kneaded to eventually make six reasonable sized rolls to serve what ended up being open faced steak sandwiches on.  My 14 year old tells me I'm one of the only people who would just do that.  But that shows why baking is such a joy for me and why if I ever get a second tattoo (debateable whether I will or not) it will include breads.  I sometimes feel like Peeta in The Hunger Games--in terms of my ability to make bread.  Not sure I've ever thought of any other similarities.

Then there was the Christmas program.  In all honesty, if our director of religious education ever put it to a vote among catechists, I might just vote to skip Christmas programs for religious education in the future.  But this year we had carols and cookies. And as the director said to me--the kids were cute as anything if nothing else.  A lot of craziness and noise and difficult transitions, but a lot of people sand along and it was just plain fun with a reminder of the real reason for the season.

Then there was mass said by a priest who is 90 years old.  First time I remember seeing him at St Pius and he said a really good mass with a great homily.  More on that tomorrow.

Next we got our tree.  It was an easy choice as this year there was exactly one criterion--narrow.  We found two good candidates within the first minute we were there and quickly made a choice that pleased everyone in my family.  It went up easily with our new (second year) Christmas tree stand.  Some of the moms at ice hockey call it the "marriage saver tree stand" as it is so much easier than the traditional style.

Then, we got to see a great concert of the Wind Orchestra for Peabody Prep.  It was great to see my son and his girlfriend of 2.5 years play again (we just saw them last night too).  They did a great job with the theme from 2001, some songs from the original Star Wars trilogy, songs from Les Miserables, and an incredible clarinet concerto.  More on that later in the week as well.  The other two ensembles that played were also very good.

Finally, making dinner with my eight year old before getting picked up was a blast.  

So many simple things.  And also just appreciating my wife for taking Daniel, for taking Christopher downtown while I dealt with a dead cell phone, for my wife picking up Joshua while I made dinner and got ready to go on my trip.  For my kids in religious education who brought me small gifts.  For the beautiful weather most of the day.  For a trip to Milk and Honey with Sherry and Daniel.  

Joy.  Joy!  JOY!  My heart is filled with joy and I hope it will continue to be.  But a lot of that has to do with me.  Am I ready to take what life gives me and call it joy regardless of what it is?  Obviously some things wouldn't bring joy, but there are many other ways to take the long series of events today that may not be thought of as joy.  I am lucky to see things the way I do.

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