Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Christusque nobis sit cibus,
potusque noster sit fides;
laeti bibamus sobriam
ebrietatem Spiritus."
St. Ambrose

(Let Christ be our food and faith our drink; let us happily drink the sober inebriation of the Spirit.)

Lent is my favourite liturgical season. I love to begin with such hope and high expectation. It is not, our dear priest reminded us yesterday, a time of morbid thoughts and dark dwellings; but a time of penitence, during which we may "happily drink the sober inebriation of the Spirit" without the distraction of food and drink.

Surrendering to the rhythms of the Church, fasting and feasting according to the season, is so freeing, and so satisfying. Having feasted at Christmas, and all through Carnival, I begin Lent now, longing for nothing so much as a good, long, purifying fast. When Lent has refreshed me, I being to long for the feasting of Easter.

We celebrated Mardi gras with some friends on Tuesday, and unfortunately are left with some extra paczki. They are sitting on top of the kiln, waiting to be eaten, full of strawberry, raspberry, and my sister-in-law's fig jam. I wonder if they can be frozen with any success.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest."
- Hemingway

Yesterday and today have been lovely, warm, and wet days; and I have wandered all around town without my gloves and without worrying about my destination. It is too warm for worrying and too pleasent for staying in. Even this afternoon, under the heavy clouds it is a day for being outdoors and breathing the spring air. I know the warmth won't last - it's too early for true spring, but I am enjoying what I have while I can.
St. Valentine's day is on Saturday. It is also the feast of Sts. Cyril & Methodius. They are the patron's of my old Ukrainian church and I never think of them without thinking of that lovely parish. It was, without a doubt the most welcoming parish I have ever belonged to, fully orthodox, beautifully adorned, and so wonderfully passionate.
I'm surprised to hear that so many people hate Valentine's day. Either because they're single or because flower's are more expensive and restaurants more crowded on this day! I love Valentine's day. When I was single I loved going out with my single friends and now I love going out with my husband. I love celebrating love and joy and friendship. If flowers are more expensive and restaurants more crowded, it's only once a year, and it's fun being in the thick of everything, waiting an hour for dinner, and compare overpriced flowers with the dozen other couples waiting with us.

Friday, February 6, 2009

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."
Ernest Hemingway

I love overhearing conversations. There were two guys next to me just now talking about protest music. I wanted to tell them about the great labor songs of the early 20th century, but I didn't want to interupt. The guy with the plaid scarf talked about sixties protest songs, and mentioned that he knew that "a bunch of old folk songs are protesting stuff too." He would love to teach a class on protest songs, and to discover more. His friend, I think, has heard all this before, but I hadn't, and I was interested. Plaid Scarf and his friend replaced a group of girls comparing lip piercings and dietary restrictions. Having twice been vegetarian, I'm always interested in why people leave off eating meat. The girls ranged from fish-eaters to vegans and excessively pierced to unpierced. Now, in front of me is a couple on their first date. She has fantastic eyes and he is an enthusiastic talker. I think they'll have a second date.
I love people in general, even if I don't always like particular people. As strangers, they're so pleasant and interesting. I think I could find something about most people I see to like. I remember reading that God loves us because He puts His goodness into us and then finds it there. I've always liked that image, God continually surprised and thrilled to discover His joy in each and every one of us!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
E. B. White

I have been getting very little done in the last week or so besides working my way happily through much of Jane Austen, some of Tolstoy, the Polish pope, and C.S. Lewis. It has been a week of snow piles and cold days. Days that urge so sweetly that I curl up on the blue seat with tea and peppermints and my latest book.

That's not to say I've done nothing else, but anything productive that I've managed to do this week was done in bursts of time, between books, and done with a restless energy that only takes me away from reading so that I can think about what I've read, run over it all in my mind again and dwell on my favorite bits. I love these breaks in life, when I fall headlong into my books and come out again refreashed and encouraged from having learned again how to see the world in a new and beautiful way.