Monday, April 13, 2009

A new Will to honor all God's creation

New flag on the mast
Without any secrets, without any past
All things are new again, within and without
Sooner or later the ending begins
Just then it can be said that all things are new again

While the days leading up to Easter were, as Mal Reynolds might say, "not my best Holy Week ever," Easter itself was quite lovely. I've been singing in the Christ Episcopal Church choir since the late fall, and we do special musical events around the important holy days of the year. This year we did a Maundy Thursday evensong of sorts, accompanying the stripping of the altar with a choral arrangement of Psalm 22. There was also a Good Friday service, but it was a capella and it was at noon on a day I had work to do, so I was sadly unable to attend.

Easter, as would be expected, was very busy. There was an Easter Vigil which I did not attend because I was up far too late the night before celebrating the fact that my friends Matt and John passed their doctoral engineering qualifying exams. However, I did sing in both the 8:30 and 10:30 services, the latter of which featured a Tudor anthem entitled "Haec Dies" (I forget the author) during Communion. One of the things I've come to love about singing at Christ Church is the focus on using Tudor anthems and hymns during the special services and evensongs. They're hard to sing, but they sound so hauntingly beautiful that it's enough to make you see why some purists believe music reached its peak in England during that time period.

On a more hedonic note: after the 8:30 service, the choir was granted a brief reprieve and had brunch with the congregation. I managed to get my hands on two mimosas, which made me very happy. It's a sure bet that they played a large part in my sunny outlook on the 10:30 service.

Earlier in the month, my friend Kara had invited me to have brunch with her family at a hotel restaurant here in town, so as soon as the recessional was done I got changed and headed over before the inevitable post-church traffic started. Kara's father is an engineering professor here at Tech and has a flattering amount of faith in my enological prowess, so towards the end of the meal he managed to steer the conversation around to wine, particularly Virginia wine. In the past couple of months, I've affected a strange mixture of overconfidence and diffidence on matters where I feel as though I have a passing familiarity but am somewhat out of my depth. It's this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that once I venture past profound-sounding banalities, someone is going to come over and prove me wrong on every single semi-controversial point I may have espoused. On the other hand, stepping out on a limb has a strange attraction for me, so I gave my usual speech wholesale. (Virginia's wine laws are crippling its image, ABC and big distribution companies are out to get the small wineries, a lot of the small wineries are somewhat apathetic about marketing anyway, and no, we're never going to beat California and France at their own game, we have to rewrite the rules. Et cetera. I really need to make that into a wineblog post.)

The silence around the table when the monologue-with-slight-discussion was over kind of unnerved me. I told people that they could feel free to shush me at any moment, that I was pretty much used to it. It was a bit of a surprise to find that they were silent more because they'd actually been impressed by what I was saying. I suppose that because I didn't think I'd said much of import, I was expecting a lackluster response, and it never fails to take me by surprise when people feel as though my pontifications are anything more than out-loud brainstorming sessions with myself.

This post may have appeared to have veered from the "The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia" into "Woo hoo look how great I am", and maybe it has, but I suppose the whole point of this is that this year has been my Eastertide of sorts. I have come out of a long, hard period in my life into a sunny, hopeful, Other Side that, while it's not exactly where I wanted to be, is new. It's uncharted territory. The things that I was put through last semester and part of this semester have left me confident that even if things go to Hell, I will know how to deal with it, or at least be able to make a clean break without going into the fetal position. For some people, like my brother or my father, maybe this wouldn't be new ground, but for me it feels like the first step towards actually being the kind of man I want(ed) to be. On this Easter, I gave thanks for a host of things.

The ability to discern and either avoid or weather the bad situations that crop up inevitably, and often;

The good sense to appreciate and nurture the small miracles that make life a journey worth taking;

A group of friends with whom I can run the race and find something better.

Here's to the birth of another new age. Here's to making the most of it while it lasts. And here's to seeking, striving, and never yielding, and looking back only in fondness and wisdom.

(I'm still flying.)


Blogger Arrowatch said...

A post about a time isn't supposed to stay on one topic, so long as the topics were in your time frame, so your post made perfect sense.

Also, anytime your amongst people who don't know as much about a subject as you, even things that sound stupid to you are deep to them.

And it's good to hear things are cheering up.

9:54 PM  

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