So what happened that I stopped blogging for a while? Truth is I started several posts and abandoned them because everything seemed too muddled and confused. The world started spinning too fast for this little ADHD brain to keep up with and I felt like my thoughts would probably be better off sitting quietly and use my inside-my- head voice.
First: The hurricane of the century, Sandy, came to call and wiped out the beach where I loved to go to for rest and refreshment, the place where Bugman rescued the butterfly while frolicking with his brother in the warm Atlantic water. We watched the television news (after the power came back on) in horror. Grandson number one looked at the images and shouted, “Hey, I was just on that roller coaster!” This disaster wasn’t happening in a far off land or even at the other side of the country, but in my own little part of the world. Images of the places I’d been to and knew well were shown day and night with the shell-shocked refugees who had just lost everything they owned. They lost generations of memories, the tangible pieces of their lives and even members of their family in that same water that gave me renewal. Unbelievable that they’re still begging, borrowing and stealing to get power, shelter and the basic necessities while the rest of the world has lost interest and moved onto other things.
Second: The election….I’m still shuddering thinking about it. I had plenty of opinions, but discovered that it would probably be best if I didn’t express them. There came a point that whatever I thought, said, wrote or believed was fuel for someone else’s rage. I lost friends, people I knew – or thought I knew, for years – because of something I expressed on Facebook that they took out of context and blew out of proportion I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad that I live in a country where we elect our leaders freely without threats or coercion. I’m not glad that the process is so messy and nasty. I’m not glad that it’s an opportunity for those with power to try to influence the minds and hearts of people through half-truths and outright lies. I’m not glad that the nation is becoming more and more polarized. I’m not glad that I was pigeonholed and demographed, categorized and counted as if I were a commodity instead of a rational, thinking human being with the ability to read and follow my conscience – because even my conscience became something that could be scrutinized, judged and torn apart by people I didn’t even know. Even now that all’s said and done I worry that I may have gotten someone’s hackles up who just read this paragraph. We’ve lost the ability to respect ideas, opinions and each other.
Third: The Massacre of the Innocents…I still can’t go there. Syria, Connecticut – when will we ever learn, O Lord? When?
Fourth: Christmas…the most wonderful time of the year – if you are seven. The Church tries its best to keep it holy by focusing on Advent, and I’m in that camp completely. I love Advent! I love the readings, the music, the anticipation; however, who can resist getting caught up in the maelstrom? It started after Halloween. I was still raiding the grandkid’s candy stash for miniature tootsie rolls when I heard the first commercial of Christmas. It was pink, and loud and the speaker had a voice that, I suppose, is supposed to attract ten year old girls and get them to nag grandparents to buy pink things that will be opened and abandoned in one day when the target children discover that it isn’t nearly as much fun as it looks like in the commercial. The voice crawls up my spine like a tick with cleats. At that moment I saw a vision of my life for the next couple months – the Christmas Season – an extra special time for Church musicians.
I begin to prepare for Christmas in the summer. I usually do an arrangement of an obscure carol for my choir – this year I did “A La Nanita Nana,” a beautiful medieval Spanish carol. In August I reserve the church for our Ceremony of Lessons and Carols and begin my yearly war with the basketball coaches for the release of my choir kids to be able to sing at the concert. We rehearse like mad for weeks and after the concert realize that we have to quickly rehearse for Christmas Eve midnight Mass. I plan, play and direct six Masses between 5:00 pm Christmas Eve and 12:00 pm Christmas Day with choirs, cantors, brass, bells, and guitars and 4 1/2 hours sleep. In between these I have to visit with the in-laws, fill all the stockings, bake a ham, green bean casserole, finish wrapping gifts and entertain company. As usual, I survived, but it’s definitely not a time for wimps and it’s getting harder every year. Heck, at my age everything is getting harder every year.
My husband, who usually plays the pessimist to my Pollyanna has decided that 2013 would be the year of hope. He’s rallying the family like a general leading his troops into the fray, trying to get us all to work just a bit harder, complain a bit less, cooperate a bit more and keep on the sunny side. Oh, and we’re going to lose weight and pay down our credit cards. I hope it works.