Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Catch-up

I know I owe you a lectionary post, and tomorrow is poetry day over at Writers Island, too. But in the meantime, I thought I'd give you a personal update.

Last Wednesday, I had my second voice lesson ever. I've always loved to sing, but I had been told for years that I shouldn't, that my voice was awful, that nobody wanted to hear me sing. But just in the last year, I can count about a half-dozen times when people would tell me at random how wonderful it was to hear me sing. I was completely gobsmacked by this, and didn't know whether to believe it or not, except I kept hearing it again and again and again. In the middle of all of it, I transferred to my current parish, and I joined the choir. I'd missed singing in the choir for years. There is something very special about being in a group that is making music together, that is bringing light and beauty and life into the world together. And I kept hearing this from people. When I admitted to the lady who is now my teacher that I'd never studied the voice ever in my life, she flatly refused to believe me! I'm really enjoying working with her.

Friday morning, just before noon, I signed the separation agreement that my soon-to-be-ex had already signed. I am now legally separated, effective June 22. This means that next June, I'm eligible for a divorce. This feels really good. It has been a very long time coming, and it has been hard, and it has taken a lot of strength and clarity and courage. But here I am, living in my own home, filling my life with things that inspire me and fulfill me and feed me, rather than things that tear me down and hurt me and anger me. I have found a parish that really feels like home and family. Even though not everything is easy, I have joy and freedom. Thanks be to God!

This appointment at my attorney's office was actually my third of the morning - after my orthopedist checkup and a session of physical therapy - and it was not my last of the day. Afterward, I went home and had some lunch while working for the afternoon. And when my soon-to-be-ex picked up the kids for his weekend with them, I left for the 40-minute drive to my spiritual director's house. I hadn't seen her for direction in 18 months or so, but we picked right back up and had an absolutely wonderful session. She recognized those themes of joy and freedom, and not only affirmed but encouraged the things I deeply, deeply desire to do with my life right now.

Saturday morning, I stopped by the music shop that my flute teacher owns to drop off my piccolo to be brought into playing condition. Of course, I was dumb to go to a shop that rents instruments on a Saturday in September, and I was idly looking at and fingering merchandise on the wall while two different families negotiated their instrument leases (a violin and a saxamaphone, I believe) when I caught a glimpse of my flute teacher, who smiled and waved and came out to talk to me. He asked, "Did that band get back in touch with you?" I was confused for a moment, and then said, "Oh, they called you?" The story is, I'd gotten into contact with a local concert band, and the conductor called my flute teacher to ask if I'm any good. My teacher told me that he gave me a glowing recommendation (though I won't quote his exact words), and then he handed me the ticket book and had me write up the service ticket for my piccolo. :-) Okay, he's mostly blind, and I've spent enough time in that shop and gotten enough work done - on two flutes, four or five violins, and now the piccolo - that it's not like having to fill out my own service ticket was a burden! It was great to see him, because he's usually cloistered in the back when I stop by.

After that, I went to a local high school for a rehearsal of a joint service of the two oldest Episcopal parishes in Virginia Beach - Old Donation and Eastern Shore Chapel. Our two choirs joined forces to lead worship and sing the offertory anthem, and this was our one and only opportunity to practice the music together... as well as to be in the space and run through how we would navigate ourselves through the service. It was a fun rehearsal.

I went back home to relax before a party at the church, but I've been struggling with fall allergies for about a week now. So I took a heavy-duty decongestant and stretched out on the couch with a movie... and then zonked out and missed the 90th birthday party of one of our altos in the choir. I was bummed, but not until morning, when my brain operated a little less like molasses.

The Sunday morning service went wonderfully. Our rector preached a marvelous sermon on those awful readings, and the music was uplifting and heavenly, and the eucharist was feeding and healing. I went home again to relax and connect with friends for a few hours, until it was time to go to my very first rehearsal with the Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble. I haven't been able to play music in a big ensemble like that in almost twenty years, and it felt amazing. And I already noticed differences in my ensemble-playing, that have grown out of ensemble-singing, just in the last few months. I was really transported.

Then I stopped at my former home to pick up my daughter for her time with me, and my soon-to-be-ex gave me a check for my portion of our savings. The comment line said Blood money. He and the kids were laughing over this, but I didn't find it funny at all. My daughter sounded awful - congested, sniffling, sneezing, even coughing a bit, and her voice was really rough. I felt her forehead, and it felt really hot to me, but her brother and dad disagreed on this. When I got her home, I took her temperature, and it was 100.8F. So I gave her something to bring it down, and got her to bed, letting her know that she wasn't going to school on Monday.

Morning came, and she felt a little warm, but not hot like Sunday night. But her voice was completely gone, and she felt completely horrible. She slept until almost 9am, which is late for her, since she's normally up by about 6:30, and then we tried to go to a doc-in-the-box. We sat in the waiting room for more than thirty minutes without even being checked in, and I kept trying our family doctor's office to see if we could get an appointment there. We finally got one, so we left the doc-in-the-box and came back home to have some lunch and rest for a while. At the doctor's office, Becca was prescribed two different medications, given samples for a third, and given instructions for two other over-the-counter ones.

This afternoon, her temperature spiked to 102F, and stayed there for a few hours. My last check showed it at 100F, so it's on its way down, but I'm going to have to watch it and stay on top of it. Poor kid feels like hell, and just wants to stay in bed but can't sleep. Meanwhile, I'm fighting off a sinus infection from my allergies, and my chest is feeling tight, too. The decongestant that helps the most turns me into a virtual zombie, so I'm glad I get another day to work from home. I just hope that's enough to make the difference.

So... it's been a full week. And this week will be another full one. Today is my dad's birthday - Happy Birthday, Dad! - and we'd been planning to have a friend from church over for supper, but had to cancel so we wouldn't get her sick. I have my voice lesson, choir rehearsal, a volunteer shift, and a flute performance in church before next Sunday's band rehearsal again. And, oh yeah, work needs to fit in there somewhere, too. :-)

But in the midst of all this busy-ness, I have found room to listen to the voice of the Spirit. And I am starting to pay attention to what that voice is telling me. Freedom and joy are beckoning, and they will mean some more changes and a lot more growth. It's frightening and exhilarating and intimidating... and wonderful.