Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy Epiphany!

Okay, so I've been remiss in posting for the last couple weeks. I had a lectionary post started for today, but never finished it. I have excuses, plenty of 'em! But I'm not going to sit here and apologize. It is what it is, and that's what it is. Instead, I'll let you know what's been going on in my life the last couple weeks.

Let's see... December 23 was Advent IV. I had church that morning, and then took the kids to the 25th annual Messiah Sing-along at the new Sandler Center in Virginia Beach. I was gobsmacked to learn that my almost-fourteen-year-old son is a bass. Not a baritone, an honest-to-goodness bass. He nailed all the notes, even the low ones. I was amazed to hear him sing. Of course, it helped that we were sitting on the very edge of the bass section (with the altos across the aisle for my daughter), so he could hear the part all around him. But still... he claims to hate singing, but he was wonderful. My daughter did great, too. We all had an incredible time. The next day was Christmas Eve, with a glorious "midnight" service. I felt sung out, but I still had a Christmas morning service to take part in. It didn't have quite as much music as the night before, but it was enough. One of the other sopranos in the choir was sitting in front of me, and one of the tenors beside me, so on the middle verses of the carols we sang, I sang alto. It was fun.

Christmas evening, that same soprano who'd been sitting in front of me invited me to her home for Christmas dinner, along with a couple of other "orphans" who didn't have a place to have Christmas dinner. It was really nice to feel like part of a family for those hours. We watched a comedy video, and I laughed so hard that I thought my throat would never recover.

On the second day of Christmas, also known as Boxing Day, my flame from Canada flew down to spend a week with me. He arrived in the evening, and we shared gifts and stockings that Santa had left in my apartment for the two of us. Amusingly enough, I had bought copies of this book for the clergy at my parish, and Santa put a copy into each of our stockings... and Scott had gotten a copy for me as a gift, too.

The third day of Christmas was my daughter's third birthday. Out of deference to the family, Scott hung out at my place and relaxed while my ex and I hosted a party at the bowling alley for her and a bunch of her friends. Afterward, they all piled into the minivan and spent the night at my ex's house. I rolled two frames of bowling - enough to remember both how much I enjoy it and why I can't play a full game any more - and spent way too much money on pizza and sodas and popcorn and french fries.

The morning of the fourth day of Christmas was the last time I had to take my pain pill and my muscle relaxant. I've been doing really well over this time, and it's been wonderful to wake up with barely a hint of stiffness. Alleluia!

And on the fifth day of Christmas, Scott sat with me on my sofa, held my hands in his, looked into my eyes, and asked me to marry him. I said yes, and now we both wear silver poesy rings stamped with the word breathe. In the years that we've known each other, when one of us has been going through a rough patch, the other always sent the reminder to breathe, to take a deep breath, to keep on breathing, because it will get better. So instead of five golden rings, we had two silver ones, but they're all the more meaningful for us. That evening, we went out for a romantic dinner - we even had a glass of wine with it, like, you know, actual grown-ups! - and saw the holiday light show at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

The sixth day of Christmas was a Sunday, and Scott and I played the music for the offertory at my parish. It was an arrangement and combination of Coventry Carol and What Child Is This? that I'd written for flute and organ, and everyone told us it was beautiful. That afternoon, Scott called his family in Canada to tell them our news, and I made plans for supper the next evening with my parents. Meanwhile, I started to feel kind of ooky with the crud that's been going around, but I pushed the fluids and hoped it wouldn't be too bad.

The seventh day of Christmas was New Year's Eve, and I could tell that I definitely had the crud, because my chest was tight and I was coughing. During the day, I'd emailed the rector and assistant rector of my parish to tell them our news, and then had emailed the choir director and a couple of other choir members. Scott and I went to the evening eucharist, because the rector's wife had told me that our presence was required (and then she wasn't even there - harrumph!), and we got big congratulatory hugs from the rector. After church, we went out to dinner with my parents. At the end of the meal, I told Mom that we had something to tell them. She immediately looked down at my hands, which were folded on the table, right hand over the left, and then looked up at my face, back down at my hands, and back up at my face. I giggled, and then told them. After initially mishearing the word on our rings as breed rather than breathe - No, Mom! I'm done with that now! - Mom offered congratulations to Scott and best wishes to me. It was fun to look this up in an etiquette book the next morning. It's so funny, because it sounds like you're congratulating the poor slob for snagging a wonderful woman, and then wishing her good luck with him. We were going to try to make it to midnight, but we were both too tired, and went to sleep before ten. I guess that means we're both old already?

On the eighth day of Christmas, my daughter moved back to the apartment with me. I was feeling crummier, so we mostly took it easy. We played some board games and watched the outdoor hockey game on tv. I got the decorations from the Christmas tree packed up, and it was a very homey evening. It was pretty amazing to watch that hockey game. I've never been much of a hockey fan - really, not very much of a sports fan at all - but it was really something to watch them struggling through the elements as they did. And of course, it was a tie game that went into overtime and then a shootout, so it was a real nailbiter.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Scott helped me finish packing away the Christmas stuff and returning the apartment to normal while my kids were at school. That afternoon, we shared our news with them, and they seemed happy for us. My daughter's main concern is that she's going to have to wear a dress to the wedding. She'd been feeling icky that morning, and pretty much collapsed into a chair - spiking a 101.1 degree fever - that evening. Poor baby! Meanwhile, I'd slept away a goodly chunk of the day myself, still coughing up a lung and feeling generally like I'd been run over by a truck.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Scott had to return home. My daughter stayed in bed from 6:30 the previous night until after I got back home from the airport around noon that day. I took her to the doctor, where he was surprised to see her flu test come back negative. When we got back home, she slept quite a bit more. In fact...

... on the eleventh day of Christmas, my daughter slept until about 9am. She's usually up by seven naturally, so I knew she really needed her rest. By evening she seemed to be doing better, though. I was working, though telecommuting, that day, and I spent the morning either sleeping or working from my laptop in bed. That evening, she went to her dad's house to spend the weekend with him, and I hit the sack early.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I was feeling a teensy bit better, so I went out to lunch with my mom and bought a pair of shoes that offer more in the way of support than the $7 ones I had from the discount store. But I spent that time either sucking on a cough drop or hacking horribly, and I was weak and tired when I got back home. It was a fun outing, and necessary for my sanity, but definitely draining. It still felt like someone was sitting on top of my lungs and tightening a big fat rubber band around my chest. I watched the Seahawks cream the Redskins while on the phone with Scott, and watched about the first quarter of the Jaguars-Steelers game. I'd been hoping for the Seahawks and the Jaguars to win (well, really, for the Redskins and Steelers to lose, which will make me decidedly unpopular around the office tomorrow), so I was pleased with the results. After reading the news stories about the Jaguars' victory this morning, I'm regretting not recording the rest of that game, because it sounds like the fourth quarter was a real nailbiter. It's funny, because I'm not much of a football watcher. Really, I only start paying attention during the playoffs. I love to watch excellence, virtuosity in any field. You can see some really excellent plays in the post-season. I love to say things like Oooooh - that was a pretty pass there! or Did you see that run? That was beautiful! - because everybody knows that there's no pretty in football.

And that brings us to this morning, the Epiphany. I'm actually still in bed as I type this on my laptop, after having been awake and gone back to sleep twice already. This time I think I'll stay up for good. Have some lunch, finish my laundry, chill out and watch a DVD or two. Scott is back at work at his parish, and is probably sharing our news with that community right now. He was really excited about telling everyone, and I know they will be really happy for him. I'm still feeling kind of ooky, but we'll see how today goes, and we'll see how tomorrow goes after it. I haven't been to the office since December 21, and now's the time to gear up to start out the new year well.

I didn't get to physical therapy at all last week, and I am starting to feel the consequences of that. I go back tomorrow, and will do what I have the stamina to do, given that it still feels like I can't get a full chest of air into me yet. But I know that 2008 will be a wonderful year. It will have its share of sorrows and stresses and frustrations, but I know it will also be filled with promise and delight and joy and beauty and love.

Peace be with you in this new year. And may the light of Christ shine on you, and shine for you to illuminate your path as your journey continues.