Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wintry Mix

So, I kind of have the 'winter blues'. It's been uber cold this winter so far, but thankfully not TOO much snow (like Christmas '09 and early '10). But I just don't do well with cold. Especially when it is kind of overcast which has been the case pretty much the whole month of Jan.

My moods very much go with the seasons. In Spring, I always seem to have the hope that seeds planted will grow. In the summer, I bask in the warmth of the sun and enjoy the process that is faith. In fall, I reap the harvest of the seeds and fruits that were planted and grown through spring and summer. But winter....after we put away the lights from Christmas....always feels kind of dead.
Even with the hope of the new year, the lifelessness that surrounds me in nature kind of brings me down. Plus, we retreat into our homes since it's so freaking cold outside (and actually, this year, we were cold INSIDE. Our heat broke down SEVERAL TIMES).

The first night without heat was perhaps okay. It was kind of exciting frontiering the whole thing. My roommates and I were building a fire, gathering all the space heaters and blankets we could find, and made it a community event. But as it continued throughout the week, we started to disperse. We would go to respective friends' houses or take turns being the one to stay home alone waiting for the heating guy to come and would gather all the space heaters around our cold, lonesome selves.

Kind of depressing.

Well, THE HEAT IS ON again (I hope this doesn't jinx us, but I continually played this Glenn Frey song throughout the week. YOU ARE WELCOME for this 80s reminder! :) but I'm struggling to get out of the wintry mix that's still kind of lingering inside.

At the beginning of this month, I was still into the liturgical feast-ing going on. I kind of love the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. All the imagery of new life through water that Christ has given us by his birth and death. I have been subbing for a friend of mine's parish- playing piano all month for Mass. The liturgy was really well done on the feast of the Baptism. We all received holy water and renewed our baptismal vows.
Having taught Baptism in my Sacraments course this past semester (WHICH IS NOW OVER! HUZZAH! I'm kind of 'second year' teacher in a way now 'cause I get to reuse my lesson plans!!! phew!) and taking grad school classes on liturgical catechesis and formation-I appreciate all the more now the gifts of our baptism and its effects on us.

But now we are in Ordinary Time. And not to knock it, but after all this feasting...where did the party go, Church???

This weekend marks the anniversary of the decision of Roe v Wade and while you know me- I'm not going to go into the politics of it (like a true moderate ;) - I am always blown away by the amount of prayer that goes on at all these events the weekend before the March for Life. Our Church community really rises up and comes together in PRAYER and that is something I think anyone would say is the real importance of this time.

While abortion is a dark issue and winter a dark time, we manage to make the most of it and focus on the need for prayer in our world. Last night I participated in a holy hour that a Catholic musician friend of mine was playing at. I met him through our Arlington Diocesan Workcamps, but hadn't seen him in a while. When he started playing, the good times and fruits that I usually associate with my summer Workcamp experience became present. And Jesus of course was also very present :)

While speaking about the pro-life movement, my friend read Romans 5:3-5:

"but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance,
and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us."

I know I've written about hope time and time again and probaby used this verse. But we can never hear about HOPE too much. This time, the "boasting in afflictions" and "proven character" really struck me. It's hard to make ourselves vulnerable and boast in our afflictions in a way that isn't self pity, but really shows the good work Christ has done in us. And making ourselves vulnerable and focusing on Christ gives us character. Every challenge that comes our way produces character- PROVEN character. And then HOPE. Which our world so desperately needs. We ALL need and want hope.

He also sang a few songs that meant a lot to me, but then sang "Here I Am Lord" which- as a music minister- I've come to roll my eyes at and almost distain (no offense, Dan Schutte :) just because it is SO overused it has become trite to me. But the way my friend sang it yesterday...he told us to really focus on the words. I was sitting there going, "yeah, yeah- Here I am Lord. I get it. Use me for your mission. Send me....I've said this all before. I'm always GOING. I'm always BEING SENT. Whatever."

But for some reason the "If You lead me" line stuck out to me this time. He will not send us out alone and we cannot do anything on our own. We can only do what He leads us to do and He will lead us if it is His Will. So we need not worry about persevering alone, which is perhaps what the winter blues sometimes make us feel- that we are in this cold world alone.

So while there is darkness and overcast and cold- there is hope.

I'm soooooooooooo looking forward to RETREAT NEXT WEEKEND. You cannot even believe!! This current pro-life weekend is certainly going to be very prayerful and produce much fruit. But I hope it's only a prequel to next weekend :)
We are united in prayer, folks! This season and this weekend in particular.
OH! And Here are some high (and low lights ;) of this month:
Celebrating my college friend (whose parish I've currently been playing for) as he is honored for his past 7 years in ministry there.

Me in my hoodie scarf and snuggie, braving the cold that was OUR HOUSE ;(

Until next time-

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