not knowing


This is a study week. So I am studying.  Not very hard, mind you.  But some.  Enough not to feel guilty, but not so much that this tired, old body and mind are too very much taxed.

The campaign at the cathedral was harder than it needs to be.  But we are trying to change a system; and not just raise some money.  So I get it. Clergy and laity alike have chosen Saint John’s for, among other reasons, its massive endowment.  But it’s not really massive.    So raise money we must.  And the resistance – spiritual, relational, institutional – it takes a toll. It’s hard to be at the center of it.  So I am resting.

I am resting, mostly, and studying in the mornings.  I have a corner table at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter where I read and watch New Orleans go by.  Happily gobbling up beignets and chicory Cafe au Lait, I am reading writers writing about writing.  That’s my work this week.

All my life I have enjoyed pottery as my “resting work” but writing seems to be taking over in this second half-century of life and I am finding myself curious about words.  More than that, curious about novels.  I want to write one.  And the idea terrifies me.  And very little in life does.  So I take notice almost the way an old lady gets curious about a new mole.  “Hmm.  What’s that? I don’t remember seeing it before.  I wonder when that arrived, unbidden. It’s dark.  I wonder if it’s cancerous?”

I wonder if doing something new is not terribly right for the approach of Advent?  I mean, God did.  Something new, I mean.  Jesus is born into the world – God as meat.  A new thing.  Vulnerable.  Soft.  Easily bruised was Jesus.  And Mary.

Eudora Welty is my writing coach this week.  She says “Write about what you don’t know about what you know. ” and this peaks my interest this week.  What does God know as God makes flesh out of word?  What is God saying? What do I know of Jesus coming into the world? And what do I not know about what I know of Jesus?

What if Advent was not just another midnight blue vestibule to Christmas; but rather, a time in which to ask some deeper questions of God? Of Jesus?  Of ourselves.

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