So this week we are back to a sort-of regular bulletin. Newsy not Preachy. As though any of them does anything without slipping my own point of view into it.
I am on the last day of ten days of anti-biotics to cover the ‘excission,’ I guess they call it, of a skin cancer from my right upper arm. The spot was only about the size of a nickel but the scar is about six inches long. And the result next day, was to make that whole area look like it got in the way of a paint-ball battle using purple paints. I’ve been through these things before, but these days they have become very fancy, interesting, actually – providing that you overlook the fact that it was MY arm that was get whacked. That does change your point of view. The antibiotic that I was given – new to me – was a sort of ‘gruemous green’ and was hard on my stomach. But its ten days are behind me so I can get back now to my own-invented healthy diet that has my face smiling but my doctors gritting their teeth in frustration.
We are also in the process of reworking, spiffing up really, the parish office in the front of the rectory. With all the tech apparatuses, and the weird assortment of stands that get added in for them to sit on all wired together with more black cords than the fences around Stalag 13, it has begun to look like Colonel Klink’s Living Room. It really is a lovely room in an actually very lovely old house. And I do want and need a neat, welcoming place to meet with those of you folks who come to see me. . And it will be that.
Currently we are getting rid of a lot of mismatched, office-y stuff and setting up an attractive work place. I am also going through old files – tons of them, some dating back to 1998 – and boxing them up for their journey, via the shredder on the East Bay Highway in Berkeley, to Paper Heaven. It is startling how many papers and paper copies of papers end up in files these days.
I have been watering the different gardens rather regularly. They need it. And this is just the start of May. I prefer not to think of September.
Last Sunday I confirmed two of our young ladies. They had been among those scheduled for it but they really wanted to be confirmed, so I came up with the kind of ceremony used in the Baltics under the Soviet police. The rite – which comes right after the baptisms on the Easter Vigil – is only a couple of sentences long. It leads quickly to a beautiful blessing – the most moving in the entire year – and then there is the anointing with Chrism. That is a perfumed oil blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday, and used in baptism, confirmation, and the ordination of priests and bishops. Anointings, of course, are person to person. No problem. At least for a painter who has a couple of jars of slender, pointed watercolor brushes – some well over a foot long. And I came across a small, footed, and lovely little sterling silver George III salt cellar lined in gold. So with a little chrism from the tabernacle in the bottom of the dish, and with one of my longest, slender brushes dipped in the chrism, I could reach way out and trace a cross on their foreheads, one by one, as I recite the anointing prayer beginning “Receive the Holy Spirit, the Sprit of…..” For me it is a truly moving moment – especially in this setting which recalls the first days of the church when they also gathered in tiny groups just as under the Soviets, and lived under the fear of arrest and even death.
So I will get this to Clifton for publication on the webpage, and then back to the rewrite and completion of the text “Images” which I set out last week, but which really needs serious rewriting. I think it suffered overmuch from gruemous green. But that’s just a dodge – the antibiotics didn’t write it, I did.
People continue to place canned and boxed goods for the food bank in the little bin by the garage door to the rectory. I move the bags every day from the bin into the garage to keep them safe. Then it is being taken by volunteers to one of the helping places in Richmond, where it is much appreciated.
P.S. Friday, 4 PM. Wallowing in poverty and hunger as I am, and with the stock exchange this week back to going bananas what do I get in the mail today, but a check from the Treasury for $1,200.00. This country is going nuts.