For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Finally made it back to St. Thatguy and dealt with all the “Where have you been?” questions in true Mary Sue fashion– I showed up late, sat in the back, and didn’t even go into the fellowship hall after service, I bailed for my car.
One of the issues with showing up late is that I didn’t get a service bulletin. Which made me a wee bit nervous, but I discovered that in the last four years of being Episcopalian, I’ve finally memorized the Nicene Creed via osmosis. I knew when to sit, when to stand, and where in the BCP to find Form IV.
It was sliding back into a groove, it was coming back to the comfortable, it really was better than a thousand Sundays sleeping in.
Then I had to go to work.
Things at the Big Blue Box come in two sizes: Tiny and Huge. They also come in two types: Sharp and Heavy. In the Staff Caf at any hour of the day, there’s usually a groan session where people are showing off their war wounds (I’ve got a nifty scar on my hand from a midbeam and an open incident report from when I attempted to spurn the laws of physics and have my shin and the trailer hitch of a customer’s truck occupy the same point in space/time). And a goodly portion of those injuries (I’d say about 30-40%) come from customers attempting to ‘help’.
Because somehow, when I’ve got a 100 lb. dresser precariously balanced on one shoulder and I’m trying to put it into a cart, pulling the cart out from under the dresser is ‘helping’.
I know it’s not really the customer’s fault. The customer is trying to predict which way I’m going to move, and I’m trying to predict which way the cart is going to roll when 100lbs of MDF and birch laminate slam into it. The best thing for both me and the customer would be if they held the cart perfectly still, then I could drop my load without fear of it falling on someone’s (read: my) foot.
A dear friend of mine who’s Orthodox was visiting me recently and she wandered over to my prayer corner and started flipping through my Book of Common Prayer and she remarked, “It’s so confusing! Everything changes!”
“Not really,” I said. “Certain things are always the same.”
That’s something I think people who create ‘innovative services’ forget about my generation: Everything around us changes at a speed that’s absolutely ridiculous. Ten years ago, I thought it was wild I could download one song to my computer in about two hours, and right now I’m listening to an iPod with 28 hours of music on it that swapped from my computer in thirty minutes. Those of us who grew up with the tech appear to be adapting faster, but given half a chance we’ll go back to the interfaces that we are familiar and comfortable with (‘fess up, how many of you Windows XP users have it set up visually like Windows 98?)
When everything around you is moving so accursedly fast, there is something comforting in the old rituals and familiar rites. Being able to pop back in after a time away and know that certain things are going to be the exact same as they were for my grandmother and her grandmother**.
Yeah, I’m talking about years and generations, sure, things that are hard to quantify on Annual Reports. Time moves much more slowly these days than the world, and we rush to punch as much into our weeks as possible. Is it too much to ask for one sacred space where we can walk in cold from the street and be warmed in the same old ways as our ancestors?
*Yes, that link takes you to the DO lectionary and you have to scroll waaaay down to see Psalm 84. Suck it up. Why did I do it that way? ‘Cause I find it terribly amusing that the first hit for “Psalm 84 Book of Common Prayer” spits out the DO lectionary for mah birfday!
**You know, if they’d been, like, Anglican and some junk.