Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy St. Lucia Day

Make sure you find yourself some cardamom bread to eat and some candles to wear on your head. (If all else fails, rolled up index cards with gold tinsel work pretty well.)

This afternoon Roommate-Sarah has been giving piano lessons, as she does. During the first one, the mother and little brother of her student sat in the living room (because, oddly enough, the piano is in the dining one) and watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special on videotape. This was noteworthy 1) because I love the Charlie Brown Christmas special, and 2) because of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” Although the video volume was very low, from my vantage point in my room at the top of the stairs, near neither it nor the piano, I was able to hear that the young girl having her piano lesson started playing “Hark” about two seconds before the children in the show started singing it. They caught up and finished the song before she did, all the while singing about a half-step lower than what she was playing. It was very bizarre. But by the time I realised that my brain had been trying to follow both, the children singing had gotten to the words, “God and sinners reconciled,” and I stopped. There’s a very old-fashioned and unpopular thought for you, but it pretty much sums up the point of Christian holidays. Something about getting things to harmonise and flow at the same tempo. I think this has something to do with the thoughts I’ve been exploring lately, but I don’t expect any direct connexion will be uncovered today.

Anyway, to, um, “hark” back to the thornbush post that obviously made everyone so uncomfortable that I didn’t get any emails for about a day, there I was on the cusp of November, terribly out of sorts. The Sunday of that weekend I went to church and found out (again) what it’s for. There’s definitely the worshipping God bit, but I was still kind of mad at God, as you may recall, so that day the Christians-are-really-all-family thing (a.k.a. the community of believers) was the best part.

That Sunday I hadn’t had enough sleep, and I felt abysmal. I went to church and said a whole bunch of rageful things about God in a quiet way to some friends. I meant those things, too. At least, I meant that sometimes it seems like God is sadistic. But as the day went on and the more I talked, the less I felt any of it. And part of the reason was this:

I heard other heartaches, too. It wasn’t like anyone was saying, “You think that’s bad. At least you didn’t actually meet and start dating. Let me tell you what happened to me . . .” But stories do tend to elicit stories, and through the course of the day I found myself listening to more stories than I told. Here I am, stuck in a life that has not turned out as I wanted or envisioned (in this specific case, or more generally, I had to admit to myself). But so, it appears, is everyone. Everyone is disappointed about something.

The world is broken. And I feel so much better knowing that.

Not that I didn’t know it before, of course. And not that I felt better because I was subconsciously thinking, “If my life stinks, so had everyone else’s better.” It didn’t even make me feel better in the sense of my managing to guilt myself into feeling that everyone else’s lot in life is far more dire than mine (which I’m sometimes very good at doing). What it did do, though, was make this one particular disappointment feel a lot less personal.

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