It’s Monday

I’ve been having one of those bad-karma days that you know are somehow your fault, but also at the same time seems ridiculously unfair.  It’s almost like a recurring nakedness dream – complete humiliation that seems mean and undue on the part of others, but you must have caused.  After all, it’s your own fault for not wearing your clothes in the first place, and your own psyche inducing the horrible dream.  Which makes me wonder what I’ve done karmically to deserve today, or at least what my foolish inner mind thinks I’ve done.

The wonderful day started with me waking up completely exhausted.  Part of that was no doubt caused by being out all day Sunday, and part of it may be attributable to fighting off illness, but I did go to bed early with the intention of sleeping out some of that tiredness.  Alas no, it was not to be.  Even greater, I was not able to wake myself up much for the first meeting I had been invited to.  Corina said I looked completely bored and mostly asleep.  So that was a great way to make a good impression on the people I work for, yay!

Also, I learned today that I was out of it enough yesterday to call someone’s friends bitchy.  Evidently this was all part of some misguided attempt to say “I value you and you really deserve better”, but that’s not how it came out.  I also said I was worried about our fishes since they didn’t make good maps, which was described by Mike as accurate, but “probably not worth worrying over”.

Add to that my continued lack of actual work, and my bosses’ all-day meetings, there’s continued workplace frustration at not getting anything accomplished, per usual.  Go me.  But hey, I figure if I can make it through the rest of the day without falling asleep at my desk, and thereby avoiding waffley keyboard imprints on my face, it’ll all turn out ok.

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St. Patrick’s Day

There are many famous myths about Saint Patrick.  There are stories of him driving the snakes out of Ireland, of him getting rid of the last monsters, and of him proselytizing so long to one particularly stubborn group of Irish that his ash walking stick rooted itself and grew into a giant tree.  While these stories are amusing, and may have fit with early are subsequent understandings of how stories should be told, they further distort the truth of the life and works of one of the patron saints of Ireland.  Acutally, there are pretty popular theories that the patron saint as celebrated later was actually the combination of the lives and works of two individuals, niether of which was Irish.  Go figure.

The questions that really come to mind to me today, on ‘his day’, really come from traditions and celebrations associated with him.  Why the green?  Just because of the shamrock and its three-in-one illustration of the Trinity?  Why lepruchans and booze?  Just cause it’s Ireland?  There’s no heavily boozy celebrations worldwide for St. Brigid who, unlike Patrick, was actually canonized by the Pope.

Despite my questions on the randomness of the holiday and all the commercialism that has sprung up around it (when else am I going to wear shamrock sunglasses and a green feather boa?) , I still had a good time yesterday at the parade in South Boston.  Besides, who wouldn’t applaud a man who gets kidnapped and is made a slave at the age of six and then doesn’t hold a grudge?  I’m not sure I could go back to help people who took me from my family as a child, even if i did manage to escape on my own.  That’s more the sort of heart I want to have – the kind that always helps people – no matter the possible political and religious implications of St. Patrick’s actions.

Easter

It seems that the Lenten season for me has been an altogether odd time. I’ve withdrawn somewhat from church activities and found it increasingly hard to get input and help from the 20s/30s group I’m supposed to be moderating. Also, the continuation of cold, bad weather have made me less eager to go outside, despite the lengthening of the days. Perhaps I’m on my own little time apart in the wilderness, but it seems that Lent should be a season of getting closer to God, and I feel I’ve failed that in isolation as well.

But there are still touches of grace and contemplation. At a recent classical concert I attended, I realized how much beauty there has been in the name of religion. Looking at the Western world, I see music, painting, and architecture all developed for the glory of religion. I think about Eastern thought, developed alongside religious practice. I think about the way politics and religion have mixed, both for the betterment (Mother Theresa) and the detriment (the Crusades) of mankind. True, these things probably could have happened even without religion, but it’s uplifting to think something I like spurred those good parts. At that same concert, I found out that Mike didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘hosanna’, which I translated as meaning ‘praise’, or something similar. I was not all that sure about a concrete definition myself, so I decided to look it up, and it does mean praise or acclamation.

Also the concert reminded me about what I know and love about my home church.  I miss the Christmas Eve services with the sactuary lit only by the light of a thousand tiny small candles.  I love the symbolism of taking those tiny lights back with us into our lives – I never want to blow mine out.  Next week I will once again miss our congregation ending the service by singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  The thought of all those voices lifted in song, a powerful wave of sound and togetherness, moves me.  While it’s true that some of us sing better than others, the general cacophony does serve to blur out the flaws any individual voices might have.  Mostly we’re on-pitch anyway – I’ve heard the musical rending that is Chinese church, and I’m not afraid to renew my amazement at our combined voices in the face of that.  Despite our individual shortcomings, for moments like that chorus on Easter Sunday we are all of us beautiful.

But in the end I’m left with nagging worry. Are these little moments enough? Is my life singing to God or with God, or am I just going through the motions? A part of that is guilt I feel from shirking responsibilities that are becoming onerous, but a part of it runs deeper as well. I never want to be the type of Christian who goes to church, gives some money, and thinks that’s enough. I want to learn. I grow. I want to never stop questioning my life and really dig into what it means. I want to feel filled up in faith, and a part of that means continually losing and then reaffirming my relationship with God. Without some of that slipping, there’s no contrast to tell me where I stand. Still, the times in my life like this one when I’m not exactly where I want to be still leave me feeling shaky and unstable in myself.

Deja vu all over again.

So it seems that the whole market slump/credit crisis/investing fruforall we’re having is only getting worse.  It’s getting so that I’m wondering seriously about the money in my 401 (k).  I mean, everything across the board almost is losing money – how am I supposed to protect an investment I can’t really touch?  Are bonds or anything at all doing well? I mean, I was seriously surprised that Bear Stearns collapsed in on itself and is no longer worth the value of the building where it’s located.  I mean, how often does a major company go from a multi-billion dollar value to just over 300 million dollars over the weekend?  I may not know alot about the whole investment thing, but I don’t think that can happen very often.  I mean, isn’t that basically the kind of thing that caused the Great Depression?

And where’s our New Deal?  The bottom keeps dropping out, and even though the government fuses money back in, nothing seems to be getting better.  It doesn’t give me a surfeit of trust in the government’s financial strategy.  The whole thing reminds me of  Fight Club (the movie – I never read the book) and the idea that the world would somehow devolve with the destruction of credit records.  I mean, look at us.  Here we are, all worried about this market fluctuation, and yet.  And yet we go about our daily lives and it doesn’t really impact us.  And yet we keep eating and don’t think much about where the next meal is coming from.  And yet most of us seem to still be able to buy the things we need.

Why is that?  It may be true that those who are trying to get a mortgage may find it harder.  It also may be true that we expect to save money in order to have a leisurely retirement.   But these are not things we need, per se.  These are not things that really affect us on a daily basis.  We can ignore them, at least for awhile.  And although to do so on a regular basis would be considered ill-thought in the modern adult world, I wonder if we let them be if our lives would become more filled with something better.