How I’m Feeling At the Moment

I’m actually not having a bad week, but I’ve needed to just go back to bed the last two mornings because living my life is exhausting me so much. The one-year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing was Tuesday, and I know something in my soul is feeling it even if I’m not incredibly weepy.

Sometimes, we just have to rest and let God heal things while we do so.

Faith in the Time of Coronavirus

Yes, this is another backdated post. I had a busy day yesterday and didn’t get time to ponder things until late last night.

First thing: go read this. It is brilliant and talks about the pro-life aspect of the coronavirus fears. It also very easily explains why this post makes me stabby 5 years later. (The tl;dr of it is that the poster claims that mumps/measles/chicken pox aren’t things to worry about because she and her sister got them and turned out OK. It ignores the fact that some people who get them end up in really bad situations like losing their hearing or losing their babies.)

I got this email from my parish last night. The tl;dr of it is that we’re implementing protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the parish. Regular parishioners will not receive the Blood, there will be no physical contact during the Peace, no Eucharistic Visitors are being sent out to shut-ins, we are not passing offering plates, counters are wearing gloves while counting the money, and the coffee hour hosts will wear gloves while serving the food. It feels a little bit like overkill to me, but I get why they’re doing it. We are an older parish and there is the potential for people to spread the virus is definitely present. We already have hand sanitizer stations in the church, so I predict those will be getting a lot of use.

The “no physical contact” during the Peace is kind of sucky for me because it’s the one time in the week that I get hugged, and it’s hard to explain why that is so important given that “physical touch” is #4 on the love languages test for me. Having been married and now divorced, I am admittedly a little bit starved for physical touch, and I’m also a huggy type of person.

However, I get why they’re being so careful (and I’m pretty sure this a diocese-wide thing) because the pneumonia that landed me in the hospital last year was from metapneumovirus, a pissy little cold virus given to me by Daniel that caused me to go from zero to sepsis in three days. I was in an isolation room for three days until they could figure out what I had, and that meant that anyone coming into my room had to gown/mask/glove up. My grandmother was in hospice at the time, so my poor mom would go see her for however long and then come see me (and bring me fresh pajama bottoms and underwear) before going home and taking care of my kid. I went back to work 3 days after getting out of the hospital, which was a stupid move because walking across the parking lot and then across campus would cause cough-to-vomit spasms for me for at least two weeks after my hospital discharge. If my pneumonia had been from COVID-19, I would have spread the virus without intending to do so.

Am I afraid of getting it? Not especially. Despite living in Washington state which has had 11 deaths from it, I’m not afraid because I already do things like wash my hands with soap for 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer if I’m not able to wash my hands immediately, I don’t go into doctor’s offices unnecessarily nor visit hospitals/nursing homes, and I’m doing well in my New Year’s intention to take good care of myself. Those who have died were elderly people with other severe conditions, and I’m not in that category at the moment after having my hysterectomy last fall and stopping my clotting disorder/anemia. Does it mean I’m taking a completely laissez-faire attitude? No.

Hoping that the COVID-19 threat passes soon and that we don’t have any other deaths in the state.

On Prayer

Yes, this is getting backdated. I’m trying to post something every day, even if I’m posting it late due to being dead exhausted.

When I was kneeling for prayer this morning, it hit me that the point of prayer isn’t to say flowery words or specific things. The point is to simply show up. We have a God who loved us enough to sacrifice His son. We have a friend in Jesus who wants to spend time with us.

If I could, I’d be taking some coffee to church this morning and having a coffee date with Jesus.

Redemption

Yesterday (March 1) was the 9th anniversary of this. Yeah, this also happened, but it was the worst day of my life and it has only been in the last two years that I have been able to talk about it without sobbing.

Yesterday was also the 5th anniversary of me being confirmed in the Episcopal Church. A day that was wrenching 4 years earlier is now also a day when I get to celebrate my decision to affirm my faith.

It never ceases to amaze me how God continually redeems the worst days of our lives…

Why I Prefer to Sing in a Choir

I mentioned on Thursday night that I had no excuse not to sing my own piece of the Great Litany today… and I did. I also had the experience of opening my mouth and having nothing come out of it, so I asked the person beside me (who was the musician from Wednesday) if he’d sing that section with me. I got myself back together and did the rest of my share of the petitions in my very quiet and breathy head voice which doesn’t project well… but is still mine. Surprisingly, life went on and my choir director gushed later about how proud she was of me for not panicking and keeping going.

This is why I sing in a choir, y’all. The person next to me held my hand while I was singing my sections because I was completely terrified, and he hugged me when it was all over, despite the fact that we’re in Washington state and dealing with COVID-19 hysteria. This is what all of my choir members are like and why I make choir practice a priority, even when I am dead tired.

Someone (not St. Augustine) made the comment that he who sings has prayed twice. They weren’t kidding, especially with the Great Litany today! It covers every possible need… and then a few.

Still, I really prefer to sing with other people. There is something amazing about joining voices with other people that gives me a glimpse of heaven.

Saturday Music: “How Deep the Father’s Love”

When I first heard this song, I thought it was probably from the 19th century. It isn’t. It’s from the 1990’s and Stuart Townend (the composer) wrote it as a hymn, which is a style different from his normal contemporary works. (Source)

I’m sharing it because I love it and it focuses on Jesus dying on the cross, which is what saves us as Christians.

How I Pray

Yes, I am technically writing this on Saturday and backdating it to Friday. Yes, I stink at doing Lent. Oh well.

As I am trying to figure out what to write about each day, I thought I would talk about some of the prayer resources I use in the event that people need something.

Also… I am an Amazon affiliate, so there will be Amazon affiliate links in this post.

So… here is what I like.

[+] Pray As You Go: This is what I mainly use right now. They give you some beautiful sacred music and a guided reflection based on Scripture. You can listen on the website, download it onto your computer, or get each day’s devotion on iTunes. I’m mostly listening on my laptop at 7 a.m. while I wait for my oatmeal to cool, but I’ve also listened in the car and it was my go-to when I lived in Montana and had an hour-long commute to and from work.

[+] Sacred Space: My best friend Rebecca introduced me to them 21 years ago. It’s guided reflections and they also have a prayerbook you can buy and keep on your e-reader.

[+] Devotional pamphlets: I used to use Our Daily Bread for 20 years, and I stopped using it in 2016 for reasons… which was also when I stopped praying as much. My church distributes Forward Day by Day, which is what we use on the occasions I actually make it to Mary’s Guild on Wednesday mornings. I based the Lenten devotional books around the format of these two. (If you want to download a copy of it, go here.)

[+] The Jesus Prayer: This is how I get through painful medical procedures. It’s simply “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I also do this a lot while I’m doing things like stripping the sheets off of my bed, cooking something that takes a long time, and on the drive home from Trader Joe’s in Bellingham. (That last one started when Daniel was being difficult on one trip up there, and I found that it calmed me so much that I made it a habit.) I find that things come into my mind to pray about when I do it.

[+] Extemporaneous prayer: Anyone who has ever spent time with me in a work environment has seen me randomly cross myself. It’s usually when I find out about someone who really needs prayer… so I pray for them. 🙂 It is also what I am doing as part of my kneeling prayers during Lent.

[+] Daily Devotions from the Book of Common Prayer: Again, anyone who has spent time with me at the college has seen me do this. I used to do it a lot while sitting in the hallway waiting for my Accounting class to start during my first year there. I had one person freak out because they thought I was in a trance and when I whispered “praying”, they got super apologetic. 🙂 Almost all of my classmates knew I prayed for them, and a number of my students know as well… and it’s actually been something really positive because it has started some interesting conversation and many of them have prayed for me during health crises. I have the BCP app on my phone, so I just use that.