Tuesday, March 31, 2009

24 Hours in March

Woke up yesterday in a moody mood. Our friends left on Friday, and we're still readjusting to our solitary life here in the highlands. Combine a visit from friends with Adam's personality and - yep, it's kind of a come-down to readjust. So I tried stepping back into my routine, if I can be said to have one.

1. Make a quick iPod playlist for my morning run (Get On Your Boots/U2, Hot N Cold/Katy Perry, Brooklyn Go Hard/Jay-Z, Lost/Coldplay&Jay-Z, Paper Planes/M.I.A., Jai Ho/Slumdog Millionaire) and ran in circles around the little park by the dusty dried-up riverbed.

2. Practiced my guitar for an hour (trying to log at least an hour a day); worked a lot on picking my way through Springsteen's arrangement of "Erie Canal."

3. Wrote in my journal for awhile, but nothing seemed to go anywhere, so there's nada for the blog.

4. Made a grocery list, but then noticed I wouldn't have time to get to the store - I was due to meet Chris in a few minutes before lunch. Afterwards we went to the Internet cafe, and before we knew it it was time for dinner - grocery shopping wouldn't get done for another day, leaving our refrigerator in a sorry state...sigh. So it was quesadillas again.

5. We had to eat them fast, though, because there was a major free outdoor concert about to start just in front of the Cathedral. There are lots of special events these days, in honor of Lagos de Moreno's 446th anniversary. (That's right, it's twice as old as the United States. Jamestown, eat your heart out. Have I said that before? I think I probably have.) The concert was weird though, it was like the Mexican Sonny and Cher, super 70s-style pop, and somehow the performers hadn't updated their hairstyles in 30 years, either. There were giant video screens, but instead of showing the performance they showed old music videos from what I can only assume was the band's heyday. They were really, really cheesy - definitely needed the VH1 Pop-Up Video treatment.

Chris: I think it must be one of those things that people have an emotional connection to even though it's cheesy. You know, like Bon Jovi.

Matt: Did you just call Bon Jovi cheesy? I can't believe you just called Bon Jovi cheesy.

6. We wound down by reading aloud to each other - no TV and no Internet will do that to you. We're making our way through The Hobbit right now, which is a surprisingly perfect read for a journey in which you are having a great time but have little moments when you miss the comforts of home.

7. This morning I woke up earlier - I had to get down to the Internet cafe to buy U2 tickets! Special fan club presale and all. I set up shop in our little coffee place a half hour before the onsale time and waited...and waited...and waited...and then Luis showed up. We had a nice chat but I kept surreptitiously checking the time; I felt guilty about that but this is time sensitive stuff! He left 1 minute before the tickets went onsale, and then within five minutes BAM! I had them. This makes me unreasonably happy. :) (See the next post for more.)

And now it's on to the rest of the day, which I've yet to figure out what to do with. I've a feeling the April might end up going like this. The days stretch out before me like the plains stretch out in the view from my rooftop... What will I do with them?

I keep thinking of something I wrote a decade ago. On one of the applications for admission to Valparaiso University, a questionairre asked what I would do if I had one month to do whatever I wanted with. One month, no responsibilities, what would you do?

And get this. I was 18, and I said: "I would spend it in prayer and meditation with Scripture." Yep. I really said that. In writing. I had nearly forgotten it, and then just before graduation in '03 the admissions folks brought it back out for some graduation banquet thing and everyone got a good laugh out of it and I remembered that I had said it at all. Who was that kid? And why wasn't he entering a monastery?

In truth, though, I'd still love a month in prayer and meditation with Scripture, whether it sounds like a holy Joe thing to say or not. And so here's my month, ten years after I first asked for it. April 2009. But the reality is not so easy as writing it as some faraway wish. If only there were a monastery nearby. I mean, the monks had it easy - they had a community to keep them honest, with Rules and Hours and great holy spaces and all that jazz. Me, I'm flying solo here.

Solo in the sense that I've been totally disconnected from church and community life since January at least. Adam visits and talks about internship experiences and it sounds like some other universe. Kinda freaks me out a bit to think about re-entering a life that sounds so different from the one I'm living now. I tried staying more in rhythm with that life, I tried keeping up with the lectionary, and the church seasons... but it didn't work. I kept trying and failing and trying and failing and now it's Lent and God seems as far away as ever which is maybe appropriate for Lent but it's not of my doing so it still feels like I'm just failing to find God. O Lord, why don't you show up when I want you to?

At some point I wondered whether it might be like leaving that part of myself, that part that was so nurtured in seminary, leaving it fallow for a bit, like farmers used to leave fields fallow, to let the soil regenerate its nutrients for future plantings, future endeavors, future work in the garden of the Lord. I rather liked that idea. I am fallow, for the moment, and that is enough.

But somehow it doesn't always feel like enough. In Mexico we're experiencing the dry season, and the Highlands of Jalisco seem to be one of the dryest places in the whole country. My spirit feels dry, too, as if it were just mirroring the weather of the world around me. I don't know when the rains will come. Some say June, some as early as May. Whatever. I need some life-giving water whether the season wants to give it or not.

So come on, April. Bring your showers.

1 comment:

Mike and Beth said...

The water will come, always. God will send it... you will see and feel and taste it...