Yesterday, I took the car in for an oil change, and ended up with a bill of $432.00, more or less. It also needed new windshield wiper blades, a serpentine belt -- oh, and brake pads. Just in time. It went below zero last night. 2 below, or 4 below, or 8 below. Really, after it hits zero, what possible difference can it make?
I had a car once that I could get started (with some ingenuity on my part, I must say) until it got to about 15 below. At 16 below, there was nothing I could do. Nothing. People don't believe me. But it was a Renault. Renaults should never have been allowed to immigrate to Minnesota. They just don't belong here.
So last night it got something below zero. It's about 8 degrees (give or take a couple) right now at 3:30. But, wait until the sun goes down (in about a half an hour). And, last night, Scout got sick. Three times. Did I mentioned it was below zero outside?
So I was cold, and worried about her, and I didn't sleep that well, either. I have some medicine, and after she gets done fasting, we will try that. Also, we have an appointment at the vet.
This morning I had a meeting. It was a meeting with some of the people who have been involved in the congregational inreach. We are trying to strengthen the sense of community in our congregation, by engaging in "one to one" visits with people, particularly younger people in the congregation. We also want to discover community concerns, and band together to work on certain justice issues of local concern.
This meeting did not have a huge turnout, although I will say that those who came were engaged and inspiring to be around.
In my more cynical moments, I consider that perhaps most people don't really want to deepen our sense of community. Or, I think, most people don't want to get involved in working for justice.
Actually, though, I think it has more to do with the car, and the dog, and the kids and the dishes and the laundry and the __________(you fill in the blank).
It's hard for everyone, including me, to figure out how to balance out the important things in life: the kids, the laundry, the car, with the important things in life: paying attention to people, working for justice, serving those in need. Most people really do want to live out their faith in their daily life, I think: but when you are cleaning up dog messes or sweeping up crumbs or looking after your elderly parents, it's hard to know how to do the other things you think are important, like advocating for kids in the schools, or making sure people have access to good jobs or day care.
By the way, I don't have the solution to this. But I know that living our faith is a juggling act, sometimes. And that we drop a lot of balls.
And I also know, this Advent, that God is in the mess with us, in the laundry and the dishes and the crumbs. And God is in the justice work as well: in the schools, and in the struggle for decent jobs and health care. God is with us.
Pray for me.