Saturday, December 8, 2007

In the Mess

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.


gartenfische said...

Wow. Praying for you (and Scout)

mompriest said...

on good days I would agree. we live in complicated difficult times with people who are overworked and overstressed.

But on less good days I just think people are apathetic, able to pull into their attached garages and ignore the world around them. (ok that is what me, and others in these nw suburbs of Chicago, think about our area)....(maybe it's just us)....

I'm glad you had enthusiastic engaged people show up, even if only a few. That's something!

Diane said...

mompriest, and it is December... throw that into the mix as well...

Wyldth1ng said...

Buy a Ford. Never has done me wrong.

As far as the rest, yes.
Community would be nice.

lj said...

Brrrr. I miss real winters. Sort of.

It is a juggle. All of it. And I've concluded there are only so many balls I can juggle at once, but I change out the balls from time to time so that different ones are in the air. One week justice, another week laundry.

Jan said...

Diane, hope Scout is doing better. Lots of reasons for you to feel stressed. Hope you're feeling the peace of the waiting in Advent. You ended in that tone; hope it's where you are!

Presbyterian Gal said...

Prayers for you and Scout. For sure.

Now then *Hand thrown up in the air* PICK ME PICK ME!!! I have ideas about community. Lots and lots and lots. My church was not interested because they fear "liability issues". *spits*

I agree with Mompriest that apathy and I would add ennui have crept in. But I believe it is because we are far too overloaded with daily minutiae and that any effort we might make ends up looking like pissin' in the wind. And discouragement reigns.

IMHO the best way to start a grassroots movement in community building is to start by a small thing that reaps success. And the start should be by us helping each other with day to day minutiae.

Oh I have sooooooo many ideas. But so far they've been too far out of the box to fire up any interest.

Diane said...

actually PG, grassroots organizing depends on the small actions with a great chance of success.

Rowan The Dog said...

I'll woof up some prayers to the big dog for you and Scout. And, Lindy will too.



Presbyterian Gal said...

I know Diane,

But these days, grass roots doesn't seem to happen any more because expectations are for immediate grand scale solutions. I guess that's a part of the problem too come to think of it. Our expectations have exceeded our immediate grasp.

Hope Scout is better tonight. You too.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

How to hold the tension between kindness, compassion, and justice...not many answers but lots of hope in the Spirit being able to work in the messiest of places. Prayers.

FranIAm said...

You know, I am just reading this now on Monday morning. I will be brief.

First of all- so sorry about Scout not feeling well! How is our dog-angel?

And the car- which means the money too. Deep sigh.

Well I send you lots of love and light and so many prayers. On all sorts of days, good and bad.