Is it really Friday?
We celebrated St. Nicholas with a vengeance last week—shoes and chocolate and a party at church and everything—and today we are going to have a gander at St. Lucia’s day, something I’ve never managed to get to. It’s going to be epic, probably. But hand therapy comes first.
The discouraging thing about my life is that I really can only do one thing at a time. So this year apparently we’re doing absolutely nothing about Advent and going from party to party to party, eating chocolate and—in some kind of maddening fit—making…I’m almost embarrassed to say it…cookies (my humiliation is complete). Whereas in former times we did Advent for basically the whole year, skipping the experience of celebration that’s supposed to come afterward almost entirely.
If you’re following the church year, you’re supposed to do both, but in order. First one, as it were, and then the other. It’s not supposed to be one long trek through only one kind of time, feasting for a whole year, and then fasting interminably. The point is to do both in an orderly and regular way.
But, being human, I’m not that good at transitions. I actually have a really hard time shifting from one thing to the other. If I’m sitting on the couch listening to a child read and then it’s time to get up and go sit at my computer to write an email and after that, I’m supposed to get up from the desk and go and change over the laundry I actually end up just sitting on the couch. I can’t seem to move from one state of being to the next. I need some machine or something to pick me up off the couch and move me to the next location.
It’s physical of course—the difficulty of transitioning—but even more so a mental and emotional problem. If you’re powering along through the discipline of, say, not eating sugar, and you know you’re going to do that for four weeks, but in the fourth week, because the church tells you to, you’ve already arranged in your own mind to eat sugar, but then, you’re only going to be eating sugar for two weeks and then you’re going to absolutely stop eating sugar and go back to not eating sugar…I feel like you can probably see the problem. You will have no trouble starting to eat the sugar, but then the stopping will be less than possible.
This is why parents and adults should have so much mercy on children who are always astonished when they are supposed to just put things down and walk away from them with nary a glance backward, lest they turn into little pillars of salt. It’s time to stop coloring, we say like imbeciles, put the marker down and come away. The child looks up in wonder and cannot even understand what we are saying. And it doesn’t matter if you give a five-minute warning or whatever. In ten minutes, darling, we’re going to put the marker down and go outside—as if ten minutes means anything at all.
So me with the church year. I’m bad at the transitions, that’s all I’m saying.
But also, I’m glued to the news on Twitter, so there’s that.