It’s snowing in Chicago today.
Okay, so “snowing” is a little bit of an exaggeration, considering it’s Chicago and all but still, flurries and 30 degrees on October 31st? Come on, Winter. Wait yer turn. I’m not complaining, much, at least not yet. I anticipate I’ll get to the complaints pretty soon. It’s part of the cycle of things. For now, there’s work to be done- sweep up the dried and dropped leaves from my neighbor’s tree, say goodbye to the plants that survived my poor gardening skills only to be left at the mercy of this cold weather, dig out winter wear from last year if I can remember where I might have put it. Those scarves and gloves could be anywhere. I’m just not ready.
But as I sit and listen to the flurried, sleet sort of rain fall outside I’m reminded about how things shift, how we move, in a liturgical sense from one thing to another. My youngest son will be baptized tomorrow and though it’s been a while in the planning, it kind of snuck up on me.
When our priest asked him last week if we’d been practicing the Creed he said, “no” which, much to my chagrin, is pretty accurate. When our priest asked him if I’d spoken about the fasting rules for communion, he shook his innocent little blonde head and then looked at me with those confused blue eyes. And again, this is true. I shrugged and managed a little “heh” before Fr John moved on to other areas of instruction.
It isn’t that I don’t want to teach the boys about these things, it is instead a function of my haphazard “sink or swim” approach to learning (and parenting) at work. I went over the Creed with Miles that night and reminded him that he’s heard it every single week in Liturgy over the course of the last three years. He made that “I got this” face at me and said, “Oh yeah, right. Okay.” When I instructed him that we’re meant to not eat breakfast before communion on Sunday he said, “I don’t eat breakfast before church anyway” and we agreed that he’s got this too. Even so, I could not help but feel as though it came on me a little too quickly. I’m not ready, even if he is.
And even as I make this little agreement with myself that I’m going to “do it better” going forward I am inclined to think that perhaps that won’t really happen. Perhaps, what is going to happen is that I’m just going to keep losing track of time and the to do list and the “I should have’s” and the “I ought to’s” and maybe that’s not such a bad thing in the long run. In the grand scheme of things I think what we’re after here is to make our lives in this ancient tradition well rooted and for that, we need some time and some patience.
Winter will come and I trust we’ll dig out the gloves and the scarves sometime before Christmas. Spring will follow and we’ll revel in the new air blowing across our faces at the school bus stop just before Pascha. Summer will drift in and we’ll drink in the lull ordinary time. Fall will return and we’ll find we’ve been doing this Orthodox thing another year already.
We’ll get there, we’re getting there, one season at a time.