Reflections on listening to the Heirship tapes

I was sitting on the floor last night, grading papers, agonizing over papers, and in a moment of nothing short of a panic to escape, I got up, went to the computer and just, without really deliberating over my choice, clicked on Randy’s web site and went to the Heirship page.

Now, Randy’s been asking me for weeks if I’ve listened to any of the MP3 files of the old songs, and I hadn’t. I’ve felt a great reluctance to listen, don’t know why.

Well, I started clicking on songs last night, and it was a strange experience. It was like stepping back in time, to the late 70s. I could remember the dim lighting of the old coffeehouse, the House of Jubilee, where we heard the guys play, several times. I could remember sitting on a stool behind the sandwich bar, sipping Shasta sodas (which I discovered and drank lots and lots of, in California!)

Sounds are very powerful for me, more so than sights; I could smell the air that was uniquely the House of Jubilee, and I could just about taste that Shasta Creme Soda I haven’t enjoyed in more than 26 years.

I could also remember the conversations we all used to have, long into the night, discussing the Scriptures or some point of theology or ethics, or the ministry in general. The music brought it all back to me, the comaraderie, the humor, the warmth, the community…

and some memories I find painful, now. Back then, I could spend hours and hours engrossed, absorbed in the Word. I can’t now — haven’t been able to concentrate so completely since Dan announced his intention to move out of our apartment, December 14, 1987. Something snapped in me that day that has never healed. I miss the old ability to concentrate. Remembering being married to Dan, and how lonely that was, still hurts; the old feelings of everything being my fault and not knowing how to “fix” it still surge back in on me.

But more than that — how arrogant I was! perhaps we all were. We were on fire for Jesus, we had so much enthusiasm, and so little wisdom. Every impulse we thought was a divine Leading; every opinion we chalked up to discernment.

(to be continued…)

A bit of Biblical Humor — Famous Last Words

TOP 7 FAMOUS LAST WORDS OF BIBLE CHARACTERS

7. The people of Jericho before the walls came a tumblin’ down: “My mother plays better trumpet than that.”

6. Balaam’s talking donkey: “I dedicate my body to science and my jawbone to Samson.”

5. Ananias and Sapphira after holding back money from God: “The Lord helps those who help themselves.”

4. Goliath: “Ouch!”

3. John the Baptist: “This queen is a pain in the neck!”

2. Thomas, after being informed that he was dying: “I doubt it!”

1. Solomon, to his 700th wife: “You’re the only woman I’ve ever really loved.”

(thanks to Jim Morgan, COL, for the laugh)

p.s. — what do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common? Same middle name!

Finding old friends and seeing rabid possums

I’ll start with the worst first. When you see a nocturnal animal reeling through your yard in broad daylight, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

This possum — at first I thought it was a stray cat dragging something through the yard, I’ve never seen a dun-colored possum before — was staggering underneath my maple tree just about ten feet from my front door. I watched as it went by the south end of my mobile home, and when I looked out my bedroom window to follow its progress, it looked straight at me through the window.

You ever been stared down by a possum in broad daylight?

I watched, and it limped (hurt back foot) to my garden shed, where it ducked underneath and disappeared. When my neighbor arrived, .22 in hand, we couldn’t find it, it’s up under the shed, hidden by floor joists. So this morning my first order of business was to call the sheriff and Animal Control and ask for assistance. I’m waiting for a return call from the local wildlife guy.

We had a problem with rabies here five years ago. A rabid racoon wandered up in my neighbors’ yard, middle of the day — got treed by their dogs… whose rabies vaccinations had expired not long before because my friends had been tied up in a series of family illnesses. Every single one of their dogs had to be destroyed. Two mama dogs and two litters of pups, and the daddy. It was a horrible, horrible day.

So here I am, the pollen count is way down, I have spring cleaning to do, linens to wash and hang out, a yard to clean up, some flowers to transplant… and I’m scared to go out of the house.

On a brighter note, I mentioned in my little post introducing Randy to my friends that I’d actually been looking for some other people in the old group, Heirship. Well, I’ve made contact! I’m happy to report that Ed Stiltz is now a United Methodist pastor down the road from me, in South Carolina. I’d bet Ed’s congregations have a good shepherd in him and will be sorry to see him transferred to a new charge next month. Dave and Lisa Boyd, the original friends I was looking for, are in Vienna, Austria, doing some very important work with the Vineyard Fellowship. Ron Elms, who was manager and sound man for Heirship, is the first of the old friends to enter Eternity, in September, 2000. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual Light shine on him.

May God bless the developers of the Internet!

How to Grow Bermuda Grass

My friend Bill is frustrated by his yard’s resistance to the bermuda grass lawn he’s trying to get established. As my yard is overrun with the stuff, I offered him this simple advice for getting bermuda (or perhaps any spreading grass) to “stick,” and I offer it to you for what it’s worth:

One must remember, first and foremost, that bermuda operates on a principle of contraries; where you don’t want it is where it will thrive.

So toss out your sprigs with as great an air of carelessness as you can muster. If you can find a way to casually drop them along the ground as you run your lawn mower, or better yet the rototiller, the sprigs will think they have been dropped as “volunteers” and may not really be wanted in that spot. Then stand where you most want quick and thorough coverage, and say in a loud voice,

Gee, this is a great spot for a vegetable garden! I sure hope the bermuda doesn’t overtake it!” Actually going through the motions of putting a few vegetables in the ground, for reinforcement purposes, will guarantee the effects of your announcement.

Using this method, the sprigs can be tossed onto the ground and not “set,” covered in black plastic for two years… it won’t matter; you’ll have more bermuda grass than you will know what to do with.

And I’ll be glad to send you some sprigs from my vegetable garden to prove my point. Yeah, the grass that survived the two years covered in heavy black plastic.

Something

I’m told I ought to post something to this blog every day. Well here it is: Something.

Less than ten days of classes until final exams — then graduation on June 4; a friend arrives for a visit on June 3 (what a week-end!) and then off to my homeplace for the summer.

I call the homeplace “The Funny Farm,” and that’s not just a reflection of how I view my own mental health; it’s what it was, in the days when I had chickens and a couple of goats and a pitiful attempt at a garden (the okra was good, but not enough corn, and bermuda grass overtook everything). The animals made it a farm, and they were always entertaining in one way or another.

It’s not a fancy place — I live in a single-wide mobile home that desparately needs roof work situated on four and a quarter acres I doubt I’ll ever get cleaned up — but I love it. It’s quiet and peaceful, and I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and look out the window to see deer ambling through my front yard. I keep the air conditioner off during the summer — I say to keep the power bills down, and that’s true, but more than that I love the feel and smell of fresh air even when we are sweltering under 90+ degree temperatures and 100% humidity. I bellyache about the heat all summer long, but I also feel a little superior to people who reach on the first warm day of spring to turn on the air conditioning.

This summer I’ll have quite a lot of school work to do in preparation for next year, but I’m also looking forward to time to write — both tasks assisted by my “mewses,” Precious and Bubba, one on my lap and the other on the back of the love seat or lying across my work at the desk. I’m looking forward to time with friends, and time to worship at my home parish. I’ll be making some short day trips and overnight trips to visit friends out of town, including a few friends from the Catholic Online forum who live within a four or so hour drive. That will be one great treat!

Hopefully I’ll be bettered and enriched during the weeks at home so that when I open my mouth (or punch thoughts out on keys) something worthwhile comes out.

Double-Dipping (a Confession)

So… what’s a nice Roman Catholic girl like me doing singing with the choir at St. Timothy’s EPISCOPAL Church?

Blame my friend Patricia, for starters. Patricia is not only the choir director at St. Tim’s (I hope you don’t mind, Patricia; I affectionately call my home parish St. Tony’s), she is also a colleague and has become my best friend here in this city where I work and live part-time. Knowing I love music and that I sing, she’d been inviting me since the Open House where we met to come sing with her church choir.

Nah, I’m Roman Catholic. Got to go home on week-ends… can’t sing with the choir at St. Tony’s because I can’t make choir rehearsals in mid-week, but I love Fr. I. and duty is duty.

In the meantime, I as good as lose Christmas altogether this year. No music. Last year I was bogged down in choir work and it was wonderful, even though our choir back home in my former parish does way too much (i.e., ANY) Haugen-Haas Horse-Hockey and, in fact, chooses most of its music from that insipid, cotton-candy non-genre (genre wannabe? — btw, I am an official member of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, or SMMMHDH for short – can prove it by looking here!) As a matter of fact, I have not found a parish in the diocese of Raleigh that is not! bogged down in that ooey-gooey-icky-schticky contemporary not-at-all-Catholic “music”.

So Lent is here, Easter is fast approaching, and I’m still music-less. Patricia comes to talk to me again. One of her choir members is on call, her father is terminally ill and there’s a very strong probability she won’t be in town to sing for Easter. Will I please, as a favor, help her out? (there’s also a small stipend, which I could say tipped the balance for me, but I’d be lying and would have to add to my list for Confession this week)

Oh! my SOUL! what music! William Byrd dominated the week — his Gospel settings, his “Ave Verum Corpus”. We also sang the Mozart “Ave Verum Corpus.” Have you ever heard the Gospel sung? I had not. On Palm Sunday two men, one a regular member of the choir, sang the Evangelist and the Lord, and the choir sang all the “mob” parts (which includes the voices of the disciples) The baritone singing the voice of Jesus didn’t merely perform his role; he seemed to be praying it.

Even during the rehearsal, I felt my soul being re-aligned. I hadn’t realized how off-balance I’d become, being in the middle of subtle deteriorations. I felt myself opening up to God all anew in the midst of praying that glorious music. I went home and picked up a long-neglected Book of Christian Prayer, the heavenly Liturgy of the Hours (short form). I felt as if I had come to sit in God’s lap and be loved by Him a while.

So… I sang Holy Week (they celebrate a Triduum, too), Easter Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday (oh, thank you, Father James! for remembering our dear John Paul II in your prayers that day!) …

Got sick. Oh, how sick I got — I am seriously thinking of taking a bold black marking pen and scratching through the entire month of April, it was so lost and what wasn’t lost was horrible. Allergies like I’ve never experienced before, laryngitis, infections… oh, MISERY! like constantly being in a nightmare of living under water.

Could not talk, certainly could not sing. Equilibrium — spiritual as well as physical — faltered.

Well, folks, I sang again today. I’m not even 75% back to what I was during Holy Week (which in itself was rather a gift) — but, by golly! I sang! The anthem was a wonderful Latin piece, out of France, re-telling the story of the Ascension, which Solemnity was celebrated today. I was AWFUL! but everyone was kind and supported me completely. And once again that amazing, palpable sense of soul re-aligning.

I do hope that, when our new bishop is appointed (we’re due), that he takes steps to bring some decent liturgical music back into our Church!
Because it’s not fair to blame Patricia for something that certainly is not her fault. The choice is mine, so any blame is mine. And my choice is to continue this “double-dipping” act until my own Church in this area realizes that the insipidity of its music is inducing insipid spirituality and mediocrity in the Faithful (not to mention the heresies this stuff promulgates!) and provides something substantial and fitting to stay home for.