jayellebee's Blog

March 14, 2010

Ruts

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 8:53 pm

My mind seemed to be everywhere except on the homily today in church.  The priest began his sermon with the statement, if you’re in a rut -no matter whether that rut is good or bad – you need to seek out change because any rut is bad.  I don’t know where he went with this train of thought, I got off at the next station.  The one named, “Just for the Sake of Argument.”

Isn’t going to church every week a rut, I wondered?  How about observing Lent each year?  Rut.  Punctuating the identical points in each mass with the same prayers, intoned by rote without conscious thought?  Rut.  Sitting in the same section of the church, with many of the same familiar faces, for the past 25+ years?  Rut rut rut rut, rut rut rut!  Of course, the priest probably wasn’t suggesting lifestyle changes in these exact areas, but I can’t be sure.  As I said, my brain spun off in a different direction. 

My gaze fell upon the new-to-me young family a few pews ahead of us.  The little boy rolled his song sheet into a cylinder, pressed one end to his sister’s ear and whispered something in the other end.  She giggled and rolled up another song sheet.  In short order their paper communicators became magic wands and then swords.  There was a time when Ken and I had to corral our sons, one of us sitting at each end of the row of squirmy children.  As the service wore on, and the kids became restless, we used the old divide and conquer technique of parenting:  Child – parent – child – parent – child.  Very effective crowd control, and a major point in favor of not having more than three children.

I recognized a middle-aged couple sitting nearby.  Two of their sons have grown and flown the ecclesiastical nest, leaving only the youngest to join them in church.  This boy’s hair was cropped short today, a dramatic change from the dreadlocks he wore at Christmas.  I don’t know these people, we’ve never spoken.  But the backs of their heads have been part of my view of the altar for years.  I used to wonder what lever the parents used to keep their boys so well-behaved for that hour every Sunday… and if it worked for them the rest of the week, too.

For years, Ken and I both marveled at an Asian family who invariably occupied the left side of the second pew in our section of the church.  The parents had two children when we first noticed them, a son of perhaps seven or eight and a daughter of four or five.  Soon, these youngsters were joined by a baby sister, and it was the siblings who took care of the infant during mass.  They held her, rocked her, adjusted her clothing, offered her quiet toys and Cheerios, all without parental intervention.  Amazing.  The petite mother walked with difficulty, the father always at her side.  Today, the children were elsewhere and the husband brought his wife to church in a wheelchair.

Sometimes the days roll by so smoothly in my “good rut” that it’s hard to keep track of their passing.  Time is fluid.  Other times, like today, I am aware of gentle reminders that time is indeed passing.  Reminders to give myself a swift kick in the behind and try something new, or finish something old.  Maybe the priest was right, I need to keep alert for a new rut. 

That’s what he meant, right?

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