Monday, December 15, 2008

Busy Bullets

Well, I've been a bit absent, and I apologize. I don't have much time because I have a few things yet to finish up for school, but here is what my life has been like, bulleted below for you!

  • Monday, Dec. 8th -- read my screenplay in class, got some awesome constructive critcism from my classmates and trudged home in the beautiful falling snow to watch The Take (see FilmAching).
  • Tuesday, Dec. 9th -- went to work, came home and met with the contractor who was there for something...can't remember what though since there has been so much! A new sink, new pipes, new outlets (ah, that must have been it) and tomorrow he'll be back for a working dryer!
  • Tuesday, Dec. 9th: Night -- Slept for two hours in the afternoon, watched some TV and then a second viewing of The Take and then writing...writing...till about 2am when I finished! One down, three to go!
  • Wednesday, Dec. 10th -- work, school - last Documentary History class of the semester - hand in the paper, discuss the merits of sound effects and music in documentary and film in general after viewing Koyaanisqatsi, get home, watch Jackie Brown and pretty much go to bed.
  • Thursday, Dec. 11th -- work, home, sleep for three hours, TV, start second Jackie Brown viewing around 10pm, write Jackie Brown paper. 1:30am, start finishing Burn After Reading paper. 2:30am start writing Final Coen Brother's paper -- Finish at 3:30am!! (yes, I wrote an entire paper in one hour, but it was pretty short and I had outlined it already)
  • Friday, Dec. 12th -- school, hand in three papers!! Watch Kill Bill Vol. 2, go to screen writing pitch practice for feature length screen-writing students (yawn) go home, watch some tele. Asleep at 5:30pm...
  • Saturday, Dec. 13th -- wake up at 8 after 14 and half glorious hours of sleep, start cleaning like crazy for a cookie baking party that only two people show up to - which is fine cause it was fun anyway and there are more cookies for me!
  • Saturday, Dec. 13th: Night -- go to a fancy dress potluck that was really fun until I (apparently) got some sort of migraine which has never happened before and felt really icky!
  • Sunday, Dec. 14th -- church, lit the advent candle, watched the Christmas Pageant ("Moo! Moo! Mooove over and make room for the Christ Child!" so cute!), go to Herberger's for the first time(not impressed), go to lunch, take a nap in the car while Annalee got a Christmas present for Comrade Landlord's (which means me, too!), go home, sleep for a few hours, go to the Cedar Cultural Center and see the Neal and Leandra Christmas Concert! (more on this later when I get the pictures up, hopefully tomorrow), trudge home through the very swiftly falling snow and bitter cold.
And that brings us to today, trudging back to the bus stop, just missing my bus, almost freezing off my thighs to get to work.

I have one little thing to do for screen-writing, and then I'm done for the semester!! Woot woot!!

MommyKnickers comes on Wed., CordeliaKnits on Saturday and DaddyHankiePants next Tuesday! EEEEEE!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sad (Christmas) Day

If you follow MommyKnickers blog (see my blog roll for the link) than you know of the Advent stories she records for me, which she has been, and will be, posting about throughout Advent. Many of my Christmas favorites are sad, and I even added another one to that list just this past weekend.

SONGS: My favorite song (possibly out of all songs, but definitely of Christmas songs) is Neal and Leandra's Mary's Lullaby (sometimes performed by Neal, and then changed to Joseph's Lullaby). It is so beautiful and so sad...Mary is singing and knows Jesus' fate -- "Hush now, don't cry every heart must break sometimes. I'll hold you tight until the world has broken mine." -- I literally just got tears in my eyes typing that.

BOOKS: There are many Christmas/Winter stories that make me cry, some from a kind of empathetic joy, but many from sadness. To name a few...The Little Match Girl, The Clown of God (btw, you should totally go to that link because it links to a Clown Ministry website - my worst hated thing!), and my most recent acquisition, The Birds' Christmas Carol, about a little girl who is born on Christmas (just like me). She brings great happiness to her family and those who know her, but she becomes ill, and, well, it is set in the 1880's and was written at the turn of the 20th century, so I think you can guess what happens there.

But really, the story of little Carol Bird is an allegory for Christ, albeit a bit watered down. At one point Carol's parents decide that she is not entirely of this place, and that, when she has done what God sent her to do, God will take her back. Surprisingly, I didn't cry when I read it. But then, I usually don't cry on Black Friday.

Why not? I cry all the time during Advent and Christmastide. Here's my theory: At Christmas we celebrate a birth. This tiny new, innocent, weak creature comes into our midst wanting to love and be loved. But we know that the world will crush him. The world will break his mother's heart and refuse to learn the things he has to teach us. We cry because we are thinking of that baby and his family and their pain.

But then Lent comes. What can I do to change my habits? What do I need to be forgiven for? And then Jesus breaks the bread and offers the wine...for us. He offers up his body and soul for us that we may live*...and so Lent and Easter become about us. We don't take the time to mourn the death of our teacher.

Imagine this: The Youth Pastor at your church just had a birthday - the church threw him a party where they told him how much they appreciate his work, as well as just liking him as a person. He's gay, which is a.o.k. by your congregation, but apparently not o.k. with the thugs who beat him up one night, leaving him in a bloody heap to die. People from all over have opinions about it, and people from your own community and denomination are saying that maybe God wanted it that way.

The day of his funeral comes and no one shows. The church is empty and cold and he has no mourners...except his mother.

But it wouldn't happen like that, would it? There would be candlelight vigils and benefits to raise money so his partner could pay for the funeral. Hot dishes and pans of bars would find their way to his mother's house with cards of sympathy attached. It would be standing room only at his memorial service, crying - no, sobbing, for this lost blessed soul would abound, and no one would ever forget him, or deny knowing him.

So why don't we treat Jesus this way? Why don't we scream and sob at the injustice of his death?

Anyone who has loved a baby knows that when you hold that sleeping/squirming/squealing thing in you hands...nothing else matters. You would do anything for that baby and your wants and needs are the last thing on your mind.

I plan on trying to think about this more this lent and Easter season, so please check back to see what I come up with!

*Just a side note that I don't actually know if I buy into the whole 'dying to save my sins' stuff...but that's the common theology, so that's what I am going on.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Session 2: Joy. To: The World

Right on the heels of Session 1 - my response to Session 2!

For Reflection
1. What demands your attention in this Advent season?
Schoolwork! One of the worst things about being in school for me is that finals coincide with TMWTY (see previous post). I got behind this semester, let's face it, as usual. I now have four papers to write and a 12 page screenplay to finish. The papers are all due before the 12th, and the screenplay is due the 15th - two days before MommyKnickers arrives! It is so hard to tear myself away from Advent celebrations to write boring papers (especially since they are on violent movies). My screenplay takes place at Christmas, but is also rather depressing.

2. What in your life needs to be scattered by God's arm? Hmmm...that's hard. Worry. Stress. Being uptight about little things. And, as hard as this is, I think a few good friends and I have already been scattered - though hopefully the purpose is the journey back to each other.

3. What brings you joy? Singing. Children. Family.

Yesterday I sang in church, a wonderful Advent song I fell in love with last year. I received the usual thanks and "good job" comments that are always appreciated (but make me feel uncomfortable). But a few people mentioned that it made them cry. Honestly, it was all I could do to not say, "Oh, I'm so glad!" With a song like Koppangen, one that tells a little story and fits my voice pretty well, my hope is always that someone will be moved, like really moved. I think "tears of joy" represent that disturbing kind of joy that Songbird talks about. You can hear a song and not be sure why you are crying, especially when it is one that talks about happy things.

Children also bring me great joy. And sometimes it is a little disturbing, like when children make comments that ring so true - and then they go back to playing with their play-dough. This Friday I get to baby-sit two of my favorite little people, a brother and sister who always make me laugh and often make me think disturbingly deep thoughts. I am sure they will be in full crazy-town mode - children tend to be more visibly affected my the unseen energies in the air than we bottled up adults - and I can't wait!

I am a family kind of person, and am therefore lucky to live with two family members and go to church with another all year round. But this Christmas will bring me a special kind of joy when my mom dad and sister come to MPLS for Christmas. I am especially excited to visit with my sister. CordeliaKnits makes me laugh like no one else can, and I honestly wouldn't mind a tickle fight or two. That kind of Joy is hard for me to find in someone outside my family, outside of someone who knows all my joys and sadness and can laugh with me anyway.

Advent Retreat: Session 1 Reflection

Over at RevGalBlogPals they are having an all day Virtual Advent Retreat. They will post three reflections from bona-fide theologians, and the rest of us get to read, and hopefully reflect. I am a little late in getting started, since Session 2 is already up, but here it goes:

For reflection:
You might like to consider where and why you protest about building a highway for God.
Which hills need to become valleys...or which mountains are really molehills?
Listen again to the reassurance "Do not fear...Here is your God."
God is speaking into the situation of your greatest anxiety. Where your fear is most deeply seated, there God is already waiting.

I am interested in the mountains-which-are-really-molehills concept. At first I thought, "I don't do that!" And this is why - When my friends start freaking about this, that, and the other, I try to be a voice of calm and reason. For instance, the stress level in my own home has gone down a bit since I took control of organizing the upcoming plumbing project. The Comrade Landlords really complement me in some ways because they tend to take things pretty seriously - such as the complicated nature of getting plumber, contractor and dweller's schedules to align - whereas I try to take it one step at a time, trusting that everything will end happily, since that has been the majority of my experience these last 24 years. But sometimes, I don't make a big enough deal out of things, and that can leave me unprepared, whereas Comrade Landlords are very prepared people.

But, Comrade Landlord #1 would say I make a mountain out of a mole hill at Christmas.

A little background - Out of 23 Christmas celebrations (not including the day I was born) I have avoided crying twice. The anticipation that we have, the excitement we build up to during Advent just overwhelms me and I end up crying (in my defense, two of the most recent years had good excuses - missing CordeliaKnits and having a panic attack at a movie). Every year I try not to get quite as pumped up, to save myself the agony, but how can I not?

As I believe I have stated before, it is my belief that Christmas is the

People are a little happier. Streets seem a little cleaner. Music is 99% less melancholy. Families come together.

And all of us, young or old, GLB or T, single or committed, with children or without, get to anticipate the arrival of a new baby. A baby who wants to help us smooth our mountains and make our highways straight.

SO, there's this mole hill, and its name is Christmas Preparation, and I make a big deal. I bake cookies. I decorate. I listen to Christmas music almost exclusively. I go overboard with presents (many hand-made, more on that later). And I try to get others excited to. I want their molehills to be mountains too.

Is that so bad?