Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Out-of-Season Thinking

I've been tinkering with a reflection I agreed to write for a Lenten meditation booklet, and tomorrow's the deadline. My little piece is almost finished, but I think it lacks a "soul," mainly because I'm not in the mood for Lent. I'm in the mood for Advent and Christmas. These things are always written well in advance - not unlike the way we used to create Christmas commercials during the summertime when I was in the TV biz, so I'm forced to think about the privations of 40 days/40 nights rather than give in to my wintertime festive feelings.

It's hard to pull away from Advent and bring some new insight to Lent. I'm not good at Lent, anyway. I'm always in Advent-mode, always waiting for Christmas instead of Easter. I guess that makes me a bad Christian, but, well, there it is. Resurrection is phenomenal, miraculous, but way beyond my understanding. But a baby born in a manger, with angels and shepherds all around? Why, I can write about that till the cows come home.

Folks often compare Advent and Lent since they are, by tradition, periods of self-reflection and anticipation of bigger moments to come. But let's face it, Advent is happier, more hopeful, plus, we tend to indulge instead of deny during this season, which is a lot more fun. Lent is just - well - long. And depressing. And nobody wants to go out to eat or do anything jolly because they've given it up for Lent.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm bad at self-reflection, despite being in desperate need of it, obviously. Here's my brand of self-reflection: "Well, that was a stupid thing to do; don't do that again." Then I move on. And I'm a really bad meditator. I start out OK but eventually drift into thinking about all the stuff I should be doing while I'm just sitting and meditating. So I get up and do whatever it is I need to do. Being quiet and still, like one is supposed to be during these things, is not one of my gifts. I do quiet and still when I'm asleep, though even then I toss and turn and talk. So, no. Not good at quiet reflection and meditation. 

But I figure God made me this way and gave me other ways to sort out the answers to big questions about myself and the world. You quiet meditators out there will just have to accept that about me. But this post is moving me no closer to the Lenten meditation finish line, so I'll sign off and hope for the desert-like feeling of Lent to descend upon me.

I will, however, have one eye on the little Christmas tree in the corner of my office. Sigh.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our Cups (and Plates) Overfloweth

On this Thanksgiving Day I realize how supremely blessed I am, surrounded by family and friends, way too much excellent food, good health, laughter, and love.

All the planning and preparation for the annual feast culminated in a crowded table, prayer, moments of silence as we inhaled our food, remembering those who aren't able to be with us, and lively discussion.

In the midst of political cynicism and deep philosophical divide, it's a wondrous thing to stop, think about all we do have, and give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Over the River and Through the Air

. . . to GrandBoy's house I go. Even though Thanksgiving is a week away, I head for Atlanta tomorrow morning. I can't wait. Work has been brutal of late, and it will be good to be in a different place and atmosphere. I want to be with my family, eat Southern food, lunch with friends, maybe take in a movie - you know, life-stuff. And it's all wrapped up in what Thanksgiving should be.

I love, love, love being with my family and friends around the Thanksgiving table. I love that everyone has a special dish(es) they bring to the feast - dishes that, were they not to appear on the table, would somehow lessen the holiday. Deviled eggs and sweet potato casserole. Pumpkin pies. Cheesy potato casserole. Cranberry salad. And of course, turkey with cornbread dressing. Yeah, it's a lot of food. But that food represents more than nourishment. It represents love and tradition. All of it is "soul" food.

Anticipating next Thursday's gathering and the quality time between now and then, my Grinch-ness is disappearing, and I'm feeling warm and toasty inside. I look forward to recharging my spirit and energy. It's just the beginning of being truly thankful.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Autumn in the City

I spent the afternoon strolling around Madison Square Park and Gramercy Park this afternoon, just to get one more look at the leaves. Since I leave for a little Thanksgiving break in Atlanta next Friday, I expect "fall" to have occurred by the time I get back to New York the Saturday after Turkey Day. In spite of the Halloween snows, the trees still have lovely muted colors. It is such a beautiful time of the year, these weeks leading into Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gorgeous!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Thank you to all who have served to protect our Constitution and our freedoms over the years. Thank you to those who served in that awful war leading up to the first Armistice celebration in 1918. It's a good day to watch "All Quiet on the Western Front," read some of the Great War poets, and say thank you to everyone who has served in uniform over the years. In honor of all veterans, here are pictures of my daddy and mother, who both served in the US Navy during World War II.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

November Run

No not me. I don't run. I walk really fast, but I don't run. But I do like to cheer others on, and that's what I did for a little while this afternoon. I stood on 5th Avenue and lent my meager support to the runners in the New York City Marathon. By the time they get to the top end of Central Park, their 26.2 mile hustle through all five boroughs is almost at an end. Some are running strong. Some are walking. Some are obviously in pain and just limping along.

To all the marathoners, I salute you! Now, I'm going to settle back in my easy chair, eat some homemade vegetable soup with cornbread, and rest up from all the cheering I did.