Monday, March 22, 2010

The Week, March 20, 2010

When I was a Presbyterian living in Texas, I attended a church whose pastor was a very learned, scholarly, and sadly, alcoholic preacher from Glasgow. He had been at that church over 20 years and had preached on every conceivable text from Scripture. A couple of times, toward the end of his tenure there, he would get up and confess, in his still deep Scot’s brogue, that he was tempted to simply read the days text and admit that he had nothing new to add to what he had already preached on many times. He saw no reason to waste everyone’s time. There are times when, facing a blank page, I feel the same way. Could there ever be anything new to say that I likely haven’t already said many times over? However, in the name of obedience and stability, since I have undertaken to maintain this blog, I offer a few comments on the past week.

The Weather

The week began with the first hint of spring so far this year. By mid-week we were having temperatures that I think reached the low 70’s – life was good. Then, reality reasserted itself. Thursday we saw increasing clouds, Friday cold and snow with a 30 degree drop in temperature. It snowed more or less all day. This morning dawned clear, a deep Colorado blue sky, and cold; it was 14 when I awoke.

It often seems no one is happy with the weather in Colorado Springs, with people almost evenly divided between those wishing for constant blizzard conditions from mid-November through April, and those who wish for snow only in the two week period beginning December 15th and ending on New Year’s Eve. I wonder many times why people move to Colorado Springs, it’s as if they had no idea that this area is really high-desert, tending to be a bit dry, but certainly subject to receiving our share of snow, depending upon either El Nino or El Nina conditions in the Pacific. If you don’t like snow and colder weather, ever, this isn’t the place for you.

The Week

I have come close to the end of a very busy time at work. I thought back on Thursday evening and realized I had been “busy” since the middle of December; it seems it was a time of almost constant pressure to meet deadlines and get things done. This period has come close to ending rather abruptly and it’s a bit of a let-down. I have to regroup and reorient myself to establish a routine not driven by pressure but by trying to recognize the important, creative things I now have some freedom to accomplish. This kind of thing, if you are an accountant, is an annual occurrence, but oddly, after a career of almost, well, let’s just say many years, I am just now recognizing. It’s something I seem more attuned to.

Is there any conclusion from any of this? I keep thinking of Chapter 31 of the Rule, “Qualifications of the Monastery Cellarer.” Benedict begins that chapter with the following:



“As cellarer of the monastery, there should be chosen from the community someone who is wise, mature in conduct, temperate, not an excessive eater, not proud, not excitable, offensive, dilatory or wasteful, but God-fearing, like a father to the whole community.”

 As the accountant, the “business manager” or “cellarer” of the company I work for, I believe I should strive to live those qualities that Benedict sets out in the Rule. Being mature, temperate, not offensive, means accepting the circumstances in which I find myself on a day to day basis. Not only accepting, but seeing the gift in the moment, whether it’s in a Rocky Mountain spring snow storm and the beauty of its passing, or a transition from a time of much activity to one of a slower pace, each moment is a gift that is too often taken for granted. Benedict would want that from each of his monks.

I think he would appreciate the point of a story my father, also a Scot born near Glasgow, used to tell as he got older. He went to the doctor, yet another Scot, complaining of a cough. The doctor examined him, asked him his age, and said, “Ach, Willie, gae home and be glad you’re able to cough.”

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