It's depressing to turn 29 & 12/2. And I'm finding I'm mostly missing everyone, and life, in Morocco. Not that I haven't made the right decisions- to leave, or to stay- but I still really miss them. But they gave me a wonderful intercontinental birthday present today, all with a Georgian theme.
That was probably the highlight of the day. It was ironic, because I had heard these hints that there was going to be a surprise party, and I kept on expecting one. Surprise! Turns out, the hints I had heard were in reference to an aborted surprise party, so nothing happened, and I didn't plan anything, thinking others were. I was very much looking forward to the idea of exploring a bog nearby, something like what I visited before in Morocco, to worship some in nature, as I did with the same loving friends last year. But I was unable to get transportation there while it was still light, leaving me feeling very unfulfilled, in the most metaphysical sense.
So after service where I discovered a good friend owns a restaurant near my church (bringing back many fond memories), I waited for Kent and Trina to get home, and then we went off to a story-telling session. This group called The Moth is touring out of New York around the U.S. telling stories. These are all true stories, told without notes, maximum of 12 minutes at a time. If they go too long a professional violinist interupts them with a solo.
There's a definite New York City feel to the stories. We stayed for 4 of the 7 stories there at Town Hall. The first was by the host, sharing about how he had a kid out of wedlock in a one-night stand, and therefore over Christmas shared crack while making out with a transvestite. Yeah. The second got a little better- at least cleaner. A woman shared about how she almost drowned while on vacation in Kennebunkport, but was saved by a couple of the Kennedy's (in an ironic Chappaquiddik twist). Subsequently the storyteller accidently knocked the glass eye of her uncle out while playing Chicken Fights in the water, and then the entire family searched as the same Kennedys secretly watched in a celebrity stalker reversal. Interesting story. Only to be followed by an ex-pick-pocket sharing about how he learned his trade so well, as he got involved in drugs and alchohol, which caused him to lose his excellent pick-pocketing abilities. (I know there's a moral in there somewhere.)
I'm so glad we stayed for the final guy, the author of Snow Falling on Cedars. There was a difference somehow in how he shared, being from Seattle, after the three New Yorkers. Maybe a less edgy tone? I'd loved the movie, so I looked forward to the story, and I was not disappointed. Here finally was some redemption. He shared about how he has always, up till 2 months ago, thought of himself as the top of the world, in writing, sports, everything. When he was 10 this lead him into a very short fight where a shorter boy fractured his wrist. (This after he mentioned that the shorter boy's mother engages in alternative means of gaining ready cash.) Subsequently they both were on the same jr. high basketball team, and became best friends through highschool. But then, 40 years later, he discovered that that fracture had lead to rheumatoid arthritis. And as he realized he couldn't overcome this, he fell downward into an immense spiral of depression. And then a few months ago, he hit bottom, and realized that he wasn't the top of the world, and didn't need to be. And he could now see how that fracture 40 years ago helped him in this moment, and could thank his friend for it. Which he did by calling him up on stage and hugging him.
After that story, considering the first three, we were eager to leave early on a high note. We moved on to Compline, a weekly tradition here at St. Mark's, similar to the Taize I went to a week ago. This is a very beautiful setting where an all-male choir sings Gregorian style, albeit in English, in a great hall of acoustics. We stand, sit, and lie down for 1/2 an hour, absorbing the music and listening to God, repeating the Lord's Prayer. I say lying down, because this is Seattle, and this is a very popular deal for singles, so all the pews in the great hall are filled, and men and women lounge and lie on the ground around the pews, considering what is sung.
It allowed me to contemplate trespasses. I think I like it better than sins or debtors, even if it does have more "s's" and therefore can lead to embarassement if you use it accidently in an unknown church. Sins brings to mind what you've done wrong, or others have done wrong. Debtors makes it financial- what does someone else owe me? Trespasses I think I can relate to better. How has someone trespasses on my land, territory, boundaries- or I to them? Somehow it's easier to forgive that way, be it for real or felt slights. So I went through the list of those I felt injured by, forgiving them trespasses- and I think came a long way towards actually doing so.
We returned home for some ice cream and cake, and the best physical present of the day goes to Kent and Trina, for a candle. Reminds me of my plans for this Halloween. I'm thinking of going as Black Smoke.