Ms. Conroy and I stayed in last night. It was waaaayyyyy too cold to venture out - the windchill factor alone became the 'bonechill factor'.
It was at least a two dog night.
So, we went with "Plan B" - got some steamed lobsters and ate them all down at a single go, with TONS of drawn butter, of course. Then we had a yummy chocolate dessert followed by watching movies in the warmth and comfort of our own home.
Have you ever noticed how "Plan B" is often the best plan in the first place? Hey, maybe THAT's why it's called "Plan B". The "B" stands for "best."
Neither of us made it to watch the new - bigger, brighter - ball drop on Times Square. It's always seemed to me an odd way to mark the passage of time. Perhaps that's exactly its appeal and why millions of people from around the world gather there in the frigid cold to watch a ball drop on the New Year.
Some people mark time by making 'New Year's Resolution.' It's a way of expressing regret for things 'done and left undone' in the previous year and committing oneself to change for the better in the year to come.
I've started doing that in several aspects of my life.
I don't know how it happened, really, but the bathroom scale reports this morning that I've gained 12 pounds since just before Thanksgiving. So, you know what the first resolution is all about.
I've also determined to be a better steward of 'family time' - including my church family - as opposed to 'institutional church time.'
This year marks the end of my term as President of the Episcopal Women's Caucus. It will probably mark my last attendance at General Convention. I've been involved in National Church politics and church activism since the early 80's. I think it's time for the next generation to begin to take its place among the ranks of leadership.
Some of that depends on what happens in July and how General Convention looks and acts without three diocese there which had formerly refused to ordain women (San Joaquin, Fort Worth and Quincy), and one which had previously said that The Episcopal Church is apostate (Pittsburgh, of course).
Oh, it won't be all 'peaches and cream' with the absence those four bishops and the usual cast of characters that made up their deputations. We're still The Episcopal Church, with conservatives and progressives and everyone else in the middle.
The heart and soul of Anglicanism has never been about being right - we leave that to our Roman Catholic and Calvinist sisters and brothers. It's been about having an intense intellectual curiosity about the questions, and inviting our friends from Rome and Geneva to sit at the Canterbury table so we can all meet Jesus.
Besides, we still have those who consider themselves 'orthodox' who have decided to stay as the "loyal opposition", committed to changing this "embarrassment of a church" from the inside out to one that is more pure and holy (read: in their image).
They are but a very small fraction of the church as it is presently constituted. Small but loud. Very loud. They make loud, angry noises that scare some people into capitulation.
We'll have to wait and see how they effect the continuing conversation about the full inclusion of "all the baptized in all the sacraments of the church."
In the meantime, I've come to a conclusion that has become a resolution of sorts, I suppose. It's about "the orthodox" whom I, henceforth and furthermore, calling "the orthodites". They are NOT 'right' and they don't have it 'right' and they are not a branch of religion like "Orthodox Christians."
Okay, I suppose that's my first resolution for the New Year in Anglican Land.
The second is not to engage the orthodites in conversation. Well, not about anything having to do with The Episcopal Church or The Anglican Communion.
I did write to a brother orthodite on HOB/D just last night, after a painful conversation about marks of financial success or failure being an indicator of God's blessing on the particular discipleship and theology one was teaching one's flock.
For a few hours, I really thought we might be making some progress, but alas, it was not to be. Still very angry is he.
So, no more engagement in conversations with the orthodites. It's not healthy for them. It's not healthy for me. It's not healthy for the church.
What's that saying attributed to Mark Twain? Oh yes, "Never try to teach a pig to sing. You'll only get frustrated and it will annoy the pig." Right.
I had, just that morning, written privately to Greg Griffiths over in Viagraland, asking him to please remove my "membership" - which, essentially, simply surrenders the "privilege" of posting comments there. My note was a simple request - no reasons, no editorials, no shame, no blame. Just, "Take me off your membership, sir, please and thank you."
Guess what? Now, whenever I sign on over at Viagraland, I get a little notice that "the server is down." That's a lie, of course. They are still up and running.
Greg, bless him from the bottoms of his little pink feet to the top of his pointy little head, is behaving in the predictable pattern of an abuser. I've dared to stop engaging, so he's changed the locks on the door.
Funny, when it isn't pathetic. I can still get over there whenever I want to. I'm not as dumb as Greg thinks I am. The thing of it is, I don't want to. I don't really care anymore.
I realized that when it finally came to me that more than half of the people who comment there are no longer members of The Episcopal Church.
Indeed, some of the board members are no longer Episcopalians, and the others are unrepentant orthodites. So, I've asked myself, "Self? Why do you care what they think?" And myself said, "Right. I don't."
And since I've started a New Year's Policy of Disengagement, well, I'm free.
It's a good feeling. Nah, actually, it's a GREAT feeling.
It's not just about the orthodites although I have given them more of my time than they deserve. I'm ashamed, now, to admit that, but well, there it is.
No, it's really more about the institutional church. She is, I have learned over the past 40 years, a very difficult lover. Mercurial, at times, She can wrap her arms around you one day and betray you the next, all in the name of Jesus.
Here's the thing: in four months, I will be celebrating a significant birthday. The Big Six-O. I'm really excited about that. I've never felt better in my life (well, okay, I'll feel even better after I lose 1-15 pounds and get back into the gym on a regular basis). I have more energy for the people and things I love than I've ever had in my life.
I feel more confident about my skills and abilities. I know what I can do and what I do well. I also know what I can't do and what I can learn to do better, and what I just need to let go of.
I think it's the letting go of the old baggage that is giving me more energy. It's amazing how that works.
I am looking forward to starting 2009 with a building project that will put a new roof on the church, install an elevator and make the bathrooms handicap accessible. I'm hoping to end 2009 with a great sabbatical, coming back refreshed and renewed, and continuing to work hard on building up community and relationship and strengthening ourselves for mission and ministry.
Here's my final resolution: I'm going to stop 'marking' the passage of time and 'making' the passage of time.
By that I mean I am going to be more of a participant and less an observer in life. Okay, well, I haven't exactly been sitting on the sidelines all these years, but I'm thinking I've still got a great deal to do in the next 20 years or so.
It's time to get on with it.
It's time to make and not just mark the passage of time.
Because, what I've learned is that the old saying is true:
If you drop by for a visit, tell us some of your 'resolutions'. I'd love to hear what you plan to do with your time.
Happy New Year, everyone!
May peace and prosperity be welcomed guests and lengthy visitors.