Christmas was at once hectic and long as well as slow and peaceful. I worked part of Christmas Eve then headed home in time for the 4 o'clock Christmas pageant (our daughter was the donkey - for whatever reason she enjoys being the donkey) and me ushering. Then we went home had our Christmas meal opened presents put enjoyed each others company, then got the kids into bed, and I headed off to the late Christmas service to usher and EM at communion.
I got home after midnight to find that Santa's helper was having major difficulties getting the wagon assembled. We made it to bed sometime before 2am. The kids woke up at 5:30am - they were very excited about their Santa presents to which the parents replied "oh good, but it's too early to be up". So, the kiddos played with their new gifts and watched their new videos until a more respectable 6:30am. Then it was off to church at 10am. It turns out the service was lightly attended so me and the daughter ushered together. She was great and it was so sweet to do that together.
The rest of the week was this easy pace of doing this and that without the usual rush to and fro. There was only one day when the kiddos drove themselves and their parents completely nuts by the end of the day.
The pace was so relaxed that by 8:30pm I was totally wiped out. I would fall completely asleep while the wife read to the kiddos...then she would wake me up and we'd watch episodes of Season 5 of the L Word (a xmas gift). We also watched an excellent movie "In the Company of Strangers" - well actually the wife watched all of it - I fell asleep (go figure).
And we had this fantastic and uncharacteristically warm weather. Our ideas about what's warm and what's not are beginning to morph to fit our more northern abode...ya gotta shake your head in wonder when you think 45 degrees is warm. The sun even managed a short but welcome visit.
If you want a sense of Burlington there's a book called "The Dream of a White Village" - it was written by a UVM professor who still lives in Burlington. And in some sense, what he wrote about then (published in 1994) still mostly holds.
There's still this tension about how I feel about Burlington and Vermont, but it's becoming more healthy, more socially justice inclined as opposed to this place is going to be the death of me feeling. I don't feel trapped anymore. Sometimes I lay in bed and get this surreal feeling - like wow, I'm actually in Vermont and not Texas.
I've begun a more consistent mediating cycle again, and doing the spiritual things that I did in Tejas that "fed me". I got Borg's "The Heart of Christianity" and this feels like one of the final pieces of healing that needed to be in place. The last is a continually reaffirming/reminding myself that the type of person I am and the type of priest I envision myself to be is ok. And the more I relax into that the healthier I feel. I am beginning to trust again - to faith again.
I have two new year's resolutions:
1. Begin working on my spiritual autobiography and discernment questions.
2. I don't think I can change the cup is half empty part of me, but I can change how I respond to that point of view. I can use this view to positive end results.