Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What I see from where I write

My little office is on a 12 foot by 8 foot landing at the top of our back stairs--it's the south end of the house.

I have two 6 foot bookcases with my printer and photos and 30 or so books. I gave most all my theology and religion books to the church libraries at St. John's, Waterbury and St. James, Higganum when I retired from full-time ministry. (I'm retired for goodness sake, now I can read only poetry and fiction....Actually that's mostly what I read before I retire, but I had serious books then.) Hard copies of a lot of stuff I've written (including 2 novels, a murder mystery, a fantasy novella and a memoir about priesthood) and other junk (like all the paper from 8 or 9 years of tax returns--clergy taxes are complicated but good!)

My desk with my computer faces a window where I can see the trees in our side yard (mostly evergreens taller than the house) and watch birds. Sitting on the space in the window are a picture of me as a high school senior (was I ever that young and clean shaven?) and one of Bern in her 20's with short hair for one of the few times in her life. She is beautiful and radiant and doesn't look much different today. There must be a picture of her in the attic growing older....

On the right side of the window are  three plaques. One has a face coming out of it and the words, In Vino Veritas ('in wine, truth'). The face is of a man who is obviously drunk. Below that is a small plaque that says SHALOM, the Hebrew word so hopelessly translated as "Peace" in English. It's real meaning is wholeness, completeness, everything included and in harmony. It's the word I use to end letters and emails. "Shalom, jim". I always use a small j for Jim since 'shalom' humbles me so.

Below that is a larger plague with the raised letters: VOCATUS ATQUE NON VOCATUS DEUS ACERIT.  Which means, "Bidden or unbidden, God is present". Quiet wisdom, I'd say.

On the other side of the window is a lovely Native American 'dream catcher' with red feathers all around it my daughter gave me. I believe it does 'catch dreams' for me.

To my left, on the wall is my degree from Virginia Seminary (Master in Divinity Cum Laude), an icon of John the Baptist's beheading and my Phi Beta Kappa award from college. Go figure.

On the wall to my right, which Bern painted a brilliant shade of Crimson, is my ordination certificate and my degrees from Harvard (Master of Theological Studies) and Hartford Seminary (Doctor of Ministry). They have hung in those spots since we moved here in 1989. I probably wouldn't hang all that academia if I were doing it today. But I was younger then and still impressed with myself.

I have a second table that sits at a 90 degree angle from my desk. It is covered with a mess I cannot describe, a doll of Hideki Matsui and the painting Bern gave me for Christmas. (Actually, she didn't like it and thought it a failure but I love it and made her let me have it.) It is me sitting on a chair in a baseball hat--the liberal blue one that says "We're still here" on it--reading a book, which I do much of each day. I'm sitting under a representation of a castor oil tree (she researched it and is sure it is accurate). All that is missing is a worm crawling toward the tree. She agreed to add that and then I'll have it framed and hang it behind me in the office.

My little office has three windows--right in front, behind me and to the right. Only light drives out darkness. And light is what I seek.

So, that's where I sit and what I see while writing these posts.

Don't know if you wanted to know, but I told you anyway.

Shalom, jim

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.