Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Well, there's always a tradeoff...."

There is a group I meet with most Tuesdays, mostly Episcopal priests, mostly retired, and Charles.

We meet at St. Peter's in Cheshire and Charles is a revered member of that parish who set up for our Eucharist when we started meeting at St. Peter's and we invited him to join us and he always does.

If everyone who ever came was there, we would number nine. Most weeks it's 5 or 6. And I enjoy it. It is the extension of the Waterbury Clericus (an odd word my spell check refuses to recognize which means the Episcopal priests in a Deanery {a geographical gathering of Episcopal churches [who sometimes work together, or not...]}) Whew! I was out of parenthetical symbols....

The snow was so heavy the last 24 hours or so, that I knew I couldn't get dug out of my driveway by 9:30 a.m.--though I live only two blocks from St. Peter's. So, I emailed Charles (who as a lay person is much more suited to herd the priest cats than another priest) and told him I wouldn't be there.

He emailed back that he was on his way back from Virginia and holed up in a motel in Danbury (40 or more miles away) because I-84 was too icy to risk. I emailed the folks I knew might come but didn't have Andy's email address.

Mike (who didn't read his email) called at 8. Bern talked with him and told him Clericus was cancelled. She got up then and I went back to sleep, knowing I had some shoveling to do since Bern threw out her back in the last storm. When I came down at 10, she told me Andy had called to ask if I wanted him to 'swing by' and pick me up--though Andy lives 20 miles away and I'm 300 yards from St. Peter's! And she told him too, that Clericus was cancelled.

"But I didn't tell him you were still sleeping," Bern told me.

I pondered that for a moment and replied, "I don't mind who knows I sleep 'til 10 most days. I'm like a teenager again, I can sleep 11 hours most nights. I'm young again," I said, and after pondering that I sleep away a lot of my new found young-ness, I added, "but I'm not conscious for much of my youth...."

"There's always a trade off," she said. Then she said, "This seems like a perfect tale for your blog."

And I knew she was right--though her being 'right' is a pain in the ass. And I think I know for a fact that she has never read my blog. But she was right about it being the perfect tale and right about there always a trade off.

The world, it seems to me, is divided into people who know there's always a trade off and those who don't know that or lean into it or live by that rule.

Life is much more enjoyable and joyful, even, if you are at home with the "trade offs" that come along one after another. The thing is, 'trade offs' are what life is constructed of just as a house is constructed on wood and nails and brick and siding and paint.

And 'trade offs' fuel life just as high test gasoline fuels a BMW.

Just like that.

The trick is to choose your trade offs wisely and be content with them.

It seems to me that 'contentment' is much better than 'happiness'. Happiness is fleeting and dependent on more things that make you happy. Contentment is as peace with the way things are and willing to pick and choose about the trade offs that are always there.

I'm 67 years old and delighted to sleep 10 hours a night. The youthful wonder I have during the 14 hours I'm awake is a much to be desired 'trade off', thank you very much....

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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.