Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Remember that you are dust...

Today is Ash Wednesday, for those of us who observe it, and I decided to go downtown to the big church on my lunch hour for the service. I love my friendly, casual little church, but sometimes I want something a bit more...cathedral-esque. (Besides, my church's service is at 6:30 tonight, and that's kind of an awkward time...not right after work, but not enough time to do anything between work and get it.)

So, downtown I went. Our new state bishop was there--a nice surprise. I've been an Episcopalian for 20+ years now, but I never stop getting a little thrill when I see that miter hat and staff processing down the aisle. It's just so...churchy.

"Cool," I thought. "Maybe the bishop will impose my ashes!" (Do you all know how that works? For those of you who don't do Ash Wednesday--the priest dips his thumb in an ash/oil mixture and marks a cross on your forehead. It remains there pretty much for the rest of the day, and, in this part of the country, people look at you funny, and often ask: "Did you know you have a smudge on your forehead?")

But first we had to get to that point.

Remember the priest I mentioned a while back, in relation to whisk brooms and ambulances? Well, the downtown church is where he serves, and he was selected to give the sermon today. That man never does anything less than enthusiastically, apparently. It was a very enthusiastic sermon. You may also take "enthusiastic" to mean "a little long." Come on, Father...I appreciate your passion, but we're on our lunch hours here.

Finally he wrapped it up, and we went on with the rest of the service. Time for ashes--oh, but the bishop is on the other side of the aisle. My ashes will be imposed by Father Enthusiasm. (And really...his enthusiasm is quite delightful. It's just so...well, enthusiastic, that I can't help commenting.) I was sitting about 2/3 of the way back, so I got a chance to check out the ashes on the foreheads of the people in front of me, and I wanted to laugh. Turns out his ash imposition is done as enthusiastically as everything else. I have never had such a large, well-defined cross on my forehead. Most priests will give you one swish across, one swish up-and-down. It often looks more like a smudge than a cross, specifically. (Which is probably why so many people kindly point it out to you!) Not this guy. Very deliberately, up-down-up. Left-right-left. There is NO DOUBT that this is a cross. (I took a picture with my phone, but since I don't yet have the accoutrements necessary to download, I can't share it with you. Maybe someday.)

I feel well and truly ashed. (And the bishop served me communion, so there's that.)

Otherwise, nothing much going on here. The weather is schizophrenic. Monday we set a record high--81 degrees. This morning there was a touch of snow on the ground. It's insane. (Is this what it would feel like to live in Britney's head? Sorry. Hee.)

This weekend we have our first get-together/rehearsal for the "Fridiron." Thank goodness. I need to get involved with something creative. And something that will keep me from dwelling on how things are going/not going with New Guy.

And how is that? I'm not sure. His phone died, the replacement isn't operating correctly (bad SIMM card, he thinks) and he's had evening rehearsals and a concert to deal with, so we've only exchanged some brief emails. Yes, of course he could call me from a landline somewhere, but my number is in his phone, and he doesn't know it by heart. I can't say anything about that, since I'd be hard pressed to remember his number without MY phone, either. I think there's a 7 in it. Maybe a 5? Definitely a couple of 3s. The perils of modern technology. Sigh.


Noelle said...

1. I refused to have sex with Birmingham until he memorized my phone number. This took a couple of tries, but it worked. Like the Lysistrata of technology.

2. I think you can email the picture to yourself as a picture text if your phone is capable of that. Then you can upload the pictures from the email. I've done this in the past.

3. So this is the Devil's-advocate-I'm-an-atheist question. If you wish church were over sooner, why do you go in the first place?

L Sass said...

The OCD part of me always gets slightly annoyed by the smudgy Ash Wednesday cross, too. I guess I should come down to your church next year!

lizgwiz said...

noelle, I don't usually wish it were over sooner...but I don't usually go on my lunch hour. ;)

And I've tried the photo emailing, and it's just not going through. Maybe I need to investigate further.

lsass, I had to SCRUB that thing off last night. It was on there but good.

Stefanie said...

My last boyfriend never knew my phone number either, for the same reason. I'll admit, my lack of adherence to technological conveniences (such as programming my land line phone with auto-dial numbers) was probably the only reason I knew his.

I too was going to suggest emailing the pictures from your phone, but I see that's already been covered.

And I haven't had an ash cross on my head in years, but I soooo remember looking around at other people's crosses and hoping I didn't get the guy who did the sweeping, enormous cross rather than the smudge!

Noelle said...

Hey, I wrote that after a glass of wine, and then I woke up this morning and worried that I had been offensive. I didn't mean to, I hope I wasn't. I do have this curiosity of why people do things that they don't enjoy, including why I go to the gym. But I remember back in the days when I liked church, and there were some times that the hour flew by and sometimes that it dragged. You're right, lunchtime would be a bad time to go over.

Also, the photo emailing thing took me a while to figure out and get done right, but I'd say give it a try. It is rare that you see a well-done ash cross. Usually it's a big smudge.

Lara said...

I am giggling over your well-defined ash cross. Also, I woudl be shocked if my husband knew my phone number. He doesn't even know his own cell number!

Whiskeymarie said...

I don't know anyone's number except my husband's- if that helps.

The funniest thing was when I had forgotten my phone at home once and HAD to call someone from a land line. I think it took six tries before I got the right number.

Stinkypaw said...

Are you doing lent as well?

gorillabuns said...

I've never known if you were supposed to scrub the ashes off or not. I hear not but then, you can't go weeks without washing your face.

and not-so-new guy, is quickly becoming guy on my shit-list.