Technology and Faith

When I went to England, I had to see Canterbury cathedral, mostly because of Chaucer’s Tales.

That night I shut my eyes that night I felt myself flying through the arches up and up and up. I was freed from gravity by those layers of rock sending me to heaven.

But it took time to make those arches. It took trial and error and it took donations from a lot of poor people over generations. I just picked up Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth where he talks about the time of cathedral building.

It was science and blood and dirt, and it was faith and spirit. That is powerful stuff.

One of the glorious things of these cathedrals is how many people came. The church was open to everyone. And it was so beautiful!

I try to create beauty with my home, and I’ve been able over time to make it a bit nicer.

But the cathedral is the most beautiful and it is for everyone.

Everywhere I looked was crafted and beautiful: centuries of planning and singlemindedness.

My church does not look like Canterbury. But it too is beautiful. It does not have Gothic arches and flying buttresses, which were the science of their day.

We have stained glass windows for inspiration and loveliness.

We have a sound system with wireless mics, and we have WIFI.

These technologies were not invented for churches like flying buttresses were. But we use them because of the faith we have and to spread love and peace.

Right now, we are not using the church or the wireless mics. We are shut down, doors locked. But we are not oppressed, we just can’t come together in the church.

We can still use technology to spread peace and love and talk about our faith.

Tom, the mason in Pillars of the Earth, in the very first chapter, talks about how he learned to improve his craft and make the pillars even straighter and smoother because cathedrals were special

I am seeing faith leaders from all over coming to terms with my technology. 20+ years in this industry and faith is finding a new way to stretch this remote communication.

Because they believe in what they must share. And this technology—which is awkward and foreign—is being formed into art with their handling.

Just like the cathedral. Art, engineering, blood and faith.

Time for accomodations

Time hung spinning in the now with nowhere to land.
-The Russian American School of Tomorrow

I never miss a meeting for work. I am obsessively careful with time, not letting even casual phone calls go too long. There was an order to things.

There is no order now. It’s a joke “what day is it?” There is nothing to make our days different.

At least when I had my job, I had some flashing signs to direct my traffic.

There is no one waiting for me to show up and go through an agenda. Now it is just me.

But I’ve been here all along.

For 9 years, I had a job with a vehicle. It was shared, but I was officially the one who drove it most.

I did not set the radio buttons to my stations on that car for years. It didn’t feel like I was allowed to.

I remember that car now. This has been my life all along, and yet I have not set my presets.

My inbox piles up and I don’t clean it out. It’s just me. And maybe all those mass mailings will give me just what I need.

Can’t throw it away. You never know.

My fairy godmother could be in one of those.

I got nothing on my calendar anymore. But I have a ton of things I want to do.

But if it’s only me, I’ll stand myself up every time.

My urgency and drive look elsewhere.

I’m trying, but this shelter-at-home situation makes it hard on everyone. That reminded me of the quote from my book, when we crossed the international date line and had no idea what day or time it was.

But I want to do stuff. I am doing stuff, just not at the same rigidity.

And here is the example. This Weekly Wonder was not ready. I was going to write it, like I always do. But things. And stuff

Got in the way. Things that were supposed to happen did, and stuff that was supposed to be shorter was longer and the staging of the piece didn’t happen.

I am still committed to creating my writing. I am still very grateful to my readers. But I’ve become unstuck in time. And I am willing that my self-imposed deadline be flexible this time.

I am making accommodations but still keeping the vision. This is my life. I get to life in it. I will make it more my own, but apparently it takes some time.

When It’s Dark

I had to get out and be by myself. This is a whole lot of togetherness. I wanted my thoughts to myself.

I grabbed my headphones and went for a walk.  I picked a sad soulful song, and as I walked I felt so free I sang out loud.

Like it was my first time and I didn’t know that I was out loud and in a wobbly key.

This time I did know, but I was glad to be alone.

Walking past all my neighbors’ backyard fences I wondered if I was actually alone. My voice could carry into their backyards.

I was okay with that.

It was worth it to me.

This shelter in place situation is asking me to learn a new way of being. Learn to get along with my housemates/family in new ways. New coping tools to get through the day.

And revive old coping tools.

I remember my cassette Walkman as a teenager. I remember learning what it meant to sing with the headphones in my ears. Embarrassing! I did not sound as good as I though. I learned not to sing out loud.

But today, why not?

This was a good song, and I could sing! Even if someone MIGHT hear me.

I could dance, even though people can see me.

This house arrest is not the boss of me. I am not going to play small. I get to choose.

I’m not hurting anybody with my steps. That’s what I came here for, to clear up my mind.

To remember who I am and what I love.

I haven’t lived through a pandemic before. But to borrow a phrase, I’ve had apocalypse-adjacent experiences. Remember the nuclear war that never happened?

This is happening, and I am willing to be messy while I am living through it. I want to be messy in the right direction.

Be messy more as my truest happiest self.

And that involves singing and dancing while loving and hiding from my family.

That’s me choosing life. Let there be light.

Arranging the pieces

He was arranging the pieces into words, but he could never quite manage to make the word he wanted

            The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen

We put a puzzle together last week. Not so many pieces, but at last she was ready. She’d never been patient enough for puzzles before. But now we are ready to try anything to pass the time.

So much time.

There would not have been so much time if I hadn’t lost my job. My job took a lot of time. But now we have even more time.

And we need a new puzzle. I asked around and a friend gave me one she had finished.

The magic cannot be invoked twice. It must be passed on.

This new puzzle magic was bigger though. We started it like the last one, on the kitchen table, handling the pieces and familiarizing ourselves.

It was not long before I recognized a problem. This was not a quick puzzle. We would need this table to eat from before the puzzle was done.

It had to be moved to another surface. We brought in side tables and this took some of the joy out. Still, we had made progress–we’d found all the corner pieces.

So the puzzle work was set aside in another room for later.

And later came sooner than I thought. That very night I work up in the dark. Hours passed. Sleep would not return.

But when the horizon turned light, I turned to the puzzle. 

Through the fog and the tired, I tried to arrange these pieces. My thoughts, my future, my goals, my life and I just found the corner of that book.  But where is the mouse right next to the corner?

I was sure we had lost pieces in the transfer. And in my sleepless fog I was sure I was missing pieces on the plan for the future, and the plan for the present which sure should have been better than trying to put together a cat puzzle alone.

Putting the puzzle together was not hard. I could do it. And maybe I could come up with a plan for the rest.

I remembered the story of the Snow Queen, one of the darkest scenes when the magic-deceived boy Kay is left by the wicked snow queen to put the pieces of the ice puzzle together. The wicked queen has left him to die of cold, but he is determined to put the pieces together. His faithful friend saves him from the impossible deadly task.

Oh there is the mouse, finally! I really thought I had lost the piece. I am not Kay. And even Kay was rescued.

This will come together. Yes, I may have lost a piece in all the moving, which will be sad. It will still be okay. Order will come out of chaos, with time and attention and a whole lot of little actions.