Sunday, February 18, 2007

Good Stuff (or: Whales for Lent)

Yesterday I got e-mail from the fabulous Maggie, who has evidently been following my scrubs saga with great interest (perhaps more than it deserves?). She's a quilter, and she told me that on her trips to various fabric stores, she's going to look for the magic-shirt fabric. If she finds it, she offered me to make me a scrub shirt -- she has a pattern for scrubs -- which I won't have to pay for, even. "I love the story of the magic scrub top and I want to see it keep going!"

How completely and utterly cool and kind and generous is that?

Of course I said yes. How could I not say yes? Thank you, Maggie! And I hope you find the fabric!

Good hunting! (Looking for fabric's more fun than looking for Cylons, yes?)

This morning I got e-mail from my friend Pamela K. Taylor, a progressive Muslim who's been on several of the "Religious Left" panels I've moderated at WisCon. The Washington Post has selected her as one of their "On Faith" panelists, so she's now writing a weekly column for them. You can find the first one here. I don't know nearly as much as I should about Islam, so I always welcome the chance to learn more. Congratulations, Pamela!

And last night, I finished a draft of my Ash Wednesday homily (which, of course, I'll be posting here on Wednesday). Writing the homily, I finally stumbled on a useful way to think about Lent, which I've always considered an unpleasant season of gloom and guilt-tripping. Last night, pondering Ash Wednesday's reminders of mortality, I realized that what Lent's really doing is calling us to live as thoughtfully and intentionally as people do when they know they're dying: to strip down to the essentials, to figure out what's really important and what can be let go. It's like that "What would you do if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?" question, except that Lent asks us, "What would you do if you knew you were going to die in forty days?"

And the answer is surely some combination of "Give up the nonessentials, to have more energy for what's important," and "Have fun in ways you've always wanted to." Which means that our Spring Break Maui trip isn't anti-Lenten at all. If I knew I were going to die in forty days, I'd definitely squeeze in a trip to Maui to watch whales.


  1. Good for you, Susan! I am thrilled that Maui is coming again soon and you will be "guilt free" in your enjoyment of it. Remembering how much you got out of your trip there last year, I am wondering what you plan that is different for this one? And will the Vaio go long to let you post from the island?

    Hope & Joy!

  2. Hopefully I can see whales as well, someday...

  3. Hi, Lee! Well, Gary and I plan to go snorkeling this time, which we didn't last time because our friends didn't want to. We're also all going on two whale watches, rather than one.

    And Gary and I are giving ourselves permission not to go along on some activities we consider anti-vacation: i.e. getting up at 3 a.m. to drive up Haleakela to see the sunrise. The only time I want to have to set an alarm for 3 a.m. during a vacation is if I'm doing it to catch a plane! Our friends can drive up the volcano and tell us about it (we didn't see the sunrise last year because it was pouring rain). Gary and I will be sleeping in, drinking coffee, and then going to the beach.

    Yes, Vera Vaio will go along, as will our digital camera. (Gary grumbles at this, since he hates tourists who look at everything through camera lenses.) I don't know what the posting situation will be: the place where we're staying doesn't have wireless, but I think there's a coffeeshop nearby that does.

  4. Good point about Lent's 'intentionality.' I'm going to have to think about that.

  5. I'm Baptist and we don't do Lent, but if I knew I were going to die in 40 days...hmmm...I think I'd invite my bestest buddies to an "extravaganza" trip to Galveston--I love that place--and I'd tell them all how much I love them as we did all the touristy stuff there is to do in Galveston. (Actually, I'd love to do this even if I weren't going to die in 40 days, heh!)

  6. Hmmm, I like your thought about Lent being the how would I live my life if these 40 days were the last. And maybe some of it would stick cause isn't it 30 days to form a habit...hmmm.

    I know this is off this topic - but there's something wonderful to the slightly eye popping colors/combinations that just make ya have to smile.


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