24 September, 2007

a penny for the old guy

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men

My Shakespeare professor is right; Emmylou Harris does drop off the end of every word when she sings... sitting here, sipping white tea now gone cold, listening to Feist and Fiona Apple and Explosions in the Sky. It is a languid night, a peaceful one. (Praying with my small group always lends a considerable amount of gravity and contentment to my Monday evenings.)

FRAGMENTS OF A PERFECT WEEKEND
I went home this weekend with Emily; drove Rachel's own Mary Margaret and made it without problem (despite everyone's insistence that I "probably didn't know how to drive" or "couldn't find my way home"). Long conversations in the car were so excellent: we talked about everything and with every word, I felt like I was getting closer to her. Covered women, motherhood, love, paradox of action, Ireland, foolishness, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, our future lives, model U.N., the husbands we want and doubt (hope?) are out there, Islam, debate, relationships past and present... she is so beautiful! Every time I look at her, every time I hear her speak, I am reminded of that. (And if you don't know her, the photo below can prove that to you.)

Home was perfect: bright and clean and safe and welcoming. Laughing with family over good food. Watching two very different and very excellent films: "A Very Long Engagement" and "Blades of Glory." Reading poetry on the couch. Frisbee in the front yard. Lunch with old friends at Brixx (that got mysteriously paid for)--remembering why I loved them and how they've changed and how I've changed. Walking pointlessly around a mucky reservoir in the blistering heat. Going back to Harvest (how I miss my church!): "A heart committed to eternal things will be a heart committed to prayer."

Emily, I love you. Thanks for being in my life. And for coming home with me. Let's do it again.


When we got back last night, I tried to plan out my week before going to Compline. (For the unfamiliar, Compline is a prayer/meditation service put on by the Episcopal chapel on Franklin Street. They burn incense and turn down the lights and a choir sings Gregorian chants. A handful of my friends and I have been going on Sunday nights since last year. It's an important part of my week: a time for solitude--and incense--and aloneness with your heart and God.)

So I went to Compline--they were robust last night--and struggled at first to focus. I kept shifting my body: head in hands, head on pew, kneeling, arms up, arms down... I did make it through the restlessness, though, and was finally able to pray. I thought, "Compline is a place to untie things," and I saw an image of my thoughts being untied like a knot of white rope. Not that I reached any conclusions last night, though. Not that I am certain of things. But it was calm. And I welcomed the quietness and the cold and the English tea and talking to Mr and Mrs Steddum afterwards. And so another week begins. (Where am I going? What am I headed towards?) I am learning to be okay with not having the answers. Emphasis on "learning."

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

3 comments:

andrewsmith said...

Eliot? I have to say, I'm not a big fan of that poem.

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

Abby, I wish I was at UNC. I relate so much to the "learning". (Your emphasis correctly placed, my dear.) I wish I was at UNC. I wish it so much.

One day I will call.
(Rather like a thief in the night-- just as dramatic as judgement day, I assure you...though definitely not as righteous. yet.)
Anna