Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blittery Butterflies

"Quakers have not abolished the clergy; they have abolished the laity."

Social Worker, Social Worker, Social Worker, Bean Counter, Social Worker, Social Worker, Social Worker, Social Worker, Bean Counter,

Oops, sorry, that would be RantWoman during the introductory go-around at about any gathering of Quakers meaning to do business. RantWoman realizes she is leaving out poets, teachers, lawyers, but she is forgiving herself this taxonomic oversight. RantWoman customarily counts herself among the bean counters. Thus imagine RantWoman's surprise when she recently found herself having to coach someone even more challenged on the pastoral counseling front than RantWoman, namely RantMom.

RantWoman is quite humble about this venture and apologizes to those for whom the following RantWoman moments seem entirely obvious and unremarkable.RantMom is not a Quaker. She is a Presbyterian who belongs to a lovely church with a gifted woman pastor who appreciates classical music and has more than once in RantWoman's presence summoned words exactly right for a given situation. The other interesting point is that RantMom is new in the church and has more energy than some of the longtime members. RantMom is also eager to be connected and is quite gifted in some respects, though she also has one assignment for which, in our local meeting vernacular, "that name would not have occurred to me."

RantWoman dines fairly often at RantMom's and these feasts are one of the more special parts of living in the same town as adults. Besides watching RantMom work through her "that name would not have occurred to me" duties is one of those gifts of spiritual growth that happen sometimes. That name would still not have occurred to me, but it seems to be rising remarkably to the occasion, well except for one point.
At RantWoman's last visit RantMom was gritching as only RantMom can about one of the women from her church and then RantMom let on her name.

RantWoman recognized this name fondly: when the RantSisters threw RantMom a 70th birthday party at the church, this person emailed several lovely digital photos of the event. RantWoman listened a bit longer, until somewhere past when she might easily have detached from RantMom venting and finally suggested RantMom ask the object of her vexations whether there is anything they might pray about together. RantWoman knows perfectly well from being at RantMom's when prayer chain calls have come in that there is. Finally RantWoman realized that RantMom is RantMom and will act as lead. However, RantWoman herself could perfectly well take initiative, summon other topical commonalities, and send email on her own behalf, including quite pointed suggestions related to one of the prayer chain topics.

RantWoman is very humble about seeming to have found the right words, not only to exchange info about the topic she already knew of but also to tiptoe into other zones of family common ground related to RantBrother and the other woman's son. RantWoman saw this person on Saturday and learned she is due to have surgery but RantWoman, with her finely-grained memory of details about such matters remembers only the content of the surgery not the exact date and therefore will pray daily until shown otherwise.

In the meantime, RantWoman is also making exceptions to her generalized allergy to everything that ever looks smells or tastes like an email chain letter. The woman who sent the photos recently sent RantWoman the most lovely piece of email spam full of just the sort of glittery butterflies RantWoman would even be able to stand sending out if she EVER went near any such behavior. RanWoman is of course not sending along the glittery butterflies or even posting them to her blog but she is kind of hoarding them, hanging on to them to cast her tired eyeballs over fondly from time to time with extra prayers for the bafflements of the human condition.

Glittery butterflies.

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