03 December 2006

(my) liturgical traditions

I am a self-professed churchy geek.

One of the ways this is manifestly apparent is my love for the new church year and the opportunity that the liturgical seasons offer for doing new things in my life. I have a couple of traditions around the liturgical seasons that I thought I'd share.

The first (and one of my very favorites) is a variation on an old elementary school thing, I think. I write a letter to myself at the beginning or ending of a liturgical season or a particular time in my life. Then I seal it up in an envelope with my name on it. And I hide it. I tend to find these at the oddest times, since I've usually forgotten all about them, but it's always a pleasure to hear my own wisdom from the past in the present.

I also like to make resolutions. This is kind of like Lenten practices, but it isn't always about sacrifice. It's also kind of like New Years Resolutions, but I'm often overly ambitious with those -- I've given up entirely on them now, because they're pointless (to me). I still haven't accomplished the things I wrote down at 13! (which, to be fair, included learning about 7 languages, most of them wildly obscure)

My liturgical season resolutions tend to be more about process and developing good practices than about accomplishing 10 things as fast as possible. I've been toying with what I might do this Advent. I'm really tempted to commit to the daily office in a new and vigorous way. But I also know that I have so much on my plate right now, and such a hard time fitting everything in, that adding yet another commitment might not be what is best for me.

Perhaps I can use the time I have in more effective ways. I've been sufficiently burnt out from both ends and exhausted that I haven't been doing so. That is a dangerous cycle, because I end up farther behind, feeling guilty, desperately trying to catch up and wistfully thinking of January.

So: my Advent commitment is to use my time effectively: for rest, for studies, for relationships, for keeping Sabbath, for prayer, for God. I might get around to that daily office thing, but that will be my reward for spending time well, not another burden.

And while I'm confessing, I just want to record a few things I should do more of, because I enjoy them and I don't do them enough: dates with my husband, writing letters to friends, walks in the outdoors, talking to my Dad and Jennifer, talking/writing to my sister, visiting museums, baking scones and other delights, feeding "my" squirrels.