Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day collide this year. The combination feels bizarre: a day associated with fancy meals and rich desserts has been forced to share a table with one that focuses on our failures. Yet a common thread weaves between: love.
“Why do they call it ‘rescuing’ a dog? That word makes it sound like they, personally, pulled the dog from a burning building. It’s virtue signaling, for sure. Call it what it is: you went to the pound and got a dog.”
Is anyone else exhausted after the rush of the holiday season? I feel as drained as my parents’ stock of batteries was when I got a Sega Game Gear one year for Christmas.
It took a few months of daily communication requiring translation software for me to notice the similarity. The software — Google Translate, a product called DeepL, and Apple\’s translator (which does to languages what its maps did a few years ago to geography) — seems to be close to accurate much of the time. Sometimes that is good enough. Often it isn\’t. The mistranslations are so serious so often that one learns to ask the correspondent to rephrase the sentence. With luck the realization comes before much damage is done, and war is averted.
Opening up X this week, I noted that the present beverage brewing tempests were the Internet meltdown over Taylor Swift’s new love interest and the honoring of an alleged Nazi in the Canadian parliament during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit. The invisible thread binding them was the Culture Warriors claiming to fight for Jesus who made these the cause célèbre.
This morning, I filled the sugar bowl. It was amazing. I paused for a moment, reveling in the luxury of having the time to spend on such a simple thing. A month ago, I would have let it sit empty for days —- possibly weeks. I would have chugged my morning coffee with a little extra creamer, telling myself, “I’ll get to it later, when I have enough time,” knowing full well that I would never have enough time.
We often say, “I love Jesus.” But how often do you hear, how often do you say, “I like Jesus”?
I remember a number of years ago, I was working in a storage warehouse at the university I was teaching at with one of my work study students. We were going through boxes trying to find something when a storm came through. We didn't even know there was a storm because there weren't any windows — we were completely dependent on lightbulbs for light. And then those lights went out. And it was dark. It was really dark.
Tuesday was the day that got designated for me to bring in the car, which was damaged September 7 by a deer that wanted to cosplay a hood ornament. It took 10 weeks because it seems as though many people have settled upon leisurely lives following the pandemic, and because our system is currently arranged so that we have a surfeit of experts in vague areas ending in “-studies” and a shortage of people who can actually do things.
Sweat dripped into his eyes. He felt his breathing quicken as the enemy forces crested the ridge to the south, moving inexorably toward him. The sword in his hand felt ponderous. He gripped it so tightly his knuckles went numb, as he willed himself to focus on the thrill of battle over the heaviness of fear. Could he wield his weapon, when the time came? Would it be enough? Would his training be enough?