Liturgy Practicum 1: Domestic Cult Practice in ADF, Question 4, Entry 10
Week beginning 10/16/06 - The Conflict of Mundanity
Sunrise devotionals have gotten harder in recent weeks. Much harder. This has nothing to do with my resolve, and everything to do with my job.
On Monday, sunrise began occurring at a time that moved out of the "gray area" of "Can I make it to work on time?" and into the hard category of, "If I leave now, no matter what, I am going to be late." That "gray area" ends at about 7:40, and sunrise Thursday morning was 7:47.
I certainly saw that this would eventually happen. When I wrote out the times almost a month ago, I saw that they were going to get to this point.
But you see, the thing is: I didn't think I'd have the ability to keep doing this beyond one week.
Um, go piety?
I really, honestly thought that, like so many other things I've done recently with my life, this would be an abject failure. I'm not even joking on this: in the words of Buffett, "Everything seems to be wrong." The constant focus of others on my shortcomings has often led me to focus on the same, to accept that view. In both my work and my personal life, I receive far more criticism than praise. Of course, Buffett also had an answer: "Waitress, I need two more boat drinks." My own answer seems to have taken care of itself: "Waitress, can I light a candle in this restaurant?"
My maintenance of these devotionals has been, simply put, one of the most amazing things I have ever accomplished. It's simple, private, and no one will ever be able to verify that I do these when no one is looking, but this is a bigger accomplishment to me than buying my first house, nailing that first job interview, and graduating from college. It will never appear on my resume, nor will I ever believe it makes me better than another person. It's deeper to me than my Dedicant Oath or my Consecration. It is the daily fulfillment of my Dedicant Oath and the words spoken at my Consecration, and these rituals make me very happy, and I firmly feel that the inconvenience they cause is worth it.
Of course, they have also tested and stressed my ability to adapt to changing conditions within my worship. Which leads me back to the topic at hand.
So this week, after returning from Minneapolis, I suddenly realized that I had left the "gray area" and was now deep into the black "you'll never make it to work on time!" area. Between Tuesday of last week (my last morning in at work before leaving for Minneapolis) and today, the sunrise has moved 10 minutes later.
When I fully realized that this would be a problem eventually (about two weeks ago at this point), I thought about my options:
As you can see, two weeks ago, I didn't have a single good idea regarding this problem.
On Monday, though, as I drove into work late because my devotional timing was poor, I found myself solidifying an idea that I had flirted with briefly but never fully formed.
My devotionals are tied very strongly to my personal altar. The permanent altar in my bedroom has gotten more use in the past two months than it has in the past two years because I have made a conscious, sincere effort to be standing in front of it twice a day every day. Because of this tie, I have had some real amusing experiences trying to maintain my work at my altar. Some have gone well, some have really not.
But what my mind focused on as I drove into work was the fact that I don't require my altar. Sure, it's nice to have, but I do own a portable one (thanks, Mazi!), and I can use that with just as much effect. Heck, I don't actually even need that, though it's nice to have it available.
So I settled on doing my morning rituals somewhere near or on campus. The ideal place is either Tuttle Park or the Chadwick Arboretum, though as the timing comes down to 8 AM, I might need to just do it in the bushes in front of Baker Systems. It might be interesting to get pictures of the weird places I put my altar in the near future, especially given Thursday morning's weird placement.
Thursday morning's sunrise devotional was interesting. I found myself entirely unable to get out of bed that morning: a combination of staying up far too late on Tuesday and just not making it to bed until 11 PM on Wednesday made my ability to move early completely non-existent. I managed to shower, dress, and feed the cats, and then it was out the door, about fifteen minutes later than I wanted to be.
Driving to work, I realized I wouldn't make it to either the Arboretum or Tuttle Park before 7:47 AM. This was disappointing, and I thinking hard about places to stop that were convenient.
Amazingly, it was a convenience store that I stopped at. Yes, the pun hurts.
In the bushes on the corner of Lane and High, I did a quick ritual, singing the Clergy Charm, lighting my candle and praying to Usas.
My day went well after that.
On Friday, I wrote the following prayer to Cernunnos, to be said at my altar for morning rituals:
Friday, October 20, 2006:
I looked at the drive to Chicago ahead of me, and, because I was taking Maggie with me, I stopped by her house and did a devotional in the back yard at sunset as she was walking her dog. Then it was off to Chicago.
Arriving in Chicago, I looked up the sunrise and sunset times for that locality, and spent most of the weekend wallowing in mundanity following that. I wallowed so deeply, in fact, that I managed to *not* do an evening devotional either Saturday or Sunday. This didn't please me much, I admit, but it felt "okay", so I didn't push it. I've always been of the opinion that we need to take vacations from devotionals from time to time , as well as vacations from work, play, and everything else. I think that I'm settling into a pattern where, should I need to do a devotion, I will do it. It just so happens that right now, I need them about twice a day.
I'm sure that there will be more of this conflict come next Monday.