Lent, Luther, and a Whole Lot of Confusion

ashwednesdayI was a freshman in college.  And, in order to attempt making small talk, I’d just asked a Protestant student from one of my English classes—whose favorite topic was talking about his church—if he was doing anything for Ash Wednesday.  He stared at me as if I’d just asked him what he was doing for Chocolate Moon Day.

“It’s the first day of the season of Lent,” I said, trying to jog his memory.

“What’s Lent?” He blinked at me looking confused.  Guess there was nothing to jog.

“Well, it’s when some church-going folks set aside special time for God.  Sort of like Advent during the holidays—when people read a section of the Bible and light a candle.  Lent is a reflective, thoughtful time, so some people will sometimes fast or give something up in order to focus.”

Looking skeptical, he asked what kind of church I went to.  At the time I was identifying as a displaced Presbyterian and I was somewhat irregularly crashing at a local Lutheran church while I figured things out.

“Lutheran?”  He questioned.  The word sounded foreign to him as the syllables left his mouth.  “Is it a Protestant church?”

“Of course, Lutherans are Protestants!  Martin Luther is who the Lutherans are named after.”  A surprised but not snarky reply.

He just blinked at me.

“Martin Luther … as in the Reformation?”

“Martin Luther, huh?  Are you sure you’re not a Catholic?”  He looked at me suspiciously.

“Well, I’m not really a Lutheran …. but, yes, I’m sure Lutherans aren’t Catholics.  Lutherans broke off from the Catholic Church during the Reformation.”

More confused blinking.

“Really, they’re not Catholics, Lutherans were the very first Protestants.”

“Well, I’ve never heard of them before.”  He said still looked highly skeptical, but commented how it was “interesting” and that he’d never heard any of the stuff about Lent or Luther before.  He self-identified as being Protestant and he’d never heard of the Reformation or Martin Luther?  I invited him to attend the Ash Wednesday service with me, but he was playing Frisbee with his church youth group and that took precedence.

I thought my classmate and I had finally made some headway, but the next time I ran into him at school he asked: “So, Kelsey, how’s Lent going?  Hey, what religion did you say you were again?”

Sigh.

Saturday’s Song: "Let’s Dance"

I happened to stumbled across this slow, beautiful, bluesy cover of David Bowie’s energetic song “Let’s Dance” while dinking around online yesterday.  Not as keen on the original, but I’m in love with this version.  It’ll likely be on repeat for awhile. 

Man, this song makes me want to go dancing.  

An absolutely beautiful version of “Let’s Dance” performed by M. Ward

Feeling Somber: The Death of a Terrorist

angel-in-irish-cemeteryThe sheer level of devastation that has been caused by one person is overwhelming. And his death, even if it does provide a sense of closer to some, doesn’t even begin to take away the damage.  For the people impacted the most by 9/11, I imagine this only brings back all their grief afresh. 

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The Bereavement Rollercoaster

rollercoasterIf I’d been asked to describe the progression of grief a few years ago, I would’ve assumed that it’d work through a nice orderly timeline.  It’d start at the loss and work through different emotions (anger, sadness, frustration, etc.) in some sort of logical order.  Each emotion would be a level and once worked through, you’d move on to the next stage in the process. Eventually, you would reach the finish line and, although it might not make you want to dance with joy, the subject would cause little or no pain and you would be back to “normal.”

I’ve since concluded that grief does not follow a systematic timeline with a designated, concrete finish.  Instead, it often reminds me of a rollercoaster—up and down, to and fro, and all without any warning.  You hang on so tight your fingers hurt, scream your head off, and try not to get sick on the unlucky person who is seated in front of you. Continue reading

How Do I Talk to Someone Who’s Grieving?

confused-personMy psych teacher offered some great, practical advice when posed with the question: “How do I talk to my friend  whose grandma died?  Does she want me to talk about it or should I just ignore the subject?”  My teacher’s reply: “Have you tried asking what she wants?” 

I don’t know why, but it seems like many people, myself included, feel like they ought to instinctually know how to relate to a friend or family member who’s grieving and whether to bring “it” up or just pretend like nothing has even happened.  It feels like I should just know what to do, so I sometimes feel badly because I’m honestly completely clueless.  It leave me feeling like a social klutz.      

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The Art of Mastering the Stapler

milton_staplerAs with any skill, the art of mastering the stapler requires dedication, determination, and above all proper instruction. Many innocent fingers have experienced the sharp bite and terrible discomfort of a stapler releasing its venom simply because the user had not received suitable teaching on the proper stapling technique, which is precisely why I am writing.

Once you have decide the stapler is your desired weapon of choice, and that you are man enough to take on this hazardous task, begin by locating the pieces of paper you wish to be stapled. Once found, it is very important you insure your pages are in the correct order before staple. You do not want to have to resort to using a staple remover unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Not only will your pages bare the lasting mark of a poorly thought-out stapler bite, but it will also earn you a reputation around the office as being stapler inadequate, which is one of the hardest reputations for an office worker to shake.

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