What a great weekend! I never want to forget what it was like to go ice skating with E for the first time. I was anxious about it because he usually has very little patience with himself when he is learning something new for the first time, especially anything physical. I was afraid that the first time he fell or realized that he would not be gliding effortlessly across the ice in the first five minutes that he would give up on the whole thing. We spent the morning warning him that it would not be easy, that he should not expect himself to be an expert the first time out there, etc.
Well, he was fantastic. Tenacious! And, at the beginning, hilarious! I wish I had a video to show you. He was between the two of us, one hand in each, and his feet were going every which way. I mean, everywhere all at once! I have never seen such craziness--and would not be able to imitate it if I tried.
I believe he thought that he was supposed to be moving his feet quickly, because he'd watched hockey players in movies and on TV and they go so fast. No matter how many times we told him, "Just keep your feet together for a while; don't try to take steps; just get the feel of gliding," he would still try and move his feet. It was comical, touching.
Of course, there I am, first time on the ice in 16 years, trying to keep my seven-year-old up between us. :)
But he kept at it. And at it. And at it. Each time around we saw a slight improvement. About 45 minutes into it, the rink offered a free 15 minute lesson for beginners. So the three of us went over and tried them out. I learned some good tips myself, never having had an ice skating lesson.
E was determined to perform well for the teacher. So he tried out some things that ended up improving his skill quite a bit. (There was a huge room for improvement). :) Then, in the second hour, the same lesson was offered again and E willingly went over and went through it a second time. I thought this was really smart, because of course by then he was even more comfortable on the ice.
I think we skated for about three hours! It was such fun. I'm really glad we did it. Unfortunately, it costs just enough that we can't manage to go all that often. Maybe once a month. It was $30 for the three of us. Am I crazy, or did it used to cost about $2 to go skating when I was little?
Second Sunday in Advent
Sunday school went really well yesterday. I started us out with folks answering the question, "How do you tell what time it is?" Of course, we started with responses like calendar and clock or watch. (Which was great, I wanted those up on the board.) But then, the longer I pressed the question, the more things we came up with: the sun; shadows (both hourly lengths of shadows and yearly lengths of shadows); seasons (leaves, nature); traffic (rush hour, blinking traffic lights at 1 a.m.); advertisements; holidays; commemorations of events (9/11, D-Day, Hiroshima-Nagasaki); school year; life events (births, deaths, baptism, menstruation, menopause), etc.
Then I used this as the jumping off place to talk about the liturgical year as another way of "Keeping Time." I highlighted the connection of the Easter Cycle with the Lunar Cycle (Easter is the first Sunday after the Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. And the connection of the Christmas Cycle with the Solar Cycle (the festival of Christmas associated itself with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, making the connection of Jesus as the Light of the World, coming into the world at it's darkest time).
Then I invited folks into three meanings of Advent. (1) Advent is a time for honesty--to address the brokeness of the world and our need for God. (2) Advent is not a time for pretending--we are not pretending that the Baby Jesus will be born at midnight on December 24. (3) Advent is a time for eschatological yearning--for God's Kin(g)dom to be realized on earth, for God's shalom to reign. Whether that is some ultimate end or a constant irruption of God's reign into the world, I don't know. But it is the yearning of Advent.
From there, B led us in some excellent stuff on moving through "Dark" emotions. I'm not sure what the copyright info is on that, so I'm reluctant to write much about it at the moment. (Besides, I'm writing way longer than I ought to be! Gotta get to work!)
We walked the class over then to the the sanctuary to take in the creche. Then we came back and, using the steps that Brent provided, I led us in a discussion about the space. This was great for me to see how folks were receiving the space. Folks shared a word, phrase, or impression of the space as we began the discussion time. One woman responded that she found the space to be "Huge" and "wondered how anyone could manage to preach or lead from that space." I loved her feeling about it. It connected with some of my own reflections over the past week about how to speak a strong enough word of Hope into that scene.
D. said he connected it with a documentary the two of us had watched just the night before called "Dark Days." A fascinating film that I highly recommend, especially for Advent viewing.
All in all, I personally found the Sunday school class helpful in processing the creche with some members of the congregation. It was a deepening of the experience for me. And really helpful to be able to hear how some folks were engaging with something I had a part in creating.
My brother sent me this link to a similarly "edgy" Christmas display inspired by Hurricane Katrina.
Okay, I have other things I want to write about,, but I have GOT to get some work done before lunch!