Dogs at the Table

...or to put it another way, "Perish, priest!"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Storm Day

After an unusually warm winter, thus far -- a brown Christmas, shirt-sleeves and sweaters in January, trees starting to bud and green patches on the lawn -- we are having our first winter storm day. Snow and falling ice overnight have cancelled the day. I suppose I'm in one of the few jobs where I could, if inclined, do little or nothing during the week except read, pray and respond to emergencies as needed. It's not in my nature, though. I recognize that I'm driven and over-functioning, and, once September comes, seldom have sequential days off.

That's why I treat days like this as a gift. Today would have been two meetings, and liturgical planning for the weekend. Last week was the complilation and completion of the Annual Reports. I really need a day to do nothing much more than read and pray. Maybe play computer games. Maybe nap. And because the school board cancelled school, I have this sense of being able to slack off with a clear conscience.

The problem comes, of course, when this kind of rationalization begins to infect the moral and ethical decisions we make. If I can excuse my actions in one part of my life so easily, what happens when I'm confronted with the hard decisions which constantly confront and confound us. If we can find ways to abrogate our responsibilities by taking advantage of some set of fortunate circumstances, what does that say about us?

I haven't reached the point of feeling guilty about a much-needed day off, but as I hear the reports of traffic accidents, and flight delays, and people losing wages because they can't work today, the least I can do is remember that not everyone is in my fortunate circumstance.

Today's weigh-in: 231 lbs. Signs of improvement.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


It is the season of resolutions. Every year at this time, we look at the “book” that we call our lives and search for our place on the page. As the new calendar opens a new chapter for us, we use the beginning of January to set out our priorities, craft a new plot line, work on the development of our character, and consolidate the events of the past year into a coherent image of ourselves that we can carry forward.

For me, it is the reminder that I struggle with weight and fitness issues; it is the reminder of relationships past, present and future; it is the time when I list my shortcomings and see what I can do about some aspects of my life that I think I can change. I have publicly acknowledged some of my character flaws: a lack of organizational and administrative skills (I use a vertical filing system organized on generally accepted archeological principals); a tendency to procrastinate (the pressure of a deadline is tremendous motivation); a cynical nature (don’t ever call me “nice” – I think it’s an insult); and an expectation that people will behave honorably towards me and towards others (I’m still not sure why this isn’t so).

So to begin 2007, I resolve to drop 15 pounds (see the weigh-in, below). I resolve to finish up the administrative tasks, especially filing and document registration, left over from last year. And I resolve to write more regularly. I’m not sure why this is hard for me – crafting sermons is a weekly discipline; writing articles, summaries, minutes, or correspondence is a breeze. But if you look at this blog, I can’t seem to maintain any semblance of dependable journaling.

It’s the first week of January. We’ll see.

Today's weigh-in: 233 lbs. Undisciplined.