Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thinking About the New Year, and Goats

The cats are curled up in their basket together by the heating vent. Punkinseed is licking Dodger's head, and vice versa. It's rather sweet. BearGoddess once told us she'd never seen two cats who were so cuddly with each other. But pretty soon, one will have had enough and will jump out of the basket to nap elsewhere. For a while.

The new year is starting off with great promise for me/us, even though so much is unknown. I'm rather quite thankful to have 2008 over with, and whatever 2009 may bring, certainly it can not be anywhere near as stressful as last year. Or even the first 6 months of last year, which took the next 6 months to get over.

I started going to spiritual direction again a couple of weeks ago. I think in many ways I was just worn out, spiritually, emotionally...but I thought I should be better. My guide reminded me that we passed the anniversary of the arrest in October, and in her listening it sounded like my energy dropped significantly after that. Which it did. You can tell that here at the Window, too.

This is why you go to spiritual direction, see. For someone to listen to what is being said underneath the saying of it. She offered me St. Francis as a model -- St. Francis quietly building the church (the church, and maybe myself) back together, even when it was just him and the birds and the sun and the moon, St. Francis talking and singing with the animals. I liked that. I remembered that I have a St. Francis carving, from New Mexico, which sat in my carrel but has been in the bag into which I packed all my carrel stuff back in June, and has yet to be unpacked. Still. Even though I told her I would.

But I like imaging St. Francis and the animals, and I think it's what I like about going to the farm to hang out with the goats. It's just simple, and quiet, and I feel so calmed down because I have to slow down -- I get to slow down -- because you can't be all rowdy with goats, you have to be quiet or they get all riled up and then it's nearly impossible to put them to bed at night. Anyway, I get to slow down and just speak sweet to the mamas when I try to milk them, and talk to the little ones, and move slowly among them and scratch their heads and look into their surprisingly tender eyes. I thank the mamas for their patience with me for being so new and unskilled at milking. I thank the chickens for their eggs. I tease Arlo for being spoiled. I inhale the clean, manure-y smell of the barnyard and pray the bears and mountain lions leave these sweet animals alone.

Here's a story: When I was about 9 years old, my family all went to the grocery store in Austin, TX. We'd just moved there from Arkansas so daddy could go to seminary. Anyway, we went to the store, and when we came out, there was a family there selling baby goats. I don't really remember what they looked like, but I do remember that I wanted one. Badly. I still remember the little chant I made up and hollered in the back of the car all the way home:
I want a little baby goat!
I want a little baby goat!
I don't care what anybody says,
I want a little baby goat!

Well I guess I sort of have my own, adopted, little baby goat now, Arlo -- who is not quite so little now but who has his own byline on the Westfarm blog...isn't he cute!

I have been thinking about my prayers for 2009 -- not my resolutions or even my intentions, but my prayers. One of my prayers is to spend more time up at the farm. It's good self-care for me (and it helps support local, sustainable agriculture).

Other prayers I have for 2009:

--My little base community that we started in June is planning some big steps, particularly moving from a space that's free to a space we would have to pay for, so that we can be in the neighborhood where we feel called to be, the latino immigrant neighborhood where people are really suffering from anti-immigrant sentiment and prejudice. We have to find the money to be able to do this. So we're doing the work we need to do, and praying.

-- I should be ordained within the next few months. HappyChurch has agreed to partner w/my community, naming it has a ministry of theirs so that they can call me and I can be ordained. We are finalizing the partnership agreement and call letter over the next couple of weeks, and then HappyChurch will vote on it all at their congregational meeting on February 1. I am so thankful for their support.

-- I enjoy my part-time work and am thankful that it pays me just enough to pay my bills plus a little extra. School loans begin coming due this month, and I am also thankful that I was able to consolidate almost all of them and will end up paying about half of what I was originally going to. HUGE relief!

-- I pray that as the year unfolds, I'll continue to be able to balance my job, my ministry, and my activism, and still protect time for self-care and for cielo-care. So far I think we are doing well at this, although things got a little wacky in December.

-- I am looking forward to celebrating my cielo's graduation from Iliff in June. I am so proud of you, mi amor!

-- We are praying for a new house, discerning whether we should buy (for the first time) or rent again. We just know that we are ready to be out of this house. This house has served us well but having a basement neighbor has been trying. It's not really the person's fault, but it has been months since we've slept a full night through because she gets up very early to let the dog out, and the stairs and door are right next to our bedroom. We hear everything. The bathroom fan downstairs rattles our bedroom floor, for example. Anyway, we are just done, and we are "praying in" a new home. Here are some specifics, in case you want to help: 3 bedrooms, a place for the kitties' box that's not in our living space (like a basement or something), lots of windows for light but with windows that are energy-efficient and raise up-and-down for using window fans (not these ancient crank windows like we have now), wood floors, decent-sized kitchen, yard, not too close to the street, off-street parking. And, of course, in our price range.

-- I'm praying for better health this year. I had colds at least 4 times that I can think of in 2008, including during my trial and the last two weeks of the year, as well as bad allergies. I usually am good for maybe one cold a year. I want to take better care of myself physically, take my vitamins, start doing yoga again, start walking.

-- I guess, too, I'm just praying for faithfulness as things unfold, praying for my "hope muscles" to regain their strength and suppleness, praying for tenderness and strength for myself.

-- And peace, so many prayers for peace.