January 4, 1998

There is absolutely nothing like being able to sink up to my chin in water hot enough to make my muscles relax on contact with rose scented bubbles, the flicker of a dozen candles and the sound of the rain beating cold on the roof.

Nothing. It made for a very pleasant end to a mostly pleasant day, all in all.

It was a very busy day. A way too early day. Had to get up around 7am to get myself together enough to get to the church around 8am.

I'd stayed up a bit too late talking with Raven in email. A very, very useful conversation that got me to work through a few things that I probably have to work through myself, some of it to get it so that I'm not haunted by Mark anymore, and get it so that I can just enjoy my friendship with him instead of being stupidly angstful about what is now dead and past and gone. Raven is good about asking the right questions, about being sure when he really is, but giving himself the room to be wrong when he is unsure. That helps, that extra room, in making for really productive conversations that really do communicate rather than just rant.

I'd spent quite a bit of time that evening also cutting up the bread for communion. It's been nearly three or four years since I was in charge of actually serving communion, so I was a little nervous, but not badly so, as I'd gone through it the month previous just to see how the other deacons were doing it. Commented to Regis while we were wandering towards Titanic that being a deacon was a lot like that saying about sausages. She got it immediately.

If you love religion and all it's trappings and ceremony, don't get caught by having to do them, or you'll likely find that it's more like impromptu theater than, well, what some folks think religion should be like. Then again, given who reads this, maybe you'd have fun on the odd stage that is other people's religious experiences. Okay, those of you that don't think you'd burst into flame on walking over a church's threshold.

Now, personally, I prefer unleavened bread for communion, as it's... well, it's *right*. The Last Supper was during the Jewish holiday of Passover, and they wouldn't be serving leavened bread. Okay, if I were a real stickler, I'd also say that it really should be wine instead of grape juice as well. So I will. There are, however, kids in the congregation and a few folks in the congregation would have a fit if we gave even a tiny bit of wine to children. But lately, we've been doing things by intinction and the main way to do it is to have regular bread, cut up in cubes, and grape juice in the goblets that folks dip their bread in and then take and eat.

So I got the best bread I know of, which is from Great Harvest bakery. They stone grind their own flour each morning and it lends a really interesting texture to their bread that I've had no where else. So I got three loaves of that. I should have gotten only one. Lots of leftovers. I think I've got blessed stuffing and blessed bread pudding, now. *grin* But even as I got a few comments that it was cut a bit large, I also got quite a few comments that it was very good bread. Which amused me.

The services went well, as usual, and there were, as usual, a few mistakes in the bulletin (i.e. the program for the day's events) and the choir stepped in nicely for the spots that weren't there. Someday I'm going to have to sit Sally down and say, "Look... put these things *IN*." on Friday or something. She's constantly forgetting to put the deacon's moment in and it's just driving me nuts.

Well, on communion, there isn't supposed to be a deacon's sharing as someone or someones commented that they wanted the sharing out to make the service somewhat reasonable in length. John Randlett used to shorten his sermon by five minutes, but Lee's never done that. I think it's mostly because she believes that people are coming to see her and would rather sacrifice the deacon's time for her own. Which, if that's her belief, makes sense.

Yeah. Bits of bitterness here and there. If I really wanted to complain, I should probably just go and get a degree in all this and get ordained or something and see what I can do for real, if that were to be my path. But I have, likely, too many doubts to actually do that.

Collapsed in front of the TV after a lunch of homus with that lovely soft pita and watched Denver versus Kansas City for about ten minutes before dropping into sleep. John watched the game while I napped, and I woke intermittently until the end of the game. Then it was time to make dinner and more Babylon 5 than one could shake a stick at.

Quite a while ago, John and I bought cornish game hens, frozen rock solid. I'd gotten one for when John was away on a business trip, so I'd have a treat for when he was gone; but I didn't have the time to cook it the one evening, so we bought another later on and pulled both out to thaw when we got home from church. The little buggers weren't nearly thawed by the time I was ready for 'em, so a lot of icy cold water and wrestling with the little carcasses later, I finally got the giblets out of the main cavity and enough stuffing in them to be useful at making a dent in the extra bread.

Roasted 'em with olive oil to baste them with. Did the usual heat the oven to searing point, put 'em in and then turn it down for a thorough, slow roasting so that it was all done. They turned out tender, juicy, and lovely. So it was bird and stuffing and red cabbage salad. We finally finished that off. And while the birds were roasting I made my first bread pudding that actually turned out. It is actually a lot like French toast in a bowl, and I added dried blueberries instead of raisins, which was very nice with the cinnamon and vanilla.

Had a gorgeous mug of brilliantly red hibiscus tea, watched Babylon 5 until it was coming out of my mind and on the second turn of the shows, I went upstairs, took my bath and went to bed happily warm and content as the rain beat down outside.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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