Perhaps I would dream of what to write about, I thought as I set up this eMo last night, to go out this morning. I have an early train to catch, and not much time for inspiration. And not much inspiration, even if I had the time. So I addressed it, typed "The Almost-Daily eMo from the Geranium Farm Copyright 2001-7 Barbara Crafton" into the subject line and typed in the title, "Wednesday in Holy Week." Then I waited a bit. Nothing. Then I went to bed.
To dream after dream of frustration: I was at a play, but was also supposed to be leading Evening Prayer at the convent -- something I never do, as sisters officiate, not guests. So I commuted back and forth between the chapel and the theater. I kept losing my prayer book, and trying to do it from memory, only to forget the prayers I have known since childhood. I kept finding prayer books, venturing once into the college chapel to borrow one, but they were all 1928s, with a set of color pictures in them where Evening Prayer used to be. There were seminary students in attendance, and one of them helped me out from time to time, while the others were dumbstruck at my utter lack of organization. There was a flying fish, orange in color, whose presence distracted everyone. Emily Mann directed the play and appeared afterward to greet audience members; she seemed unaware of the parallel Evening Prayer service failing all around her, but couldn't have been more gracious.
I awoke exhausted.
Things come apart. Your guides no longer guide you; even your strengths have grown weak. Your sleep does not refresh. Nothing you try works. Inexorably, the light fails.
But it never quite goes out. In the ancient liturgy of Tenebrae, often celebrated on this night, we begin with an abundance of candles. One by one they are extinguished, and the room grows darker and darker, until finally only one remains. Then even it is carried away, and we are in darkness. Then a loud noise -- an earthquake? the sound of resurrection? -- and the lone candle returns. There is just enough light to find our way out of the church.
Tomorrow: Geranium Journey to St. John's Lattingtown on Long Island at noon. Bag lunch and discussion with Barbara Crafton. 516-671-3226
Good Friday: St. Luke's Metuchen Ecumenical Preaching Service, 12-3pm. Barbara Crafton participates, the last of the preachers, not the first (as previously announced). 732-548-4308, ext 10.