Sunday, 15 March 2009

A lovely day

Oh, internets, I had such a good day today.

The weather was beautiful for cycling. I woke up in plenty of time and with more energy than I've any right to given my recent schedule; the normally-takes-thirty-minutes-mostly-uphill initial part of my commute was only twenty or twenty-five today. The glorious sunshine continued all day. The plums are in full flower now and the magnolias are not far behind. What a blessing.

Teaching was challenging and tiring, as always. Nothing about teaching today was spectacularly dismal, and nothing about it was spectacularly wonderful, except that teaching is always miraculous somehow. Some of my students are working toward exams, others have more personal goals; all are progressing, though not always in the directions they and I think we would like. Sometimes I have the joy of finding a student who responds well to my teaching and learns to love what is essentially a very difficult subject requiring much discipline and much courage. Sometimes, discovering with a student that actually, they don't want to learn this instrument or even this subject... sometimes that's still successful teaching. I am savoring the last few lessons with a student I've taught for several years now, she is at a point where it is time for her to move on, and though I'll miss her I know that this is right. I love every one of my students dearly and want to teach them as well as I can. I'm keenly aware that every challenge they bring me is an opportunity for me to improve as a teacher and grow as a person. And I get paid for this, enough to live on if I'm frugal. What a blessing.

After that I went down to Leafy Suburb Church for Evensong. The journey went well and I saw a rather beautiful sunset. I'm starting to be known at Leafy Suburb Church, everyone was very welcoming. Before the service I ended up discussing hymnody with... well, I'd have to call them friends by now really. There were some moments of perhaps not-entirely-Lenten levity. I feel welcome there. What a blessing.

The service itself was good. Hymns maybe a bit on the slow side--a Lent thing perhaps?--but two of them to tunes I know and love. Someone had printed out the pointed psalms and music for them and left them on the ledge and this meant I was able to join in with the choral psalmody in a way I haven't previously. I found myself whispering small bits of the Apostles' Creed, though I still find much of it I can't accept and so won't utter. And that, too, seems to be okay, seems to be accepted. There is a warmth of spirit, a goodwill and lovingkindness in the worship at Leafy Suburb Church which seems almost tangible at times. What a blessing.

Of course, I'm hopelessly biased about Leafy Suburb Church, because the main reason I make the journey all that way is to see Deacon Friend. I don't think she expected me to come to every choral Evensong. I didn't expect I would be able to but it has worked out that way so far. And so in a friendship that is mostly conducted on e-mail these days, today there were shared smiles, eye contact, commiserations over our respective deadline pileups, that near-instant visual appraisal of another's wellbeing that renders the small talk of "How are you?" moot except as a conversational placeholder, the polite and a bit tired (we'd both been working all day, after all) chitchat that in some relationships seems to bring people closer rather than hold them at arm's length. We're both very busy and Leafy Surburb is a good 90 minutes' commute from where I live, so we don't get to see each other much; every visit is a blessing. And every visit reminds me, in turn, what a blessing this woman is to the world and what a blessing this friendship is in my life, what a blessing so many other friendships are to me.

Even the journey home seemed charmed: I didn't have to wait long at either of the two changes, which always makes things a little easier. That's a small thing, but still very much a blessing. All of the little joys I've mentioned can be seen as small or insignificant in face of the trials and evils in this world, but not to acknowledge them and partake of them would just be to add to the trials.

What blessings did you notice today?

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