Friday, May 14, 2010

Peacock of Doom

"It's the peacock of doom," intoned Barnacle Boy, looking over my shoulder at my dueling computers. The big screen on my desktop was cycling through a set of calm photos, with this one up as he came in. My laptop — onto which I was transferring some files — was working its way through my "calm" playlist.

I know that the Boy has a thing about pelicans, but didn't think it extended to other birds beginning with "p"...."Why doom?" "The music, Mom, the music..."

Ah....Arvo Pärt's De Profundis was playing. The text is Psalm 130 — the psalm for Night Prayer on Wednesdays in fact:

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication:
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
The Boy is prophetic, as it turns out, that was the peacock of doom. It's been a pretty intense semester for me, skating the thin edge of exhaustion far too often, but for the most part managing to keep things everything going that I needed to. Until yesterday...

Thursday dawned, after a scant 6 hours of sleep. I got showered and out the door with 5 minutes to spare before Morning Prayer. Looking forward to a few moments in the dark and still church before the 8 am Mass finished, I pull open the side door to see the main church lit up and full of people. Puzzled, I walked around to the front. Had so many people showed up for 8 am that they needed to shift to the larger sanctuary? And what was Fr. Frank doing still preaching at 8:20 -- had he overslept again? When I saw the cantor up front, the light dawned at last. It was Acsension Thursday. I was the cantor for the 8 am Ascension Thursday Mass. Except I was 20 minutes late, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt that read "Chemistry Chick."

The rest of day turned out to be an exercise in humility. Presiding at Morning Prayer, my cell phone suddenly chimes to announce a text message, then rings incessantly. Recounting my travails of the morning to Math Man, when I got to the part about not being quite clear about what was transpiring in the Church, he popped out with the punch line, "It's Ascension Thursday, a holy day of obligation, right?" He remembers, he's not scheduled to cantor, he's not even Catholic.

By the time my day wound down into the Examen, I was ready to ask, "Who Lord, could stand?" Alas, I was late for that, too. That was the psalm for the night before....


  1. I think I will make the Peacock of Doom my screensaver for the day.

  2. Michelle - I love you! Thank you for sharing the sort of experience that is horribly close to my regular lot at the moment.
    All shall be well....but I do hope and pray we both get a chance to catch up with ourselves before too long xxx

  3. Thanks, Wayne! And Robin -- re-reading this post I wondered why exactly I have De Profundis in my "calming" playlist???? The peacock, I get.

    Kathryn - it's good to know I'm not alone in my chaos and all that entails. May things settle to a simmer in your life, as well. I'm going on retreat in a week in hopes that if I stand still long enough the rest of me will catch me up!

  4. I have had days like that and know how very distressing it must have been--yet your witty retelling had TechnoGuy and me both giggling hard! May the preretreat tasks fly and flow and retreat be tremendously blessed. Got a bit of a preretreat list here too for today and tomorrow--let's pray for each other. And this Friday or Saturday I meet Robin IRL--a break my director agrees will be in the spirit of retreat. Can't wait!