*Names and identifying details have been altered to protect the innocent people who could sue me.

April 18, 2011

Day 108

Dear all,

It’s amazing how warm 40 degrees can feel. We’ve had a beautiful weekend: sun shining, snow (mostly) melted, soft wind blowing, bears (mostly) unseen.

A friend was preaching at a nearby (1 hour drive) church this weekend, so together with some friends we spent Sunday morning there. No liturgy, no Eucharist, no ordained minister – it was certainly unlike any church service I had as yet attended. But the families were friendly, if somewhat populous, and the sermon was impressive in the ease and familiarity of its delivery. I may have had some (ok, many) disagreements about the content, but the service itself was good to observe, and wonderful to share with friends.

After church we climbed back into the truck and ate some leftover homemade pizza as we drove to the shooting range, from whence will arrive the forthcoming “How to Shoot a Gun: A Play in Three Acts.” Suffice it to say, for now, that I did in fact learn how to shoot a .12 gauge shotgun and a .45 pistol. My skills are enough that if we’re hiking in the woods and something happens to the primary gun carrier, I will be able to load and shoot at the oncoming bear or whathaveyou -- assuming it wasn’t approaching at a dead run. I probably won’t hit it with any kind of accuracy, but I could scare it away. The point, anyway, is that I’m more comfortable around a gun than I was before.

After the shooting range, the boys stayed outside to clean the guns and we headed inside to begin prepping for today’s Seder. After so much unfamiliarity it was a welcome comfort to take a pile of apples, a handful of nuts, and a dash of red wine and produce a charoset just like the kind I’ve always known. Some friends have been kind enough to host the meal, and I’ve put together a Hagaddah and all the symbolic elements, so tonight we will be one Jew and 12 Christians around the Passover table -- the numeric symbolism of which is both unplanned, and hilarious.

It remains to be seen just how tonight will go, but it was good this weekend to find a balance between the new and the age-old, the unknown and the familiar. Paradoxical sentiments are, at least in part, what tonight’s celebration is about: freedom and slavery, journey and arrival, old and new. Ours is meant to be a living faith: rooted in the past and thus able to embrace the present. Chag sameach – happy Passover!

Much love,

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