Deliver Us

First things first. I am embarrassed to say that it took me this long because someone of my predilections should have known this long ago but here we are. Even as an ancient Egypt kid (as opposed to dinosaur kids, space kids, horse kids ect), I did not know. But this week has brought me truth:

The word ‘cat’ is very likely Egyptian in origin. One of a handful of words from that ancient language that exists today in modern English (and inspired the word in many, many other languages as well). Golly, those Egyptians were onto something. So cool.

And in celebration of that fact, here is the precious Pinky, making her debut appearance on this site. Give her a warm welcome.

Look, I know probably most of you aren’t all that interested in my socially distanced (or: status quo) journal of bleh introspection and baby self-discoveries but I can’t help it. I am what I am.


I don’t know why it took so long to put it together but I feel like I had a little breakthrough this week. I love personality tests but generally view them as interesting and sometimes helpful rather than definitive. But consider love languages (not personality types per se but in a similar vein). My highest has always been quality time.

And that, finally thinking about that for a sec in the midst of the right now, is it. I often feel unduly “socially needy” in large part because I want to message my friends all the time, about the most random things. Though in person, I think in generally less talkative (generally, okay?).

Chatting with friends virtually, I think, is a kind of stand-in for quality time. It’s a way for me to feel loved by people spending time on me. It doesn’t need to be particularly meaningful conversation, just frequent, sustained contact. That’s how I feel loved. In person, it doesn’t even have to be conversation, just proximity, really.

The past few years, in various ways, I’ve been more or less socially isolated for non-pandemic reasons and so I’ve developed virtual communication as a tool to help me when I’m not near friends physically. Not an earth-shattering discovery but a helpful change in perspective for me.

And by that same token, I shall hereby strive to be more cognizant of the ways in which best to love others, something that I have heretofore been lax in pursuing. Forgive me. I do love you.

This is also Holy Week for the Catholic and Protestant among us and I spent a sec watching clips of Prince of Egypt on YouTube because I could. And let me tell you, I love that movie so much. Here is a moment of Holy Week thoughts for you.

If you’ve seen the movie, you may recall its rousing introductory number, Deliver Us, which describes the whole slavery situation and the throwing Moses into the Nile deal. It is the people crying out to God for deliverance from bondage and into the promised land.

At the very end of the film, Moses has led his people out of Egypt and they are finally free. The closing shot is him coming down from Mt Sinai with two famous tablets in his hands. The music comes to a massive climax and then is suddenly quiet while we hear a lone voice repeat the call: “Deliver us!”

And therein lies Holy Week. The knowledge that, once delivered, God’s people were not yet free. Not truly. But Jesus came to be the deliverance that was sought–not just from slavery but from all darkness.

Now, of course, though Jesus did his whole thing and it is, in his own words, “finished,” there’s still plenty of waiting around for deliverance. Sometimes people talk about the ‘already and not yet’ of it all which is apt. Because though it’s all over and the battle against death has been won, we’re still in many ways waiting for deliverance. It’s a bit like living in an extended denouement of history where the main plot line has finished, we know how it’s all going to turn out, but we’ve still got to tie up loose ends and there are a ton of minor characters that have to play out their own little drama.

But anyway, the promise is that deliverance is coming (already here, and also yet to come, whatever). We can call out, “Deliver us!” and know that we will be delivered. From death and pain, from pandemic and war, from the isolation that comes from imperfect community even in the best of times.

Deliver us, God! And thank you for delivering us.

Better Left Empty

A friend of mine wrote a lovely post about emptiness, right at the onset of social distancing across much of the US and beyond. His post was broad-ranging and focused on other things, like the ongoing refugee crisis and what this pandemic can mean for those in camps. But one little bit really stood out to me.

In describing how many people are taking this opportunity to unplug themselves a bit from life in some ways, only to fill up watching Netflix or whatever. Which, he says, isn’t exactly a bad thing in and of itself, “unless it fills space better left empty.”

The past several months, I’ve had more than my share of empty time on my hands, what with working very part-time and not doing much else at all. So really, things haven’t changed much for me this past week because my behavior is already well-adapted to the times (yes, all those memes about introverts and social distancing are me). And I’ve often wished, at times quite ardently, that I had a little bit more to fill up on. More things to do, or more accurately, probably, more motivation to do even little things.

So now I’m sitting here thinking about what space is space better left empty. What are the spaces in my life where I could benefit from, not additional activity, but additional reflection. Spaces that I could ponder without filling. Spaces whose size and shape could teach me something. I’m not really sure where those places may be, and I’m pretty confident that I won’t know what do to with them if I find them. But I think the search is worthwhile even so. Just to know myself a little better–not just the things in my life but the bits that don’t get seen much, by me or by anyone.

And apparently, that’s all the space for introspection I have right now. Something is better than nothing, though. It’s worth coming back to, and I’m sure most of us have plenty of time right about now.

I have been baking some, which is always a good thing for me. Made some lovely brownies with a tangy cream cheese swirly bit on top, great combo. And some chocolate chip cookies because chocolate chip cookies are always a good option. Been hiking a bit as well, getting some Washington nature in as the season begins to change (hard to believe that we’re already almost to the solstice–it’s technically tonight!).

Wild to think that it’s essentially spring already. With everything going on, I’m not sure how much notice it will get. I did mostly forget that it was St Patrick’s Day just because it wasn’t really on my mind and I didn’t get out of the house. I have had some lovely walks, though, which have bee beneficial because I like walking and the weather is starting to turn and I went down to Glen Cove which is my favorite specific body of water, if I haven’t mentioned that lately.

Anyway. Taking a sec to go back to emptiness. I hope that you are given the peace and the space (metaphorical but also, six literal feet) to consider the places that the current crisis has emptied for you–or empty places that it has revealed to you.

I hope that you are able to consider those emptinesses in light of the things that have proven to be necessities. Toilet paper, apparently, but also connection, love, art, purpose.

I hope that lessons seen here and now are lessons that we remember. Watching the sick be treated without regard for payment. Watching the elderly be given attention that often they miss. Watching the air and water take a collective sigh of relief over our lessened emissions. Watching friend and neighbor working hard because they cannot afford not to. And a whole lot more.

And if you have no big social take-aways but you have learned something valuable about yourself or a loved one, then remember that, too. If you haven’t really been directly effected but you’ve taken note of those who are in need, from your own neighborhood to refugee camps around the world, remember that, too.

I think this would be a deeply terribly waste if we came away from this–and we will come away, sooner or later–having learned nothing and forgotten everything.