Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Janufeb

We're deep in the throes of what is in my opinion the worst time of the year. This year, the weather has been especially cold and smoggy. We're all cycling through various little flus and head colds. When Mark and I come downstairs in the morning to assess the coughing and sniffling anew, we find a miserable, blanket-wrapped child huddled over each heat vent.

A couple summers ago, we got tickets to a Salt Lake Bees baseball game. The sky was blue, the cheap hot dogs tasted great, and mountains were beautiful across the valley. Late in the game, when the sun had finally set and the crowds were thinning, I saw a man who had kicked off his flips-flops and propped his bare feet over the seat-back in front of him. He wiggled his toes luxuriously in the evening breeze. Even then, when weeks and weeks of permafreeze seemed impossible, I thought, "That's the image I'm going to remember next winter." And I have.

As it is, we comment on the balmy weather whenever it breaks about twenty-five degrees. A ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds is reason for celebration. And a night with no puking or coughing is an accomplishment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Old Testament year

So I'm two weeks in to my goal to read the entire Old Testament this year. After a little online browsing, I signed up for this plan, which emails me a reading assignment each day. With three chapters a day and five on Sundays, I'll finish the King James Version on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. I banned myself from reading anything else if I'm ever behind schedule--a harsh consequence indeed.
My sewing station / business desk / bedside table / scripture reading study.

(Side note: Did you know that if you google "scripture reading chart" all the results are Mormon, but if you google "scripture reading plan" they are not. What does it mean?? I guess I come by my fetish for charts honestly.)

So far I'm on Leviticus 15, way ahead of schedule. And I'm reading Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament, a sort of LDS-geared reference digest, as I go. And I have to tell you, I'm loving it. I don't have to give myself consequences or pep talks to keep going--I'm drawn to reading each day like I am with any other good book.


I've always said I was a New Testament girl--which I am, being a Christian and all--and that I didn't really have a testimony of the Old Testament. In fact, I've often scoffed at the poor Old Testament with its crazy, historically suspect (at best) tales and Byzantine ethical code. But now I'm seeing the truth of what they always say, which is that the Old Testament is the foundation Christ built his gospel on. In fact, it's the same gospel, but in an alluringly simplified, concretized, but symbolic form. I feel I now understand Christ's gospel better because my eyes are opened to the referents of all the symbolism and phraseology we use to try and describe Christ and the atonement.
I've had this scripture color code going for years. I need to spend some time transferring all the orange highlighting from my old scriptures to the new ones so  I can just thumb through and find all my favorite sections on the atonement.

Whenever my deep-thinking children get tied up in a theological conundrum (Who created God? Why are some people bad? How could God create Satan?), I tell them to try to explain algebra to Betsy (or whoever is our current little one). Algebra is true, Betsy is smart, but trying to explain it to her in her current state of maturity is totally futile. 

I think it must be similar for us humans trying to understand God. He's real, and we'll be able to understand him one day. But for today, he's beyond our grasp. So in the meantime, we have parables and symbols and rituals that let us glimpse him, start to get the gist. Truth in the form we can swallow. And as we study and live that, we become more like him, ready to understand more about him.

So yes, I'm well on my way to becoming one of those annoying people who raves about the joys of Isaiah.