Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One Sunday Morning

Repetition was, for better or worse, a large part of my education. It started early as I recited the presidents chronologically in 2nd or 3rd grade.

"George Washington; John Adams; Thomas Jefferson...."

And then there was "The Village Blacksmith" in 4th grade.

"Under a spreading chestnut tree, the village smithy stands..."

Middle-school ushered in an era of Latin conjugations.

"Amo, amas, amat...."

How my parents and I avoided losing our minds during my finals is beyond me.

Repetition, for better or worse, sticks. Thrown off of a horse in high-school, I remember staring up at a sea of faces, trying to regain a bearing on where I was and when and why. Terrified by my own inability to dig out of the confusion that clouded my mind, I grasped frantically for some piece of reality to hold.

On that hot July day, bruised, sore, reality and dreams blending as I faded in and out of consciousness, the first thing that came to mind was the page of my Latin textbook that I had so carefully committed to memory.

"Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant..."

I worked my way slowly and painfully through the familiar forms, working myself out of the hazy muddle back into the light of reality.

On Sunday, after a long week of chaos and crisis and busy-ness and work that seemed to have no end, I stood in church and repeated familiar lines.

"I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth..."

Once again out of the murky darkness of the week's labor, repetition provided me with an anchor to reality, a reality bigger than myself or work or politics or world news.

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God..."

Slowly my head stopped swirling and my heart stopped racing and my mind stopped rushing as quiet settled over me.

"For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven . . ."

And through the darkness, I grasp for something real and unchanging and solid. In the midst of questions and confusion, the repetition reminds me of the real and the certain and draws me back to what I know.

"He suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again . . ."

Perspective regained. Priorities reordered. The important things, the really important things, sifted to the top above the clamor and demands of the transitory and fleeting.

"And his kingdom will have no end."

And once again, the repetition of the familiar slowly lifted me out of the hazy shade back into the light.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Good things.

Sarah said...

I Love, You (sing) Love, He, she It, love, We Love, You(Plural) Love, They Love. :-) And that was just out of memorization. So don't be mean if I translated Amo wrong. :-)

Madeline Adams said...

Really, really good.

Emily said...

Sarah: Very good!!
Rachel, Stacy, and Madeline...thank you for your kind words!