[Note: This post is a continuation of a series of post-feast reflections on the Feast of Tabernacles ].
Given the amount of dried blood and flakes of skin that I have blown out of my nose on a regular basis for the past week, I think it is clear that my nose fungus believes this to be the worst feast ever. Fortunately, I suppose, my nose fungus and I judge a feast by different standards–for the unwanted longtime resident of my sinus cavities and nostrils, humidity is of the utmost importance, and displeasure at consistent dryness is made rather plainly evident. For me, I suppose that my desires are equally straightforward, but like my nose fungus, the places I go and the situation I am in does not allow for my comfort and pleasure anymore than the mold-induced and bactroban-resistant mold that dwells inside of me. In the same vein as some of my previous years, since this year seemed to lack a particular narrative but had some noticeable patterns that are worth investigating, I would like to comment on my overall impressions of the Feast in various areas, partly in order of personal importance.
Messages/Spiritual: With a couple of possible exceptions, the messages were nearly all excellent , and every message was thought-provoking and often deeply personally relevant. Special praise goes to the elders who attended Steamboat Springs for preparing messages that combined biblical depth, deeply personal touches, and often impressive research. If one broadens this particular category to include the general spiritual aspect of the feast, then there was a lot of value too. As is often the case, I kept busy in service, singing in the adult and teen/young adult choir, directing the children’s choir, teaching the sixth through eighth graders in the festival education program, and performing daily (and in one special music performance) with the instrument ensemble group. All in all, it was a spiritually enriching feast.
Personal/Social: Those who know me well understand that a great deal of my own personal enjoyment of a Feast of Tabernacles depends greatly on personal and social matters. Although the social aspects of the Feast were not as uniformly positive as the spiritual aspects, there was marked improvement in this area from the last couple of years in particular. I was able to meet a lot of new people, build and improve some relationships with ministers and people with mutual friends, catch up on some friends I have not seen for years, and so on. It was a pleasure to get to know the children in my festival education classes and children’s choir, some of whom sang in the teen and adult choir as well, and who were a pleasure to get to know. I enjoyed socializing with people attending the site as well as those who I was staying with. For me, there was only one area that was particularly unsuccessful, and that was anything remotely resembling romance. Given that nearly every day of the Feast of Tabernacles I was asked or teased about my singlehood in at least some way, whether it was in a message extolling marriage and parenthood and family, or in more direct and personal conversation, it was particularly unfortunate that there was an entire absence of any single young people remotely near my age to get to know. Mothers with marriage difficulties and large amounts of teenagers do not make for successful opportunities at courtship or even friendship. This sort of disappointment is not particularly unusual, but it is nonetheless noteworthy.
Adventure/Fun: By my standards, this was a pretty fun feast. Although I was so busy with service that I did not have a great deal of free time, I tried to make do the best I could. As there were so few people that were appropriate dance partners, virtually none, as the only person I danced with was a woman about my mother’s age who was a fellow musician in the ensemble and someone I had known from my time in Southern California, I ended up spending most of the family dance talking to a couple of people who were alumni of my various dinner groups over time. I went to a surprise birthday party where there was more conversation to be had, and took an exciting trip to Wyoming . I was also able to do a bit of walking, plenty of reading, and I had a fun time as well enjoying the adorable chaos that children can bring, which is a way to have fun vicariously, I suppose. Then there were the bumper cars on ice and bowling, which was also fun. This was a feast site of good, clean, solid fun and adventure, as it added two states to my tally (Colorado was #41 and Wyoming #42 out of the 50 states of the United States of America).
Food/Health: Finally, I would like to talk a little bit about food and health. Despite my nose problems, a lack of sleep brought on from too much socializing and hours spent writing, and some shortness of breath from not being prepared for the mountains, I have to say that my own health was robust enough to endure the demands I placed on it. There were no health crises or crippling anxiety or insomnia like in some previous years (2009, 2013, and 2014 come to mind readily here). As far as the food was concerned, I managed to eat some wonderful steak, some chicken parmasan, and enjoyed the good cooking at the house most of the time. Even the sandwiches for lunch today were pretty good, condiments and tomatoes aside. All in all, it was a good feast as far as eating was concerned, with a few memorable meals and plenty of good fellowship over the food. That is as much as one can expect.
Overall, this was not the best feast ever, but it was at least the best feast since 2011 and 2012, and a definite step in the right direction after my fairly miserable feasts the last couple of years.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: