This evening I returned home to find my roommate in a talkative mood. Being someone who is under great compulsion to write and speak, I can understand that other people may not always be under the same compulsion to listen to me. I would hope that my company is enjoyable and pleasant, but I have been accused, and not entirely unfairly, on many occasions for being someone who monopolizes conversation. I am very sensitive to the fact that I am not the only person who feels compelled to release at least some of the intolerable burden I am under. I would like to think that I enjoy what other people have to share, but I was definitely reminded today that I find it somewhat intolerable merely to listen and not to talk. Some people don’t need spouses as much as they need audiences. No doubt some people think exactly that about me, and if they think that they are not far off, I must admit in my more candid moments. At any rate, I had to listen to a lot of stories before I was able to take my scholarly books to review and retire to my room for some private writing and reflection.
Over the course of my madcap driving today all over creation, I listened to more than a couple of hours in an audio book about the famous 19th century writer Louisa May Alcott. Although her own motives for writing were far more mercenary than my own, the fact that she was described as writing for reasons of compulsion  are certainly something that I am familiar with. Why else would I be spending time writing about a day that hardly anyone cares about instead of sleeping as I so dearly would like to do. Perhaps the fact that I have not entirely crashed after my sugar and/or caffeine high from dinner might have something to do with it. Perhaps just a little.
As it happens, I managed to be invited by my adoptive parents within the congregation to a dinner that was for the deacons and elders and their family. I arrived fashionably late, much to my own personal irritation, after having slightly overbooked myself this afternoon as is my frequent and lamentable habit. For a few minutes I managed to impress others with my skill at sweetening iced tea and engaging in friendly chatter before most of the deacons and elders returned home. I was able to enjoy friendly conversation, though, with those who had invited me, at least until I was done eating. Although these are people I often converse with over good food, as was the case this evening, the conversation was sparkling and enjoyable and gave me the ideas for a post I would have written tonight but will likely end up writing tomorrow because it adds a hint of humor to what has been a deeply serious period in my own life of perhaps morbid self-reflection.
I had arrived fashionably late because I had gone after church to Canby to sing with my fellow members of the a capella choir for our ill director, who was released from the hospital today and returned home and was clearly not in his best health. While there we sang many of the songs that are a part of our group’s repertoire, one of them twice, and I had the opportunity to talk with several of the people there. I have to admit that I greatly enjoy the company of my fellow a capella singers, and I would hope that they enjoy my own company. Much to my own embarrassment I had to recount the several times I had been removed from the choir in the past because I was too old before enough older people were added that my presence was not itself scandalous. Besides the singing and the awkward self-revelations, there were some very excellent conversations that I had. A group of us asked each other about our own reflections during this particular time of year, and shared our own struggles with being loving and gracious, with focusing on what was most important, and so on. One young lady among our party commented that this was the last Passover season she wanted to spend unbaptized, and so she was going to be working on increasing her efforts at baptism counseling, which I encouraged her on. She and I, and others, were concerned about the poor health of our director and at his difficulties accepting help. It is easier to see problems in other people than it is to wrestle with those problems ourselves. We can always see how others would be helped by being more transparent, but it is hard for us to wrestle with our own dignity and pride.
Of course, my rushing off to Canby came after a Sabbath that involved a fair bit of rushing around, with a great deal of practice with my fellow members of the a capella choir, some of whom (I won’t name any names) appeared to take particular enjoyment out of borrowing my music because I have mild packratish tendencies when it comes to keeping songs around. Bookended around my various running around and practices was a very excellent service. Particularly praiseworthy, to me, was the sermon from our retired pastor–or perhaps it would be better to say one of the many retired pastors we have in our area, but the one who retired most recently, so far at least–in which the speaker went in reverse through the book of 1 Corinthians about how the book dealt with issues concerning the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, a fact that is missed by nearly every commentary. Whatever can be said about my own personal interactions with this person, which have been awkward, intermittent, and at times deeply distressing, I like the way his mind works in great subtlety and layers, and he always provides me with worthwhile and fascinating food for thought. Such was the case today. I was reminded in his approach of going in reverse to see where Paul was coming from as a reminder of my love of those humorous country songs that go in reverse so that they have a happy ending.
Before going to services, of course, I had sat on my elevated bed and written out a potential sermonette to add to the list of already complete messages. Through the course of the day I found out that the ladies who serve the hard of hearing would appreciate having the text of messages to share ahead of time, and so I have added that as part of my own routine in preparing messages ahead of time. I know I can be a hard speaker to translate, and try to make life easier on other people whenever possible. After having gotten ready for services after my writing this morning, I informed my roommate that services were at 1PM instead of 2PM as he had thought thanks to the mistake on the bulletin. I suppose I could consider that my good deed for the day, as I prepared to embark on a busy day that ended up far more busier than I had planned, and I tend to plan for days to be fairly busy as far as it goes.
 See, for example: