We’ve been without a headboard since moving into this house nearly three years ago because we put the log bed in Jackson’s room. (Chuck built the log bed for us in 1999 and it now serves as the guest bed when folks come to visit.) We’ve spent months on Pinterest and other websites looking for inspiration. The original plan was a simple angled headboard. Then it blew up to much more.
Once he had the sketch, he bought the wood and got started measuring, cutting, and sanding.
Once it was put together, he painted it a soft gray/white to go well with our gray walls and installed lighting above and below the top shelf.
I selected the fabric for the angled headboard, which was really my only involvement.
He installed the headboard on Saturday, anchoring it to the wall.
It’s so beautiful, though I knew it would be. There’s no before picture (my mistake!) but all you have to imagine is a blank, gray wall. It was void of anything, so it was literally a clean slate.
The canvas photo was taken at Hug Point during our anniversary trip last October. We were laying on a grassy knoll above a waterfall that flows into the Pacific Ocean.
I love that he builds stuff. And I love that he’s already looking for inspiration for his next project: a sliding bookcase as a secret door.
This is how Sara Miles, author of City of God, describes Ash Wednesday.
This service… reminded me not to over-spiritualize the problem of mortality. Ash Wednesday was calling me back to worship God with my whole body — lungs, thumb, knees, eyes, tongue — and to admit that body’s inevitable failure. And it reminded me that I was no different in my flesh from any other human being. – City of God
It didn’t occur to me until last night how physical Ash Wednesday is. There’s touching involved, it’s dirty, and it all starts with a smelly, smoky fire. It’s a tangible experience, not just a spiritual or emotional one.
To dust we shall return.
Furthermore, Sara adds, it’s entirely born from within the church. Ash Wednesday isn’t a holiday we pull from a Bible story. Jesus didn’t spread ashes on anyone’s forehead. Rather, it’s an event we created for ourselves to corporately realize our sin, to acknowledge our own mortality, and begin the rebirthing process of repentance together. It’s the starting line we cross together on our 40-day journey.
While working on St. Gregory’s liturgy for Ash Wednesday, Paul and I argued a bit about the challenges of collective confession. “Doesn’t it kind of let me off the hook,” I protested, “to say we have wasted your creation, blah, blah, we have been snide, blah, blah, we have failed at whatever? Shouldn’t I have to consider my own actual sins and look at exactly what it is I’ve personally done and am ready to repent of?”
“Ah,” said Paul. “That would be the sin of pride, thinking that your wickedness is so different from others’.”
Ash Wednesday allows us to look at one another in mutual sorrow and reflection. We’ve all done everything, just in different ways. My selfishness might look different than your selfishness, but it’s selfishness nonetheless.
So come on. Let’s get dirty on this journey together. Let’s get uncomfortable. Let’s brood a bit and see where the road takes us.
Lent reading begins today. This is ambitious considering what’s required for school, but I’m going to make a strong attempt. Which one should I read first? Perhaps I should just start at the top.
Understanding Four Views on Baptism
City of God
Church History in Plain Language (This book was in last year’s pile. I read through bits of it but found it was one of those that should be revisited regularly. Here is a link to the books I read last spring. If you click on it, you’ll see a sweet photo of three-month-old Major. )
First, I have to share a little background. Chuck and I leave each other notes all the time. Sometimes they are sweet, and sometimes they’re informative. Sometimes they’re both. There’ve been apology notes, I love you notes, and please drop off my dry cleaning notes. Some notes are so hilarious that we’ve kept them for more than a decade, like the two-sided note with my apology on one side and his response on the other, saying the dog pooped in the laundry room and Chuck covered it up with a sock. Yes, we only keep the special ones.
Since we are often passing ships in the night, depending on the week, leaving notes can be our best form of communication. Such was the case several nights ago. Usually, my notes make sense and are grammatically correct. At the very least, words are spelled correctly. But on Ambien at three in the morning, nothing is guaranteed.
In my defense, I spent the previous two nights feeling like someone was in the house. I even flipped on the bedroom light a few times to make sure we were alone. Apparently, when I got up to let out the dog, the shadows in the dark house bothered me.
Of course, per Ambien, I remember none of it.
There is much to do in a short amount of time. Stories and short films to be written, Zoology to finish, miles to run. Closets to go through, things to donate, bathrooms to deep clean. The basement is embarrassingly untidy and I’m nearly ready to prep the garden for planting. (As soon as Old Man Winter takes a hike…)
And now, there is Lent. This will be the second time in all my life that I’ve recognized Lent with any sort of meaning. Before last year, it was that thing the Catholics do when they eat fish instead of meat. Now, it’s a time of preparation and reflection. It serves a significant purpose. There will be giving up of things in this house for the sake of sacrifice, but nothing worth mentioning here. Instead, I will do what I did last year – immerse myself in theology that makes me think, gives me pause, and challenges me to consider the alternative.
It will be a challenge on its own to read books unrelated to school work, but that’s where the giving up of things comes in. There is plenty of time, as long as I make it so. I often believe that “I didn’t have time” really means “I didn’t make time.” Wouldn’t you agree?
Our seriousness started on Saturday after I took Jeremy to see Son of God. It was at his request and, if I’m being honest, I even tried to talk him out of it. He was insistent, saying he could handle even the toughest scenes. I believed him, so we sat in a dark theater Saturday afternoon holding hands and wiping our tears. Jeremy, even at ten years old, feels everything quite deeply.
As expected, he had a slew of questions for me that evening. A few I had answers for, and for others I had none. Jeremy has always been this way – thinking of things beyond his years, ready for the truth and calling it fluff when he hears it. (The Santa Claus stuff doesn’t make sense, Mom, but I won’t tell other kids that.) He is often an adult in a child’s body, yet he’s still a child and sometimes I must remind myself of this when my expectations are too high. He is still a young boy who builds castles with Legos and protects our home with Nerf guns.