A Tumbuka lad in exile (tiwonge) wrote,
A Tumbuka lad in exile
tiwonge

Missing you

I should spend more time here. Some of you I only see on LJ, and I know there are people who read my LJ who don't read me on facebook (or who are on facebook irregularly enough that everything scrolls). I really should spend more time here.

And there are things that this is more suited for that facebook isn't.

It looks like I haven't updated since coming back from Andrew's wedding over Thanksgiving. That gives me a place to start, I guess.

Probably the biggest thing to mention since then is that a small group of people here have started regularly praying the Liturgy of the Hours. It started mid-Advent with just me and one other guy. (We both live in the apartments by St. Paul's, so it's convenient to us.) We met regularly--every morning for the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer, and every evening for Evening and Night Prayer. We started the last week of the semester, continued over Christmas break (in the unheated chapel--brrr!) and have kept it up since. Occasionally, one or the other of us (or, sometimes, both) would miss it. This is usually because early on, we'd oversleep for our 6 AM prayer (7 AM on weekends), but occasionally because he'd go out in the evenings or would return late from Caldwell and not make it back in time for the 8 PM (9:15 since the semester started, to accomodate my late class) prayer time.

The group of people who pray with us has slowly grown. It started out with just the two of us, but for a couple of weeks over break, another woman who lives in the area and often comes here (she's an Oblate of the Benedictines, or something, so she meets with Fr. Hugh a lot, and comes for Mass and Adoration) prayed with us. Once the semester started and more students were around, we got another guy to join us for morning prayer, and when we go to do evening prayer, we can usually find another 2-3 people who are hanging out at St. Paul's to pray with us.

I've had my copy of the Office for about 15 years now. I often start it (for Lent, at the beginning of the school year, or at other infrequent times), but it rarely lasts more than a week or two. I miss a morning or an evening because I'm up too late and am tired, or I'm too tired to get up early, and then I miss another, and then I stop doing it. The fact that I've been doing this now for 3 months, then, is pretty significant. It just takes a sense of obligation or responsibility to others. I'll do things for (or with, or because of) others that I don't do for myself, or alone.

I'm not sure why, but almost all of the people who pray with us have been guys. With the exception of the woman who prayed with us a few weeks over break, we've had a woman join us exactly two times. The three (or four, sometimes, when Fr. Hugh joins us) people who pray in the morning, and the 2-5 people in the evening--all guys. I wonder why this is. I wonder if it's because the women here aren't attracted to this type of prayer, or if it's because of the guys who do it, or what, but it's an interesting phenomenon.

I think that this prayer has made a difference in my life, mostly because of the regularity it puts in my life. We pray at 6 AM every morning, so I'm up then. That gives me from 6:30 until 9:30 or noon (depending on the day) to be productive--and I am. I've gotten a lot done in those morning hours, although a couple times recently, I've had to take a nap because I was too tired. (Getting up at 6 AM hasn't done much to send me to bed before midnight or later.) And I've enjoyed the Office, too, although I don't always look forward to it when it's getting close to that time. I really like the Canticle of Mary, and am enjoying going through the Psalms. I hadn't spent much time with the Psalms, so a lot of these Psalms are new to me (or produce a "so, that's where those prayers/hymns/responses come from!" reaction). Also, the second reading (usually taken from an early Church Father or from the documents of Vatican II, but for a saint's feast, can be something from or about the saint) in the Office of Readings have been interesting, too.

It's really the only time I prayer. I've never been good at formal prayer--not prayer before bed, prayer before dinner, Bible study, or anything like that. I make it to Mass on Sundays (mostly), and occasionally to daily Mass (but not this semester), and I spend a little time in Adoration here when I'm free during that time and I remember. But not a lot of time. That's not to say I do nothing. In a sense, I view my life as a prayer. And, while I don't do formal Bible study a lot, I do think about things and read about things.

Other than that, things are mostly the same. I am still going down to Corpus Christi twice a week, and I've got a calculus class and a liberal arts math class I'm teaching this semester. Still doing quiz bowl--our team won the sectional tournament at Portland earlier this month, and will be going to the national tournament in Chicago in April.
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