“It is best for you now to complete what a year ago you began not only to do but to desire, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.”
II Corinthians 8:10-11
As you would expect, there has been quite a bit of sorting going on in the Rectory these past few weeks. We will move to our new and much smaller home in Virginia next week, and we’re using the situation to draw a clear line between the things we really need and those we can do without. We’ve plumbed the depths of the cellar and the dusty corners of the attic, and pulled down all those boxes from the highest shelves of the closet. And it’s amazing what you find in the process.
I’ve uncovered the relics of so many abandoned past projects. There was a box of papers from my plan to write a proper scholarly history of my hometown, and cross-country skis and poles to go with those bindings I never bought. There were bottles, tubes and corks from my summer as a home winemaker; Thackston’s Introduction to Syriac, and the list goes on and on. I can hold these things in my hands and remember how excited I was to begin the project they represent: that crisp January day skiing around the golf course, picking and pressing all those fragrant mulberries, my hopes for new discoveries in early Christian liturgy. But of course, over time, things became more difficult. I gathered dozens of pages of notes for my history, but couldn’t find a unifying argument. I produced wine from six different fruits, and it was uniformly undrinkable—no matter what color, it tasted exactly like musty Kool-Aid. To my untrained eye, four of the letters of the Syriac alphabet looked identical, which makes getting through the sentences in the second lesson almost impossible.