Sunday Conversations

Sundays are the days I relax by running around like a dervish trying to get all the things done I’ve been meaning to do while I’m working 10-12 hour days during the week. And by that I mean I sit around thinking of all the things I should be doing while trying to summon the motivation to get out of bed and move on with my life. Usually, this means Sundays begin with copious amounts of coffee.

This morning I finished watching the first season of Human Target on iTunes, read a few pages of Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam (review on that later), and drank a pot of coffee. After waiting until the very last minute, I took a quick shower, threw on some jeans, a shirt and my green Chucks, grabbed my guitar and headed to church. The music group did a pretty good job, by which I mean we got half the chords and most of the words where they were supposed to go, and no one booed us off the altar. After surviving another improvisational mass, and an uplifting homily on the meaning of “vocations,” we headed off to the DFAC for fellowship. And lunch.

Conversations around the Catholic table at lunch are always interesting. Today, we started off with my friend, my fellow guitarist, talking about his work with the Boy Scouts. His commander and he, both Eagle Scouts, volunteer to help out with a local Boy Scout troop, members of which are children of the ex-pat community in downtown Kuwait City. My friend goes to the meetings, talks with the boys, and facilitates on-post activities to help them get their merit badges.

Evening falls on a street in downtown Kuwait City.

Evening falls on a street in downtown Kuwait City.

My other friend, a wonderful tenor and our de facto leader, spoke about how he found himself leading the RCIA group. For the uninitiated, this is the group of people who are studying to be Catholics. My friend confessed he didn’t feel right as their teacher, because he wasn’t sure he believed everything in the Catholic dogma, and had a mind full of questions. We talked about the idea that the Catholic faith does not require literal interpretation of every aspect of the Bible, and I mentioned that this is what helps me through some of the rough patches. For me, the message of the New Testament that resonates with greatest frequency is the fact that Jesus was not the Messiah everyone expected – in fact, he was the great surprise to all those who made a living interpreting Scriptures in a literal manner. I told my friend, I question things all the time, including and foremost, my own understanding of God and His message. If something in there is NOT perfect, chances are, it’s human understanding and that’s why we need to question – how else does one advance one’s understanding about anything in this world if not by asking questions? Some deep conversations over the tuna wrap, let me tell you.

Then, the conversation took an interesting turn. We started talking about films and television shows, and my other friend, our pianist, spoke up and said she enjoyed “Walking Dead.” Apparently she is a big fan of zombie fiction. Our chaplain looked somewhat askance – he is not a fan of the gore. It turned out, everyone on our side of the table love zombies, although some of us (ahem, me) aren’t the biggest fans of “Walking Dead.”

Now, my friend is a slight, somewhat quiet lady, until you get to know her. She always has a smile on her face, and a warm and friendly demeanor. She is certainly not someone you might expect to have seven days of perishable food, 30 days of nonperishable, 1000 rounds of ammunition, assorted firearms, and a well-thought-out plan of how to get to the local Army Reserve detachment, appropriate the necessary materiel, and hunker down for the apocalypse. We were all in awe at the thoroughness of her preparations, and – at least in my case – somewhat in envy.

Conversation after that turned to various assorted doomsday scenarios, and the likelihood of each, and on that happy – and somewhat paranoid – note, we finished our meals and got up from the table, making a note to meet same time, same place, next Sunday.

And that, folks, is what helps get me moving in the morning. It’s been a long day, and tomorrow starts off another crazy week. Going to hunker down with this new Russian TV series I just found, and some more Putnam, and with that … catch ya on the flip side!

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