Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18: Good Friday, We're Born, Fairy Tale Sacrifice

"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte.  "That in itself is a tremendous thing.  I wove my webs for you because I liked you.  After all, what's a life, anyway?  We're born, we live a little while, we die.  A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies.  By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle.  Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."

I know I've used this passage before, but it's quite appropriate for Good Friday, a day that celebrates sacrificial love.  Charlotte's sacrifice for Wilbur certainly qualifies as a kind of Good Friday sacrifice.  She's dedicated her life to saving Wilbur's life.  I don't know if Charlotte is a Christ figure, but what she does is certainly Christ-like.

Holy Week sort of wears me out emotionally, with its readings of gospel passion narratives, last suppers, burials, rebirth. and resurrection.  It runs the whole gamut, from absolute grief to absolute joy.  I just came back from the Good Friday service at my church.  Lots of silence and hymns in minor keys.  I loved it.  Tonight, I'm planning on watching The Passion of the Christ, which is sort of my own little Good Friday tradition.

I should apologize for not posting at all yesterday.  It was quite the day of snow and shoveling and job applications.  I'm applying for another job at the university, and I needed to finish my vita and cover letter.  That was what absorbed most of my time yesterday.  Even though those documents are not imaginative in any way, they do take a certain amount of creativity.  This morning, I completed my application and submitted it.

This evening, I'm attending an Easter cantata at my sister-in-law's church.  My wife and I are making it a date.  We haven't gone out by ourselves for quite some time.  It's really true.  Children change everything in a marriage.  Gone are those Friday movie dates and weekend trips.  Now, any kind of family excursion requires the kind of planning usually reserved for scaling Mount Everest.  Being a parent is about sacrifice.  Every day.  Sometimes tiny sacrifices--the last piece of pizza, watching Curious George instead of the Godfather marathon on TBS.  Sometimes large sacrifices--putting off paying the heat bill to finance your daughter's participation in a dance competition.  It's all for love.

Once upon a time, a mediocre troubadour named Elton lived in a village where being a troubadour was against the law.  Elton had a wife and five children.  So Elton took a job as a blacksmith.

Elton was not a good blacksmith.  He burned himself all the time, and he suffered from hay fever.  He spent all day sneezing and wrapping bandages around his fingers.  But he didn't mind, because he loved his family and would do anything for them.

One day, the mayor announced that there was going to be an Easter dance in the town square, and he asked Elton is he could provide the entertainment.  Elton was ecstatic.  He went home, took out his guitar, and tried to play it.

Alas, after years of blacksmith work, Elton's fingers were thick with callouses and scars, and his knuckles were thick with arthritis.  Elton couldn't play.  He went to the mayor and told him his sad news.

The mayor said, "That's OK, Elton.  I heard you weren't very good to begin with.  We'll hire Myron the accordion player from the next village.  He plays a mean polka."

And so, on the night of  the Easter dance, Elton stayed home and cried all night long.  He cried so much that he became dehydrated, causing most of his major organs to shut down.  Before Elton's family came back from the dance, Elton died.

Moral of the story:  everybody loves polkas.

And Saint Marty lived happily ever after.

Roll out the barrel...

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