Dr. Reppmann has a locution I like. He talks about “catching myself writing” or “catching myself reading.” For someone like me, who has a heretical conviction that just about everything in life happens only by sheer will, it’s a good reminder to live from the subtle, tacit movements of everyday experience. And I think the idea of catching ourselves at things suggests a kind of mindfulness that’s liberating. It’s so easy to feel caught by obligations. But to catch ourselves in unexpected moments of freedom is a way to foster hope and agency.
Lately, we in Honors Tea have been catching ourselves eating fat-free Oreos. Last week, at Honors Tea, Sarah Anderson asked, “So, what does it say about us that you buy these things for us to eat?” I have no witty rejoinder, though I protest that my motives are genuine and largely free of additives. But many thanks to those of you who’ve been catching yourselves coming over and up to Tea on Wednesday afternoons, braving the sugar-freeness and the fever for the flavor of a Pringle. Even if you come for but fifteen minutes, your presence helps catch us up in a good and rich circle of talk. I hope that you have found yourself laughing and talking in what the linguist and dog trainer (!) Vicki Hearne calls “the gaiety that goes with all true thought.”
I can’t help adding that a couple of times yesterday there was silence, and I’d be grateful if we’d learn together to welcome that, too.
I have a proposal for Honors Teas to come. How about if, on some weeks when you come, you bring a text to share? Maybe not every week. But let’s try it out, changing the focus and nature of what we bring from time to time. Some weeks, you’ll bring a poem. Some weeks an image. Some weeks a cartoon. Some weeks a YouTube video. Perhaps not everyone will have a chance to share, but we’ll try to be open to each contribution. And I’ll always bring extra texts with me so that if you’re running shy, you can sort through the extras basket and glean one that calls your name.
This upcoming week, I’d encourage you to bring a text from the book of Ecclesiastes. I’ll give you a prompt about this next week, but I wanted to give you a chance to read through the book sometime this weekend, not least in preparation for the upcoming Seerveld production, next Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. (Get your free but required tickets by Googling “Event Brite Ecclesiastes.”)
My hope is that bringing things to share at Tea will help us learn from each other what we catch ourselves mulling over.