Saturdays and Sundays

I used to dream of having “cottage meetings” in my living room. In my mind, they were unfettered religious discussions.

As I was applying to become the executive director of Quaker House, imagine how wonderful I thought it was that Fayetteville Friends met in the living room. There was even a short pew as part of the furniture!

I still think it is wonderful.

But, as I am settling into new routines, and this morning found myself catching up on dishes, doing laundry so that cloth napkins would be clean (today is potluck Sunday), straightening up, and sweeping floors, the words of a song from my childhood came to mind, “Saturday is a special day, it is the day we get ready for Sunday.”* The words go on to describe all the errands and cleaning that are done. As a child, I did not think cleaning was so special, despite the happy little tune. I still don’t. But, I don’t want to spend my Sunday mornings doing it — in the way that it gets done because people are coming over.

And, I have been doing it every Sunday morning since September 1.

I did all the regular running of errands and grocery shopping yesterday (Saturday), along with everyone else in the world, it seemed. I did some work, because what day of the week does an executive director of a small nonprofit not work at least some part of it? At that point, the last thing I wanted to do was the cleaning and straightening. Saturdays are the one day when other people are not actually scheduled to be in my home — usually. They are kind of special to me in that way. I felt I deserved a little downtime.

And, I don’t disagree with that assessment.

But, I also would rather go into Sunday worship not having had to first do so much housework. I think I will try to fine-tune that part of my new routines and life.

Because, while you still can’t convince me that doing chores in order to prepare for a future day is special, my quiet Sunday mornings are special. I miss them.

_______________

*Children’s Songbook, No. 196, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989. Words and lyrics by Rita S. Robinson, arr. by Chester W. Hill.

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Recent Standoff Involving Veteran

[Originally posted on the Quaker House blog by me, cross-posted here.]

A tragic standoff with police and death of the barricaded individual occurred a few days ago in North Carolina. More details were released in a Fayetteville Observer article, today.

A few things stand out in the article:

  • The veteran who barricaded himself and shot at police, Kevin Battaglia, was described as a “good soldier who lost his way after he left the Army” and that “his demons were catching up to him.”
  • He was apparently diagnosed with PTSD and was frustrated by his experience with the VA Hospital.
  • “He turned to an extreme grasp of faith to where that was the only thing he was concerned with.”
  • Photographs he posted showed “a Bible on top of a bulletproof vest and an American flag draped on the rifle.”

Was Kevin Battaglia suffering from moral injury in addition to or rather than PTSD? They have overlapping symptoms, and his turn to religion may have been an attempt to deal with any moral injury components.

The photos highlight a concerning trend — the militarization and patriotism/nationalism-alignment of religion that we sometimes see. We are quick to notice when it happens in non-Christian religions, but do we recognize this in Christian expressions of religion?

Regardless, a “good soldier,” (ie, I imagine a good person, who was also described as intelligent) suffered mental anguish and eventually died a tragic death that appears to have had components of suicide-by-cop. Our soldiers–our family members and friends–are being wounded by their experiences of war. Sometimes these wounds are invisible, but terribly deep and exacting.

Can we work toward peace? Can we do more to help veterans when they return?

One of his friends is mentioned as having reached out to Kevin recently. His friend also regrets not having done more. We thank him for reaching out to Kevin, and our hearts go out to him and all the friends and family who are now left with wounds of their own to heal.