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September 25, 2006
I think I do not appear as confused as I am.

The fact is, I almost never know where I'm supposed to be or what I'm supposed to be doing. I forget what I've done almost as soon as I've done it and could not for the life of me tell you where I am expected tomorrow or what I am expected to do when I get there.

When someone calls me up and says "Hi, it's me!" I am humiliated to have to ask who "me" is, doubly so because it is usually someone whose voice I recognize but whose name I can't connect with it.

When someone emails me expressing pleased anticipation of our upcoming time together, I don't know what she's talking about. When someone wants to know if I have my airline tickets for this event yet, I don't know. This means that people who communicate with me have to spell it all out, every time. Maybe a few times a day, to keep me on the same page, or even in the same volume.

When I travel, which is all the time, I need a "keeper" once I arrive. The keeper is someone whose job it is to remind me of things and to get me where I'm supposed to be. As I recall, this was more or less what it was like to be four years old.

In the midst of this confusion and the sadness it has brought into my life, a remarkable mercy: words have not failed me. Language is still here, with every ounce of its power. The subjects and the predicates lie down on the page just right. I still know not to let the adjectives overflow, know not to be content with the obvious word -- but never to sneak into the forbidding groves of adcademe to borrow the affectedly arcane one. I still know that you don't answer questions nobody has asked. I still know when to break a rule my 8th grade English teacher gave me, and I still know that you only break one of those rules on purpose, and that you don't do it very often.

For how much longer will I have this mercy? Only God knows, and he's not talking. This, too, is a blessing: we don't really want to know that we'll be unable to speak in 27 months, or that we've only got three years left to walk without a cane, any more than we want to know that a Steinway is going to fall on us next Wednesday when we're walking along 110th Street. It would change the way we approach life, restricted as life can become. It would make us give up. What the hell, we'd say, why bother? I'm being crushed to death by a piano in a week. I'm going back to bed now.

And then we would have lost even the time we had. Now, that would be sad.

It's autumn, now, and time to reenergize your spiritual and creative life. You can use Janice Elsheimer's very neat new book, The Creative Call, to integrate your praying self and your creative self.

And you might have a young person in your life who's not exactly turning somersaults over anything church has to offer these days. Take a look at Jennifer Gambers' newish book My Faith, My Life. For a change, it's not written for their adult leaders: it's written for them. Check it out.

And what?!? You don't have your Geranium Farm Cookbook yet? How on earth are you managing? Also, bear in mind that Year One of the Daily Office Lectionary begins on the first Sunday of Advent (December 3rd this year), and you'll need Volume One of Let Us Bless the Lord, if you are using that as your daily reading. If you prefer,the smaller daily book Let Every Heart Prepare takes you from Advent through Epiphany.

They're all in the bookstore at The Farm's bookstore is proudly an electronic outreach of Viva! Bookstore in San Antonio, the awesome bookstore you must visit if you go there.

This weekend, Barbara Crafton will speak at the Episcopal Church Women's Conference in the Diocese of Northwest Texas in Amarillo. For information, contact Nancy McReynolds through the Diocesan Offices at

Visit the Farm's website to find out where and when Barbara will be speaking near you.
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