Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Chariots of Fire, Chariots of Toilet Paper

A year ago this week, I'd have been buying toilet paper for the last time until May.  I wouldn't know that, of course.  I didn't have powers of prophecy or foretelling the future.  I am not that kind of Cassandra.

No, I stocked up because my favorite brand was on sale, and my habit was to wait to stock up until it was on sale.   In the months that followed, I often thought about the luck I had that the sale happened close to the nationwide panic buying of toilet paper.

This morning I spent some time looking at my blog posts from March 2020.  It's interesting to me that in a month I went from asserting that more of us were in danger from the flu (which was true in a certain way at the beginning of March) to being under stay at home orders by the end of the month.

I have another anniversary on the brain--this spring marks the 40th anniversary of the movie Chariots of Fire.  I went to see it in the theatre with my family and a group from church when it first came out.  I was livid that the movie allowed both of the main characters to win, even though historically, that's what happened.  I'm not sure why I wanted the Christian athlete to be punished by losing the race, but I did.

And yes, I was chastened when I learned years later, about Eric Liddell's ordeal in China.  I've watched the film in years since, and I cannot for the life of me remember why I had such a dislike for the character when I first watched it, except for that adolescent belief that a Christian who behaves in accordance with his/her values must be hiding some sort of deep, evil secret.

I think of my adolescent self and how astonished she would be to learn that I am working to get myself to seminary.  I remind myself that the church of 1981 is very different than the church of today.  In 1981, we hadn't been ordaining women very long in the Lutheran church.

I think of the historic events in that movie, World War I just over, but those of us who know our history know the trials and tribulations to come.  I wonder if someone 100 years from now, reading this blog post, will say the same thing:  "She thought they were almost out of the woods in 2021.  Little did she know."

Or will it be a time of blossoming, a new Renaissance?  

Perhaps some of both.

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