Seven Quick Takes No. 8

Let's see if I can actually make these "quick" today.*

1. Sitting at my desk this morning, I remember this day eight years ago. I had just finished writing the acknowledgments for my first book, in preparation for sending the manuscript off to my publisher in New York. I called my husband (or maybe he called me, I can't remember) to tell him, and he said, "I'm not sure I should tell you this, but the World Trade Center Towers just fell down." I didn't believe him until I saw the first image of people covered with dust. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day in tears, horrified at the thought of how many people must have died as the buildings collapsed. It was only partially a relief (if a relief at all) to learn that it was not 40,000, but "only" around 3,000. All I can still think now is what a terrible way for all those innocent people to die. R.I.P.

2. Psalm for the day: "And the daughters of Judah rejoiced: because of thy judgments, O Lord. For thou, Lord, are most high over all the earth: thou art exalted exceedingly above all gods. Ye who love the Lord, hate evil: the Lord preserveth the souls of his saints, he will deliver them out of the hand of the sinner. Light is risen to the just: and gladness to such as are right of heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: and give praise to the remembrance of his holiness." Psalm 96, Dominus regnavit, from the Office of the Virgin, Third Nocturn.

3. Today is also my friend Badger's 50th Birthday. You would never know it to look at her. Happy Birthday, Badger! You are an inspiration to us all in more ways than you know!

4. I've had "jet lag" all week thanks to the start of school. Not mine (yet!), but my son's. Happily this has meant that I am finally back in the office at work on my book (as of yesterday--it took me two days to disentangle myself from my email inbox), but it is definitely taking its toll on me having to wake up a good hour and a half earlier than I've been used to for the past (eek!) three months. Summer vacation seems endless until it's over, when in retrospect it seems far too short. How do monks and nuns manage to keep themselves to the same schedule year round? Oh, right, they don't (at least, not if they're following the changes in daylight).

5. Maybe it would have been easier getting up earlier this week if I had been eating toast.

6. Why do people cry at weddings? Me, for example. One of my graduate students got married this past weekend, and the service was here on campus in Rockefeller Chapel. Perhaps it was the beautiful music that we got to listen to friends and family of the couple play; perhaps it was the awe-inspiring setting. Perhaps it is that neither my nor my husband's families are particularly good at weddings; we have too many of them, for starters (multiples for each), and we don't always invite everyone. My husband and I both had big(ish) weddings the first time around, but he and I were married quite simply in the Cardiff registry office. Sitting in the university chapel this Saturday, I could almost wish that he and I had had such a gorgeous ceremony, surrounded by our families and row after row of our friends. But, of course, we each had that once with somebody else and it didn't work. On the other hand, he and I have now been married for over 15 years. Did we actually need a big wedding? What exactly are weddings supposed to do?

7. Having been somewhat hesitant about doing "quick takes" the first time I tried a couple of months ago, I now really look forward to them. Once a few weeks ago, I was so excited on Saturday that I started making a list of yet more "quick takes" to post, but then I realized that it actually works best to wait a week between "takes." Although I keep a list of possible entries, something always surprises me on the day. Doing the "takes" gives me the chance to pause for a moment and review the week, at which point things that seemed important earlier on fade so that what really matters can come into focus. It is also fun seeing how, despite my best efforts to keep the "takes" relatively random, a theme for the week nevertheless usually emerges. Thanks, Jennifer, for giving us this forum in which to share!

*Relatively "quick": these took about 40 minutes to write.


  1. Thank you, FBear! You are an inspiration to me, too. Sorry you can't be at the party tonight.


  2. The late Richard John Neuhaus was celebrating mass during the World Trade Center crash. Reflecting back on it, he wrote: "How strange beyond understanding, I thought, that as we were at the altar offering up, as Catholics believe, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, only a little to the south of us was rising, in flames and mountains of smoke, a holocaust of suffering and death. That, too, was subsumed and offered on Calvary."

    It strikes me that finishing up a book on the Passion is an equally appropriate, and strange beyond understanding, thing to be up to during such a horrible event.


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