So as not to be the martyred slaved of time.

Sorry for the radio silence. Last week was the Big Bad Testing at school, and there were things that happened, but none of them really germinated into anything that I could phrase in a meaningful way. It was just a long, hard week. On Wednesday, I didn’t even do yoga at church. I was just too tired. Too tired to do something as relaxing as yoga is pretty tired. I took a lot of walks this week instead of runs, and I read a most excellent book. But I don’t necessarily have more to say about it than that.

This is the time of year when it’s hard not to look ahead to what is next. The pool is open and I wish it was summer, but we still have three weeks of school left. The students are as restless as I am. I am taking a summer class that was supposed to be online, except that it’s really not online. (I can’t figure it out, either.) I am so ready for summer vacation. One of the hugest compliments I was ever paid was when someone thanked me for being “very present” in a particular conversation. It has stayed with me, because I think that showing up and being there is one of the best and hardest things you can ever do. This time of year, that is particularly hard. I am showing up, but I am having trouble being there.

As I was thinking about living in the moment, I ran across this poem. I read it at some point last year, but it really resonated with me last week.

Be Drunk by Charles Baudelaire
Translated by Louis Simpson

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

These are all things that are important to me: wonderful food, one word sliding into the next until sentences form into something meaningful, and the love of God that compels us to consider others rather than just ourselves. I encourage you, too, to be drunk on the wonderful blessings that we have been given rather than being broken down by the weight of responsibility and tasks. As the poet says, it’s the only way.

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