As I child I didn’t much care for Halloween. I didn’t enjoy the costumes and I certainly didn’t like tramping about in the dark and cold of a northeastern Ohio October night, wearing a mask over my glasses and mouth so that I could hardly see or breath. I took no pleasure in scaring people or being scared. The only good part about the whole thing was eating candy at the end of it all. As I moved into adulthood, I brought my coldness toward Halloween with me. I don’t have an ideological objection to Halloween. I just never cared much for it.
By the time I stopped living in denial about my gender issues, I saw that many of my gender variant peers looked upon Halloween as a day to express their true selves. Some of my fellow AMABs would dress in traditional feminine attire and spend a day “en femme.” It was a chance to experience less dysphoria and/or express their gender identity safely under the banner of “a costume.” I would smile and exchange a knowing look with my peers on such 10/31 encounters. I, however never felt the need to do that.
There is another reason that October 31st is notable and that does resonate with me. The Festival of Reformation is celebrated by my Lutheran brothers and sisters. This day Lutherans remember Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg church. It is looked upon as the start of the Protestant Reformation that would drastically change the shape of the western Christianity. Though I am no longer a Lutheran, the Lutheran theological tradition is still fundamental to my understanding and my experience of the faith.
On this day I honor my Lutheran roots by listening to the Reformation Symphony by Mendelsohn and by reading Luther’s tract “The Freedom of the Christian” (one of the best things Luther ever wrote). A fine piece of music and a fine piece of writing. What better way to spend the evening? And at some point, after all are safely asleep I will do my annual personal out loud reading of the poem, “The Ballad of Marty Luther” written my yours truly. So traditions simply must be kept.
As I write this post it is about 10pm on October 20th. In two hours it will be October 21st the start of the Season of Celebration.
For those who have been with me a while the Season of Celebration is no new thing. For those of you who are new to the strangeness that is the life of Carla Robinson, the Season of Celebration begins on October 21st and contiues through January 6th. It is comprised of a series of personal celebrations, liturgical observations, civil commemorations and off-beat memorializations. It begins with my own birthday and ends with the culminating feast of our Savior’s birth–The Epiphany.
Over the years I’ve developed a set of traditions, mostly personal, to mark the important days of this season. Many of these traditions are small and admittedly odd. Two of these revolve around my birthday celebration.
I always buy myself a balloon on my birthday. I keep it around for seven days plus one. I celebrate my birthday as an octave. This year already my family has celebrated. My niece made dinner for me. There were birthday cards and songs. My sister’s card broke my heart it was so tender and beautiful. My grand-nephew drew me hearts which I hung on the door of my quarters. The love of one’s family is an amazing thing and should never be taken for granted.
Now I look at the clock and see that in less that 90 minutes it will be October 21st. I will be 58 years old. And I don’t feel a day over 75——-or is it 25? I get confused sometimes.
Still at midnight, as October 20th becomes October 21st, I’ll step outside and raise a cup to the Creator of all things. I’ll thank God for the gift of life. For on October 21, 1958 it hung in the balance. It was touch and go for my mom and I as doctors found themselves in a life and death struggle in the midst of what should have been a fairly routine C-section. But God was graious and my mom’s high risk pregnancy ended in a safe delivery. That day I took my first breath on my own as others breathed a sigh of relief. From that day to this God has sustained me. For that I do what Martin Luther said, “For which it is my duty to thank and praise, to serve and obey God. This is most certainly true.”
There are people who love mornings. God help ’em!
Have they found a cure for morning yet?
I watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Captain Picard returns to Star Fleet Acadamy for a commencmence ceremony. During that episode he revisits his acadamy days and talks about his teachers.
I found myself saying, “No, no, no. You do not know tough professors.” I found myself revisiting my seminary days and the kind of professors that my current peers would have never known. I knew teachers like Dr Martin Scharleman, The Professor Kingsford of Concordia Seminary, with always one more question than we had answers. He taught me that wisdom begins when I say, “I don’t know but I seek to know.”
To this day in the week running up to the time when I stand before God’s people to preach his question looms before me, “What do you know. Mr Robinson?” My answer is still, “Precisous little, Dr Schalreman. But I seek to know and I seek to know Him.”