Ponderings with Doug – January 4, 2019

The other day I was shopping in beautiful Arcadia, Louisiana. Arcadia, it is claimed, is the center of the universe. It is a neat place. They have a truck stop that celebrates “steak night” on Friday and Saturday evening. The steaks are good.

When Bonnie and Clyde bit the bullet back in the 1930’s, they were “laid out” in Conger’s Funeral Home in Arcadia. I think old man Conger charged a nickel for people to come and look at their bodies. Bonnie attracted the most attention because of how she was “not completely covered.”

Several people related to those in the Bonnie and Clyde incident were still alive when I was in Arcadia. I was told, “We don’t talk about that subject in public.” Prentiss Oakley’s widow was in the church still. Mrs. Zelma donated a baby grand piano to the church and supplied me with many cups of afternoon coffee. But we never talked about “the event.” I have a couple of decorative plates given to us by Zelma. She was a gracious lady.

Arcadia was a great place to raise children and pastor a church. We enjoyed our time there. I have complained to the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce that it was after we moved the town acquired a McDonald’s and a Burger King. When we were there one had to drive to Ruston for those culinary delights.

We were grocery shopping the other day in Arcadia, which is not a bastion of Mardi Gras fervor. I’m not sure that anything closes on Fat Tuesday. Besides Fat Tuesday this year is in March we could be wearing bathing suits to the parades.
There they were on the Brookshire’s display, King cakes.

I quote from the holy and sacred Internet, “King cake is eaten on January 6 in honor of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which historically marks the arrival of the three wise men/kings in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus. (The plastic baby hidden inside king cakes today is a nod to this story.) King cake also appears on tables throughout the Carnival season, which runs from Epiphany to Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent), at which point practitioners typically abstain from such indulgences as cake.”

I have seen King cakes here in Natchitoches before Christmas. I did not get the memo. King cakes traditionally appear after Christmas to prepare for Epiphany, thus their name; King cake. They are a great Mardi Gras tradition. But why are we rushing our traditions? Christmas had not happened, and merchants were selling the cakes connected with another season. A holiday season whose celebration is localized to the Gulf Coast and Brazil.

What is next? I know, let’s sell Halloween candy before Easter. Why wait? Immediate gratification is one of the benefits of living in our digital Amazon world. After all, I break out in hives if I am forced to wait more than forty-eight hours for a book to arrive. I confess I love immediate access and quick delivery.

I know that one of the most challenging spiritual concepts is waiting. Waiting is a spiritual discipline. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah put it this way, “. . .those who keep waiting for the LORD will renew their strength. Then they’ll soar on wings like eagles; they’ll run and not grow weary; they’ll walk and not grow tired.”

Maybe a growing edge is the spiritual change from “I can’t wait,” to “I’m learning to wait.”