It has been a roller coaster of a last couple weeks. And more than once I have wanted to yell, "Stop this crazy thing! I want to get off!" The MDG training weekend kind of started things off. The training itself was very intense. I knew what to expect as I had been through a similar version with our team in November. I had been hoping they would have found a way to sneak a little downtime in there somewhere, but that was not the case, and it was a non-stop romp from Friday till Sunday. It was exhausting. I wore two hats through the weekend, heading up my parish team as well as serving on the diocesan leadership group. I felt more than a little stretched. In addition to the pressure of the training itself, a rather nasty interpersonal issue reared its head on my little parish team. It had a significant impact on the weekend itself and on the weeks following. I came home tired and it has not ebbed.
Mixed in with that has been the excitement and joy of L's release and watching his relief at being able to do something as simple as walk outside again. There is a new ease in his face these last three days. His smile lights up the room. He just keeps saying "Thanks." I know. It's going to be a struggle out here, too. But we are enjoying the honeymoon!
And then there is the fact that it is January and it's Minnesota. That means it is dark and cold. I do not like either of these things, nor do they sit well with my psyche. And yet life goes on. I have had a meeting every night this week. I had an article due about the MDG project for the Diocesan paper that is done and in (hurrah!). I'm preaching Sunday, and since the bulletin maker is off in a warm place, I'll be doing that as well.
It feels a bit like one foot in front of the other right now. Lots of my co-workers are heading off to warm places for vacations. C is off to New Orleans to hang drywall with a Presbyterian Flood Relief group. I'd go in a heartbeat. Anywhere. But I'm here. For the duration. No vacation in the offing. In that first ordained bivocational year I didn't figure it out so well...I used up all my vacation time going to clergy conferences and meetings and a week of summer sem. Gotta do better this year. Hopefully there is Ireland in my future in the Fall! And a Festival of Homies...that does count as vacation...geek that I am! But even that is in MAY.
For some of this recent ride I've been feeling pretty alone. The constancy of God's presence that I'd grown so sure of had ebbed a bit. My confidence in myself had, too (an artifact of that interpersonal thing). I know with all my being that this is simply a "feeling" thing. it has nothing to do with reality. Why, I wonder, does that not comfort me in the darkness? But that has been better again the last few days. The comfort of friends, the "nudge" of a phrase of Scripture, a book falling off a shelf that is just the thing to read right now, suddenly coming awake in the night with the sense that, yes, God is here, knowing that I am being held in prayer by people who love me...just as I am. I am feeling a sense of belonging again. A tiny bit of light in my heart... that the darkness cannot comprehend.