Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thoughts on another Sunday

It's been a pretty good weekend. A good Sabbath today especially. The sermon writing yesterday was a little rocky. I had two long false starts. They were heady and exegetical and really boring. What I have come to know about myself is when that happens I am avoiding something. I am evading engagement with the text, or there is something I know I must say and feel I can't, or as was the case yesterday, didn't feel entitled to. Oh the mind games I play with myself! Confessing on the one hand (in the very sermon I am trying to write) a Jesus who is loving, and forgiving, and who made very human Peter the rock of the community, for heaven sake, and at the same time struggling with feeling not good enough to stand and preach this very Gospel because I don't feel worthy. As if my worth has any thing to do with it in the first place. As if there is not grace. And as if everyone else (as was pointed out to me during our walking preacher party) is not feeling that self-same thing and does not need to hear it proclaimed....we do not need to be perfect to be loved....not by God, and hopefully not even by each other. Though unfortunately some of us got tarred with that brush of not ever feeling good enough and the message takes a long time to get out of our systems. I had been feeling all unworthy and puny because my spiritual life has been scant and my prayer life has been spotty and I have been feeling kind of skimmy in my time with God. The old tapes of guilt got me all tied up and I just kept getting stuck. The good news is at least now I know enough to stop trying to force myself to write when it gets to that stuck point. I called a halt and we went for a lovely long walk and did have a preacher party there in the woods and talked it out. I came back and began writing again at four and by seven I was hitting print.

After I came home from sermonizing I had to bathe Maggie. She had decided to sit in the stream to cool off on the way back down the trail. Being only about six inches off the ground, she then brought most of the trail back with her on her coat. So it took a while to get the remains of the trail off the dog. Then it took even longer to get the remains of the dog out of the bathtub. My trip to the hot tub followed that, but I was too tired to linger very long....I was afraid I would fall asleep in there.

Liturgy today was for me what it so often is. A place of pure happiness. Sometimes I just really wonder how I could have lived my whole life up until two years ago without doing this and not knowing that it was missing when it is so....much. I just do not have another word for it. What, I ask myself, did I ever do with everything when I did not have an altar to take it to? Where was that part of me that celebrates this finding her joy? I guess she was just in waiting....and I didn't even know it. It is such an immeasurable gift and blessing. Today has been a blessings kind of day overall.

Someone in my congregation called me when I was in the car coming back from taking communion to my far flung person in the hinters after service this morning. This is a person with whom I have Much History. Mostly painful. She started out by saying she was just out walking her fenceline and she remembered how she missed the days when she and I used to just talk and talk. And she started "just talking." Told me liked the sermon, that she could tell I had put a lot of thought into it. Talked about her son who just left for college, and her other one who lost a job. We talked all the way back into town. It was a simple conversation. It was totally unexpected. It was pure grace.

I also had a conversation with XDO. I decided that it was only fair that the news of my seeing someone, no matter how casual, should come from me. I also figure this way I get to have at least some measure of control over what information is delivered and that it is at least accurate. R and I were seen in the park on Thursday by some people that I kind of suspect would, shall we say, embroider things a bit. And if the shoe were on the other foot, I'd like facts, not fantasy about what is going on. XDO has been taking a very high road lately, having some very direct conversations with some other mutual friends about the fact that we are working things out and that they need to respect our process. I appreciate that, so this is also a way of giving back some, I think. The response to my news was accepted in a positive spirit....XDO said, "I'm glad I heard it from you first."

With liturgy, preaching, those two conversations and an eighty mile round trip to deliver Communion, I was kind of done in for the remainder of the afternoon. I read, I knitted, I ran a few errands, and at 8:15, I am seriously considering my bed! Even though, as I told C yesterday, I feel like I have been less reflective, and more skimmy with my life lately (she disagrees BTW) I do find that I am more tired. All this living I am doing seems to be taking a little toll on me. I guess there is a lot going on. And I am trying to balance it.

I was realizing last night I am surrounded by a more complex web of relationships than I have ever been in my whole life. They overlap and intersect in all kinds of strange and interesting ways. Some of this makes my life wonderful and fascinating, and some of it makes it incredibly complicated and creates tight little places that must be carefully negotiated with great thought and care for all concerned. Who I know and how I know them, whether or not that can be shared, what I can or cannot know in any given situation, which hat I am wearing, or supposed to be, if one conflicts with the other, or if something I am bound to by one pushes the boundaries of the other....oh yes, some days, it does get kind of complex. But of course I wouldn't trade it all for anything. Complicated as it is, it's pretty wonderful, and I feel so called to and blessed by it all most of the time that it just knocks me over.

But it is time to let Maggie take one last romp in the yard and then call it a night. The weekend is over and it's time for bed.

6 comments:

mompriest said...

wow, that was a lot of reflecting on life, faith, grace, hope....no wonder you are tired....

really wonderful reflection, BTW....

Diane said...

really insightful reflections, good writing.... I'll be back again later.

Mary Beth said...

You are doing such good and honest work. Yeah for you!

Crimson Rambler said...

I hear you about being "skimmy" with your life...I think that's the word I've been groping for the last few weeks...

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I've been so moved as I've read about your personal processing the last few months. Some big things are happening in your life--deep growth.

Barb said...

Hope you slept well ! I hear you about how doing so much living being tiring. Not sure why that should be surprising, esp when you itemise it the way you have here, but somehow it is. Go well/sleep well.