Well, the "so what" showed up and the sermon got done. The hymns are picked and the bulletin is all neat and tidy and ready to be run. Now if I can continue to ward off whatever bug seems to be wanting to brew up in me....Sunday is good to go. I like being ready for Sunday on Thursday. In this new rhythm of my life, long Saturdays of sermon writing and service prepping just don't do it for me anymore. It doesn't seem to take me nearly as long to write sermons as it once did. I think some of that is experience, just developing an approach to the whole business of sermon-craft that works for me. And I also think that some of that business of spending all my time writing and doing "stuff" for church was clearly other things. That whole overfunctioning business that occupied the first part of my ordained life. It was at least in part driven by my need to be the perfect little priest, which all came before God's graduate courses in post-ordination formation that have finally convinced me that a) I can't be and, b) even if I could, there is no point because God is fine with me as the beloved flawed human priest God called me to be.
It was also driven by a need to fill time and not deal with things, and what better way to be busy! Between my day job, my church life, and oh, yes, teaching when we threw that into the mix, I could just run forever and never have to stop and listen to my heart and my spirit. Except of course that it didn't work. Because it never does. Really. Not beyond a certain point. Beyond a certain point, all it did was leave me frazzled, strung out and exhausted, never mind so far from my center that I wouldn't have recognized her if I tripped over her! At any rate, I am truly truly happy that the Energizer Bunny has gone into retirement.
It was also driven by a little bit of arrogance. "I am soooo busy because I am sooooo important in the scheme of things, don't you know." Every time I "confessed" that I had no idea what the current popular TV shows were because I "simply did not have time to watch them," I have to admit, I felt a little frission of what I must admit was pride. I had to find my self-esteem somewhere, and that seemed like as good a place as any, I guess! There's that functional atheism thing again! It seems to crop up in many guises. I needed people to see me as important somewhere because I did not see myself that way. It's, as they say in the Twelve Step world a character defect...and a long-standing one, this inability to see my true self. I seem to have an internal fun house mirror that pops up and distorts me in my own eyes (and its equivalent in an audio speaker for the critical voices). But the mirror grows dimmer and the volume on the speaker quieter these days. And it leaves me free to hang out on the couch with my sweetie and revel in a good episode of House or even Two and a Half Men for no other reason than it's fun and I LIKE it. Whew! Even now I can hear a little critic screaming in there...."YOU DID WHAT!?!?!" But...it is what it is....and yes, I am doing less these days. But I think I'm doing it with more integrity, authenticity and certainly with more joy. That tight little spring in my center unwinds a little more all the time....and nobody cares, and for this, yes, I am grateful.