I am practicing the fine art of sermon writing procrastination. I know I need to get moving....I should have been at this thing last week, because this one is going to be crazy. I preach Sunday and have the nursing home service as well. It's also our annual Lessons and Carols blow out on Sunday night. That means an extra rehearsal on Saturday, plus finding time to get over to church one night this week to get all the choir robes organized for the extra singers we import from the college and the community. Our church womens' party is Wednesday night and I have an column due Wednesday morning for the ministerial association's contribution to the local paper. Thursday night we have concert tickets, and Saturday night is a party with some friends. I am foregoing a six-hour round trip to the Big City on Thursday for a meeting. The weather forecast and my sanity just seemed to say "don't" and I listened. And then of course there is my day job!
The theme of course for Sunday is "joy" (if you don't count that pesky little brood of vipers business). Trying really hard with that.....and not quite getting there. Friday was a pretty tough day. The falling shoes meeting had a good end overall. It is done and there is no ultimate harm. But I am still left feeling kind of shell-shocked. Clearly my understanding of what I do and how I am called to do it and theirs is very different. This would all be well and fine if they had no power to tell me how it is I should be doing it. But at least at some level they do. And so they told me that at least in one certain instance I did not do something in a way that met with their approval and in future I should not do it that way again. By extension they also intimated that my approach to my vocation(s) is probably more than a bubble or so off (by their lights), and if I wish to stay safely in the game as they play it I should tighten things up a hair. Safe to say it has raised my anxiety again. And it did not create any joy what so ever.
It is not all dark though. Seeds were planted that with some tending could become tender little shoots of hopefullness and maybe even joy. I so knew I was not alone. I felt the love and prayers of friends IRL and virtual. There was a visceral sense of being borne on that energy and it did carry me. And then there is R. He is my knight in shining armor and guardian angel. He delivered me safely there, let me cry out my frustrations afterwards, and distracted and entertained me to help me move forward and away from it. My "God-wing" gone so long is back. Comfort right now, and maybe....just maybe....joy.
I know that having a group of people with power tell me I was "bad" has triggered some old stuff. The critical voices woke up, stretched and got busy again. Quieting them will take some doing and some time. But for now, I know it's just a matter of the finding the good news in here somewhere. Isaiah has been my touchstone for a long, long time....."surely it is God who saves me, and Paul rejoices even in prison. Can I do less?