I was in our RE office on Monday trying and trying to get excited about making more animal costumes for the Christmas Eve tableau. I was so uninspired I thought my skin was going to peel off. I am not a crafty person and after six years of trying to do crafty things, and having already planning two multi-gen services in the last four weeks, I just wanted to throw the stupid oxen template out the third story window. And run. Bah!
But I made some little lamb masks from paper plates. And figured I'd have to trek to the craft store and throw myself at the mercy of the crafty folks who work there for ideas.
And I realized that I'm actually grateful that we needed to make 15 more animal costumes. It means we have many, many more children than the last time we did "Christmas in the Barn". And for that, I am grateful.
Yes, we have more work to do, more classes to run, more teachers to recruit. But it also means we have more people to love, more people to help do the work, more people who will bring soup and do child care when there's an emergency for one of us. And yes, when there are more people to love, there is a better chance that your heart will hurt for someone when hard things happen.
We're not supposed to get too connected, we religious professionals. We're supposed to be able to have some distance and keep some perspective. I have tried, but I'm not sure how you do that when you know the 10 year-olds who lose a parent or watch their parents divorce. I kind of think in those cases it is my job to be connected. A broken heart is just a logical hazard of the job.
So, I'm grateful. I'm grateful for being too busy and doing things that are not really my job, but just really need to be done for goodness sake, and are so important and worthy. I'm still not grateful for the task of making more animal costumes, I would have paid money from my own pocket if I just could have found some to buy, but I am grateful for the need for more costumes. I'm grateful for more people to love.
And yes, grateful for the sore heart, because it means even though sometimes I feel like my skin will peel off, this work still touches my soul.