Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grateful for a Bad Day

Yesterday I was working while going to church, which unfortunately you can do when you go to online church. I'm looking forward to sitting in a pew and just going to church when I leave my job working in religion. I literally cannot remember the last time I did that. Maybe General Assembly last June--but that's not the same kind of church. It's like Big-Top-Tent church, good and exciting, but it doesn't smell like coffee and you can't hear the fussy babies so it's not regular church.

I love the Church of the Larger Fellowship's online worship, it's really fabulous. And the Japanese Bowl sermon last week by the intern minister Joanna Crawford is still sitting on my heart. But it's easy to sit at the computer and do stuff while going to online church. Yesterday I decided I should clean out some of the thousands of emails in the inbox of the email account that I'll turn over in just under three months. It's 1998 technology, so not easy to manage. I can delete about 12 emails at a time, and that still takes almost a full minute.

I was back on emails from September 2010--deleting away 12 at a time. I saw the opening of the church building go by--October 2010--preparing for the dedication of the building. Frantic panic about 30 more kids than we'd expected. Funny to see little snippets go by just from reading subjects.

And then I saw an email with the subject, "Bad News."

Bad news. I could hear the blood pound in my ears and reached for the sweater on the chair next to me--suddenly I was freezing cold.

I opened the email. It told about a new development in the cancer, about a painful biopsy. It was rye with dry humor and still held hope. There was a string of supportive emails that followed, the women of the church sending love and light and hope and offering casseroles and child care. I read them, and tears fell to see the love and care and hope.

About one year later, the hope was over. A couple of months ago, we held the memorial service. She had to leave her sweet children behind which I am certain broke her heart and pissed her off, but the end was so fast that we never got to talk about it.

A simple little task. Emptying a long neglected inbox. But you fall in the chasm of this thing, this human condition. So hard, but really it is nothing at all. Really. Nothing at all.

I am grateful to be having a bad day, because I am blessed to be here and aware and crabby and unjustly accused  and unappreciated and thank God, it's a day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Feelin' Groovy

You know that moment when the crushing fatigue sits on your head and you look at the floor and just want to collapse on the soft rug and curl up and sleep? Oooooh! And if there might be a blanket and a couch, man--watch out. This is the workplace danger of working from home. Especially if there's a little dog with those sad eyes who just really wants to snuggle up for a nap. But there are hours and hours of work left to do, so you don't .You don't rest. You don't stop. Instead you grab coffee or do a desk-chair yoga moment of trying to get the blood to flow back up to your head. Gotta get things done, finish the project, find the answer, create the magic. Go.

This morning's Daily Compass is singing my song. How DID I get to be an adult without realizing that I need rest? How did I get in this spot of having way too much to do, no time for friends and family and no plan at all for what to do next? Where is my "slow" speed?

I should write this down on a sticky note and stick it on my bathroom mirror so I don't have to learn this again. And again. "SLOW DOWN"

And then somehow I'm six again, and my grandmother is singing Simon and Garfunkel to me:
 Slow down, you move too fast, gotta make the mornin' last, just kickin' down the cobblestones.....

I'll let you finish the song.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Listen to Your Mother

Leave it to your mother to quietly point at something, raise her eyebrows and give you a little nod. Oh yeah, really gotta pay attention when all three of those things happen.

Except in my life they happen on facebook these days, since I ruined my mother's life and took three of her four youngest grandsons 1,200 miles away.

Yes, my 80-year-old mother is on facebook. And she has a kindle and an ipad. And she skypes, too.

"You're in the UU World again" I think was about all it actually said on facebook, the point and eyebrows and nod were totally implied though. I could tell.

My UU World had been sitting on my desk, waiting to be read in the rush of all things family and church and the ittle bitty district job I'm juggling right now. But yep, sure enough there it was in the blog responses to articles in the last UU World, a post I could barely remember writing much less living. December 8th somehow feels like a million years ago. But I clicked through to the post and sure enough, it was something that we'd just been talking about across the kitchen table in the RE office a few days earlier. And as I read it I thought "people must think I either have been straight up lying in this blog or that I'm a total idiot for leaving this job."

And then I read back through the posts. "Love the job, love the people, joy and peace and bliss and blah blah blah perfection in all things church and faith" and holy mother of all things of worth and dignity, I swear, it's all true. I have absolutely loved serving this congregation. It is full of the most amazing, giving people who are full of love and who I swear to the spirit work like oxen on espresso! I could hardly speak when I sat at the table with the board of trustees to submit my resignation, it was so sad. And when a beloved six-year-old gave me the chalice she'd created at a chalice chapel, well, I'm still teary about that. I will rip out little pieces of my heart and stuff them in the cushions of the pews and the bins of legos when I leave.

But I have to go. Some people have a call to serve God or work with the street children in poor cities. Some people wake up and join the Peace Corps. I didn't get those texts on the God phone. Nope.

For me....it's pretty straight forward. It's time for me to leave the congregation I love.

And if you stay when it's time to go, well, that's about the most unkind thing you could ever do to a group of people you love.

So, thanks mom, for pointing me to the blog and reminding me that I used to be a blogger. And that people might be wondering.....hunh? What on earth happened here?

Nothing happened. Life is complicated. I am making the tidiest most amazing and well organized office, storage and programs (teacher teams for 2012-2013? Already on it!) any leaving person has ever left behind. It is a profoundly loving leaving.

Eventually, I will love actually sitting through a church service and singing hymns and that thing where you go away on a Friday and come back on a Sunday and rest and relax....I think it's called a weekend away. But I will miss being the adult who children trust and the storyteller people listen to and the strong one who keeps things together from time to time.  I will miss it a lot.

But the seasons go round and round and the years actually grow wings and fly by. And even when you're nearly 45 your mother can still remind you about the things you really need to do. On facebook.

It's a good thing and sometimes good things just break your heart.