Thursday, July 02, 2009

Up and down...

Much has happened, some of it unbloggable, some important at the time and minor now, some of it providing fodder for thought, some to celebrate…a mixed bag.

I’ve been gifted with a trip to Capital City of Capital Cities, to visit friends and TO. Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! I will have a week to do little but visit loved ones, catch up on their lives and catch them up on mine, spend time with a couple of emerging friendships, and relax. Praises for friends and a capable Board (which allows me to be out of town for a week and over a Sunday without heartburn)!

I have also been gifted (or will be) with the means to take care of some debts. These have been eating at me, and from time to time keeping me from full focus on ministry. This gift, totally unexpected and completely selfless on the part of the giver, will free me from some mundane worries. Praises again!

And one more gift—a friend is sharing her cottage with me for day tomorrow. I hadn’t realized how much I needed a day completely off until she made the offer and it sounded like heaven—eight hours away from phones, cell phones, and yes, even my computer. Because the truth is, if I’m around any of those, I feel like there’s something I should be doing.

We all know how ministry is—there’s always something we can/should be doing. “Is the sermon written and the service ready for this Sunday (HAH!)? Then what about a start on next Sunday, just in case there’s a crisis? And besides, it will let me be more creative, work harder on the sermon. Or what about updating those PowerPoint backgrounds? I’ve been meaning to do that. Of course, I haven’t finished the pastor’s report for the month…the liturgy for Pride Sunday…the readings for the next couple of months…” You know that conversation with yourself, if you’re a pastor, you’ve probably had it or one like it.

Strong Heart, in searching for a new apartment, made sure to get one with two bedrooms—she wants a study with a door she can close. Wise woman, as I have said many times… It would probably help my sanity to move my laptop back up to the study instead of leaving it in the dining room, too…

Anyway, there is much that is good in my life right now. Celebrate!

There are two sadnesses. One is minor, and one is larger, but together they pushed me to think about what is really important in my life.

My mother’s brother, the one just younger than her, is terminally ill with cancer. He will be the first loss among the eight siblings, and she is having difficulty with this. It doesn’t help that her late husband (my step-father) died as a result of the same kind of cancer, and at about this time of year. I am concerned for my mother—I don’t know my uncle well, we were closer to others of my uncles growing up, so of course I am concerned for my cousins, but more so for my mother. This is the larger sorrow.

The minor one… Last summer, Strong Heart and I set up a “bistro’ on the front porch—little table, a couple of chairs, a nice BBQ grill. We used it often. She’d have dinner finishing up on the grill for me when I got back from Sister City; we’d have coffee out there in the mornings; or beer and conversations with the denizens of the Little Yellow House. This summer, the Professor, who now works (and soon will live!) down the street, has stopped by for a beer and conversation a few times. We sat at the table and talked about the joys and worries and frustrations and hopes we had. I would grill for myself and eat in the sunshine, reading a good book.

All that is over… Someone came along with bolt cutters and took the table and chairs.

They weren’t that fancy—nice, to be sure, and comfortable and good-looking. As Strong Heart says, clearly we have taste! But there’s no real value to them—they can’t be resold as a bicycle or car or computer could. I’m more upset by the symbolic loss than the actual loss. If I really want a table, I can go get another one. But that one…that had memories attached to it—of Strong Heart and I, of friends gathered in laughter, of good books, of rest at the end of a long day. It’s not the monetary value, it’s the heart value.

My prayer (arrived at after some heartburn and sorrow, lest you think me a plaster saint) is that those who took the table and chairs enjoy them as much as my friends and I did.

Well, onward and upward, my friends. I’m off to the cottage tomorrow!

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