Photo: I didn’t take many pictures this week, so I had to go back and find a cute one. These little boys love their machines and their wheels so much. The tractor is just a playground prop, but Lord did they treat it like it was the real live thing!
I found myself at church this morning, stuffing envelopes and thinking about my interning days. Stuff paper into envelopes just so, place said envelopes into alphabetical order, seal envelopes with the sealer-stick-thingy. High school all over again. Or, the adult version: Church Stewardship Committee.
Longtime readers are snickering. I’m on the Stewardship Committee at my church? I’m part of a team that is charged with asking for money and raising enough to fund the operating budget for the church for the year? It’s just a little too funny. Especially because I stumbled my way onto it. Someone on the committee asked me to pop into meeting to give my opinion about a brochure and the next thing I know, I’ve got duties, deadlines and homework!
Taking a break from the stuffing and the sealing, I had a laugh with my rector about the whole thing. I explained to her that my grandmother is so proud of me for not just going to church, but being on such an important committee. She’s been asking me about it every week. That’s when my assistant rector (the one who blessed the blanket for my friends over the summer) popped into the office. He asked if he could have a word.
I, being awkward and needing to defuse my anxiety with humor, immediately blurted exactly what I was thinking: “I feel like I’m being called to the principal’s office.”
“Not the principal’s office. I’m the vice principal!”
“Where I come from, that’s even worse!”
There was more (nervous and) witty banter that came after, me sitting in this cute little office wrapping myself tightly in my cardigan. Finally, the ask: “I am looking for mentors for this year’s 8th grade Confirmation students and I immediately thought of you and I have the perfect student.”
Again, I know that there are longtime readers who are snickering a bit. This is church, a place that I was really resisting and spent a long time doing what I could to avoid it. This is teaching in a way, something that I walked away from almost 5 years ago and haven’t really looked back. This is another commitment, which I certainly don’t need, and yet…
I said yes immediately. I couldn’t think of anything more awesome than that. I’m still thrilled about it. It’s utterly counter-intuitive, I know, and yet I was so delighted to be asked, so excited about the potential, so missing my time with students and teaching… this feels like such a gift. Furthermore, I know and trust that I’m going to get so much out of it.
There are a lot of things that can be said about this “stay-at-home” time in my life, but nobody can say that I’ve spent it languishing or getting rusty. I haven’t been in the business of saying no to opportunities to learn or grow and I think it’s really starting to pay off. It could be the age, too: I’ve never felt more confident in who I am, what I know and where I have the potential to go (if I can hold it together, and if I can manage to be brave. Bravery, still, isn’t my strongest trait). I’m sitting here grateful that I didn’t completely close myself to church and church community. I don’t love all of it, but I do, at least, love this: here is a place where I can be useful and put some of my skills to work.
Don’t worry, though, this isn’t a religious blog and I’m not turning into some evangelist. I’m writing all this because I turned around and suddenly I had a place to go and be. Small things, to be sure, but quite large in my little life right now. It makes this place feel a little less cold and foreign, just a touch closer to something like “home.” I know this feeling will come in handy, during the lonely times that will inevitably come.
Where is your “go and be” place, Dear Reader? Is there a place in the world where you fit best? I’m not sure that this is that place for me, but it’s certainly the closest I’ve felt in a very long time.
Wherever your place is in this world, Dear Reader, I hope that it is warm and welcoming this weekend. We’re in for very cold temperatures over the next few days, which makes me sad… though I’m looking forward to hearing the hiss and clang of the radiators sometime in the night, smelling the sweet heat and feeling the warmth that they give off. On this chilly Friday, I wish you warm socks, a thick blanket, and a book that transports you to a far off place. I wish you soup, slowly simmered, delicate and delectable. Or maybe pasta, a big bowl of it, served with a side of hearty and crusty bread. I wish you a long phone call with a good friend or a loving relative and the recollection of a fun memory. I wish for you a plan for something wonderful in the near future: your holiday trip home, a quick drive to local tourist spot, brunch with a friend at a newly opened place… something to make you smile during the times when life is mean. Finally, at some point this weekend I wish you a moment to look up and watch the leaves fall. I hope you take a deep breath and have the opportunity to appreciate the fleeting beauty of the season.
As always, I wish you that wonderful feeling of knowing that you are loved and admired, near and far, seen and unseen. You are worthy of that love, more than you’ll ever fully know. Go do something wonderful with it, lighting the world for others as you go.
Until Monday, take care.