Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day Ummm... until 14

Yes, once again my brilliant scheming was undermined by my crapola body. (Crapola is one of my mother's personal coinages. I've always liked it. Rhymes with Crayola.)

My hand just hurt too darn bad to blog so I stopped typing. Guess what? My hand is better. Perhaps now is the time to return to my Luddite ways!

What did you miss while I went silent? After all, it is a sabbatical. Miracles, great truths, and cosmic energy should be abounding. Did I discover the next Rosetta stone? Translate the lost verses of the book of Job? Find oneness with the universe? Get interviewed by Oprah?

Let's see. I had some friends over for spaghetti. I threw in the towel on cleaning my son's room. I did the family budget, which was actually very interesting. Our spending patterns reveal that... we are frugal. Imagine that: frugal progressives without cable TV, fancy cars, or expensive hobbies. To complete the predictability I went ahead and paid my ACLU dues.

I had my hopes raised by a D'Angelo article in the local weekly. I had my hopes dashed when the news was - still no CD release. I thought about turning on the TV. In the daytime. By myself. But I got over it and read the American Veterinary Medicine Association's Guidelines for Euthanasia in laboratory animals instead. That led me to a lot of prayer and fasting.

I countered my exercise envy demons by going to the gym and then got a snazzy dose of double sciatica as a reward. Please laugh. There is no other option. I am typing this sitting on a blazing hot heating pad. Laughing is all I got on the coping tools. I am the MacGyver of the chronically ill set using dark humor, a heating pad, and some old issues of the Buddhist mag Tricycle to stave off insanity.

I drove past church twice. Just checking.

The most sabbatically significant thing that happened this week was that I acknowledged the gigant-enormo debt I've accrued in five years of parish ministry. I owe my friends face time and babysitting of their children. I owe my parents some yard work, hundreds of walks, and dozens of dinners. I owe my husband, my children, my house, my body, my neighbors. In giving to a congregation I have taken away, well, ME from my family and friends. The rewards have been immense, but having some time away I realize that there has been a higher price than I had calculated.

Part of this realization came when I discerned the impossibility of the tasks I had set for myself during the time off. Another realization hit when my friend of 36 years came out with me to sing karaoke and as we parted in the parking lot chirped, "See you next year!" Needless to say, she was invited for spaghetti within days. My phone time has been lengthy with some of the many loved ones whom I have not called in months, maybe years.

The biggest kick in the pants (hey maybe that sciatica is NOT from the gym!) came upon visiting one of my dearest friends in the hospital. He has kidney cancer. He has been a huge influence in my life, my ministry and in how I see the world. And we see each other maybe twice a year. I've seen him twice this week and he was mostly naked and missing a kidney. We agreed - next time Panera.

Last year for Christmas I gave myself a personalized to-do pad that said "Get your priorities straight!" and had a picture of my kids on it. I found it this week under a stack of books I've been studying for sermons. It still has all the paper.

Ok, universe. I got it. Got it.


ms. kitty said...

Wow, AC, I don't know how you do it, some days. Maybe most days. Hang in there, pal.

plaidshoes said...

I imagine balancing time between ministry and family has to be the hardest part of the job. I am glad you have had some time to see the bigger picture - and good luck! I hope you are feeling better.