Saturday, February 04, 2012

some things (that are different)

I've now lived an entire month as a fully employed woman of the cloth (though that term is sadly archaic, as a) there were no women originally included in that designation and b) my profession no longer comes with any designated "cloth," unless you include the pretty purple stole I sometimes get to wear with my stolen alb...), and there are some things that are different. I shall enumerate them, for your reading pleasure.

1. I live in a house, and sleep in a bed. The same house, and the same bed, for five consecutive weeks' worth of nights. Oh, except the one night I slept in the upstairs church hallway during the Jr. High lock-in. And those two on the floor of a condo at Wintergreen during the Sr. High ski trip. Still, my point: consistency in repose.

2. Money: I have some, and I have some that sticks around in my bank account longer than it takes for a monthly billing cycle to pass by. I am befuddled. (No, seriously. I am confused about this, for real.)

3. Friends: I have some of these, too, in dinner-eating range. And dinners I have eaten. Lunches, too! And brunches. And shopping trips. And mountain climbing, and movie watching, and grocery shopping, and all with...PEOPLE. PEOPLE I LIKE. WHO LIVE NEARBY. IN (nearly)DOUBLE DIGIT THRONGS!

4. There are events and appointments on my calendar, sometimes multiple entries for one single, solitary day. I realize this is not unusual for most of the world, but my recent past has been filled with woefully empty blocks on the google calendar homepage. Staff meeting! Coffee conversations! Home visits! Wednesday night youth group! District events! On top of all that, I GET TO DO THINGS: write liturgy, plan lessons, send emails, lead worship, balance checking accounts, register for workcamps, preview curriculum, write grant proposals. Call it whatever you want (distraction from the ever-present existential angst? delusion from the real?), but holy productivity, batman, doing things will do wonders for the psyche.

5. I like going to church. What?

6. Morning alarms, standard coffee consumption, regular diet, work-out routine, weekly schedule. Formless and void, transformed into order. And order = life.

A friend pointed out this morning that these benefits are usually the parts of life that are lacking in the pastoral profession. Money, friends, and health are not, shall we say, first on the list of the perks of a ministerial life. My response was that a decade of student poverty and volunteer isolation will leave you with radical visions of what's truly necessary to sustain abundant living. It has severely improved my predicament: unthinkably low expectations of what "wealth" and "health" actually mean.

I still have no idea what I'm doing, but apparently that comes with time. This current level of mushy, oozing, almost feral joy leaves me rather skeptical - about both the reality and the sustainability of the whole enterprise. Honestly, I am grossed out by this happiness. But I've long considered a stance of principled hedonism: pleasure rules. So be it.


Krista said...

Thanks for this post. It made me happy!

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