July 23rd, 2006


Nevertheless, there remaineth a rest . . .

Hi-de-ho. Another good day in church. After Sunday School, we toodled down to the hospital to check on a parishioner who's been in the whole three weeks or so I've been pastor here. With all the movin' and shakin' going on in my life, I've been running to the hospital to see him whenever I was free. He is now improving.

collinsmom went along with me, and afterwards, we went looking for lunch. Well, we were only a few blocks from downtown, so we went over to The Irish Lion. Downtown was almost deserted at noon-and-a-half, and there were only a few patrons in the Lion. BUT -- they have a super Sunday Brunch special. So we had a great Dublin City Breakfast in a quiet atmosphere (very unusual for a Sunday lunch venue).

Now we are home for the afternoon. Planning a quiet, restful afternoon, with some grocery shopping later on. Gotta take care of ourselves, not just obsess over getting things unpacked. The animules formed up in a line to be petted when we came in the door -- they need some lovin', too.

For my children's lesson today, I talked about the ways in which God comforts us. For an example of comfort/peace/courage, I used Joe, my now-fifty-year-old teddy bear (see userpic, above). God has promised to take care of us, to make everything OK. To help us grab hold of him when we need him, he has given us the water of our baptism and the bread and wine of communion; he has also given us the gift of music and the power of prayer and worship; AND he meets us according to our capacity. Maybe all a little child can understand of comfort is holding its bear close at night. The bear is thus a stand-in for its parents -- and for God -- and is used by God's grace to comfort those too young to reach for other comfort, until they grow into those gifts. So, life, death, worries, closet monsters -- God is bigger than them all.

Feels strange to be starting over

We haven't moved (to a new church) in eight years. Our last two appointments were in the same community (more or less), so we haven't been uprooted from social network and where-to-shop and so on for eleven years. Since starting my first appointment in seminary, we have never moved to a new appointment without children. This move feels very strange, indeed.

I told collinsmom today that when I left Spencer following High School, I never looked back. Everything I was looking for was ahead of me, rather than behind me. To this day, I keep in touch with almost nobody from my youth. The friends I made in seminary are my "old friends" today. So I suppose I ought to be able to see this new start as a new phase in my life and go forward without worrying over the past, but I just can't.

It feels so weird to contemplate Christmas this year without my family (for instance). I mean, I'd welcome my family in a hearbeat, but somehow I don't think we'll get together; at least, my own two children won't be coming home, I don't think. stryck is mulling over other Christmas possibilities. siege has launched himself off in a different direction, and I don't think he'll have transportation. So it may just be me and ða wif, together with dog and cat. And as everybody follows their own centripetal orbits, it may be that way for much of the future.

So we're going to have to learn how to do our thing where we are, by ourselves. And we're going to have to learn how to make friends -- something we aren't particularly good at. We have few really comfortable friends whom we eagerly look forward to being with (and all of them, like us, are incredibly busy). And if we couldn't figure this out very well as newlyweds, imagine two middle-aged introverts trying to figure it out now. Doesn't sound promising.

Anyway, I miss my children. My daughter and I were always the type who could just about finish each other's sentences. I understand about her constructing her own life, but I miss her. I have always enjoyed her company immensely. My son I love, but what I mostly feel in contemplating his current situation is a great sense of "unfinished business." There is so much I have tried to do with him and for him, and, well, paraphrasing Jesus, "he would not." I fear for him, but feel helpless to do anything else for him.