The first few weeks of each semester are turning out to be really expensive.
My very first semester, there was the flood (and subsequent move).
Second semester, Dave's car was totaled in a 5-car pileup.
Last week, our (remaining) car was hit while parked, and Saturday night (in a totally unrelated way), it died while we were driving. We're waiting to hear the final verdict, but there's a strong possibility it'll need a new engine. (And then there's the conversation about the wisdom of bothering to put a new engine in an '06 Hyundai Accent...)
I'm grateful (far more than I can say) that no one was hurt during any of these events. I feel so lucky about that. Also, I'm an rock star at adapting, and I'm highly proficient at making things work. (Seriously: these things are in my DNA. We've evolved into people who can do anything at all with just a piece of string and a Rubbermaid container.)
The expense of these things calls my attention to my experience of seminary, though. Seminary tuition feels like buying a new washing machine. I'm not having the mountaintop experience here that many other people do-- and while that's fine with me, I do feel a lot of external pressure about it. This seems strange-- the assumption that we'll all have the same experience (or that this will so far surpass our prior experiences).
Watching where our money goes is a great way of noticing what's important. This week, I'm noticing it more than usual. I'm looking at our savings, and thinking about where we hope (though cannot expect) to be in 5 years. Where is my treasure going-- and what does it say about my heart? I don't really have answers at the moment, but it's an important question.
At the end of the summer, I decided it was important to make a habit of playtime. To set aside a few hours once a week where I don't reflect, work, or otherwise try to improve myself or my surroundings. It doesn't interfere with what needs to be done, but it nurtures joy and keeps me from thinking that I personally can solve every problem in the world. In fact, I made it one of my ministry goals this year.
Reactions to my goal have been surprisingly mixed. More than one minister has been downright derisive. Dave, I'm happy to report, is all for it. My Field Ed supervisor thinks it's a pretty good idea, too. (So far, he's a gem. But it's only been 16 weeks, so I'm holding off on making a judgment. On account of, you just never know.)
So, if you feel like praying for me this week, I'd love prayers to stay devoted to play and joy. I don't believe I can minister long-term without them.
How about you? Is there a discipline you need a little divine help to maintain? Is there anything else I can lift up for you?
No post from me today, just a plea for you to go read Glennon's "Yes and No" and Momastery. Go now; I'll wait. I also come from a family where people don't know that "love should not hurt us." Glennon speaks for the the women in my family, too: "We want to be good girls with tidy lives so we do not dare to disturb the universe by telling a few people to be decent or get the fuck out of our beautiful lives. To be decent or get the fuck out of our children’s beautiful lives."
Anger builds up, and self- destruction takes over like kudzu. But Glennon says it better. So go read her.
Today was my first day back at the hospital (my summer CPE is over, but I'm doing field education there during the school year). As I walked through the parking garage to my car, I realized that I'd been smiling for several hours.
I do, of course, hesitate to put that in print, because I'm squirrelly. I'm feeling pretty scared to trust joy and hope. I'd love your prayers for that, if you're so inclined.
Did you feel like you belonged where you were today, or are you longing to have that feeling? Let me know, and I'll hold you in prayer.