So it's been interesting...since my break has started I've been waking up earlier and earlier every day. It started rather normally, around 7. And then rolled back by half an hour each couple of days. Now I seem to be settled around 5:30.
5:30!!! It's my vacation! Time to rest and sleep in and recover from my quarter. And yet my bod - or really mostly just my mind - is waking up earlier than I ever did during school. What is up with that?
I don't know if I have stress that could be causing it. I have my sleeping pills and they usually fix this but not now. I don't so much have stress as stuff hanging over my head - decisions and nervousness about upcoming stuff. Like going to the new church. I just realized I've finally kind of become comfortable with my current internship and now I'm starting over. That's intimidating. I have to meet all new people and learn a new system. The comfort is that since it's a tiny church, there won't be much of a system or many people to learn.
And then Sundays, like today, I wake up wondering what I should do about church generally. We've gotten tired of driving to Beverly Hills and then the confusion over the use of funds has caused us to be annoyed with them. And when we go, it's kind of become foreign to us. We don't know many of the people there (being a large urban church there's a lot of transience), even most of the leadership has changed. We love the new preacher, but don't know her at all. Actually, all the priests with whom we had relationships are gone. We have a deacon we love, but you know, one person isn't much of a church community. We don't have time to be involved beyond Sunday morning, and it's pretty much prohibitive to get over to that side of town at any other time. I still love the services - they are my favorite place to worship. I miss singing so much, but choir's not a possibility. And that was my primary community there. So I guess what I'm saying is it doesn't really feel like our church anymore. Which is weird, because we have tried to leave several times before when we moved far away, and we just couldn't pull ourselves away. Now after all this time it's no longer about the distance, it's about the fact that there's not anything to take me over there. It's not worth the drive because there's not much motivation to get there. Which is all very interesting because I know other people who are leaving right now too. One is doing it because there's not enough inner spiritual formation stuff there (which is probably a fair assessment - that stuff's been suffering for a while) and I'll bet I'm feeling that as well. My faith is growing into such a quiet, inward thing. Something I must ruminate on and spend a lot of time in meditation and journaling (which this blog is, by the way). I get so much education in my classes at Fuller that I don't need a church with educational programs. I get my community at seminary too, I think. But even if I didn't, there's not really any community at All Saints for us. We simply don't have friends there anymore. Our closest friends moved away, one couple across the country and the other went with the church plant (which we should really go check out one of these weeks). So they are not there. Good sermons and worship can theoretically be found elsewhere, although for us it's been a struggle to find something we're happy with.
But I think that's why St. Barnabas seems to be working for us - because it's so different from ASBH that we're not really comparing it. And somehow, even though there's not many people our age there, we do sense there's a community to be part of. Maybe we're just at a time in life when we really need a small church. I've not really been part of one in my life so I think it is good to try.
So this leaves me with two big problems. The first is our pledge. What do we do about that? I think we will probably just mail checks to the church. We pledged low (based on what we think we'll make but hopefully we'll make more) so we should finish it off pretty soon. Then we can start tithing wherever we're attending. The second is my discernment. But after this quarter I feel more and more like I'd be a crappy priest. And my supervisor basically has been telling me that the stress I felt was pretty normal for a priest so if I can't handle it I'd probably better rethink if I can do this job. But she did see me at a really bad time. There was more than just the stress going on, I think there must have been a chemical issue in my brain. Because I'm always great at juggling a million things. So the breakdown this fall had to have something more going on than just a tough job. Although a big part of it, I'm sure, was the feeling like I was back in Hollywood with people who work insane hours. And another part was my frustration with primarily doing party planning instead of anything related to my seminary education. I left the event planning business a while ago. It's not why I went to seminary. And the last 2 days were once again filled with running errands to make a party happen. Which just feels dumb. I had been questioning whether I made the right decision to move, but I think I did. When people ask me what I did at my internship, I can really only tell them event organization. And then I feel sheepish because I know that's a stupid answer, but I have trouble coming up with more. Sigh.
ANY way I was trying to write about discernment. Nice committee I had. Would be cool to keep them. Although one of them is leaving BH anyway (the person who wants more inner life). So they might have fallen apart on their own. Maybe I transfer discernment to wherever we wind up, although I have no idea where that will be. I don't see us long term at St. B's, but maybe God has other plans. I am tired of this inner struggle each Sunday morning about where to go to church. I feel like I should go to BH, but many times I had to go to Pasadena, and I don't even know if I want to go to St. B's, but at least it is close and I do always have a very pleasant time there. I certainly feel like I worship there. I certainly feel like it's a family that is slowly accepting us two, even though we totally stick out (a young white couple in a church that is almost entirely elderly black ladies). So maybe that is where we will wind up for the time being.
Everything will probably change in a few years anyway, when John goes on the job market and we go wherever he can find work. I so need him to have a secure job with benefits. This adjunct thing is exhausting. I hate wondering each quarter whether he'll have enough jobs to get by; I hate that he has to teach 4-6 classes at 3-4 institutions just for us to get by; I hate that he's about to have no health insurance. I've never been very comfortable with instability although I've certainly learned to deal with it since we've been unstable pretty much our entire marriage (except for a few years when I worked at 'SC, but then I rocked the boat by deciding to go to school - I guess I'm not content in comfort!). No, it's not that I'm uncomfortable with instability, it's that I'm impatient for things that can happen once we have stability. Basically I'm getting super-anxious to have kids, and I just don't want to be pregnant without decent health insurance - not at my age. Plus, pretty much every square inch of our tiny apartment is already taken (you actually have to move furniture to walk through the living room) so it would make things all the more crowded.
Speaking of my tiny apartment, have I mentioned lately how much I absolutely hate it here?? What a terrible move this was. And it's so much worse because we had an awful time moving and swore not to do it again. But I don't think I can stand it here past a year. It's so crowded. I'm so claustrophobic in here. The cats fight because they can't have territory to themselves. John and I fight more than ever. The only really usable room is the front one (our back room is constantly dark) and it is smaller than my last office was when I was a working gal. Possibly smaller than any of my offices. The kitchen is horrible - not only did we give up tons of stuff (that now & then we say, where is that? oh yeah, we had to sell it), but we're always breaking things because you can't help bumping the dishrack or cabinet or whatever. We definitely can't both be in there, and that sucks because we enjoy cooking together.
I'm sorry. I don't mean to complain so much - I am grateful for a roof over my head. I am glad I found a place we can afford - as much as I loved my old place, we'd be in such financial trouble if we'd stayed. But I'm really pissed at Fuller that they won't let us live in their inexpensive places because of our cats. Sometimes I think we maybe should have given them up. But no, no way. Not only are they my kids, but I've had to give so much up already. I know it's just stuff, but it is hard to completely rework your life. It's freaking hard to live with less. And then some moron steals a bunch of stuff and you spend Advent hurting because all your memories and traditions are gone. It hurts to go into stores and see displays, it hurts to hear music, it hurts to see this ugly-ass apartment where I couldn't even put up anything if I wanted to.
And did I mention we just had to do over $800 of work on the car?
Yeah, finances suck right now. But I'm holding on for dear life to this vacation in a couple weeks. I will not give that up. I don't care if we are debt forever. I need it bad. We do together.
Well the sun is finally coming up so I will close this. Gotta start thinking about where to go to church this morning. ugh. Blessings.
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I'm praying for you as always. Hopefully the pendulum will start swinging the other way soon...
I am really suspicious of your supervisor's comment, though -- any church that is stressing out their priest on a consistent basis is not empowering their laity enough and/or is putting too much work on the priest. But this is wrapped up in a concern about all priests being professionals that most mainliners don't share.
In any case, being stressed out by an unsustainable ministry situation does not mean you don't have a true call!
Amen Chris! Yes ministry is a pain sometimes, but as we have discussed, the maddness of your previous situation is the maddness of that situation alone. Each new church will bring its own brand of crazy! For good and bad! : )
I am so sorry I was not there yesterday, I have a terrible cold. I just could not run the risk of getting all the ladies sick.
Certainly sounds like God is leading you in a direction on church, away from one place seems clear, it just sounds like where you are going at least feels a little fuzzy still. Very annoying, and often a bit scary!
As for that apartment of yours, I am not sure if I could help, but I am willing to try. Since I am still paying off that bachelors in interior design, I should put it to use. Up to you.
Much love to you both, and I will see you on Sunday.
Trust me, you have not missed anything by not living in Fuller housing, except as my husband used to say, it would be good preparation for roughing it on the mission field. You get what you pay for.
I have one final exam left on the 19th, then My first semster of Seminary will be done. Hoefully Vacation will go well and you'll get the rest you need. Good luck with the church decision!
I got stressed out just reading about this. I hope that you sharing this at least helps you get it out a bit and feel better?
"Yeah, finances suck right now. "
Have you read "Happy are you poor" by Thomas Dubay? It has some helpful comments on what is meant by gospel poverty at that everyone is called to poverty. So, don't feel bad about your finances -- it might be a blessing!
Random: I am coming to Fuller in the fall and found this post by searching for St. Barnabas. I can't for the life of me find it's website/any info beyond its address. Any help?
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