Monday, December 11, 2006

One thing after Another

Haven’t even booted my computer up for three days. I think this weekend was actually worse than what I can expect from Christmas in two weeks. Which leads me to reflect, for just a moment (before I rush off to a meeting On My Day Off), on the issue of busyness and being over extended.

I am constantly explaining to the women of Good Shepherd (and the men too when I can get them to pay attention) that life needs to be properly ordered. God comes first, then one’s husband, then one’s children, then you come last. Same thing with the church—church comes first, then other activities. So, for example, Sunday School should come before soccer practice and games, or, in this case, wrestling (since that seems to be the sport of the season). And, I say in all spiritual confidence, if your life is properly ordered, you should not be over extended. You should have Enough—enough time, enough money, enough food, whatever it is, you should have enough.

And the women of the church either nod and agree (because they’re trying to order things correctly), or nod and slightly purse their lips because they think I’m full of it.

But this weekend I worked and worked and worked and found that I came up empty. There wasn’t enough time. There were too many things that I had to keep track of.
For example.
*I have to get the bulletin out. This involves making seasonal adjustments to the liturgy, periodically changing the Eucharistic Prayer, rotating through prayers of the people, AND, at the church, for Advent, adding in an extra weird little prayer for the lighting of the Advent Candles. Well, I’m not used to this little tradition and I foul it up every year. We can’t remember to stop, after processing in, and light the candle and read the prayer. Matt usually just ploughs on into the collect and Gloria (or whatever). And then I can see various people glaring at the wreath—It hasn’t been Lit! It hasn’t been Lit! Well, of course, I’d like to dispense with this little tradition. We already have a perfectly fine collect for the day. I don’t see why we need another one. And it adds time to an already long service.
*I had to run around and find a font, make it bearable to look at, make sure it was clean, get it to church.
*I had to have my material ready for Catechesis Sunday morning along with the lesson etc.
*I had to run around and make sure our Evangelical Effort in Baking Bread and Distributing it was all set—I had to run out and buy little loaf pans, bags for the bread, recut Matt’s little service times cards ETC.
*I had to clean the house because my parents arrived the same day we were baking bread.
*I had to coordinate Emma getting to ballet in the middle of the bread making event because I would not be there to take her (and she’d already missed twice so we couldn’t skip again).
*I had to print the bulletin, prayers of the people, lessons, and Matt’s weekly update in time for services on Sunday morning.
*I had to organize the arrival of St. Nicholas in the service, complete with oranges, chocolate, cope, miter etc.
* I had to stop and feed the baby at regular intervals.
*I was supposed to work on and complete my paper for school.
*I had to fill my children’s shoes with chocolate and presents because St. Nicholas would be in church that morning and we forgot to do it on the right day.
*I had to make sure that the children were sensibly dressed so we could have a family picture at the baptism.
Well, you get the picture. And for those of you who would be judgmental and say, ‘she should delegate some of those jobs away’, I’d already given about 20 jobs to other people that were supposedly going to be on my plate.

And so of course things fell through the cracks. I ended up basically sprinting through Saturday and Sunday and actually arriving at the 10:30 service in a full sweat. It was a mess. We got through the service and everything went, but I was wrung out.

This will now be my life from now until after Easter, through Solemn Communion.

Of course, its possible that my priorities are in the wrong order. Church is our job. We are both worshiping and doing the job to make worship happen. And that’s a bottomless pit. There will always be more we could do, more we could do to make it better, more we could do to bring people in. And we are trying to do a lot. We want our children to be godly and upright, and so we are undertaking their education ourselves until we can find a sensible school. We want the church to grow, and so we are pushing and shoving and pleading and encouraging people to come. We want worship to be beautiful and accessible, so we print the whole thing up every week so that it will be easy to follow. Matt wants me to grow and have more theological depth, so I am in school. We love babies and so we are having lots.

And so here I am, Monday morning, exhausted. And my mother is racing around doing laundry and looking at me like I should be more energetic. And instead of drawing any theological conclusions about this, I now have to leap up and get ready for this meeting.


ruth said...

I do hope you've found some down time in the last day or two--if that's even possible with 3 little ones. I don't have kids--just a husband and a job and miscellaneous responsibilities I've volunteered for at church; I still feel frazzled by the end of the week; fortunately I can usually lie crumpled on the couch for a couple hours on Sunday afternoon to recover. I'm guessing you don't have that luxury.
Does being frazzled mean we're getting something wrong in our attempt to follow God, or is it just how life is? I don't know. I once heard a fellow parishioner comment during a group discussion that she's fearful of abandoning herself to the love, and thus the will, of God; fearful that if she did, God would just ask more of her and add to her already crammed to-do list.

Christie said...

So glad to see another Anglican catechist.

After leaving the my old Episcopal Church and joining a parish in Uganda, I don't know if I will be able to use my Catechesis Training. If you ever have time, would love to know more about your Catechesis experience in a parish setting.

I did it for eight years in my old parish and enjoyed it very much. It is so special to let the children learn relationship rather than facts.

Blessings to you

Anne Kennedy said...

Thank you both very much for your kind words. I am gradually ticking things off my list--my class is within minutes of being done, I've just about got the stewardship letters done etc. etc.
I do think Catechesis is one of the things that keeps me on the ground and going in the right direction. For one thing, the atrium is so restful and worshipful. And if I can manage to be prepared its an hour I enjoy very much. I have several posts half done on the subject that just need a little work and I will have them up. But right now, I'm holding my baby for 15 seconds and watching Aedan pile up blocks and then knock them down.

Christie said...

Are your parents working on the Mofu (sp?) translation?

Anne Kennedy said...

They've been involved with the Senefou translation in Southern Mali but are now working at NEGST in Nairobe. wow, baby screaming