Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Eli time and my Rockwood Church Visit
I think I have finally hit true relaxation today. Last week when I was home by myself I had sort of an identity crisis that made it hard to relax. I kept thinking what do I do if I'm not doing church work? Who am I if I'm not a minister? I had to work through some of that- and I'm still working on it. This week it is easier to relax perhaps because I am not at my own house- so no housework is staring me in the face. I'm not wondering what should I be doing? It's clear that my task this week is to be a friend and enjoy the company of my dear friends Jessa and Eli (and later in the week, Eric).
We're in Denver and yesterday was Jessa's birthday. We had pedicures, shopping and On the Border for lunch- delightful! Then Jessa was off to a pregnancy class so Eli and I played together in the evening. It is delightful to be in the company of a not quite two year old. Life slows down, you walk slower, you observe more- you spend 40 minutes swinging, you notice the sound a bird makes, you find a rock and think its the best toy ever- its quite a life. We laughed for a good 30 minutes about the word "toot" and then it was time for mom to get home, just in time for birthday cake. One of the precious gifts of this sabbatical is time- time to spend with friends and not feel rushed. I am noticing the presence of God in relationships big time.
I have yet to tell you about my second church visit which was actually over a week ago. David and I spent the 4th of July weekend with our friends in Rockwood. My friend Kara is the minister in Rockwood, she is a solo pastor and does an amazing job. It was a blast to be able to fill an entire pew row at her church with a cheering section just for her (it was her husband Mark, Emily, Heather and David and I). I particularly enjoyed the music at Rockwood, it was exceptional and helped me to connect with God while I was there. I also did something I used to do before I was a minister- I went through the bulletin to see what songs we would be singing and if I knew them. We got to sing several of my favorites! Tears filled my eyes as we sang the opening hymn- music and kids often make me cry in church.
I loved hearing Kara preach. I went to Divinity School with some of the most amazing people on the planet and Kara is one of them. I remember thinking while we were in school that my friends were going to make the most amazing ministers- and its true. I don't get to see them in action as much as I'd like. Getting to see my friends in their ministerial roles is another great gift of sabbatical. Kara preached a great sermon- it made us laugh and challenged us. While she preached I was totally overwhelmed by how immensely proud her mother would be of her. Her mom was a phenomenal minister who encouraged each of us along the way. She and Kara were close and respected and loved each other deeply. Kara's mom passed away a couple of years ago from cancer and I cannot hear the song, "Be Thou My Vision," without thinking of her singing it at Kara's ordination. She was amazing and her spirit lives on in her gifted daughter.
I also loved seeing camp friends at Rockwood. I saw lots of people that I know either from Bethany Hills or from the two times I had a chance to preach at Rockwood during their Lenten services. I was deeply blessed by this church visit.
This past Sunday I enjoyed the presence of God in the form of Jessa and Eli as we all played hookie from church! This coming Sunday we'll be attending Plymouth Congregational Church in Denver where Eric and Jessa both work!