Monday, December 15, 2014

Reality hits hard

I dunno. Locally and globally, sad and difficult stuff:

* someone took hostages in Sydney. In a Lindt chocolate shop. The newsheads are suggesting that we in the US need to be worried. Ugh, not four days before I travel, I don't need to hear that. (Granted, the chances of someone trying something on a train are small....but then again, there was a case of someone who was seriously disturbed stabbing four people on Amtrak in Michigan....).

* Just, all the other news. Protestors calling for violence as a response to police violence. I've been walking around for quite a while thinking, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." I don't know what it would take to fix things and I confess I'm grateful I'm not the person who has to make that call. Humanity gets me down.

* Locally: the minister we have (who is a seminary student almost finishing up) got hired by a church in  a place he wanted specifically to go to, so he's tendered his resignation. We knew this was coming but just the giant insecurity of "what will we do until we get someone permanent" is unhappy. (I guess they're interviewing someone but I have no idea how settled it is or how close to asking him they are. I specifically asked NOT to be on the search committee because of my overload this fall). Particularly I feel kind of bad this is happening NOW as he may be gone before I get back from Christmas break. As head elder, I feel like I have a special level of responsibility in seeing that services run smoothly....then again, I am NOT cutting my break short just for this and I don't think anyone would expect me to. (Two dates have been floated: either Feb. 1, which I think would be easier logistically, or Dec. 31, which is probably cleaner financially. There's a Board Meeting tomorrow night to work things out)

I knew this was coming but it's still not a particularly happy event locally. Oh, I'm happy for the minister: he's going somewhere they can probably pay him better than we could, he's going to be closer to family...but for us, this makes me worry. We're small. Money is always a problem. Can we attract a minister and keep them? How long before we fold?

Also, the logistics make me nervous: if we don't have a plan in place to fill the pulpit right away after our current guy leaves, they're going to have to lean on members of the congregation or local people. And while there are a few retired ministers willing to step in once in a while....there was also talk, the last time we went down this road, of pressing elders into service. And while I could probably write and deliver a sermon....I just don't want to. I mean, I'll do it if asked, but I still just don't want to. Not because of fear of public speaking or fear people would think it inappropriate for a non-ordained person to speak (or a woman, but people who objected to women serving would have left the congregation LONG ago). I just....well, I find that once I agree do to something, I wind up doing it a lot and I really don't want to risk getting drafted as the go-to fill-in. (I've been serving as fill-in elder almost every week for a while - people with work conflicts). There are so few of us.

Probably what we need to do is see if there's another group we can merge with, but that also carries all kinds of difficulties - both theological and practical differences. I don't know. I've officially been a member of a Disciples congregation since I was baptized at 13, and it's hard for me to think of joining another denomination, but that's probably what would happen if we folded, because the next nearest congregation is an hour's round trip and I just can't do that every week.

I tell myself we've been through this before. (in 2003, in 2006, in 2011) and that we'll make it through this one, somehow, if we're meant to continue as a congregation, but it still is not a good time for the whole thing to happen, when I'm not there to help out.

On the other hand: there is something a bit relieving about being able to say to myself, "I will be OUT OF TOWN and I had planned to be OUT OF TOWN and everyone knows I got OUT OF TOWN for several weeks at Christmas, they will just have to deal without my help."

Being a grown-up human in this world is difficult and it seems to me there's more sad stuff than happy stuff that happens when you're a grown-up. I confess, I wish sometimes I could go back and just be a kid again for a little while. Oh, I know, there were miserable things about being a kid: being unpopular in school, my mom scheduling dental appointments for the ONE day when there was no school in a grading period, not having much autonomy, getting a $2 a week allowance and having to save up to buy some of the things I wanted out of that. But I never had to make some of the hard decisions I have to make as an adult, and the "hardest" things I got called on to do were things like emptying the dishwasher or helping dust the house.

* I'm preparing for a barrage of student e-mails today. About grades. I've already had a few and they've been of the variety to which I have to respond "Yes, I actually did calculate your grade correctly; I recalculated it and what you are overlooking is...." But still, I get tears or anger or requests for extra-credit. And I have to politely deflect all of those: the grades stand; they were calculated according to the method described in the syllabus the first day and I don't depart from that, in fairness to all students.... ("freaking Ask Culture.")

* It occurs to me, again, this is why I like knitting/crocheting/quilting/baking/doing research/all those things. It is easier for me to work with matter than it is for me to work with people. I don't always know or understand what's going on in people's minds, people have their own autonomy and volition and lots of times what they want is not necessarily what I want and some of the time (more of the time than I'd like) I wind up pushing what I want deep down inside me and not saying anything in the name of harmony. (What does the cutie-mark for the element of sense of self-denial look like?)

I don't do well without much human interaction; I begin to dwell on stupid little things and obsess about them. But too much human interaction gets me down.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." - YUP

Geez, this needs to be a blog post for me...