Draining life reminds me of doing dishes. Be it the sound of water rushing down the growling disposal or not - stuff goes down the drain everyday. Right now as I write there are a sink full waiting for me. But they will just have to wait. Maybe it's all a reminder of this Monday examen, both in the symbolism and reality of letting something go of one thing in order to hold on to something good.
This last week was busy. I'm constantly introducing myself and retelling what feels like my life story. At my new office the other staff kept saying, " All we feel we're doing is giving you more files and info every minute." It was a lot to take in and some moments were weird. I did not relocate to move to work at my new church, but in most ways it feels as I have since somehow I don't really know anyone who attends the church from my sixteen years of living in the community of Jamestown. Its all new and yet familiar all at once. I take my daughter to school in the morning and instead of going back down the hill, I turn right at the light and there I am at my new pink church and my new everything - almost.
I'm already planning a Jr. High weekend retreat at the end of November, and I'll be attending the NYWC in Pittsburgh at the end of this week, so the week ahead will be full too. I was thankful to be told by the staff how well I fit into the group there. They even told me that they automatically felt comfortable around me - I'd have to say I felt the same - that is seriously something to hold on to!
It's Halloween season in my neighborhood. Jack-o-lanterns are on the steps of houses and leaves are crunching under my feet. We attended a Community Halloween Party last night that was held at my new church. I raided my VBS tote and dressed up as Cleopatra.
The event was started about five years ago by the neighborhood watch, but most of the setting up and planning was done by our church outreach committee this year. There were probably 150 - 200 people from both the church and neighborhood all decked out in costumes, eating donuts, playing games and spooking each other in the haunted house set up in the parsonage across the street. It was hectic, unpredictable, and a wonderful time where the church literally opened its doors to welcome, celebrate and truly be neighbors to the neighbors that live on our neighborhood. Would you believe it if I told you the place was alive? It was - and that experience is something to hold on to as well.
On Friday I got the tour of the whole facility that I'm now working in - Nave, educational building, offices, pipe organ room, and even the bell tower. The tower is as tall as the Statue of Liberty. I can tell you that because the day after climbing to the very top and all the way back down my legs were killing me - oh and the caretaker told me that fact as well. Climbing a bell tower was something that would have really scared me in the past. I used to be afraid of heights before I worked in a job where I was constantly climbing in the ceiling grating when decorating. Experience like that has a way of wearing down the fear. I had a flutter of fear as I ascended to the top level of the tower on Friday. Hands were shaking and heart pounding some, but as long as I took things one rung of a skinny wooden ladder at a time - I was ok, and I was.
As odd as it may seem, the soreness in my legs on Saturday remind me of how sometimes God places us in circumstances that make our hands shake and out hearts pound. They are circumstances that stretch us - and sometimes our legs - beyond were we thought we could go. Its important to remember that in those bell tower circumstances that we are not alone, God is with us, even when the wind blows really hard.
The blowing leaf filled winds that may be gusting down your street are a call to remember that for all we let go and all we hold on to - God is always holding on to us.
More bread to come - the dishes are waiting.