27 May

I feel a bit wilted today, like the flower I forgot to water.
First thing. I’m tired as all get-out. It has been a l.o.n.g. week of hours at work. A week of late nights. Lots of preparation for the Women of Grace event and other large upcoming projects that have required my attention and seemingly snuck up on me. Visits. Preaching on Sunday. Please don’t hear this as complaining – I’m not – I loved (nearly) every minute of my work this week – but I think I’m trying to prove to myself that I have reason to be tired. This week has flown by so quickly because I’ve been so busy and slept so little; if this is any indication of the rest of the summer, my last three months here will feel like a week and a half.
Second thing. The next intern, who will arrive in September after I leave in August, came to visit yesterday. He’s great; I think he will be a great addition to Grace and will fit in well. But my emotions were on edge as he came to see where he would be and I began to understand what it will feel like to leave. August 22/29-ish will be a sad day indeed. (I thought my last Sunday would probably be Aug. 22nd; my coworkers have decided to change that date to the 29th. Can’t say I protested too much.)
Third thing. I’m working through the emotions of being a pastor and today they seem to be quite heavy with little outlet. Being a pastor is built on relationships; you’re invited into people’s lives to share in their joys and their struggles. I’ve been in Dawson for nine months now; I’ve built relationships. They are short-term relationships, not even a year or two long yet, but I still feel involved and invited in. When a woman I have come to know through quilting mornings at church and home visits is in the hospital for the week and pretty darn sick, it hits me. When I hear that the woman I had planned on visiting this morning for a communion visit was transported to a near-by large city because she had a heart attack, my heart sinks. Later, when doing visits at the hospital, I meet a member of Grace for the first time; she is very best friends with the woman who had the heart attack and begins to cry at the thought of her friend fighting for her life. I’m invited in to share with people in their sickness and in their pain. I do my best to be the non-anxious-listening-presence that CPE taught me to be … but it still makes me cry. I hold their hand as we pray together and I empathize with their sadness, anger, and grief. I can’t leave my work at the office; the emotions, the prayers, the relationships are with me even when I come home at night.
But these relationships are the key. Relationships with people (and, well, sharing the promise of relationship with Christ) are the reason I want to be a pastor. Relationships are why it will be so difficult to leave Grace in three short months. I will have only been here for one year; I can’t imagine what it will be like to leave a church after a three year, ten, or fifteen year call. I am so thankful for the relationships in my life; the short-term and the long-term, the best friends and the acquaintances. I am thankful for the relationships that I have gained as a pastor, being invited into people’s lives, to celebrate with them the joys and to be near them in times of sorrow.
I don’t feel so entirely wilted anymore. (Writing is my therapy when I live alone.) The flowers don’t either. I watered them when I got home and the daisies have now sprung back to life. I don’t have enough energy to spring back to life quite like that but I will curl up on the couch and be in bed by 10.

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