04 November 2012

Following Fortnight of Folly

. . . being a bi-weekly report on self-imposed unemployment, scholarship, and vocational exploration . . .

 Four weeks ago today was my final Sunday as pastor for worship and music at College Church in Wheaton. The first two weeks away were marked by travel, some school-related panic, and something that tasted a little like grief. These past two have brought a more realistic sense of what we may expect of this transitional phase.

We're calling it a "transitional phase." I think of it as a "self-funded sabbatical." My Karen's take is more like "unemployment." I have to take her appraisal very, very seriously. We did the math before stepping into the abyss. We know how to live in want, and we well remember from the lean years that just because a budget doesn't work on paper, doesn't mean our needs won't be met. So far, so good. How we feel about that in January will tell the real story. Paul Simon's song, "Getting Ready for Christmas Day," has a little bit of edge to it for me this year:
From early in November till the last day of December,
I've got money matters weighing me down . . . 
I know Santa Claus is coming to town.

These past couple of weeks have brought me into the last half of the fall semester. In Wheaton's odd pattern, that has meant a course change in my Historical Theology sequence, but the continuation of my Trinity course. I've got by OK in both, but this past week I had to admit that in spite of what I have tried to tell myself, grades really do matter to me! More to the point, I'm concerned that "decent" grades might be a reflection that I lack "originality" or that academic  je ne sais quois. I guess that is OK so long as I don't have doctoral aspirations.

I don't.

Reading has been exciting. I can't get enough of it. Nothing new there. It is a love for reading that created a "pastor's bookcase" that is now jockeying for space in our home. 27 years of keeping a personal library in church offices, come home to roost. Literally. Karen has made one really creative alteration to accommodate about 18 linear feet of shelves, under our sun-porch window sills. They can double as seating, and a week ago we had a group in and proved that it works. We are waiting on another simple bookcase that will serve as a desktop bookcase. I really hope this will meet our needs. I don't like Karen giving up more space or repurposing one more piece of furniture to accommodate this "transition." Happily, yesterday I was able to put most of my deep storage books away without requiring more work or ingenuity on Karen's part.

One week ago, I had the pleasure of being a substitute director at a friend's church. It was a joy to walk in, work someone else's plan, conduct choir and brass, and get a feel for a different church. I don't know whether or how much this could happen in the coming weeks or months, but that was a gift. It was our first Sunday in town since October 7. Today we drove into Chicago to attend an historic church where (due to the obvious conflict) we had never been for services. Interesting experience at every level, and it has me thinking again about "what I want to do next." I wrote a little  about that earlier this week. I have to say, from both of these church experiences: I really value good preaching. I refuse to concede that a church has to have either good music or good preaching.

Oops, but now I've slipped over into the work of my other blog: Te decet hymnus.

My journal has been a good resource, but not something I am hung up on writing in daily. But now as we head toward Thanksgiving, along with my grown children I've committed myself to naming, listing, writing each day about Three Things for which I am Thankful. Thankfulness, too, is an adventure. And it is coloring this one.

No comments: