I should be getting ready to head to church. But as I look at the clock next to my bed, I still can jump the shower and get dressed and get out…maybe a few more minutes musing. I have a love hate relationship with going to church. It is perfectly sunny and warm out today, something that we have been waiting for all winter. And I have my kayak and paddle within reach. The river is close by and high enough that I can do the loop. I can very easily justify that I am having my worship time in the wilderness of the water with turtles and bank beavers as my fellow congregants. Why waste a morning inside sitting in a pew reciting creeds that are hundreds of years old. I am not preaching, or teaching Sunday school, so today could be a good skip day.
This past year I was busy during the week visiting patients in the hospital as a chaplain intern. To translate that, as an intern I was not paid rather I was enrolled in a Clinical Pastoral Education -CPE- unit that was extended over the course of the fall and winter. I need 4 of these units, plus my M.Div to be board certified as a chaplain. There are a few other bells and whistles that I need as well, but the point of this ramble is that I was working as a chaplain in a hospital. I had overnight on-calls and 24 hour shifts where I could be paged to respond to some horrific situation. Death and dying, that is why a chaplain gets paged, for the most part.
So Sundays for me was the place that I refilled my cup so that I could then give to others in need. That is the thing about our cup, it is more than half empty or half filled. Cups are refillable. I didn’t enjoy having to preach on Sundays when I was also being a chaplain. I wanted to limit my pouring out and keep a balance for my own self care. I agreed to teaching a unit of Sunday School for April and May because I am in between CPE units and there are several off weeks when I don’t have to teach. I can handle 6 classes. Kinda.
Now that I have the day off of teaching, I am wanting to ditch. Or even go and visit the Mormons, I miss them a bit. I miss the inclusiveness they practice when you show up to church*. The protestants of New England could learn a lot about hospitality from them. I like being able to walk to church and I like that many of my neighbors attend the same church so there is a community feel. What I am reluctant about is … well… I don’t exactly know. I am just wanting to blow it off. Perhaps once I get up, shower and dress, eat some breakfast, put one foot in front of the other, I will get there. Put your body in the place and the mind then the heart will follow. Perhaps my cup is so low I just don’t realize how much it needs to be filled. Not sure.
I do know that this whole Easter tide of Christ coming out of the grave has not been felt. I actually skipped Easter service this year. Was at the end of my unit and was moving back and forth between Boston and East Charlotte. I felt crappy and stayed home. Perhaps I am still burnt out.
But this is what I know to be true. Even chaplains and those in ministry sometimes what to ditch church. And I know that this to will pass and most likely now that I have bitched about ditching I will pull myself together and get up, make the bed, get dressed and eat breakfast. Most likely I will walk out the door and head down to church. Most likely I will feel good about the decision.
*I am so very aware that the Latter Day Saints have some regressive stances of women in the priesthood and same-sex marriage/families/ children of same sex parents. No church body is perfect.