Well, friends, here it is almost the end of November and I have failed miserably in my quest to write and post every single day during the month. Nope, didn't happen. Nice try, Jannie Babe. I'm not apologizing, either. It is what it is.
Knots in my stomach. I have knots in my stomach. Sometimes, when I get knots in my stomach, I become immobilized. I hate that feeling. I think I just have a lot on my plate. I'd say "these days", but I think I have a lot on my plate most days. The month of November 2011 brought me tears---tears of angst and tears of joy. The semester is winding down for my grad students and me and I think all of us are just. done. Christmas is coming and I'm going to Ireland soon. My work at the middle school is winding up for a busy number of months and next semester, I am teaching not one, but two grad classes. In addition to the two classes, I have to meet with five or six practicum students 1:1 for an hour each week. In January, I will have some minor surgery. On the one hand, I'm not worried about it. On the other hand, there are things about it that are nibbling at the back of my mind. It will all get done and it will all work out, but I will probably be a bit nuts by the end of it all. As the school year winds up in June, our family will head east to finally bury my parents' ashes after a three year wait on the Veteran's cemetery to open in my hometown area.
Oh, and did I tell you? We're having a wedding. Yessiree, Bob, my daughter got engaged on Tuesday! By Saturday, we had a date, a venue for the ceremony AND the dress. All that in spite of also preparing and having a community Thanksgiving dinner at our church. Breathe, Jan, breathe. Now, I'm just praying that we find an affordable spot for the reception. We only have seven months until the GRAND EVENT, so we are a little behind the 8-ball in getting details worked out. Many spots are already reserved, so if you could just send some good vibes our way, I'd be appreciative. :) Gracias.
On top of all that, I'm having an internal battle that is really causing the knots to accumulate. The battle stems from the aftermath of relationships. Being in ministry brings blessings and curses. I'm dealing with the curses right now. I think I just expect the best from people even though I know that churches are full of hypocrites. The rudeness and self-centered-ness of individuals just never ceases to amaze me. And disappoint. And hurt. I'm also blown away by people who use their anger to punish and control. Although I'm pretty astute at picking up on when people are trying to control me and don't allow them to, I still get the sense of being touched by their craziness. It's invasive. Actually, it feels like being touched by evil. It's yucky.
Despite all of this, I am so thankful.
There is a story my husband once heard somewhere that he shared one morning in church. I've thought of it many times over the years. The story is of a man who lamented that the cross he had to bear was too much. He prayed to be relieved of his heavy load. One day, he met Jesus and brought his concerns to him as they walked down a long corridor lined with doors. Jesus stopped before one door and opened it as they passed. The door opened into a large room. In the center of the room was an enormous hill of large crosses, crosses that others had left behind when they found the burden too great. Jesus told the man to leave his cross, so the man tossed his on top of the pile. Immediately, he felt a release of strain and stress. Jesus closed the door and together with the man, continued down the corridor of doors. Soon, Jesus stopped before a door once again. As the door swung inward, the man saw that it opened into the very same room containing the discarded crosses, his own teetering at the top of the pile. As the man stared confused into the room beyond, Jesus said to the man, "Pick one." The man looked questioningly at Jesus, so Jesus explained. "Everyone has a cross to bear. You must pick a new one." The man, now humbled, stood before the door and gazed upon the mountain of crosses before him. As he studied the pile of crosses, he saw how large each cross appeared. The more he studied, the clearer his choice became. Slowly he walked to the pile and chose his cross. The cross he chose was the same cross he had discarded. As he looked at the crosses that others had to bear, he realized that his cross was not so large after all.
And so, I carry my cross with joy (and knots in my stomach) because when I compare it to the crosses of others I know, my cross seems quite tiny in comparison.
Santa's Opus or "A Trump of Weasels"
4 weeks ago