I have a million and one excuses for why I have taken a break from blogging – and they’re all good.
- At first I was looking for a new job and that really drained more energy than I expected, but surely I’d be able to write once that pressure was off my plate.
- I started a new job, full-time, as the pastor of Windsor Presbyterian Church in February. Making the move across the country from Savannah, Ga to Windsor, CA was a great reason I couldn’t write once I had the job. But surely, I’d be able to write once the move was made and I settled into my new call.
- Then it was hard work settling into my new call, and every night I was on the phone with my family who had stayed in Savannah to finish the school year. That always took longer than I expected and somehow wore me out so that I only felt like binge-watching Star Trek. And even though I tried to write (I even started attending a weekly writing group) nothing was worth putting on my blog. But surely, I’d be writing more interesting posts once the initial month or so of my job was past.
- Mid-March, COVID shut the town down, and while everyone else seemed to have lots of time to take on fun projects, my work week jumped to turbo-charged as I learned to do everything online and bring a new congregation along with me. But surely, I’d be able to write once we got all that on track and my family joined me in July, and I wasn’t alone anymore.
- And then my family came to town and everything revolved around making up for lost time, and enjoying evenings of TV together on the same couch, and afternoon board games, and day-drives to places where there weren’t too many people and we weren’t in too much danger of catching this virus that could easily kill members of my congregation if I accidentally passed it along in a package I dropped on their front porch. But surely, once summer ended and my son was back in school, I’d be able to write.
Except then I was tired and cranky and I just wanted COVID to be over. And then fire came to the Windsor area. While we were safe, there were nearby evacuations that affected our church members, and the smoke hung like a pall over every day, and I still wasn’t able to write.
Until today. Today, amidst the bruise-brown smoke out my window, I looked at a brightly colored pack of post-it notes that I bought when the local Office Depot was closing. There were pale pink and yellow and green pads, a pastel rainbow. In the dimness of the day, I couldn’t see my blue pen on the dark fluorescent pad I had been using, so I knew it was time to open a new one and preserve my sanity. The top pad as I tore away the wrapping was regular post-it yellow, and I dutifully took that one out to commence my daily to do list.
And I didn’t want that color.
But for goodness sake, it was only a color, and I needed to get started, and why was I worried about it anyway when there are so many other big things happening to real people hurting in the world right now.
Except, that my heart, which is so tired right now, really wanted the spring green post-it notes, almost the color of my son’s nursery in Savannah, almost the color of a new leaf budding on the apple tree. And so I opened the top drawer of my desk, dug deeper into the 6-pack of post-it pads (even if it did then topple over the pink one that was next). I did something out of order just to make myself happy. I took the green pad. And without picking up the blue pen to begin the daily work of ministry, I turned to my computer to write.
What has been on your plate and on your mind for the past six months. Were you in a good place before COVID struck? How have you been taking care of yourself spiritually during what for so many has been a difficult time? What little things are you doing just to make yourself happy?
I knew all the big “right” answers to that last question: take more walks, sleep well, get a hobby – but those just seem to make me more tired and cranky. Strangely, it was a tiny unimportant thing that has brought me a deeper joy and my muse. As I look back, I can list a hundred of those tiny things that have actually been the key to my sanity during these rough times. If you need someone to help you walk through these difficult days and find those sparks of joy, consider online spiritual direction with Openings: Let the Spirit In.