Last night I emailed the Dean of our church. We haven’t been since Christmas. Wait. Easter? No. We had just moved and just gotten over being sick, so it must have been Christmas. I’ve admitted before I am disappointed when we go and it isn’t the Dean giving the sermon. I know the messenger shouldn’t be the focus, but he’s always managed to speak in a way that cuts through everything, that I can’t shrug off. My relationship with church, with God, is complicated – especially in the face of the past three years.
But last night I felt like I needed something. I’m still not sure what. So I emailed him, and asked him when the next time he was giving the sermon was going to be. He used to have the information up on his website, but his website got hacked and he took it down. I didn’t expect an immediate response, especially on a Saturday night. I was up at 5am, and checked my phone to find he’d responded around 12:30am, with a single line, “I’m preaching today.”
I got the kids up and we made it to the 9am service. Dean Baker caught sight of me on his way in during the procession and I think he was surprised to see me. He found me during the “Peace of the people” where everyone greets each other and gave me a hug the way he always does – full-hearted. His sermon was about peace. He talked about how we all talk about peace as if it means lack of conflict. That we all want peace in that “can’t we all get along,” “can’t things just be easy” kind of way that allows us to just skate along in the status quo. And that true peace comes from knowing in your heart you’re doing what is right, and standing up for what you believe. Living fully, making a difference. And that kind of peace causes division. Because the peace in your heart that happens when you stand up, when you have the hard conversations, when you don’t settle for the status quo, those things make people uncomfortable.
I started to reflect on everything changing in my life right now, and how UN-status quo everything has been. And how unpeaceful it feels. And how hard it is and how scared I am. Maybe this is just the message I needed to hear. That true peace is scary, and not easy, and that it challenges the way things are to get to a place where our lives have an impact. That as long as there is love in our hearts, while it’s going to be hard, it will be worth it.
We got through the rest of the service, and we lined up to say goodbye to Dean Baker. He shook the kids’ hands and gave me another hug. He leaned in and said, “I’m preaching next Sunday, too.”
I feel really sort of lost right now. I feel like a major fish out of water at work, more so than I ever expected. Turning 39 brings biology home and puts it on par with the finances at this point when it comes to TTC. School starting for the kids is one more marker of how quickly time is passing and has passed, and I find myself wishing time would move in reverse. I feel anxious and uneasy almost constantly right now. And I feel like I need to get back to basics again with Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. Or actually get lost in Daring Greatly. Because all my worthiness issues have come back to the surface, and I’m finding myself letting fear take over more than anything else. I wish I knew what I needed. I’ve been running more. Knitting. Trying everything to make feeling like me not so scary.
I know the job move was the right one. It puts me as close to teaching as I’ll ever get – helping the teachers of our state. And it’s a good organization, I can tell that and I am proud to have been selected for the job. The issue revolves much more around my belief in my ability to succeed and my fear of failure than it is about knowing I’m in the right place.
I’m doing well at playing it off right now, which may or may not be to my benefit. But the kids start school this week, and they are both heavily involved in their activities right now, and I don’t want anything taking away from that for them. And I know I’ll get through it. I need to take back my own brain and create a plan. Right now, my plan is one day at a time.
Peace isn’t easy. But I sure as hell hope it’s worth it.