So. I wrote this post 7 months ago and never published it and I'm not sure why? It's just been sitting there in the queue, like a cat in the window- generally unobtrusive, but still giving me the stink eye for not letting it out. So- here's my cat I hope you like it!
Sundays are busy for our people. Our normal routine at our previous church was to wake up before the birds, speed to the church, maybe grab a coffee on the way, set-up, lead, chat with some people, tear down, grab p.terry's on the way home, then take a long nap. Of course, this got more complicated when we had a baby, and now only 2/3rds of us are dressed up for church and usually those people are Robin + Shepherd and I am almost definitely wearing yesterday's clothes.
After we moved I stopped leading worship with Robin for a while because of the sadness. I tried leading with him for the first time last Sunday (this was actually in April, not literally last Sunday, mind you), and while I was proud I made it through a whole set without crying, it just felt heavy. It felt hard. It felt like I was holding the window open to let the Spirit in, but my arms were shaking from the effort. I was really conflicted after that, because if God's given you an ability, don't you have some responsibility to it? If your husband is in ministry, aren't you supposed to take on as much of that calling as you can too? But there was this quieter voice underneath all those guilt-laden, nagging voices that I was trying to tune into, and the more I quieted myself, the more I heard it saying, I am taking on a weight I don't need to carry right now. And while my knee jerk reaction was BUT I CAN HANDLE IT, I felt relief in thinking that maybe I didn't have to handle it, maybe I didn't have to take it on just because I might be able to. Because my husband is strong + capable too, and it is okay to let him just lead me in worship while there is so much else that I'm adapting to. That is one place where I am resting this season. That doesn't mean that I am done singing with Robin, forever and ever amen. It means, this is a season. And in the same way that a garden will look different in different seasons, our activities and choices and "yes's" as a family look different in different seasons.
I recently re-read The Cricket in Times Square (it's so short and precious, you should definitely read it) and there's a part where little Chester Cricket is playing two concerts a day at the newsstand in Times Square and hundreds of people are coming to see this cricket who can chirp classical music and he's in the New York Times and he's famous... but he's not really happy anymore. He misses Connecticut, where a bullfrog told him once that "he enjoyed my music more than anything else- except the sound of the rain on the pond where he lived." So he decided to retire. It took me a minute to pinpoint why I felt that was so important, but as it came into focus, I realized that in my own personal walk with God right now, He enjoys my little chirps of gratitude and love and delight as I go through my day more than He enjoys it when I try to muddle through a worship set for some other person's benefit. There is definitely a time when we need to muddle through for people, and when we need to wage war against oppression with our worship, and we need to hold onto the horns of the altar for the sake of the people around us- but it can't be only that. It has to be interspersed with times of awe at the thousands of different colors of a landscape in the fall, or the joy of having your toddler hug your neck so tight and give you little slobbery kisses. In those sweet in-between moments I feel like God is bathing my spirit, like we're cleaning off a few years' worth of dirt together, just by delighting in each other.
So all of that has been a theme for us lately- choosing rest, and less, and simpler, and quieter and smaller- and shooing out some of those things that clutter up our calendars and brains and closets. And I can't tell you what it is from, but I'll bet you need some rest too.
Here's a prayer I read in the Book of Common Prayer, A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (it's an app too! convenient!) and it's encouraged me so much. I think it applies not just for Major Life Transitions, but for every day life too:
Lord, help me now to unclutter my life, to organize myself in the direction of simplicity. Lord, teach me to listen to my heart; teach me to welcome change, instead of fearing it. Lord, I give you these stirrings inside me. I give you my discontent. I give you my restlessness. I give you my doubt. I give you my despair. I give you all the longings I hold inside. Help me to listen to these signs of change, of growth; help me to listen seriously and follow where they lead through the breathtaking empty space of an open door.