I've been keeping track of what's going on with PeaceBang and Lizard Eater and ChaliceChick and BerrysMom and some of my other favorite bloggers but the inspiration to write just hasn't struck me this week. There's been too much going on, including writing my homily (or maybe I should say "homilito", because it's pretty short) for Homecoming Sunday------tomorrow.
Well, the homilito is done and done fairly well, I think. It'll pop up on the church website in a few days, so it will not appear here. But Artist's Way recommends that a writer just write, daily, regardless of how important or creative the writing feels, so here goes. If you want to skip the next four paragraphs, which are monkeymindish and just getting things out of the way, feel free to do so. Start again at the asterisk*.
The week has been chockfull of non-church but ministry-related events. Tuesday I drove up to Coupeville, 17 miles north, to meet with the volunteer coordinator at Whidbey General Hospital who is going to put me to work as a volunteer chaplain a couple of days a month. I spent a couple of hours touring the hospital with her, talking about safety and privacy (HIPAA is the big difference these days), getting a TB test, finding out about the perks (a free meal on occasion---and WGH has good food!), and thinking about when I would start, probably later this month.
We're starting a chapter of the Religious Coalition for Equality here on the island and Tuesday night we had our first meeting, with a handful of other religious folk who are interested in working on equality issues for sexual minorities. Wednesday I spent much of the day in Seattle, doing assorted errands and meeting with the Vashon president, and, at home, preparing to host the first annual (?) RCE steering committee/board retreat at my house here on the island, which meant dusting and vacuuming!
Thursday was the all-day retreat, very productive, with Harry Knox of HRC and Freedom to Marry facilitating our group of eight clergy and laity who have been together working on this issue for two and a half years. Quite the coup to have Harry here in my humble abode, but he is very down to earth and capable and we gained a lot of insight about direction and mission for the next year.
Friday was a UUCWI board meeting in the morning and a DRE conference in the afternoon, both productive but effectively keeping me from having a long block of time to work on the homily.
*I hate waiting till the last minute to write my sermon and Friday is way too late, in my book. I like to make notes about it for days in advance, carting around my little notebook and jotting ideas while sitting in the ferry line or at a restaurant. Then, on Wednesday of the week before, I put all my notes together and start writing spontaneously, letting things just emerge. I always try to start with a grabber----a story, a song, a question----to help people move from their left brain into their right brain.
For this one, I made up a song which we will sing together tomorrow and (I hope) laugh as we do: "O give me a home where the coyotes roam, where the deer and the cottontails play, where often is heard the sweet trill of a bird and the eagles in treetops do sway. Home, home in the trees, where UUs feel just fine on their knees, where we're closer to God and it does not feel odd to be worshiping here by the sea."
That was as far as I had gotten by Wednesday night and I was feeling a bit stressed as the week began to end and I hadn't gotten any farther than a hokey parody. But happily, by Friday evening, all the other stuff was done and I had an uninterrupted block of time to write. By 9 o'clock, it was at a point where I could stop and let it percolate overnight. Today I'll go back to it, read it aloud, make corrections and adjustments, reprint it and start really polishing. Fortunately, a homilito is less demanding in some ways----about half as long as a regular sermon-----but that ups the bar, in another way, because it has to make its point in fewer words.
But it took a lot out of me, and when the phone rang at 10 o'clock, I let the machine answer, checking it later to make sure there was no emergency I needed to know about. I just don't feel like talking on the phone late at night, at least when I've been so intensely involved in writing. Luckily the person whom I think it was is understanding about my need for solitude sometimes and won't feel rejected.
In any case, I feel like I'm back in the sermon-writing swing of things; this week of busy busy busyness is behind me and next week will be less hectic. I go to Vashon next weekend and am looking forward to seeing those lovely folks, most of whom I haven't seen since June.
Today there's a brunch at 10 a.m. at a parishioner's home and at 1, it's back to WGH to drop off the TB test reading and meet with our North End small group at the hospital cafeteria.
And tomorrow we'll be home, home in the trees, with a salmon bake to follow. There are times when ministry is much more fun than work!