It's about 11 a.m. and I feel radically different from how I was feeling yesterday at this same time. Yesterday I was pretty stressed by the prospect of doing this wedding in the rain, much later than it was scheduled, without a rehearsal, and queasy to boot from a weekend of weird meals and little exercise. Even after it was successfully completed and it was clear that everyone had had a wonderful experience, my malaise had continued and had not lifted by the time I headed off for church, about 3:30 p.m. (we have afternoon services since we rent from the Lutherans and they get prime time).
But as mentioned in the previous post, church always helps me, even when it's not the greatest service. It renews me to be with other people of my faith. Marvelously, the guest speaker said the kinds of things I needed most to hear. In addition, one of the mysteries about a dear congregant who is very ill was cleared up for me and I found my distress about that situation lessening as I understood it better. This person is still in grave danger but understanding more about the roots of the problem has helped me feel better able to handle it.
I want to refer back to an exchange in the comments from an earlier post "Sunday Morning Ponderings". Jamie mentioned how hungry he felt for ministers to be more open about their personal pain; Juffie answered that she has been hungry for that too but has had mixed experiences with it.
Yesterday a congregant asked me how I was doing and I said, essentially, "I'm okay but I'm really tired and concerned about some things." And this congregant, whom I like very much, urged me to call if I needed someone to talk with. I trust this person and I might tell this person a few things, but the truth is that my concerns usually revolve around the congregation and I am entrusted with knowledge and have opinions that I simply can't share. I am also aware that I might let slip observations about people in the congregation that are best kept to myself, even if they're not confidential. I don't want to reveal that I find soandso less than charming, for example. It's simply offensive to do that, though I am expected to listen sympathetically to someone else say that! It's part of the conundrum that is ministry.
Chance, over on Making Chutney, referred to this conundrum in a recent post. I haven't checked the comments there today but will head on over soon to see where people are with it. He linked his post to an earlier one I wrote about ministerial pain.
I also know that part of my radical change of mood is due to the fact that many stressful events are now behind me and the new church year looms ahead, bright and shiny. I'm excited about preaching this coming Sunday about Source #1 and then preparing for the Conversation which will follow the next Saturday night. I've learned that a lot of people are planning to attend, which may stretch the walls of my house, but I'm looking forward to it!