I had a marvelous experience at a weekend recovery conference in Troy, MI March 23-25. It was a long work-week ahead of time to get to the place where I could take the time off, and so I raced out the door and just took off. But it was a marvelous weekend, and a great gift to myself.
My 50th birthday was the 29th. It was, to be honest, just another day. Both sisters were working and unavailable for any kind of celebration. So I took a store-bought cake to the evening AA meeting, and then went out to dinner with a sponsee at Applebees. No big deal - just another day.
About half-way through dinner that night, I started to feel really weird. And by the time 2 AM came around, I could tell that I was in the middle of a full-blown cold. I mean, full-blown cold. In the time from 10 PM to 2 AM, I left normality and became three of the Seven Dwarves simultaneously: Sneezy, Sleepy, and Grumpy. Ick.
I somehow made it through two-thirds of the work day on Friday, and then said, "I just cain't take it no mo'," signed off and went to bed. And stayed there the whole weekend. The birthday dinner was put off (my sister and brother-in-law were still suffering with this crap too - they caught it first), so it made no sense to go to dinner feeling miserable.
It hung on for another 4 days - and I just had very little energy to do much of anything. I missed Maundy Service, Good Friday service, and just barely had the energy to make it for the last Easter Service at a local Lutheran church. So I'm glad to be finally getting over all of that.
On Good Friday night, sister Sue tentatively asked, "Would you mind if we went with you to church on Easter?" Wow....
Would I mind? Are you kidding? I was delighted! After all, Sue married into her husband's church - a fairly insular Missouri-Synod Lutheran church - and they just have never felt a part of, there. Sue has never really gotten over the whole "so, what?" attitude that she and Sandy had over church in our Catholic days - and her in-law's LCMS church was just not set up to handle "seekers" properly. So to have her express a desire to attend church was a big, big deal.
So then the question was, "Where to go to Easter services where they won't be scared off?" In other words, where to go where (a) the word will be preached in a way that was not off-putting, (b) where brother-in-law Jeff would feel at least some connections or familiarity with the service, and (c) where the actual features of the service (liturgy, music, etc) would be high-quality enough to not drive them away?
We ended up at St. Paul's Lutheran in Maumee, and it was everything I prayed for. The service was fairly traditional in shape and music - but all the service was shown on video screens ("hands free hymnals"!), which my sister appreciated. And the sermon was very basic, but powerful. It was a positive experience for them - which was a great thing for me, too. I actually was motivated to reach out to the pastor (who, of course, was on vacation the week after Easter...) to talk with him. I don't know if that's where I'm called to be - but it could be a start.
Then we went out and had an absolutely marvelous Easter/birthday dinner at Biaggi's (one of my favorite chain restaurants in the world) with both sisters and their husbands. Surprisingly uncrowded, and a delightful time. Sandy has started a new job, and is working the same kinds of crazy hours I was, so it was good for some "time away" for both of us.
The work situation this last two weeks has been crazier than usual - it has been crisis after crisis after crisis, which is never fun. We ended up working until midnight on Good Friday (which really irked me) on a special project that absolutely, positively, had to be done that day, and then even more this last week. So when I had to leave early to go to Van Wert on Thursday, and to an awards banquet for one of the guys on Friday, I didn't even bother docking my time. They'd already gotten their pound of flesh, so to speak.
I've also begun working with a Masonic youth-group called DeMolay - after a sixteen-year hiatus. My friend Ted is a national-level leader in the group, and the leader-of-advisors for the northwest Ohio region. So I am just starting to work with a struggling chapter in Van Wert (yes, the district is that big), and dealing with the challenges that teenaged guys can offer. It will not be easy, by any means, or cheap (100 miles each way to Van Wert, at nearly $3 a gallon - don't even get me started....). But it will be good. I have some gifts to bring, I think. Let your light shine before others, I guess.
For now, I will leave it at that, and hopefully catch up with a dozen or so bloggers I've not been reading recently. I've been too long away, it seems. But I did manage to catch this one, that I need to share...I found this post at BusyMom.net all too familiar -
Well, BusyMom, I'm no expert, but I'd say that if Jesus knows your heart (as so many folks say he does), then I'd bet there would be compassion and love for the heart of a frazzled mommy, even during Holy Week.
Is it all kinds of bad, or, only a little bad that I was running through Michael's (and, we all know how I feel about Michael's) muttering obscenities during Holy Week whilst looking for modeling clay for Busy Boy's crucifix project?
Just checking to see if Jesus is offended, or, if He hates school projects as much as I do.
To me, that is the heart of the believer's struggle everyday - Christ is risen, and yet life goes on. The challenge is to make that truth known in the mundane-ness of everyday life, it seems.
Even in the middle of school projects at Michael's.