My thanks, dear Reader, for your patience with my absence the last two weeks. The first week I was at an academic conference, the last grasping tendrils of the semester. It was good, actually, in that I’ve been attending this particular conference for enough years now that I have the I-only-see-you-at-Congress friends, which is hilarious, but it was good to see them. And I had an I Am Smart moment in one of the panels I attended—actually, two or three of them, so I was walking on sunshine after that, because I really did get something out of the degree I now hold.
Of course, the panel was on 13th century Arabic representations of Eve. *sigh* There really ain’t no way I can go back to…oh, wait, my specialty has been tied to religion for about a decade anyway. *bigger sigh*
The following week, I took a very much needed vacation. In which I didn’t really talk to anyone for about three days. IT WAS GLORIOUS.
Here’s the thing, Reader; people fascinate me, and they are wonderful in their diversity and craziness, but they wear me the dickens out. I am an introvert, which I think I’ve mentioned before, and that hasn’t changed—but somewhere along the line I think I tried to pretend as though it had changed, which resulted in me being very well known but utterly exhausted. So not having to interact with more than the people I met at breakfast for three days was pretty much the best thing ever, because it gave me the space to be in my own head.
And to create. Since graduating, all of the pent-up creative energy of, oh, three years or so has just exploded. I’m knitting, and cross-stitching, and writing like I haven’t written in months, and organizing the crickets out of the mounds of paper strewn about my apartment (no, really, I now have indexed binders of all the notes I’ve taken on sermons of the last five years). It’s not about whether I have “too much” time on my hands (I don’t, in a certain sense) but about finally being able to focus on the things that actually make me tick, which, it turns out, are not writing papers on high medieval epic antiheroes. (Although those are fun. Ish.)
I have pulled myself in a bit, and stopped trying to be all things always, because that just wasn’t working. Duh, you might very rightly be saying. Yet it was such a note of clarity to me to discover, as I was sitting on a patio talking to no one and writing about people who aren’t real, that the world is so much bigger than I am. In fact, most of it doesn’t know I exist, and it’s perfectly fine with that. There are billions of people on this strange little rock of ours who all have their own routes and plans and deadlines and specialties, and that’s awesome. In fact, it’s those billions that allow me to have all the same things, because they can do all of the stuff I can’t, or don’t want to learn, or haven’t time to consider.
Yep. I’m not God. Just me.
And it’s interesting that in remembering this, the One Who actually is God is just letting me go. It’s not a silence of anger on either of our parts, but more the comfortable silence of two who have had a lot to say and have reached the lull in the conversation, off in their own thoughts about what was and will be. It’s an interesting experience of the Presence (and a hilarious one to be writing about on Aldersgate Day) to know that God may be around, but we don’t have to be saying anything at all to each other to continue the relationship.
*Note to self: apply such common sense to human relationships….*
Now, I say all of this partly in explanation of my absence the previous two weeks, and partly in explanation of my upcoming absence. I won’t be posting next week as I’ll be at a church conference (why yes, May and June are ridiculously busy for me, it seems) as an alternate lay delegate for my church. What this means is that, while my particular district is hashing out various legislation on monies and placements and Church Issues, I’ll be hanging out ready to sub in if one of the actual delegates has to do something else. It’s my first time doing so, and I feel a little bit like Mr. Smith when he first went to Washington, D.C.
Because I’m so excited! Interpreter, as usual, finds this highly amusing, but gently, because I remind him of his first days and nostalgia goes a long way to soften a man’s humor. I have an awful lot of reading to do between now and then, but I wanted you to know, Reader, that there won’t be a post next week because I’m off discovering the guts of the Church, spelunking gleefully through the droning meetings of minutia. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back—I can’t quite explain to you how, Reader, but I feel that this will change things, in that indefinable line-in-the-sand kind of way that seemingly all Young Adult novels try to capture. I will come back, but as Gandalf says, I will not be the same.
We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken…So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. (2 Corinthians, 4:8b-9, 16, MSG)