In the still of the night, I am sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of hot chocolate in a mug that asks a certain question about the effect of preaching on the appearance of one’s derriere.
One cat has taken advantage of this opportunity to request a saucer of cream. She has gone outside into the darkness, followed by her sister in paws.
The dogs lifted their heads when I came down the stairs, but now I hear only the occasional sleepy snuffle from the living room, where they have stationed themselves at opposite ends of the oriental rug. When I was a little girl I used to observe the pattern on that rug. There are birds at various intervals, and other interesting shape repeats. The colors include a warm red, a deep salmon, an elegant navy and a softer blue as well. Of course you cannot see them in the dark, just the white blazes on the foreheads of the dogs, lit by the spill from the upstairs hall light.
I woke some time ago and could not go back to sleep. “Too anxious to sleep”—my own words come back to me in the night. There is so much to do, and it is not the consumerist shopping frenzy I critique that has me on this ragged edge, but rather all that must be done in the life of Small Church between now and December 25th at 11 a.m.
Do I have enough wrist and thumb power to finish sweaters and write Christmas cards?
Do I have enough energy to organize readers and pageant participants?
Will it all come together in the end?
(Note to self: it usually does. But what is the cost to my raggedy-feeling self?)
Much of my worry about church has to do with a particular group that hasn’t met to do its work with any effectiveness this year. Their job is falling on me, and I resent having to do it, and therefore have not done it. This means when the first snow falls, we won’t be plowed. Rev Fun’s church will continue to be unhappy that we don’t have floodlights on the sign out front, thereby making it harder for new folks to find them for a 5 p.m. service in the winter months. The seam between the bell tower and the sanctuary roof will continue to leak when we have heavy rains.
It’s hard to call people to account when they won’t meet. 2 out of 6 showed up for their last meeting. I had to walk around at Coffee Hour and gather up members of the Church Council in order to have a quorum of some group empowered to spend money to get involved in making these plans. Even then, all they did was turf most of the tasks to me. And the lay person who seemed to be taking on two of them referred them back to me as well.
Meanwhile, I was the one interviewing potential tenants for the parsonage and checking their references. And I did follow through on the things that had been “mine” in the first place. But the plowing—still not settled. The electrician didn’t call me back until today. And still ahead of me is a conversation with the city Parks and Recreation director, whose employees park in our lot during the week and also during snow emergencies. I put her card in my pocket and forgot it and didn’t make the call, because I had so many other things happening, including several denominational or community commitments.
My sermon is about half-written.
Tomorrow, or really today, I have to pick up a Christmas tree for the Sanctuary. We ran out of daylight for that task today. I haven’t come close to taking a day off this week. I’m tired and tightly wound.
I have a worry with a colleague friend, but I can’t write about it here except to say that when The Princess comes to me with playground dramas, I understand very well how she is feeling.
In the still of the night, my heart and mind are busy, troubled, unsoothed by either prayer or warm milk.