The Princess had dear friend Best All Around for a sleepover last night.
These are hard to arrange given that Friday nights are usually spent with her dad, and Saturday nights don’t work well given that we have church on Sunday morning, not to mention a preacher in the house fretting her way through preparations the night before.
This is not to say that sermons are consistently being written on a Saturday night, but even a completed sermon is getting a serious look-see after supper on Saturday night, and I am engaged in getting my head together for Sunday from the time the sun goes down. I never undertake an obligation on Saturday that will get me home later than 8 p.m. and rarely accept any invitations at all for Saturday night.
Last night I finally had time to read what my friend Cheesehead blogged over two days, some of which touched on style of preparation for preaching. I, too, took classes with preachers who kept annotated files of illustrations covering their entire careers. Somehow this has never happened for me. Maybe I’m a process preacher. (Is that a thing?) I live with the text all week, beginning no later than the Tuesday breakfast I share with other preachers. That is usually the day I write or find prayers for the upcoming service and try to settle on a sermon title, which may change but will remind me of the image that moved me in my initial study.
At Small Church I led a lectionary study on Wednesday nights, and I know already this is part of my preparation that will be deeply missed.
Most weeks I fantasize that I will have my sermon written on Thursday, allowing a real Friday-Saturday weekend.
(Can you hear my family laughing in the background?)
But seriously, given that my Thursday included chairing an annual board meeting for an ecumenical organization here in City By the Sea, then a trip to Main Street Church for meetings with staff and an evening with the choir, the writing time was nowhere to be found in this particular week.
I am religious in keeping Friday as my sabbath day from church work, and honestly I try not to do much housework that day either, only the absolute necessities. The pile-up of laundry can wait another day. Friday is for self-care, for entertainment, for relationship time with my husband. Not that it can’t devolve into domestic crisis management, but the intention is to keep it holy. And I am generally successful.
This weekend, into my Sabbath came gigglers. While I read blogs, including a fascinating and horrifying set of posts and comments about the way women are being treated in my childhood denomination, the house rang with the giggles of girls making cucumber cleanser and avocado masks and sugar scrubs with lavendar essential oil and something with milk and finally manicures.
When I was 11, I was playing with Barbies and hardly knew how to comb my own hair.
There had to be, of course, a morning after.
I came down early to the detritus of their efforts. There was avocado everywhere, and a slurry of cucumber all over everything in the kitchen sink. Clean towels? No such thing. Thankfully, I threw a load in the wash last night, and now the green-besmirched towels of last night will follow. French Toast prepared and eaten, the girls have returned to The Princess’s room to discuss their fingernails, or the boys at school, or whether to watch cartoons (that’s more like it) until it is time for Best All Around to depart.
There’s got to be a morning after, no matter the activities of Friday night. Whether my sermon is a gleam in my eye, or a deep outline, or a beginning without a middle, or a strong conclusion waiting for its introduction, or a full draft, it is the work of Saturday for me. This morning is busy with girls and housework and an appointment postponed from last week, but after lunch the time of writing spreads before me. The Word document is open, a quote I want to use tidily pasted within it. The opening line is written. The themes are clear. The children’s message will support the sermon, or that’s the plan, anyway.
My daughter lives out her eleven-ness in different ways than I did, and that is fine. This morning after I am telling myself it’s fine that I live out my preacher-ness in different ways than teachers and models may have done or still do. Does one have to be right and the other wrong? The important thing is to be ready when the next morning after arrives.