This is my last column until July. Carl leaves tomorrow to teach in Korea for a month. We’ll join him in waves. Ben and his girlfriend leave Friday. Emily, my nephew, Justin, and I follow on Monday. We are staying two weeks. While I am very excited about the trip these four days in between are nutty with vacation bible school, getting the baptistry fixed, planning the end of vbs/baptism service, tearing vbs down, packing for Korea, meeting with the housesitter, getting Emily home from camp and repacked for Korea, getting Justin here from Missouri, getting Ben and Bailey to the airport, getting ourselves to the airport . . . . I’m nearly at that moment I always have before a trip when I start thinking, “Forget it. I’ll just stay home!”
Carl tells me I make most things more complicated than they have to be. I tell him that traveling for him means packing a suitcase and walking out the door. He generally concedes the point.
There’s nothing like a vacation to clarify what a ridiculously overcommitted life I have designed for myself. Every day I attempt to manage 1 husband,* 3 kids, 40+/- member congregation, 2 dogs, 1 cat,* 18 chickens, a house, a church building, a 3 acre yard, 5 vehicles and 2 household budgets. My larger life includes extended family, friends, exercise, volunteer work and a few hobbies.
It’s is absurd. No wonder I’m tired. When I’m home from Korea I absolutely should begin a merciless program of simplification. The problem is I love it. I don’t love every piece of it every day and sometimes it drives me so crazy I want to run away. But no part of it am I ready to give up because the joy still outweighs the crazy by too great a margin. Even the cat cracks me up at least once a day, letting the puppy roll on top of him like he’s a plush toy.
I’m no busier than most people I know and less than many. I have enough money, good insurance and a safe house. I’m healthy. I have people ready to help when I am overwhelmed to tears. And praise be to God, I get to go on a really cool vacation in only 5 more days knowing that if everything in my Bloomington life is not perfectly organized, the planet will in fact keep spinning.
In the world of faith lives like mine are called blessed, the best of the best. To complain is to sin. An ingrate is the absolute opposite of Christian. From the midst of such blessing, bitterness and discontent are not only the worst sort of witness but the worst of all killjoys. Not the life I’d want or choose even on the craziest days.
I pray this day if full of joy and work you love. peace & prayers, pastor annette
*Disclaimer ~ The cat and the husband soundly rejects the notion that they are in any way managed.
PS 1 - If you haven' seen it yet - get by the church to see the sanctuary set for VBS. Better yet - show up some evening between 5:15-8:30 to help run the show. More hands are always useful.
PS 2 - Baptism service this week will be in the sanctuary, incorporated into the vbs set. Don't miss it.
Annette Hill Briggs, pastor
University Baptist Church
Bloomington, IN 47401