Monday, November 28, 2005

It was a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day....

With apologies to Judith Viorst, but it really *was* a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day, yesterday that is, one of those days on which it is best to stay in bed, but of course one *can't* stay in bed, not on Sunday with a church job. Because I raked too many leaves on Saturday and so my bad shoulder was hurting so much I couldn't really sleep Saturday night, so I didn't want to wake up, let alone GET up, Sunday morning. Because it was the holiday weekend so we were already short of liturgists who'd been willing to serve. Because one liturgist who had ASSURED me he had NO TRAVEL PLANS had decided a week or two ago that, gosh, yes, he WAS going to travel on Thanksgiving, and he HAD lined up a sub (good) but the sub didn't turn up (bad) but luckily I found another sub at the last moment (whew) but then the pastor tossed a last-minute change into the order of worship (not so good) but then the young fellow just ordained, you know, the one the pastor wants to have LOTS OF VISIBILITY so I am instructed to always give him the most Visible parts of the service, those that are hardest to find last minute subs for, who was supposed to serve at the SECOND service, calls right before the start of the first service to say HE ISN'T FEELING WELL SO DECIDED IT WOULD BE BEST TO STAY HOME AND REST (very, VERY bad), so I spend the first service worrying about how I am going to find subs for the parts he was supposed to do in second service (bad), so the first service runs LONG and I have to not only round up the rest of the liturgists for second service and find a sub (bad) but I also have to set up the altar for the second service because that's one of the things the guy who was sick at the last minute was supposed to do, and all this in 20 minutes WHILE MY SHOULDER IS STILL KILLING ME (just saying), so I find a sub, and get the altar set up, and still am able to be happy with the guy who tells me that his unemployment appeal worked and so he gets unemployment now that he is over his back operation (hooray), and I find enough servers for communion (yippee), and I get through the second service EVEN THOUGH I am tempted to leave and go home and go back to bed when the wonderful woman giving self-care tips for the holiday season says we should do more of what we want and not let obligations weigh us down, and I get all the altar stuff ready to wash and am trying to get out of the way of the coffee-and-snacks tear-down team in the kitchen, and who KNEW the food pantry staff decided to use the kitchen RIGHT AFTER SERVICE to cover every available horizontal surface with frozen packages of hamburger to thaw them before the distribution Monday night (AAACCKK), and they have not yet quite finalized the order of the FOUR HOUR service/concert/thing for AIDS day on Thursday at which I am to read names but I don't know when (oy), so I finally had a big meltdown. Sometimes I am just so tired of doing the kind of grunt things like coordinating and schedule-making and trying to accommodate the needs of 30 volunteers and fill in for all last minute absences and make sure things go well and make sure the altar is set up and make sure we have enough grape juice in the fridge and give the new young minister plenty of Visibility and etc., and not do any FUN pieces like singing in the choir (can't make rehearsals due to CPE supervision group though that will be over in January). And now I need to find and schedule liturgists for FOUR Christmas services (two Christmas Eve, two Christmas Day). AND get all their input for the January to March schedule, and train anyone who shows up next Sunday at 12:30. (Oh--"Liturgists" in my church do EVERYTHING except the sermon--read the scriptures, do each of the 'service parts' like offertory, congregational prayer, great thanksgiving, consecration, communion service--so I have to have 8-10 per Sunday.)

Sometimes I'd just like a pat on the back and someone to say, you do an important job. But as everyone knows the behind-the-scenes work is not visible except when it goes wrong. My boss was very kind and has lots of ideas to help. Ideas I was too tired and sore and burnt-out to hear yesterday.

It was not a totally bad day though because I *did* go with friends to see an Advent lessons-and-carols service at the Episcopal cathedral, complete with vergers with wands, procession, candles, chant, and the like. It was beautiful and VERY centering. Just what I needed!

And a good night's sleep and a long walk with the wolfhound have made me readier to face the day. Which includes reviewing the *entire* address list for the wolfhound club mailing, because people are complaining they haven't got their mailings (tough when I haven't heard they subscribed), and printing labels, and sticking labels onto envelopes, before going off to hospice to play chaplain.

Sheesh. Do you know it's a bad day when you look FORWARD to meeting with a man dying of cancer, who has proclaimed himself an atheist since an unspecified Bad Experience with the Catholic church while serving as an altar boy??? (I met with him Friday--he is sad and angry about his illness, afraid of dying but not able to articulate that in more detail; worried about his wife, about whether she'll be OK, whether she'll have enough money, etc., etc. All I could do was draw him out, listen, acknowledge, and then when he was done talking tell him how much I admired his honesty and courage. His wife told him LOTS of people admire him. And then he was able to ask, what do people admire? and we both told him. He is a man who has apparently LIVED some incredible values including generosity, patience, loving kindness, friendship, etc. I told him he had made a big impact on the world, and that while I could not take away his painful feelings, I wanted him to carry that piece with him too. He dozed off then; I hope it helped. God. Poor family. He is younger than I, and has only been married a few years. He found his love late but knew her right away. I so wish they'd had more time.)

Thanks for listening. OH, and I found out that I don't show as 'updated' on RevGalBlogPals, and I don't know why.

It *is* Monday, isn't it? Off to check names and do labels.


Blogger Tim Colburn said...

You DO do an important job, and don't forget it. It is tempting, though, to bail out sometimes and let things fall flat. But you are too elegant and dedicated to allow that to happen, and while others might not appreciate it in real time, know that in the long run you have been making a very big difference. This goes for the church, the wolfhound group, the hospice, and wherever else you do things to help out.

Now, get back to work on those labels! [G]

7:39 PM  
Blogger will smama said...

Wow... deep breathes and great appreciation for all you do INCLUDING giving me something I think I can help with.

In order to show up as updated - check your blogger settings. There is a setting that has to be switched from 'no' to 'yes' in order to show up as updated.

12:37 PM  
Blogger terri c said...

Thank you Tim and Will Smama! I have fixed the setting, I think, so maybe I'll show up now. Off to paste me some LABELS.

1:14 PM  
Blogger the reverend mommy said...

You are allow to grumble as much as needed or necessary. You DO do an important job. Sounds like you do it WELL too -- it's a thankless task, is it not, working with volunteers? And I love vergers. Sounds like you ARE a verger -- you need a wand. And a cool robe.

5:16 PM  

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