“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Morning Musings: Holy Week Hangover, indeed

My friends over at RevGals posted for this Monday and titled it, Holy Week Hangover. I think that is an apt description of the exhaustion I (and others like me) feel after planning, preparing, preaching, and presiding over lots of services from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. It is a week of such great fatigue, of bone weariness, and of amazing awe as the worship services unpack the Christian story. I strive to bring that story alive in so many ways: the visual image of the worship space; the text, words, prayers, hymns...it allows me to tap into my training in theater, lighting design for dance, and interior design. And at small church we manage to pull it off so very well.

True, not many people come. But for those who do, for those who come to all of the Holy Week service, they have travelled a journey.

Some years I wonder why I bother, for so few people. But this year I know why. I need to do it. I could not live Holy Week with out this. And so I am grateful for the people who take this journey with me.

Now, this week will only continue to be busy. Yes, I have a little down time. Today, lunch with a friend. Pay bills. Get taxes ready. Call my parish administrator about a few things. CLEAN MY HOUSE! (ok, that might be more than I have the energy to do...)

But then the week takes off in lightening speed.

  • I have members of church search committee coming for a site visit this Sat. and Sun.

  • I have to make flight reservations for my family and I to visit another church and meet the vestry for a second search process.

  • And I anticipate a phone call from a third search committee regarding a site visit.

  • I have a phone interview with a fourth search church search committee late Thursday afternoon.

  • I have to write a sermon for Sunday.

  • I have to finish the paper work for CREDO, a church sponsored 8 day retreat/conference for priests to review their lives: spiritually, financially, vocationally, holistically....

  • I leave for CREDO next Monday.

Good news. I was feeling tremendous anxiety about all this. But now I don't. I just want to find a way to be still enough to listen deeply to the Spirit and trust that God is leading me where I need to be.

I know that times of transformation come with great struggle. Murray Stein, a Jungian analyst wrote a book about the great transformations that occur in our lives, generally beginning around our mid thirties or early forties, and lasting nearly a decade. He used the image of a butterfly and the transition from caterpillar to cocoon, to butterfly - chrysallis. These days are the cocoon stages where great work is taking place on a deep, interior level. One cannot be certain of the exact outcome, only that when the work is done, a major transformation takes place in the human.

A transformation of being, body, mind and soul. A new person is born, even as the old person remains. It is a resurrection image: Jesus in his new life still carried the marks of the crucifixion. He was scarred yet whole, better, more fully himself.

These last four years have been very difficult for me. I don't think the challenges are going to end anytime soon. But I do suspect something transformational is going on....