I did it. I actually renewed my books before any fines were incurred.
This sounds simple, especially since the options for renewing your library books are endless: by phone, in person, online. Why I haven’t been able to do it effectively is beyond me, but it has gotten to the point that my husband won’t let me borrow his library card. He knows me too well.
The main reason is that I think I am going to be finished with the book in the allotted time. It seems completely reasonable that I will be able to finish reading, studying in three weeks, right?
But as we all know, life doesn’t tend to go as any of us plan. So, I end up scrambling to remember how many weeks it has been and whether I have time to renew the book before fines begin. Most of the time, I can’t remember without a little help.
For me, that’s a truth I need beyond just my library books. We all need help in life. We all need renewal in life. Some time that is life-giving that reminds us that three weeks have gone by since we checked out. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of day after day and week after week. It’s even easier to forget that there are things our bodies and minds need to be renewed.
As I approach Holy Week this week (with no worries of library fines), I know I am going to take time to check in with myself not because I just want the refreshing spirit of Easter, but because I want to be reminded of my limits and boundaries as a human being who needs help and who needs time for renewal.
Tonight after our open church time in remembrance of Good Friday, I walked into the sanctuary to start the transformation for Sunday morning. This is one of my favorite parts of being in ministry: being able to see the behind the scenes preparation aspect of worship.
I remember the first time I robed and participated in a service. I knew the movement and who was going where when. From that first processional down the aisle to the platform, I stepped fully into my call to live as a minister.
Tonight as I turned off the lights of the church and locked the office, I just smiled. We walked into the darkness and know we hold our breaths in a collective hope that in the coming days we will experience something miraculous.
Jesus cried, “It is finished,” and it was; yet in another very real way, it was just beginning.
After I wrote the post yesterday, I got in my car after class to make the drive home. The first song that came on was Willie’s Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” There was a moment where I just laughed, I had to because the moment we speak what we are thinking there are bound to be moments like these that happen.
The fascinating thing is that if we don’t share our thoughts and our experiences with others, then there’s no one to write a follow up post to, to say, “Kinda crazy, huh?” I think all of us desire to know that we are not alone in this world. Whether that comes in the form of a four-legged creature or whether that comes in the affirmation from friends that what we wrote, what we said, what we did meant something. The search to make our time on this earth into something meaningful is overwhelming at times, but when we can share our experiences with each other, but even more so, those little peeks we get into a world and a being far greater than us, then we are truly offering a bigger picture.
Whether you believe my hearing Willie Nelson’s song again is a testament that the divine is in the world or a series of choices about when people travel and would enjoy hearing a song about traveling, I’m glad I shared because if I hadn’t, these words would only be for me.
Last week as I was driving onto campus, the radio station happened to play Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” As I fought the fatigue of my Monday morning commute, I couldn’t help but readjust my attitude to realize the great privilege I have had in pursuing seminary. To be certain, the journey has not been easy nor without its uncertainty, but the neither has Willie’s, right?
I can’t help but wonder if there aren’t some churches and pastors who have been in this field much longer than I have who are experiencing the same thing this Holy Week. Here we are, on the road again to the cross, how can I make this fresh to my congregation? How can I experience anew the wonder of the cross?
Maybe, if we approach the road to the cross with the anticipation that is evident in Willie’s voice as he sings about going on tour again, our passion for the Passion of Christ would be revived. Or perhaps if we had a band of other minister with which we were more willing to travel this journey of Holy Week with, our eyes would be open to the creative power of being in fellowship with others.
As the weather changes, I can’t help but be reminded of the summer we spent at my grandmother’s pool. I can remember some Springs that were so warm that my grandfather would open the pool on Easter Sunday. The brave souls that were the grandchildren would timidly creep to the edge of the pool and put their toes in to taste the water.
“Woahhh! That’s coooold!” Someone would shout. With this declaration some would fade to their towels and the chairs around the pool explaining, “I am not going in there!” Inevitably, the next stage would be for someone to jump in from the diving board. As he or she (but let’s be honest, this was usually one of my boy cousins) would emerge, he would declare, “It’s not thaaaat cold. You get used to it.”
I can’t help but think about this as I enter my first Holy Week as a pastor.
There is a timidity to this journey for me. There is a sense that I am dipping my toe into the holy healing powers of the story of redemption to share with others. I am the cannon baller who jumps in first and invites others to dive in to experience the depth and the refreshment of the healing waters of this Holy Week.
Let us walk where Jesus walked. Let us see what others saw as Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Let us feel what the community felt. Let us hope with them and grieve with them. Let us feel hopeless as we watch Jesus being arrested, being beaten, and being crucified.
Come let us follow Christ as he journeys towards the cross.