Posts Tagged ‘melancholy’

I was away last week for five days. I left on Sunday, by train, to the eastern part of the province in which I live. I went to visit a good friend, colleague and mentor. The night I arrived we sat up, drinking tea and chatting, until the wee small hours of the morning. The next day we took a tour to the city where her daughter now lives and then continued driving to reconnect with a mutual friend who lives a couple of hours away. It was wonderful.

I spent a lot of time in silence, in prayer, in meditation. As the days were passing I kept thinking how I didn’t want the time to end, how I wanted to stay away, on retreat for just a little longer.

Reality came crashing back in the early hours of Friday morning when I received a call from a parishioner that her husband had passed away. We had been waiting for this, but it was still a shock and meant there was a great amount to do. On the train ride home I made countless phone calls and emails arranging and organising. There wasn’t much time to fully emerge from retreat time.

It was more like jumping in to the deep end of the pool. Friday night I had a wedding rehearsal which went very well, but took longer than anticipated. When I got home I tried to pull my thoughts in semblance for Sunday’s homily. But nothing has been forthcoming.

The wedding is Saturday night and then I’ll be stopping by a friend’s house for a quick chat and a cup of tea. Then it will be home and hopefully an early night to bed.

While I was away, I felt calm and relaxed, and yet now, not every 24 hours later, I’m back to the frenetic pace that led me to need the retreat in the first place.

Oh well. Now I need to plot out some time for vacation. And likely go away from here, by myself, to simply be away. Only time will tell.

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Today is the first of the three sacred days known in Churchland as the Paschal Triduum. Today is Maundy Thursday and instead of my usual anxiety and excitement about this service, I’m approaching it with a great deal of dread. The fact of the matter is, I’m exhausted. Bone weary. Spent. And we’re not even to the most difficult service of the year…Good Friday. That’s tomorrow’s service.

Today there is also a blessing of the oils or Chrism Mass at the Cathedral in the city. But I’m not going. Why? Because I don’t have it in me. There’s a group of us that meet and have lunch together. But not this year. Most of us aren’t able to go because of parish commitments. And I simply don’t fancy a drive into the City, searching for parking, etc.

So right now the washer is cleaning the second load of laundry for the day. I’ve three more to go. I’m still in my nightgown and housecoat. I’m working on my second cup of coffee and looking around at the disaster area that used to be my house. Something needs to be done and it’s up to me to do it. So, I’m going to finish this post, set the timer for an hour and work on the kitchen. Then have a rest. Set for another hour, and work on the dining room. Then have a shower and get dressed. Head out for some errands, then come home and have a rest.

This afternoon I’ll head over to the church to get it ready for worship tonight. And then I’ll come home and have a nap. My homily is stirring in my head, but I’m not able to put words to paper. So tonight I’ll take a risk and speak from the heart. It will be what it will be.

And it will be enough. Because it’s all I have to give.

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Tomorrow is my third wedding anniversary. My husband currently works three jobs. He starts his work day at 5:00 a.m. until about 8:00 a.m. at his first job. Then he stops for breakfast on the way to his second job which is from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. His third job is sporadic, but starts at 6:00 p.m. until about 8:00 or 9:00 p.m.

Tomorrow is also Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) where there is a tremendous celebration, to the point of excess, before the 40 days plus Sundays and fasting of Lent. Lent is one of my most favourite times of the year. It’s a time when we take a spiritual inventory and hopefully throw out some of the behaviours that are not productive.

I have recently gained weight that I’m not at all happy about. I want to lose the weight and I know with a healthier diet, exercise and stress reduction, I will lose the weight I’ve gained and hopefully more. The major factor that disallows that is stress. I have a very stressful “job”, but I also have a stressful life. Right now I’m caring for my 76 year old mother. She’s been with us for two weeks and is here because of an injury and the resulting shock. Trying to balance parenting my parent, looking after my husband and daughter, as well as the housework, laundry and full-time ministry to an ever growing congregation is a challenge.

Sometimes I find myself feeling a bit resentful because there doesn’t seem to be anyone to look after me. I cook a healthy meal, and then I get to clean up the plethora of dishes, etc., from making that healthy meal. It’s not a big deal, but it is irritating when I feel like it’s not appreciated.

Anyway, tomorrow our parish offers pancakes and sausages as well as dessert for a free-will offering. Most people are very generous and we do quite well each year. I don’t think my husband and I will get a chance to celebrate our anniversary together; rather we’ll exchange texts and possibly phone calls tomorrow. He will get to the church about 6:30 for dinner, and then the great clean up happens.

Perhaps next year we’ll have a chance to get away, and spend some time together. Who knows?

Tomorrow is the last day of unhealthy eating for me. I’m giving up alcohol, artificial sweeteners and processed foods for the 40 days plus Sundays. I will need God’s strength to do it, but it can be done. I need self-control, discipline and willpower. And because I’ve blogged this promise to myself, now I have all of “you” to hold me accountable.

I’ll let you know how it goes. There will likely be slips along the way, but in the end I expect to emerge transformed from the way I feel right now…tired, bloated, old and frumpy.

Like all good and worthwhile things, it may not always be fun, but it will be worth it.

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I find it very interesting how weather can affect the mood of a group. This past Sunday was our annual meeting where the budget is presented as well as ongoing and upcoming projects.

We have experienced a changing of the guard as both Wardens and Deputy have changed, and yet, the council members are the same, simply with some in different roles than last year.

The weather was overcast and dreary and the mood of the room was subdued. We had a lot of good news to celebrate, but the energy didn’t seem to be there. The Holy Spirit was very present, but I think she was tired too.

Since then I’ve had two long days of driving to pick up my mother who hurt her hand and is need of someone to care for. So now my days are busy. They’re always busy, but this is a different busy because of elder care.

It’s interesting to be part of the ‘sandwich generation’ as I have a 12 year old daughter by marriage and a 76 year old mother. sometimes their care is the same, and at other times each is responsible for the other. Thanks be to God they like each other and enjoy each other’s company.

The past couple of days have been wet and rainy, very unusual weather for January in Southwestern Ontario. The church basement took on some water, as did the rectory basement, but no damage (at least it appears so).

Today is the kind of day where I have a lot to do, but don’t really feel like doing any of it. The elevator inspector is at the church and I have some administrative things to finish, paperwork to get together from our annual meeting.

I think, once this is done, that I’ll go home, make something for lunch and make out a grocery list. Then it may be bath time and an afternoon nap. These 12 hour days have been taking a toll, and I think the weather is Mother Nature telling me that it’s okay to rest my weary body.

Yoga tonight should help get the kinks out. But mostly a warm blanket, a cup of tea, and a chat with my mother. All good things.

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As I gaze out my office window it is overcast and raining.  The kind of day when I really don’t want to do anything.  I want to perhaps have a warm bath, a cup of tea, wear snuggly pyjamas and stay home.  The reality is that I can’t do that, there’s simply too much that needs to be done.

Twice a year the Wardens and I send pastoral letters to the congregation.  We met this morning and the Wardens have written a lovely goodbye letter, as they have reached the end of their five year mandate and are stepping down.  They listed the Church’s accomplishments and wished everyone Christmas blessings.

I need to write my letter.  And I’m struggling with what to write.  I’m not feeling anything close to “Christmas Spirit” or even Holy Spirit these days.  These dark days are making me feel melancholy and really, really missing my dad.  Usually by now I’m excited about baking cookies and preparing the house for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.  As of right now I’ve not done any of it and truly don’t feel like doing any of it.

And that would be okay if it was only me living there, but there’s also my 11 year old daughter-by-marriage to think about.  She gets excited this time of year.  So maybe what I need to do is to get the house cleaned and let her decorate?  What’s the worst that could happen? 

This Sunday, at 3:00 p.m., is our Community Christmas service for those who struggle with this time of year.  It’s the third year we are offering this to the community.  I’m looking forward to the service as I suspect it will be very moving and meaningful to those of us who struggle with the commercialism and the false-gaity of the holiday season.

I know it’s okay for me to feel melancholy.  I suspect it’s part of my ever-present depression.  I keep hoping that every day I wake up will be a better day.  And yet right now, it’s not.  So I get up, wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed and get on with the day.  Some days feel insurmountable, and yet I get through them, one task at a time.

I feel God’s love surrounding me, I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear.  And the reason I know it’s the Holy Spirit is because the words are loving and not critical.  My inner narrator is always critical, especially of me.  The words I hear are promise, joy, hope, peace and love.  They are sacred, spiritual, silence, comfort and safety.

So even if I don’t get the house cleaned, the baking done and the presents bought, at least I will have the knowledge that I am loved.  The sun will rise tomorrow, even if it rains all day.  And it will be alright.

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