Not much? Or everything?

I haven’t posted for awhile because it has felt like there has not been not much to say.

I have been dog paddling through administrative details: emails, connections, phone calls, written communications, calendar checking, ordering, planning, forms, surveys, hosting arrangements, thank yous. What is interesting to say about all that?  It has taken most of my energy to stay calm and focused, and I have woefully failed in that department.

Like when I thought last Sunday that I had left my sermon manuscript at home.  I couldn’t find it in my office a few minutes before worship .  I searched in my briefcase, on my desk, on the copier, next to the watering can by the office plants, in the bathroom.  Nowhere.  I uttered a very loud, “Oh…. Nooooo,” and sat down to figure out what to do.  Just then, an usher came to office door and says, “Pastor, I think your mike is on.”   Do you know how close I was to saying something other than “Oh no!” that would have been broadcasted throughout the whole church sanctuary?

Suddenly I saw the missing sermon on a stack where I had forgotten I put it ten minutes before. Why? Why all this fluster and bluster? Because administrative details and management are not my “spiritual gifts.” Because when one has been dog paddling for a month through something that feels like a heavy weight, one is not at one’s best.  (An understatement if there ever was one!)

And so I have thought that there is not much to say to you on a blog.

But I’m wrong.  There’s everything to say.  I have been gifted with the gifts of others in the congregation.  Why have I expected that it was my job to dog paddle through the administrative slough when for some in the congregation the organizing is like an exhilarating race?  If I don’t have that particular gift, others do.  And how can they race with their gifts if I am dog paddling in their way?  Come to think of it, as I sit here with not much to say, there have been four, no, five, no six, seven, yes, a dozen and more surprising offers to step up and take some responsibility here and there. All in these last few weeks while I am obliviously dog paddling. What looks like mire to me is for them open, beckoning water.

And today?  Today was my day off.  Technically I worked some, only it wasn’t work.  It was fun.  It was something I am gifted at doing that I haven’t been doing much of.  I was planning evening prayer for a retreat in two weeks.  Then I went to visit an injured colleague: talking about our individual processes in sermon preparation and about where we had seen God working in the last month. But it wasn’t work.  This is what I am gifted at doing and this for me is the race God has given me to run.  So why do I insist on perfecting the dog paddle?

I do have something to say after all.  Everything, as a matter of fact. Thank you, God, that ministry happens in a community where I never need to worry about what I can’t do well, because you’ve called others to do it better.  Thank you, brothers and sisters, who have been skillfully racing past me this month with gifts God has given you.  Thank you, self, for letting yourself joyfully do today what you have been gifted to do.

May you, my friends, let yourselves do the same.