Yesterday was a 12 hour day at work. I had to sub for a colleague in the morning, go to an afternoon meeting, and stay to ask for volunteers to move from a Tuesday night class to a Wednesday night class. In some ways, it was exhausting. In some ways, it was nourishing.
I loved subbing for my colleague. In these days of the ability to teach from a distance, I'm not often asked to sub. But this week is the first week of classes, so an online module wouldn't have really worked. So, my colleague and I devised a plan, and it went really well. At the end of the class, one of the students said, "This was a really good class. Thank you."
I was on my way to my afternoon meeting, and a student stopped me. She really wanted to see me to ask why certain classes hadn't transferred. I, too, was mystified since I hadn't done the analysis work with the transcript. Happily, it's an easy fix: I just file some paperwork.
The student got tears in her eyes when I told her that I could help. She said, "Could I hug you?" And then she did. She told me she'd been having such a bad day and told me some details. I said that I hoped her day was turning around.
I helped a few more students with transfer credit issues yesterday, and I'm glad I did. If I hadn't, I might have focused on the teaching experience and wondered if my life was trying to tell me something. It's good to remember that I'm important in other capacities too.
I tend to think that my administrator life consists of herding e-mails and other paperwork. I look at our assessment activities and wonder why it matters. I try to solve problems, only to find that for every one problem I solve, ten more sprout up in its place.
It's good to remember that not all of my administrator work is pointless. And even when I feel hopeless about those activities, my emotions may not point me to the truth of my work life.
Along the path of my 12 hour day, I had interesting conversations. In the morning, I talked to a colleague about my recent blog posting about transforming churches and other underutilized spaces into artist studios and galleries. She reminded me that my writing is important, even as we talked about the church building that's for sale, the building that I see every day on my way to work. Later in the day, I had a wonderful lunch with a colleague who will have a book coming out later this month. It's good to remember that I'm surrounded by wonderful colleagues.
I got home to discover that our Amazon order had arrived. My spouse came home early from Chorale practice; this week the women stayed to practice their parts, which means that next week he'll be late. We settled in with our new books. He read his barbecue books, while I devoured half of Nadia Bolz-Weber's new book, Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. What a wonderful book!
It's the kind of book that makes me want to buy a hundred copies. I want to press it into the hands of people who say that Christians are hypocritical; I'd say, "Yes we are, but that's OK. Read this." I want to give the book to people who say that Lutherans have forsaken art for intellect; I would say, "That might have happened along the way, but not everyone is like historic Lutherans. Read this book." I want to give this book to all my atheist friends, even though I know that they might not make their way through it. I want to give this book to all my friends who are searching yet not sure that there's a place for them in a church.
Again, I'm glad I had the kind of day that reminds me that I'm blooming where I'm planted. Otherwise, I'd read Pastrix and wonder if I shouldn't be planning for seminary instead of staying in my comfortable position.
And to be honest, I still wonder that. I had a colleague who asked me if I'm place-bound, and I said yes, but not in the way that people usually mean. If my job vanished, we wouldn't have jobs that held us here. But my spouse flourishes here, and there aren't seminaries nearby.
And then there's the issue of debt, which I'm not eager to take on. So, I'll continue pondering and waiting for my church to catch up with me. Why must ordination mean such expense? Why are seminarians and their families expected to uproot themselves so thoroughly? I know of two programs that make some concessions, and one of those is only for the first year. Sigh.
And in the meantime, I'll continue to work here, in the tropics, doing what I can to make my garden blossom.
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