Saturday, June 21, 2014

Unleashing Good in the World

Well, it has been one crazy week.  It's the kind of pace that makes me grateful for my good health and energy reserves.  Happily, the craziness has been a good craziness--but one that leaves me tired.  And the fact that I've had a cold hasn't helped.

The main source of my tiredness is that I've worked a full schedule during the day and then gone to my church in the late afternoon to be the Arts and Crafts Director for our Vacation Bible School.  Calling myself a director makes it sound like I've had a vast staff and resources.  Nope.  It's been mainly me.  We had some teen helpers off and on, but they weren't self-directed.  It took almost as much effort to get them helping as it did to get the projects underway.  But at least they weren't like some of the teen helpers of yesteryear who were disruptive.

VBS is usually during a down time at work, so I've had easier days before my intense VBS nights.  Not this year.  It's been the last week of a quarter, which includes graduation.  Exhausting.

Yesterday I took a day off.  Did I sleep in?  No.  We got up at 3:30 so we could be on the road to Orlando at 4:15.  Yes, a.m.  And then we drove back to be in town for the last night of VBS.

Why did we do that?  My spouse serves on several boards of directors of Lutheran church camps.  He needed to be in Orlando for a Board meeting of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Florida.

We got to Orlando, found the resort where the Board and then the larger Florida-Bahamas Synod was meeting, and got him set up.  I was left on my own to enjoy the resort for several hours.  I ate ice cream for breakfast and then dozed in the shade on a lounge chair.

I also read Herman Koch's latest, Summer House with Swimming Pool.  It's a testimony to how tired I was that I put it down to doze.  It's a compelling book, with several mysteries at its center, an overarching sense of dread.  It's about the ways the body betrays us, the ways that humans betray each other, especially when it comes to sexuality.  It's kind of gross, but beautifully written.  It reminds me of The Road in that way:  a lyrical apocalypse.

Then we got back in the car and zoomed back to South Florida.  It was a fairly easy trip until we hit bad weather/rush hour traffic (at 4 p.m.!) in Palm Beach county.  We spent the night with the VBS kids and returned home to enjoy a glass of wine before falling exhausted into sleep.

I wouldn't want to have this schedule every week, but it's good that we can do it when we need to.  Our church is smaller, so we need everybody who can do it to help in some capacity--it's all hands on deck. 

Does VBS make a difference?  Does the work of a Board of Directors make a difference?  As always, I'm not sure.  I want to think so, but I'll never know for sure.

It's the same with teaching.  I teach my students to the best of my ability and then, off they go.  Are they successful?  Has my work really mattered?  I can't be sure, but if I use myself as an example, I'd say yes.  I am a better person today because of the work of teachers and camp counselors.

It's why I show up to be a VBS worker and help my spouse with his Board work that enables the crucial work of camp counselors.  It's why I go to work as an administrator, to help faculty to do their best.  It's why I teach.

It's why I volunteer for weeks like last one, even knowing that I'll be exhausted.  After all, I'll recover, and feeling exhausted for a few days is a small price to pay for the good that I'm hoping we're unleashing in the world.


Inab said...

We seldom know what the good we do accomplishes. I try to remember that we are called on to "plant the seeds". If we see the fruit, that's just a happy gift to us. So keep on "planting". You never know what fruits will come as a result!

Kristin said...

Wise words from a wise woman--thanks, Mom!