I’m on my way…

I’m on my way…. and I can’t decide whether the next line I sing belongs to the gospel hymn or to the chorus of a Paul Simon tune.

I’m on my way… to the [Promised] land, I’m on my way, [Oh Lord], I’m on my way!

I’m on my way… I don’t know where I’m goin’, but I’m on my way… Takin’ my time but I don’t know where…

I have a bit of down-ish time this week, after the flurry of making worship happen yesterday and before the grand adventure begins in earnest next Sunday. There are things I need to be doing, yes, but this is one of them.

A few thoughts and notes to self regarding yesterday’s service:

  • Had a G-rated wardrobe malfunction in mid-sermon when the cute little scarf I was wearing around the neck took inspiration from my enthusiastic hand-waving and made a break for freedom. About the third or fourth time I found myself throwing the tail back over my shoulder I realized what was happening, shrugged and gave up. Next time, scarf pin.

  • Tech fail: neither of us noticed we hadn’t turned on the sound system until someone pointed it out after the service was over. Since my home church is usually pretty good about letting it be known if they can’t hear the speaker, I hope it was mostly loud enough without mike. But it’s an accessibility thing with the assisted-listening system and I wish someone had spoken up.

  • I should have left the embracing meditation / joys and sorrows in the service; I’d dropped it when I set the order of service mid-week and the sermon was looking impossibly long, but I guess I talked faster in the pulpit than I did in practice because there would have been plenty of time for it, as things turned out, and if I’d had a bit more presence of mind I could have inserted the ritual in before the sermon and it would have been fine.

But I am not a professional preacher yet, and my home church is full of loving and forgiving people who know this, and the whole thing was very well received and I feel pretty darn good about it despite the 20-20 hindsight.

I find that the pulpit is a very comfortable space for me – not sure how much of that is knowing the house, naturally. I think, when the time comes, that I will seek out supply preaching opportunities, just to see how preaching feels when the room is not full of people that I already know will love me anyway. But I imagine that this is one of the things I am here in this life to do. It is work, oh yes, especially the “My brain is made of paste and I have the attention span of a ferret on crack in a shiny pinwheel factory and it’s quarter to midnight on Saturday night AND I STILL NEED TO FINISH MY SERMON…” part – but there’s a “Oh yes! Hallelujah!” in there too.

I wish the visit with my parents had ended so well; it was a good visit for the most part, but very taxing for me, three straight ten-plus hour days with people so excited to see me that they would not stop talking long enough to let me finish a sentence. Perhaps that’s what I like so well about preaching: I get to express complete thoughts! and people are paying attention! It does not help that my mother, who has lived with progressive hearing loss for many years, has finally reached a point where it is very difficult to enjoy a conversation with her, because so much of the time she can’t hear what is being said and – most frustratingly – the rest of the time I don’t think she’s actually listening.

We have not agreed on theology in at least a quarter century.

She’s finally figured out that I am both serious about seminary, and a theological liberal. This would have been much less of a secret if she’d ever, ever heard a word I said on the subject.

I got asked the “So what exactly do Unitarian Universalists believe anyway?” question, and she didn’t like the answers, and it is so very easy to become fifteen again when your mother is telling you that you are going to ruin your life and the lives of the people around you because you are doing it wrong…

But… I’m on my way.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.

It is an affirmation, I reflected a few days later, that perhaps my dysfunctional adolescence really did happen more or less the way I remember it, and that perhaps I have not been making stuff up for all these years. I was starting to wonder; now things are more clear.

I need to finish my career assessment paperwork; I ought to have finished it a week ago (but I am not past the real, hard deadline yet.) It would be nice to finish it up this week so I can mail it out before I leave for Chicago.

I’m on my way… and I won’t turn back, I’m on my way, [Oh Lord] I’m on my way…

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