|Easter morning before I left for church|
The next morning I donned my clerical collar under my Boden spring dress and zipped off in the dark to arrive at Redeemer at 7am. The nave was looking fabulous as our Easter flowers are incomparable. Unfortunately, a text at 7:40 am told me "No babysitter." I was about to go in as celebrant of the first liturgy at 7:45, but my mind was racing. Where was she? How is Adam going to get the kids dressed and over to church by 8? Who will watch them? What about their cute outfits I picked-out, purchased, and laid out so carefully the night before? And their teeth...All that sugar and I can be sure those teeth won't get brushed before they head off to church. I wasn't sure if bad breath was worse than sugar or not.
As I reached down into my calm part of my self, I was able to lead the congregation in worship, but again during the sermon and the prayers my wandered to distress. "How can I be a priest? How can I be a mother? How can I leave my kids to fend for themselves on Easter?" As I finished shaking hands with the last of the 7:45 crowd, reset the altar book, I called my sitter. It turned out she thought I didn't need her on Easter. She thought we were going away. Now, I know it's not fair to be angry with people when they do not understand your life's work because it is so removed from them, but away at Easter? And she comes here at 7:30 every other Sunday and stays to 1pm and goes to church with my kids. I would think she would get that Easter is not a holiday for us. I asked her if she could head over to our house even though the morning was half over.
My mood darkened as we made our way through the third liturgy of the day. All these people here who I had never seen before. Tourists. Religious tourists. On a good day, I pray the Holy Spirit opens them to the fire and hunger of God on Easter--and Christmas. On a bad day, I feel like I am a paid docent showing them around a beautiful museum exhibit. They were between me and my kids and I was one tired and frustrated mama bear.
I raced home to find everyone alive and well. Adam stood at the door and handed out our children, like door prizes, to lucky families as they entered the church. Josiah even served as an official greeter at the 10 am welcoming all the religious tourists at Christ Church--a really good prop indeed. After all, who can't resist a little boy in a pink checkered church waving you in the red doors of an Episcopal Church?
As for now, I pray that God will help me decide whether to continue to serve in a paid capacity or go back to being a full-time at home priest in residence.