the last month was CRAZY

i’m sitting here on august 16th, thinking back to what i was doing on july 16th.
i was packing.
it seems like i have done a lot of packing since july 16.

that day, i was packing in anticipation for the trip south to new orleans for the elca national youth gathering.
i checked and rechecked lists to ensure that i had everything i needed to survive a few days from clothing and shampoo to all the documents needed at the gathering.

on july 17, we flew down.
we left the nice, warm/hot weather of north dakota and arrived in the ridiculous heat and humidity. stood for an hour with sweat dripping.

but the gathering was amazing.
i have not really had much of a chance to decompress and really reflect upon the experience yet.
i say yet because i need to, but have been running pretty fast without time to stop since i got back.
shortly after getting back, i had started a blog post where i was listing all the things i learned.

the post still isn’t finished, and i’m not sure if it ever will be.

i loved gathering for worship and music with hundreds or thousands of people every morning and night.
i loved walking in a city and seeing how the old culture and buildings have connected with the modern world with its own traditions.
i loved picking out souvenirs that reflected the time i spent in a city very much unlike where i live.
i loved getting to know two wonderful girls from my parish as well as meeting new people and seeing old friends.

i especially loved the speakers.
i remember going to the gathering as a teen and meeting people from other states. i was a small-town girl from south dakota who had never been to such a gathering of people from across the country.
but i don’t remember who spoke.
i remember musicians whose music i still appreciate.
i remember talking in hotel hallways (but not what we talked about).
i remember a lot, but not the speakers.

this time, as an adult, i experienced the gathering in a new way.
i instead focused on the message being shared and communicated instead of just the fun.
i was always a bit stressed as i was looking out for two youths entrusted to my care.
i sought to enhance their experience more than mine, to give them opportunities to grow.

but i still learned.
i heard from speakers i have met personally over the last few years.
i heard messages that i have heard before, only to hear them in a slightly different way.
even though i was not labeled a participant (that was restricted to only the teens as i was a leader), i felt as though i participated more fully than when i was a participant.

and i’m still processing.
this month i was going to have the two girls travel with me to the 7 congregations to share their experiences with the entire parish.
but that did not happen.

because four days after getting back from new orleans, i was packing again.
i was headed to south dakota for a few days to meet my new nephew tucker.
and i was timing my arrival back in north dakota so that i could see all of my sisters, even the two who live in nashville and were coming up for a visit.

but plans changed.
instead of heading north after a stop by my parents’ house to pick up my dog, i headed south.
i stopped at my parents’ so i could wash clothes. i had been so proud that i brought the exact amount of clothes needed for my short trip.

and i had to repack.

i spent over 4 days in hospital rooms.
i’m not begrudging the time, because i knew it was where i needed to be.
i have a new appreciation for people in hospitals: staff, visitors, patients.
the entire time seemed a lot longer than 4 days.
either nothing was happening and time never moved.
or else everything happened and seemed to go wrong for what was really a short time yet seemed endless.

but eventually i had to get back to work.
even though i can usually drive 12 hours in a day just fine, even into the early morning hours, i found that after 6 hours, i was too exhausted to continue my drive back.
it took me two days to drive north to my house.

i got back and hit the ground running.
i’m not saying that i haven’t been able to find down time.
i have read a lot this past week.
but my reading is a form of shutting my brain down and escaping reality.
i haven’t been processing my time at the gathering.
nor have i been paying much attention to how my family’s lifestyle has changed drastically.

but i’m slowly getting back to a routine.

i had two funerals in four days.
in between them i had sunday worship with three morning services and one afternoon service.
yesterday i had a morning and evening worship service.
and today i’m finally starting to look ahead to this sunday’s services, all three of them.
i don’t think i’ve ever had to write four sermons/messages in a week, but i’m surviving.

a few weeks ago, i preached about how God becomes our strength when we are weak.
God is the only thing keeping me going, keeping me from going crazy.
because i know that God is my strength when i feel overwhelmed, giving me peace and calm in the midst of so much turmoil.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for that last paragraph especially–a message I needed to hear personally right now! Your family’s life has definitely been changed!! God WILL bring Kayla and the rest of you through this time, no matter what each of you faces individually.

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