And I can’t fight this feeling anymore…

…I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for.”

There are times when it’s easy to see the humor of any situation. I’ve gone through a lot of struggles in life (as we all do as humans) with death in the family, chronic pain, children with special needs, and tough times in ministry but there are usually things I can find to laugh at. You can bet that people in ministry have a warped sense of humor as they deal with many and difficult scenarios and survive by snickering at something that went wrong or just finding that silver lining of humor to smile at. I know that many other professions such as funeral directors, first responders, Police officers and hospital workers all have their own brand of humor that they have in common and regularly share a laugh over. You may find this offensive but it’s true. People survive difficult or even horrible things by being able to laugh about the things that happen in those lines of work or situations. It’s a coping mechanism that God has given to us. Now, I don’t necessarily share my funny take on so and so’s funeral with the bereaved family, but The Reverend and I can chuckle about it later. Laughter is good medicine. It says so in the Bible…so there!

In the past half of a year, the Reverend and I have had a hard time finding things to laugh about. Sure, our kids antics have sometimes filled a spot, but life has been just too painful to chuckle much and that’s been tough. I’ve wanted to write but I just can’t get past the serious heart-rending things that we’ve gone through. I don’t want to be depressing. We hold fast to our God and our faith, but the funny side of both of us is a shallow pool and life is not as funny as usual.

It is a weird place for me. I come from a long line of people who think potty humor is where it’s at. I laugh at the ridiculous and find that, for all the chronic pain in my body, laughter truly has been my good medicine.

That’s not to say that the joy inside of me isn’t there. It’s there alright. Joy is a different thing altogether. I know that the joy that is within me comes from the Holy Spirit and that HE is my strong tower. The joy in my soul is not dependent on the circumstances around me. In fact, I have sensed an even deeper shade of grace that has enveloped me in peace. I finally see what it is all about. I know that these situations aren’t about ME, though the talk “around town” is about us, it’s not really about us. It’s about the spiritual war going on around us. that’s fairly serious business and it’s got me on my knees a lot more often. These difficult times often cause a deeper well of God’s strength to open up and a faith that we hadn’t had before is now settling in.

This struggle has been one of the most difficult in recent memory. The Reverend and I are clinging to God and to each other. We enjoy our moments of mirth with a deeper richness. Together it is filling a place in our marriage and lives that need to be filled.

In my mind’s eye, I see the sun ( joy) rising in my belly with the rays of hope radiating throughout my body giving and pouring out my eyes as I look toward Jesus and see him afresh.

I can’t fight this feeling and I don’t want to. Laughter is fleeting (and amazing) but joy is long-lasting.

“Holidays”

English: Easter holidays in the Bulgarian Orth...

English: Easter holidays in the Bulgarian Orthodox church. Candles on Good Friday, at the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, Slivnitsa, Bulgaria Български: Великденски празници в българската православна църква. Свещи запалени на Разпети петък, в църквата “Свети Свети Кирил и Методий”, Сливница, България. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone looks forward to their days off. Whether you like your job or not, you still need a break and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want to “relax” for a day or two. When the really big holidays come around, it’s all about the time spent on that special day with people you love. I realize this descriptions does not depict reality for all people, but for many it does.

What do “holidays” mean in a family of a member of the clergy?

It means work. First off, the Reverend needs to prepare his usual sermon, but with the specific holiday flair. Coming up with something special for a holiday that happens every year is, I’m sure, a task that leaves The Reverend searching for new ideas. Even though the message of the Holy Day remains the same, it is up to the Reverend to come up with a way to communicate it in such a way that it’s not the same ol’ tale time after time, but that the holiday takes on new and fresh meaning in the lives of the believers he is delivering his message to.

Then, with some holidays, comes an expectation of a children’s program. This means that many within the church are working to get this ready. In our case, it’s a small church. We all work together to make it happen.

For us, holidays means an extra chance to embarrass ourselves in public. In the past, if our children were going on stage, it was sure to be a show.

I would think to myself, “Aw, look at my precious little darlings up there, all spiffy…except for the brown smudge of chocolate across his cheek…who gave him chocolate?” I would sit in front row and encourage them to sing with hand gestures and a smile…

Inevitably this would be interrupted, about now, to a wrestling match over which one of my kids would hold the mike. It was especially entertaining to hear their grunts, groans and screeches magnified on the sound system.  One year it was an all out brawl. That was our first Christmas in the church. Quite a site to see the Pastor’s Kids fighting like it was a death match. Anyhow, I have pretty much learned to sit back and enjoy.

There was on Christmas Eve when my toddler fell off the stage, popped back up and said “ow” and then went back up. Then, someone gave my kids candy canes (to keep them quiet) and they got all gooey and red and sticky. Then, when I tried to wipe it off with paper towel, they had chunks of that all over themselves. Our turn was up and so they went on stage with fuzzy, red, gooey stuff on them. Looking like tarnished angels, they stood silent….while I sang the song, they should have sung, from the front row.

Ah, it’s all good. I wonder each year, with some trepidation, how we will humiliate ourselves this time. Apparently, it makes us look like real people. Not sure if we’re supposed to look or act like fake people, but it doesn’t get any more real than us, I can tell you! In fact, if I could choose to look more perfect and put together as the Pastor’s family, I would. But frankly, I am not able to convince the little people that it’s a good plan. They insist on being the real deal. I never really liked perfection anyways…

And so, “holidays” are work, and are not days off for us, and sometimes we act really real in public,  but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what we do. I love who we are. I adore that our church lets us be us.

They applaud when we fall off the stage. Not really, but inside I know they do.