Saturday, August 30, 2008

Over at RGBP, Singing Owl Wrote:

Here in the USA we are celebrating the last fling of the good ol' summertime. It is Labor Day weekend, and families are camping, playing in the park, swimming, grilling hotdogs in the backyard, visiting amusement parks and zoos and historical sites and outdoor concerts and whatever else they can find to help them extend summer's sun and play just a little bit longer.

It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth neices and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.

Here is my take on the questions, my First Friday Five (Only one day late!)

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
For three summers when I was in high school, I was a maintenance worker for a large company in my hometown whose business it was to raise rats and mice for laboratory research. I was the first female ever to work in the department and the work was HARD. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was the first summer when the guys in the department mostly tried to ensure I wouldn't come back - they wouldn't let me join them for lunch or breaks, and one of them tried to close me in the paint locker with him.

I stuck it out - mostly cause I didn't know better. But at the end of that summer the supervisor handed me two Red Sox tickets - there was a pool betting how long I would stay, and I won!

The next summer things got a little better, and by the third summer I was going out at lunch with the guys, going to their softball games, and generally having a good time. When I wasn't painting that is - I knew then I HAD to go to college! It wasn't really a bad job - I learned so much about myself and learned how to get along with the guys, something that came in handy in engineering school (and in ministry!)

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
These two jobs. Mom. Pastor. Right here. Right now.

First, I am getting PAID to read the Bible. I am getting PAID to talk to people and learn about their lives and pray with them. I am getting PAID to write! I love it!

Then, I get to enjoy three girls - play on the playground with them, share their lives...Brown Eyes just came in here and said "dude, you totally rock!" Life doesn't get much better!

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
Well, actually, what I am doing. Maybe preaching a little less often. And I would hire someone to get the girls in bed by 8 p.m., I would just come up and read them a story and say some prayers and then they would go to sleep!

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
Yes, yes, yes! Lots of time in my home state of Massachusetts, hanging out with the girls. A very sweet overnight with Starman in Maine at our favorite B&B. A week in Chicago that was work but didn't feel like it at all.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
Fall is here. The big girls started school this week. Starman is back to teaching. And I am back to preaching, with the added bonus of going out to Medium City once a week to visit and to meet with staff. I love it, but I am not quite into the swing yet!

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
My best labor story is for Freckleface - I was a week before my due date, getting ready to move 6 hours away. Had a great lunch with friends. Hung out all afternoon. More friends came over for a dinner cookout. We were all enjoying the back deck in the summer sun when my water broke...I went to the bathroom, figured out what was going on, called the doctor, went upstairs to change and get a bag. Started contracting noticeably but not too painfully every 5 minutes. Got Starman off his computer where he was telling his work where he was headed...drove the 10 minutes to the hospital and couldn't sit down in the wheelchair - Freckleface was born 12 minutes after we arrived, and it would have been less, but we had to wait for the on-call doctor to get there! Wish they were all so easy!

Thanks for letting me post! This is fun!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Until you can see your brother or sister

Last night was my first night back preaching the Saturday service at BigChurch in Medium City. This is a small service, usually less than 30 souls, most of whom are older than I, and I love them all dearly. BUT the service is getting smaller as more people are either homebound or recovering from surgery or, well, just not there. I have a vested interest in this service - I think it does fill a need in the community, and I think it could be a comfortable home for a lot of people who don't want to go to church on Sunday, or can't go to church on Sunday.

So, of course, I was thrilled when I got up to begin the service and saw a mom with a little baby come in. I welcomed her from the pulpit, which I don't normally do, but I wanted her to know that we were glad she and her little boy were there, and I didn't mind if said baby made some noise - I wanted her to feel comfortable.

Then, as I was making the announcements, another newcomer walked in. He was unkempt and unshaven, older, and I had seen him once before - when he cornered me after the service and asked for money.

Now, as I said, new people don't come to this service very often. When mom and baby came in there was a visible welcome on everyone's face, including mine - the women sitting across from her were just cooing at that baby. But when other man came in, and sat right in front of mom/baby, the whole congregation stiffened. Including me. Through my mind went the following thoughts:

Oh no. Not him. I wonder if he will ask for money again. I don't have any money and I don't know where to send him for help. I need to figure out where else he can go. Oh no. He just sat in front of mom/baby! I hope she doesn't feel uncomfortable. Why did he have to come this week? I hope he doesn't smell too bad and she feels like she has to leave.

The service went on, and Man didn't make any fuss. Baby did, and mom got up for a bit. Then I started preaching on the story of Moses, the little baby in the basket, who was three months old when his mother put him in that basket and into the Nile. It was easy for me to see this precious baby Mom was holding as baby Moses, and I told her she was a great object lesson for the week. But as I preached, I thought to myself

Man was a little baby one time too. A little three month old baby. I wonder if he had a mother who loved him like Moses' mother loved Moses, and like Mom clearly loves Baby.

Man got up and left just before the service ended. He walked down the hall toward the back door, but also toward my office, and I asked the usher to be sure he left the building, since my office is pretty far removed from anyone and I was going to be there for a bit after the service. I never got a chance to greet him. I never got the chance to see him, really, as more than a nuisance or a bother. Not even as a man.

Last week WisePastor, the senior pastor of BigChurch, said in his sermon, quoting someone, that the dawn has not come until we can look into the face of the stranger and see our brother or sister. God, help me to do that not just with Mom and Baby, but also with Man and others like him.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer is coming to an end - school starts next week for Skye (the big sister, headed for 4 th grade) and Freckleface (the middle sister, headed for 1st grade). BUT Brown Eyes, the youngster who is 4, doesn't start preschool for good until September 15. This leaves me, who started my new job as associate pastor last week, without child care! Unfortunately Starman, my husband, is also gearing up for a new year teaching freshman physics at the university, and he isn't quite available, so to speak..

Praise God for my good friend who last night told me she adores Brown Eyes and would love to watch her each and every Wednesday, until school starts and then after it does start she will pick her up at school and watch her until Starman can come to get her. So I can go off to medium city to do my job.

Does anyone know how much it matters to find good, reliable, trustworthy and FUN sitters for your kids? I really can't do my job without knowing for sure my girls are well taken care of. So THANK YOU to sitter (I'll call her Jane Austen after her favorite author) and THANK GOD for good friends. Amen!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ta Da! I am finally a blogger! Hopefully this will be a space for me to do some pondering, invite comments on sermons, and grow and learn with God in the midst of the electronic world. Now, back to work on that sermon!