Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Martha in Guatemala

Today is one of my favorite feast days - the feast of St. Martha.

Particularly today, I feel like Martha. There are 3 days and 20 hours until I leave on the service trip to Guatemala. This means the usual preparations for international travel. This means the added work of making sure the ministry is set to run without me for two weeks. Unsurprisingly, I woke up this morning with a nasty headache, a borderline migraine. Thus why I'm typing away - just waiting for my medication to finish working before I head into work. (Not supposed to drive with it fresh in my system.)

I love Martha. Probably because I know I'm a Martha. I do things. When there's a problem, I do something. When someone is upset, I invite them to a home cooked dinner or show up with treat in hand ready to do whatever is necessary. It is likely why I ended up working in ministry instead of a convent or finding a cave along the ocean to set up shop in.

I love the hope that Martha offers to all of us 'do-ers.' She may be scolded by Jesus when she complains about her sister. But in the end (see John), she gets it. She has such faith and trust in the Lord. She doesn't let her busy-ness keep her from understanding or giving witness to the Truth. In that I find hope and a goal.

So I may have chosen the lesser portion. I'm okay with that. But with my lesser portion of busy-ness and bustling about, I may just be able to help some others. And I'm okay with that, too. I just need to always keep the reason why I'm busy in the forefront of it all. And maybe then God will be okay with it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Early Morning

There is nothing quite as charming (at least for a singleton without children) to waking up to a dog that is throwing up. Particularly when it is 5:15 am and you were hoping to stay in bed for another two hours. Once the mess was cleaned up, I admitted defeat and decided to just stay awake. I was already a bit cranky, again.

I donned my favorite hat (it is a bit chilly in the mornings), hauled on my fleece, and trudged outside. The little dog, Gracie, did her duties and I trudged back in. I fed her and began making coffee. Still a bit disgruntled, but figured good coffee (chocolate cherry grounds from Traverse City in my french press) would help to an extent.

Coffee in hand, I went to find my Bible (also known as a blunt force weapon in some counties - the Catholic Study Bible is no compact tome). Then it was remembering where I stuck my journal after unpacking it from my weekend. With those missions accomplished I looked up the readings - the feast of Mary Magdalene. Ah, now that is something to ponder. I sipped my coffee and read from Exodus, Psalms, and John. The care of God, even when he is least appreciated, followed by the call to share story, and the proclamation of Mary Magdalene "I have seen the Lord!" Now that was a morning of reading!

Recently I have been struggling to just tread water. The seas are rough and things are buffeting me from all sides - personally and professionally. I have also let my time with God be truncated or reduced in quality of late. Today reminded me that no matter how little I appreciate him or how oblivious I am to his actions, God is active in my life. Even when the horrible things happen. Today reminded me that one of my favorite things, story, is a fundamental aspect of life and ministry. The Gospel today echoed the moments when I could say with every confidence that God was present then and there.

So maybe, Gracie throwing up was just what my spirit needed today? In ministry and life, the unexpected, even the unpleasant, can become a most powerful moment.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Deep Breath

Well, I got the official word that our trip is no longer to Honduras, but to Guatemala. Huge sigh of relief there. Of course it now means redoing permission slips and so forth.

Just another typical day in youth ministry.

Glad that the chaos of this week follows after a glorious Michigan summer weekend where I could relax. There are quite a few things on the plate - a young adult picnic, movie night (teens off to see Transformers 2), a major youth ministry leadership meeting, a lock in over the weekend and then starting all over on Monday with WYD 2011 meeting, a young adult service project, a youth group, and some effort to retain my sanity.

While I know I will be fried by next Thursday when I end this 11 day stretch, I realized this morning that I love my job. I knew this already. However, as I was pulling out of my place to start the drive into work, I realized that while I loved the long weekend, I was genuinely looking forward to getting back to work. I take that as a good sign.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bated Breath

By yesterday morning I knew what I had to do though I loathed to do it. Obviously we cannot venture forth to Honduras for our service trip as planned. I am waiting to hear from International Samaritan to hear what our alternative options might be. They indicated that Guatemala City may work out near or on those same travel dates.

Truly never thought that a military coup in Central America would be such a consideration for me in the ministry in Michigan.