This is not to say that I do not enjoy my job. I do. I love it, in fact. But sudden jolt changes are hard, even when they're good. Slamming headlong into the inflexible routine of the public school year is inexorable, like the jab of the flu shot, and causes me similar anxiety.
I am also experiencing something that I don't think I ever have before... I don't want to go to church.
Okay, so I am aware of all the externals, here. Lots and lots of people don't go to church. And probably don't feel weird and guilty about it.
But "church" has been as much a part of me as the egg in a cake. You don't get to take it back out. You can scrape the frosting off and even slice off a thin layer to remove it, but take the egg out? Nope. It's sort-of fundamental. And that's how church is, and has always been, for me.
Also, for a significant chunk of my life, I have either been personally employed by a church OR have been married to someone personally employed by a church. As churches are full of human beings with frailties and are subject to shifts in mood and philosophy, these jobs have come and gone, leaving learning and wisdom in their wake... and hurt, too, but less so as time has gone on. You begin to realize as you grow older that when you find yourself hurt by a church, you had your priorities and expectations placed in the wrong spot. Fix your priorities and expectations on God (Psalm 62:5, anyone?), and there won't be nearly the same kind of hurt... keep in mind that God puts up with spoiled, petulant Christians all the time and still loves them, and that God has a much bigger plan that mine, so getting my dander up about pitiful little stuff is a fruitless waste of emotion.
So for the past couple of years or so, I've been plugging away as the musical entertainment coordinator at a local establishment. My official title was... hmm, what was my official title?... worship leader? Music minister? Something like that. But if we're going to be honest in job description, we have to call it an entertainment coordinator.
And therein lies the problem... because I actually wanted to lead worship.
Since that didn't really match with their expectations, it didn't really work out that I should remain there. I actually have no hard feelings about them... lots of folks have been tiptoeing around me, asking if I'm "okay", etc... yes, I really am. I just wasn't a match, and that's okay.
But it also meant that our Sunday morning routine changed. We didn't miss a beat; the very next Sunday, we were worshiping at the church where Isaac's guitar teacher is the pastor. It's a small gathering, and very out-of-the-ordinary, which is refreshing. I have no complaints.
And yet... I don't want to go to church. Not this church, particularly. Just church.
Being a parent has kept me from veering into the Chaos Zone a number of times. Knowing that Isaac and Alice are depending on me... well, I won't lie, I probably would have gotten in the car and just kept driving and disappeared on a few occasions, if not for them. I owe those two babies a good, solid upbringing. Which means I suck it up and deal with my darkness instead of running away from it.
So I take them to church. They love the new church -- infinitely more than the one we recently left, in fact, and this one seems to have the potential to meet their spiritual needs much more effectively.
I have brought along my keyboard several times and it's been terrific. Those people SING, like no group of believers I have ever been with.
And yet... I don't want to go to church.
I'm still working through it. I don't think I need advice, per se... I listen to the spiritually wise people around me, and I listen to God's still, small voice in the air around me. I'm not angry with Him... not at all. If anything, I love Him more now than I ever have.
It's just one of those in-between times, like the week or two before school starts, when you just feel the need to BE STILL and quit scurrying around because you know there are Imminent Things ahead.