It's not all bad, it's just a lot. I got a bunch of young adults (in my religion: adults ages 18-35) from Tom's senior youth years (fall 2005-summer 2009) together to surround his sister--just out of her first year of college--in love and distraction the night of the memorial service. She loved my old-man-pug-dog Mugz. We watched the end of the Bruins game on the projector, ordered pizza, watched Jumanji, joked around. My friend Steven, a junior in college, lost his brother suddenly (heart attack) 10 months ago; he said that it was good to have Taryn out of the house and with people her age because otherwise she would have ended up like him, in a house full of relatives with only one common conversational piece: a dead sibling. Her mother was grateful that Taryn had a place to go.
Not sure how I made it through the calling hours and the memorial service but, with the help of my other dear-heart friends from the congregation, I did.
I was down to do a Reproductive Justice service this Sunday with a sermon covering the history of our comprehensive sex-ed programme ("Our Whole Lives"), its predecessor ("About Your Sexuality"), the need for comprehensive sed-ed in the world but especially now in our country, and the liberal religious voice opposite the (so often outspoken) Religious Right on reproductive justice issues: abortion, the definition of rape, legislation, Planned Parenthood funding, access to birth-control, the ability to plan for children in one's life, intersectionality of gender/class/race. I even sent out question surveys to participants and facilitators of the programmes through the years and to parents of participants. Quite the undertaking. Grief slowed me down considerably.
I sent an email to my senior minister, Rev Carol, just with how I was doing; I had previously avoided her in any sort of pastoral care environment, talking to her only about what I was doing with the teenagers of the congregation or the gathering of the young adults. She saw right through my email to how utterly fried I was. She decided to take this Sunday's service to preach on "Joy"--which we all need--and to let me do the Reproductive Justice service another time, when I am less emotionally/physically stretched and have more (stable) time to work on something in which I can really take pride.
What really got to me from her email, and allowed me to accept the offer without guilt, was one line:
The amount of ministry that you have done in the past 10 days has been extraordinary, my dear. As much as a "professional" would have done, so I really think you need a break.
(I had mentioned that I had no idea how she had managed to do the service for one of the congregants she had helped raised, or done all that she had done, and how I was certainly not as practised in it all but also feared I wasn't as strong.)
So this Sunday I get to go to my congregation early and be fed breakfast as a "Thank you to Religious Education Volunteers" event and then I get to listen to a service on Joy. I think that is absolutely what I need.
Ah! I also went with my mother to FireWoman's house yesterday for a first lesson on sweatlodging with the Four Winds Free Cherokee clan. I've been friends with FireWoman for a few years now--we share ridiculous vampire novels and I spent hours with her dorkily colouring in colouring book pages at Ferry Beach--but it took me a while to express my real interest in coming. It's often the tradition, anyway, for students and teachers to play a sort of 'cat and mouse' game to prove dedication; usually it's on the part of the teacher, but apparently I did it on my own, hah. Anyway, most of the lesson was review for me (I've attended a number of different lessons and had long conversations with FireWoman before), but it was a great thing to attend. With my beliefs in phenology, ecology, and stardust, perhaps the Rainbow Road of my spiritual beliefs contains a goodly amount of the Red Path.
My brother came home. Especially after Tom's death and spending so much time around his grieving sister, it utterly filled my heart to have my brother home again in all his Dweebish glory. He also proved his name his first day back: we were hanging out for a few hours between sweatlodging lesson and a volunteers' dinner in the evening; Mum and I told him what we'd be doing and what Da would be doing [his weekly men's team meeting]; I got a call while at the dinner with Dweeb saying, "Hey, where is everybody? Ben and I got caught up playing games and he would have been late to work if someone didn't drive him, so I said one of you guys would, but no one was here, so I had to drive him." He's currently not on the car insurance contract so he shouldn't really be driving, but it's about 7 minutes to where he and Ben had to be. It's more that he managed to game too much and risk Ben (the best-friend-and-neighbour) being late to his first night on the job and completely failed to hear my mother and I while we were telling him what was up, despite his usual, "Yeah yeah, okay, that makes sense." The house could fall down, burn up, and sink into a swamp and he wouldn't notice if he were playing one of his games. :P That is why he is Dweeb, and despite the occasional frustration it causes, much of why I love him.
The volunteer dinner was lovely. It was for the coffeehouse a man from my congregation runs; I've been volunteering whenever I'm around since I was in high school (usually doing raffle tickets and then clean-up during intermission). We ate where we usually do--Sichuan--because we love it and it has great spicy food. It was nice to feel like an adult in my own right, too, rather than just the unicorn-token-young-adult (most religions find it difficult to "keep" young adults after they graduate; they usually come back once they've had ickle sprogs of their own). I used to be "oh that's Gerri's daughter" ("wait, the one that never talks? How'd that happen?" "We don't know"). Now not only am I my own person, I'm actually on more committees than my mother and people will occasionally say, "Oh, is she Kiwi's mother?!" All part of growing up, I suppose, but it's nice to have conversations I can really join in and feel part of rather than having this irksome feeling of being young and/or a token presence.
That's how I am now, then, I guess. Sorry for how incoherent it is; I did warn about my brain. (: (It's also 93ºF/33.9ºC, which means hotter in my little upstairs cupboard of a room, and that is not at all conducive to coherent thought when it comes to this ickle Kiwilark.)
To end, I have a grammar joke:
A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
A question mark walks into a bar?
Two quotation marks “Walk into” a bar.
A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.
The bar was walked into by a passive voice.
Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.
[Crossposted from dreamwidth.]