Over the past two weeks, we’ve been moving into a new church building. The nursery room we’ll be using has literally nothing in it. Just the air between the tile floor and the probably 20 or 30 foot vaulted ceiling. Perfect for babies to screech and nursery workers to feel their eardrums bursting. The floors need to be scrubbed and the walls need to feel toys and tiny bodies banging against them. They will tomorrow.
Inside the worship space, the walls are holding color, color that doesn’t look “too churchy”, since we are very worried about coming across that way. I’m not going to lie: I wonder how Kelly Green will coordinate with Overcast Skies when it’s all over, but that’s the combo I voted for so now I just give a thumbs up. The carpet is encrusted with paint chips in spots, but this only attests to the hours and weeks of indentured servitude labored by our church family. There’s a rumor of fashioning florescent lamp covers, which I sure hope they can figure out because florescent lighting makes me look jaundiced. And there’s nothing worse than a pastor’s wife who looks like she’s losing a battle with alcoholism. Josh tried to organize people in teams and shifts yesterday, but he used a Google Doc for his administrative tool, and I guess the people don’t like Google Docs because no one signed up. But they still come to work. Oh well. Organization is overrated. Apparently.
Sanctuary Walkabout from theWELL on Vimeo.
To only slightly complicate matters, at about 7 yesterday evening, I was on my way to impromptu drinks with friends, and my car broke down at the intersection of McCall and Hayes Drive. In rare form, yes, the first car at the stoplight. It just shut off. Honking ensued from frustrated people who didn’t realize that I deserved their pity and accommodation. Fortunately my friend Bruce in his sparkling, white Mercedes was behind me, knowing I was having car problems. And fortunately the police officer from Pottawatomie County pulled up behind me just a minute or two after the civil disturbance commenced. And then came Josh, maybe five minutes into it, a perspiring knight in gym shorts, to retrieve his wife in her professional wardrobe from standing on the corner with a cell phone, melting into a pool of perspiration. He was a sight for sweat-covered eyes.
We left the car in a parking lot after Josh and the Pottawatomie policeman pushed it there. They made quick work of it. Then we were off, driving home in the car that just got fixed, except for the A/C, which we know now we should have prioritized. When the tow truck got to our house bearing the green European car with 200,000 miles, I could see that its smirky New England personality was feeling a little worn, a little beat up. The tow truck driver’s name was Chad, and he gave a side smile as he recalled dropping off a PT Cruiser at this address a few months ago. I couldn’t hide my amazement at his memory, or at the obvious fact that we were getting to know a tow truck driver because of our car’s illness records. But he was so endearing when he said it that I wanted to have him in for lemonade, or invite him to church, but then I thought that would be tacky because housewives being chatty with tow truck drivers can be misconstrued as other things, although Josh was home, and I couldn’t figure out an un-awkward introduction to it. So I didn’t. And anyways, I don’t think we have any lemonade.
I was supposed to drive to Kansas City for a meeting today, supposed to go to work this morning, but with only one car, it’s hard to justify taking it for 36 hours and leaving the pastor and his baby, ahem, Big Boy, stranded. So I’m home. And I guess we’re going to try to fix this Boston professor’s car that I drive around.
I woke up early because Tuesday through Friday, my brain wakes up about 7am, thank goodness. Some days it’s later though, as my co-workers can attest. I wondered how I should spend the morning that looked different than I planned. How about french toast with the family where we smile at each other and chew all our food without spitting it on the floor? Or maybe I will sneak out to a coffeeshop before the dudes wake up to breathe in the smell of early morning alone? I always imagine sweet, wonderful, impossible scenarios.
So far, I’ve done neither. I felt like I was just trying to escape and chose to stay out of the guilt thing. But not long after I realized that my desire to get away for a few moments isn’t necessarily trying to avoid reality. It’s my need – our need – to sculpt a quiet space into the mess of this life, this runabout weekend, with broken down cars and gut-wrenching heat and the pressure of holding up a church and all its insides. It’s too much for one girl who works 40 hours a week on top of that. The quiet is needed, and it’s okay if I’m asking for it.
The BB is in the next room sneezing and waking himself up. The pastor is still asleep, tuckered from raising a little and saving his wife and the rest of the world. I may not get the silent time the way I’d envision it today, but I’m going to make the baby some breakfast and try to think quiet thoughts, try to take the calm and silence with me.