Waiting for Vicarage: The Final Days

For some dumb reason or another, I thought the final weeks before the vicarage assignment service would be easier than the previous 6 and a half months of waiting.  The end of waiting is near, T and I will soon know where we will live for the next school year.  I thought of the last two weeks before the service would be like my beloved cross country races in high school–the final stretch would give me a new burst of energy and I would finish stronger than I started.

Life lesson for this month:  Not everything in life is like a cross country race.  Rather than facing the final two weeks with excitement and while losing the concern about the future, I instead discovered that with every passing day the anxiety has heightened.  Not only that, unlike the previous six months, it is now impossible to put vicarage out of my mind.  It looms in the future as a big blank space waiting to be filled with the wheres and whens (and a little bit of  hows and whos).  People are becoming more and more inquisitive about where we are going, to which we can only respond, “We really haven’t the slightest idea.”  Throw on the fact that assignment night is not the end of the “Waiting for Vicarage” saga since we still actually have to move (again), and I’ve become more worried and melancholy then when this first started.

However, regardless of how I have felt the last two weeks or so, time has marched forward in its orderly fashion and we are almost there.  Only three more days!


Touche, NPR

Every morning on my way to work I listen to NPR.  Since I have a half-hour commute, it’s an easy way for me to keep up with some current events without having to use up my precious free time at home.  However, this week is the fund-drive, meaning instead of my daily dose of news I get almost 30 minutes of people begging for money.  And let me tell you, they are good at it.  The last two days of commuting have gone like this:

Radio person:  If you are listening to this right now, then you obviously enjoy our morning news programs.
Me:  *Gasp*  You’re right!
Radio person:  You enjoy hearing quality news from quality journalists.
Me:  That’s true as well!  Otherwise my news would only come from Facebook, and we all know how unreliable that is.
Radio person:  There is only one way that these programs are going to keep running. . .
Me:  HOW?!
Radio person:  . . .and that’s by generous donations by our listeners.
Me:  Uh-oh, I’m a listener. . .
Radio person:  So if you want to continue listening to these programs, then you need to make sure to help us out.
Me:  Gee, money is a little tight this month, maybe I can scrape something together later this year to give.
Radio person:  And don’t wait to give!  
Me:  Aww, bummer.
Radio person:  We need your support now to meet our pledge goals to ensure that our quality news programming continues.  It’s up to you to help!
Me:  Well, crap.  Now I feel really guilty.  
Now you might wonder why I don’t listen to something else on the way to work.  While that might be what a smart person would do, I am a creature of habit.  If habit dictates that I listen to NPR on the way to work, then that is when I, like an idiot, listen to NPR.  The good news is that I only have two more days to commute this week!  

Waiting for Vicarage: The 5-Year-Old’s Input

The kids I nanny have realized that my husband and I will soon find out where we are moving.  While I’m still trying to emphasize that I still have some time with the kids before we move, that emphasis is quickly loosing its comfort as time draws closer and closer to the end of the school year.  However, the children went through this process last year with their former nanny, so they have a little experience with a seminary family’s transition to vicarage.  They seem to be handling it okay and the youngest has already begun to refer to the next school year as “When the new nanny is here.”  However, he is still a little befuddled by the events leading up to placement day.  When he overheard me talking to his mom about placement, he asked where we are moving.  I replied, “Well, we won’t know until T. and I go to the special service.  We could go anywhere.”

“Not to Colorado,” the 5-year-old asserted.

“Actually, we could go to Colorado,” I explained.

His eyes widened at the thought (although I’m not sure what thoughts of Colorado fluttered across his mind).  Then he gave a self-confident smile and said, “Well, you wouldn’t move to Michigan.”

“Well, we could move to Michigan,” I stated.

Looking very serious for a moment, he said, “No way, it’s too cold in Michigan for people.”

I’m going to be very excited to tell him where we are moving if we get placed in Michigan.  Which could happen.  Or not.  Either way, we’ll know for sure in 15 days.

Happy Birthday, Blog!

This is a few days early, but I started blogging a year ago as of this Wednesday.  For those of you hoping to hear something profound on this anniversary, I’m sorry to disappoint you.  I really don’t have any insights to share other than the fact that I’m surprised that anyone reads this at all.  Thanks for following me!

My First Easter Vigil

My husband has been talking about attending an Easter Vigil since we started dating.  Unfortunately, since most churches don’t have this service, we never had an opportunity to attend a vigil service.  Not this year!  Much to my husband’s happiness, his field work church has an Easter Vigil every year and we were staying town for Easter.  I, on the other hand, wasn’t convinced about vigiling the night before Easter.  Much like crossing myself or wearing crucifixes, I thought of a vigil as “too Catholic” (a distinction that I use a lot and my husband has never understood).  However, since I have spent the last three Easters hearing about how great attending this service would be, I decided to check it out.

This Easter Vigil was divided into six small services.  The first service was the Service of Light, where the congregation enters the church following the paschal candle.  At this point, the lights in the sanctuary were dimmed, I believe to remind us that Christ still lay in the tomb.  The second service was the Service of Readings, where passages from Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, and Daniel were read.  The third service was the Service of Holy Baptism, where the congregation restated parts of the baptismal liturgy to remind them of their own baptism.  The fourth service was the Service of Prayer, where the Litany of the Resurrection was said–lots of “Have mercy” stated.

Then came one of the most beautiful transitions into Easter I have ever seen.  The fifth service was the Service of the Word, where the first “Alleluia!” of the Easter season was proclaimed and the lights turned back on to full brightness.  During the hymn of praise (“I Know That My Redeemer Lives”) the altar was stripped of the Good Friday black and replaced with the Easter white.  During this service there was also a sermon focusing on God’s promise to Abraham that “Your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,” (Genesis 22:17b)–surprise, the enemy is death and Jesus has now conquered death!–and on Joesph of Arimathea’s faith .  Pretty cool stuff.  The sixth and final service was the Service of Holy Communion, where we had the Lord’s Supper.

There are many reasons why people might shy away from attending an Easter Vigil–it’s too long (the one I went to took an hour and 45 minutes), it’s too hard to go to church that many times in one week (which I totally understand, I missed the Maundy Thursday service), it’s too Catholic, and so on.  However, if you ever have an opportunity to go to a vigil I would encourage you to at least try it.  It was a clear and beautiful way to leave the gloom of Good Friday behind and enter joyfully into the Easter season.  And on that note, Happy Easter to you all!  Christ has risen!  Alleluia!

Word to the Wise: Never Tell Someone Their Job is Easy

On Monday afternoon, I took the girl and the boy I watch to the girl’s piano lesson.  While there, the boy usually enjoys playing with the piano teacher’s little boy, giving me a blessed break from otherwise needing to entertain my boy for a half hour.  While I was observing the two boys playing with cars, the grandmother caretaker of the little boy came over to talk to me.  I believe the piano teacher’s family is from somewhere in Asia (excuse my ignorance), so communication between the grandmother and myself was a little rough.  Eventually she started asking about what I do, so I listed some of my work duties.  However, upon completing my explanation, the kindly old lady said something that made my face flush.  She stated matter-of-factly, “Your job is easy.  Baby-sitting is much easier than job in business.  Not as much thinking.”

I laughed off the comment and the conversation ceased after that.  Of course, I had a several snide comments to make about why she thought it was easy–that she never really did anything with the other little boy, how the week before he was running around the house like a maniac and no one was able to stop him.  Yes, a little judgmental but she started it!  The hardest part of this interaction is the fact that many people view my job this way.  No, I don’t sit in an office all day crunching numbers and writing proposals.  No, I don’t bring my work home with me at night.  No, I don’t go to long meetings and make fancy Power Point presentations to make convincing arguments.  No, you don’t have to be a genius, or even gifted, to do my job.  If that’s what makes a job hard, it’s true, I don’t have a hard job.

Instead, I spend my days trying to strike a balance between helping the kids and letting them figure things out on their own (and believe me, it is often harder to teach children how to do something on their own than it is to just do it yourself, especially when they look at you during the entire process like you’ve chained them to a dungeon wall for a month).  I run them around to different activities and places and I try to teach them to the best of my abilities.  The kids are good for the most part, but there is still the enforcement of daily discipline and my constant self-doubt about if I’m doing the right thing or if I’m just creating future adults who will need lots of therapy.  Sure, not every moment is go, go, go but even when I sit for a moment I’m still listening for the sounds of potential disaster from the children or the dogs (that is, if the dogs aren’t already sitting at my feet, begging for my remaining attention).  Throw in the cooking, laundry, and shopping and you have the basics of my job.  Take in the account that all this is for someone else’s household and I still have to think about the cooking, cleaning, and shopping for my own home (which my husband does help out with, God bless him!) and someone might begin to understand why I’m staring off into space while I have a moment to myself.