My life has been rearranged significantly since taking on the role of Interim Preaching Minister at the Northwest Church, and there are definitely things I miss about my former life. Don’t feel too sorry for me–Anjie thinks I’m happier than I’ve been for a long time. There is a focus to my days now, a focus that feels more direct than what was there before. Now I head to work to prep sermons, work on strategic plans, plan worship times, encourage leaders, and pray, among other things. In recent years, focus has sharpened in writing Hunting Grace (the follow-up to Leaving Ruin), and other plays, both long and short, but without doubt, the focus of rising each day and attacking the work was softer before.
What I miss most are some friends that I just haven’t had time to connect with. It’s funny–in my heart I’m still connected to them, but in one conversation the other day, I encouraged of these special people not to move away, and she laughed and said something like, “Why, we only see each other every four months.” I laughed, too, but it pained me to think I see these special friends of mine far less than I did.
And the work of writing, musing, engaging in long conversations concerning culture and art…this has changed as well. I’m not sure what the engagement with culture means as a professional minister, simply because the people I interact every day are not fictional or media constructs. Their lives demand attention, creativity, sacrifice, love, practical energy of the muscular kind. Art and film image the world for us, and that demands attention too, especially if we are to understand the unique nature of the people we seek to serve in our culture. But I’ve never been so clear about the simple idea that art is about life and not the other way around.
Still, I miss lingering and brooding. Like I said, don’t feel too badly for me…it’s not like I don’t linger or brood anymore at all. But it’s different now. Better, I think–more of my gifts are in play, and I have a distinct sense that I’m in the center of what I need to be doing just now. So, that’s good.
But if you’re one of those special friends I’m referring to (and most of you know who you are), forgive me for not hanging out as much. Know that I miss you, and I look forward to coffee again soon.
Facebook just doesn’t do it…