Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Living alone

This is my first time fully living on my own. I don't have a roommate or family to help with the chores, nor do I have a cafeteria or refectory to provide some of my meals. Sometimes this living alone is refreshing, and other times I become lonely. Seminarians had told me before that internship can be the loneliest time, and to some degree that is true. After bonding so closely with my peers at seminary, I miss them dearly. And yet ministry at Lakeside is so wonderfully encouraging and challenging that I don't have much time to be lonely. For that, I am grateful.

Cooking has been a saving grace for me. Because there isn't much of anything to do on the lake, I can get bored on my time off. I have taken to cooking as a form of entertainment, as a way to keep me moving and thinking without leaving the apartment. I have two cookbooks and the internet as my resources, but I rarely follow a recipe exactly. Somehow, however, my meals always turn out ok. Often they even are pretty good. I then put the left-overs into single-serving gladware containers and freeze half of the food. That way, when I come home from work, I only have to pop a container from the fridge or freezer into the microwave and enjoy. I am grateful for this system of cooking and eating because I never have to cook after a long day at work, and I am able to spread out my meals so that I never get bored of my cooking.

I also don't have anybody to remove the bugs in the house, either. I don't mind killing the usual household spiders and other small bugs, but I do mind killing the centipedes. They are too fast for me to easily catch them. There are a lot of centipedes in the rest of the garage, but I am grateful that only two have entered my apartment. I don't appreciate them hanging out on the garage door, either. When coming home after dark, I don't want to be greeted by such an animal!

Friday, October 1, 2010

An Update

A brief update after visiting Chicagoland:

I returned to my apartment late Monday night, the night of Uncle Chuck's funeral. After such an emotional weekend, especially Monday, I was emotionally drained dry. So, I crawled into bed almost immediately and slept well. Yet Tuesday morning almost as soon as I had arrived at Lakeside, I had an intern committee meeting to discuss my learning covenant. I hadn't taken the time to switch out of “grieving niece” mode into “working vicar” mode, so I wasn't prepared. I had finished a draft of the covenant before I left, but I hadn't even thought about making copies for the committee.

Soon after that meeting was over, a parishioner held a luncheon presentation. Although it was a wonderful presentation, I wasn't exactly ready to be social. A lot of parishioners did share their empathy for my loss, though. I appreciated that – that they cared for me after only knowing me for three weeks, and that they missed me on Sunday.

I didn't have time to sit in my office and think until 2:30. That was a rough day because I had no time to adjust, but in the end it was a pretty average day. I just wish I had arrived a few minutes early to spend alone in my office before going into the intern meeting. I have noted that. Now I make sure that I always take a few minutes in my office before meetings to make sure that I am prepared.

The rest of that week, I focused on preparing myself for a week without my supervisor. Normally, Pr. Fred and I share worship leadership responsibilities. Thus, Sept. 19th was a lot more than just my first sermon. It was my first time on my own and my first time leading the communion liturgy. I wasn't officially “presiding” over communion because the elements were already consecrated, but it still was my first time saying the words of institution in front of a congregation.

The week without Fred was ok. I missed his collegiality and his guidance. During the week, I wrote a newsletter article, prepared both service bulletins, revised my learning covenant, and wrote a sermon. I led Men's Bible Study and went on four pastoral care visits. Throughout the week, the church's administrative assistant proved to be a valuable coworker and friend.

Both of my sermons were very well-received. Everybody seemed to be very impressed with my preaching and my composure. Although I was very nervous, I didn't show it. Although most of the comments were very general, they seemed to be genuine. The specific comments helped, too. My intern committee was very intentional about giving me very specific feedback, including a few suggestions for the future.

All in all, these last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I have been busy without being overwhelmed. As much as I miss my friends and family, I also am grateful for the people here.