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.