This week has been an oddity - busy at work (though not making much money), busy at home, busy brain and avoiding what needs to happen next...
Life at work has been much the same. I had a series of fairly distraught clients in this week - which is slightly unusual. While a lot of family law clients are dismayed, it isn't an every day thing to see so many people, women in particular, come through my doors that are upset, tearful and worn out. I can identify with so much of what they tell me, that sometimes I have to consciously separate myself from their stories. Thankfully I have never known physical violence in a relationship, but I'm scared for these women. In the back of my mind is a protective instinct. Particularly for the ones that are experiencing violence of some sort currently. I've been very affected by the latest in a string of murders of women by their husbands/boyfriends/lovers. This last one was a lady that I saw in the courthouse the day she died. She parked her car right outside of the building I work in. No doubt she walked by my window on her way to court that morning. She never made it back to her car. She was intercepted by her estranged husband and killed - left in a ditch. Her car sat alone - next to mine - and when I left that night and went home to my children, I had no idea she was gone - she would never kiss her babies good bye again. She had three small children. Did I mention her name was Jill? Her children are going to grow up without their mother. I cannot understand a world like this one. My heart hurts.
Life at home, well my Rudy got sick Wednesday night - strep throat... and something not yet identifiable. My son has had lots of health issues since he was born. I used to get really worried, but he has done so well the last year, that I had forgotten that fear in the pit of my stomach...until Thursday. I knew he didn't feel well Wednesday night. In same way that I instinctually knew he was sick in the past, I knew he wasn't well. By morning, he had a high fever. I babied my baby - fed him applesauce, gave him medicine and held him while he slept. I called one of the few numbers I don't have to look up - our beloved pediatrician. Eventually we got the news it was strep throat, and got him on antibiotics. He also got another round of steroid cream for his eczema. Everything seemed to be ok, until we got to the pool today and I discovered he had a rash all over his torso. This is his third drug reaction. They always scare me. I don't know what exactly to do, and I'm not in any sort of control. So, I took him back to the after hours clinic - so they could tell me what I already knew - another drug allergy to add to his growing list and we got another prescription. Sometimes I think I cherish my son even more because of his health issues - he's had so many scares in such a short life. But what a great kid. He has a sweetness like no other child I've known.
In the rest of my life, and the real reason I started this post...I attended my small group Wednesday night. It didn't go really well for me. It ended up being a discussion prompted by one of the members in the group. I look forward to this group - it centers my week and I feel encouraged and inspired by something or someone every week. That didn't happen this week. The person that dominated the meeting was upset by a solo that was sung in church some weeks ago. (and what she perceives the solo to represent) She did not believe the solo fit into the Anglican way of church or liturgy. She also mentioned that she (or perhaps others, I'm not sure) were also put off by a sermon that was given some months ago by a priest who is occasionally part of the church I attend. He's not the rector of the church (who I have come to know, and really like), but I have come to respect and genuinely like this priest. And I will say, unabashedly, he is one of the reasons I have become involved in the parish I am in. The sermon she referenced was actually one I still remember parts of. It meant a lot to me at the time, and was really inspiring. It was precisely what I needed to hear at that moment, and I am thankful to God for the words (and for the speaker). I was moved to tears at one point in the message. So to hear someone be critical of this sermon, well, it bothers me. Try as I might, it changes my opinion about this member of my group. I think I am probably also upset by the fact that while I assumed that the community I have ventured into has it's issues and problems like any other, I didn't realize these sorts of issues or conflicts existed. I'm disappointed. I'm not sure with whom. But nonetheless I feel let down. I guess it's hard for me to understand. We are all touched, moved and impacted by different things in this life. What may be something incredibly important for me to hear this Sunday may not be what another person wants to hear per se. But I think God puts our rear ends in the right seats/places/times so that we can be moved, touched and impacted by his servant's message. That servant might be black, he might use different words than we are accustomed to hearing in the predominantly white Episcopal church in the United States, he might not stand behind the pulpit...nevertheless God has placed this person in our path for a reason. If we can just see past our own prejudices - whatever they might be - we just might be amazed. I know I was. For such an inclusive sort of church as the Episcopal church aspires to be, I was disappointed with this person's inability to make room for the woman who sang the solo or for the priest either. She indicated that the music wasn't the sort she enjoys (the woman sang a spiritual sort of song, not a hymn), and that she really couldn't accept the woman's gift and felt it didn't have a place in the corporate worship of the church. The speaker was very emotional about all of this, and I have no doubt her feelings are genuine. Yet, I still find myself disappointed in her. What if there was one person who needed that message more than they needed anything else at that moment? I know that happens. I've been that person, starving for hope. And so we close off the message because it doesn't fit within our prescribed framework for our liturgy...well that's not an acceptable result for me.
What a week.