I know that so many of you travel for your job- and this is nothing new to you... but I am not one of those people. I enjoy travel- especially when it comes to vacations or visiting those I love- but being gone nearly half of the time is too much. And lets face it, I'm not the spring chicken I used to be... bouncing back from this amount of travel has taken it's toll on my body.
During those 53 days, I've seen some of my dearest friends and colleagues. I've enjoyed time at Great Wolf Lodge with my big girl (and got to see some of our Foster Friends, too.) I've been to the mountains, the beach, and back to the mountains again. I've eaten good food, hiked beautiful views, shopped, and read books. I've also slept in uncomfortable beds, had allergy attacks, gotten sick to my stomach, been worried about a lice outbreak (we're clear, don't worry), and missed some key events that the extrovert side of me hated missing.
While we're talking about personality types, let's acknowledge that one... on the Myers-Briggs test, I always score just over the line as an extrovert. Which means that my introvert side is very high. And for at least 90% of these away trips, I've been required to be "on"... which makes my introvert side feel like it's drowning. Yes, I am a people person... but I regain that energy by withdrawing and recharging alone.
Today when someone at church asked me how I've been doing, my response was, "Well, I'm here." While that may have appeared to seem tongue in cheek to my scattered appearance or disposition, it was more honestly an acknowledgment of the beauty of actually being home. I missed church one week because of sickness and I will miss 3 weeks because of travel. That means that of 9 Sundays, I'm missing or have already missed 4. That's another 44%.
For a lot of people, missing church isn't a huge big deal. For me, it is.
And none of that has to do with guilt.
It's honestly doesn't have to do with me missing the chance to "worship"... because I've felt more connected to God than I have in a very long time.
But I've not been connected to my Church Family.
Being with them this evening for Trunk or Treat made me realize just how much I've missed them.
Being gone from my own family has been difficult- Julianna and Elizabeth have both needed their Momma. My house was a hot mess when I got home from my trips. Laundry has piled up- and this is no knock on Dan, this is just the state of how things get when we're out of sync.
In the same way, I'm out of rhythm at church. Part of participating fully in worship is being present... and I have not been. While I can get "what I need" from attending periodically, I'm not fully enjoying the connection of being part of The Church when my attendance is spotty.
This is not a plug from Father Steve or our Vestry. This is not something sponsored by those of us working to get people connected through our Welcoming Ministry. In fact, this isn't even about our church specific.
Instead, as I've looked at my most recent schedule and my slack church attendance... I have to realize that I'm not alone. Surely some of you have been gone too... for 44% of the time or more. Know that you're not alone. And know that it never matters how long you've been gone... you're always welcome. Don't have somewhere that you miss when you're gone? You're welcome to join me at St. Timothy's.
Being "Here" is not always high praise for my mental or physical state... but I look forward to the day when I'm Here more often. Until then, I'll jump in when I'm able and continue to reach out to my Church when I'm not. I can't expect they'll know how I'm doing until I tell them... and those days when I'm not Here might be the times when I need them even more.
Grace and Peace.
(and thanks, Beckie, for the pics.)