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Associate Minister's Column

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Now that I’m back from parental leave, here are my reflections:

* Sundays are better in church. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly grateful for the time with my son, but my Sundays felt empty. Sure, I got to watch the entire Saints games live, but that’s no substitution for the deep and transformative conversation that can only come from a worshiping community.

* There is magic in everything. The only thing that is keeping me from being constantly amazed by the magic of life - by the magic of life’s creation out of virtual nothingness, by the mystery of post-death, by the magic of love and hope amidst pain and despair – is the constant exposure to it. We see magic so often that it becomes part of the humdrum of life: the fact that every person who has ever existed and will ever exist came out of such a miracle.

* Babies are full of liquids.

* The grocery stores are almost completely empty on a Sunday morning. While I’m glad to be back in church, I’m going to miss getting all my shopping done in under 20 minutes. It’s still no substitute for transformative worship, but I like not waiting in lines.

* Everyone deserves time with their children. I only had this parental leave because you, the congregant reading this and the others like you, gave me that gift. Because in this country parents are given so little time with their children (and especially because there is an expectation that men get no time off for the birth of a child), it seems reasonable that you may feel resentment for my getting this time. I’ve been in discernment about how to talk with you about this. I don’t want to brag about it, or to pour salt on the wounds of times robbed of parents by our culture. I want you to feel justified in demanding time with the ones you love regardless of what the culture says.

* Life is a gift. I spend so much time trying to figure out why we are here and how to make meaning of it that I lose track of the sheer gift of being alive.