The change express I’ve been ready to board doesn’t seem to be running, at least not any time soon. So what do I do while I’m still here, waiting? Lately I’ve been raking, something I skipped last year, sweeping ten bins of oak and redwood droppings into yard waste bins once a week for over a month. I’m sure our garbage service crew is quite tired of my productivity. I am too, even though I’ve listened to several books on IPod while I’ve been wielding my rake and snow shovel (an oversized dustpan).
Back in May when I finished the writing for my MFA and before my husband knew he was going to leave his job, I’d arranged to lead a memoir group through the recreation department of a neighboring town, and to offer writing help for junior high students at my local library. I bowed out of the commitments before they started, hopeful that I’d be relocating mid-session. But no one has looked at our house since July. And my husband is submitting a job proposal to “the adoption group” at the world’s most innovative company, asking them to create a program and position he is eminently qualified to run, but not part of their current plan. If they adopt, we have no idea how long the process takes. So here we are for the foreseeable future.
I have been retired from ministry for over a year and finished my master’s degree in August. Since then, I packed up all our knick-knacks, photos, every item that distinguishes our home from a vacation condo. Many of my books are packed, but there are enough on my shelves to keep me reading for several months. All our CD’s, DVD’s, videos, are boxed and stored in the shed, but streaming Netflix in the form of Mad Men is entertaining us in the evening. If I keep packing, I’ll end up unpacking. I might need to unpack some as it is. All my craft supplies, the words I cut from magazines for collages, and my yarn and needles are boxed and stored in the back corner of a shed in our yard, and I need a creative outlet.
What do I do with myself in the interim? Time yawns before me. Three months, six, I have no idea, but part of me doesn’t think it’s wise to plan to lead groups and help students on an ongoing basis. So I undertake short-term projects. I’m blogging once a week. I set up a website. In three weeks I’m attending the final gathering of a clergy group I participated in two years ago, even though I have left pastoral ministry. I was part of a clergy writing group that came out of the initial gathering, and felt like my tribe. It will be wonderful to reconnect with the writing clergy, as well as other participants. Plus, the main speaker, Trevor Hudson (a white clergyman from South Africa) is fabulous and the Nashville campus is beautiful in the fall. I wrote a short story and will be reading it and leading worship (the first time since June 2010) on October 30th. I scheduled a short story workshop for early November (let me know if you want details), and a trip the following weekend to Boise with my husband, choosing a city we had never been to and could reach within two hours using our Southwest airlines miles.
I spent money I’m considering an investment—in my marriage--on a two-person open top kayak, for Kevin and me. We went kayaking off the Santa Cruz wharf in July for my birthday and loved it. No matter where we end up, water will be close by. We’re launching Friday for the first time in the beautiful Lexington Reservoir that runs parallel to the commuter’s Highway 17, and hasn’t been open to boating in years. I’m thinking up a regional bucket list, since I’m still in the neighborhood.
I could even turn my attention to the memoir I’ve been slowly writing over half a dozen years. Without pastoral responsibilities and school requirements, and real estate and packing frenzies, my writing could become my main preoccupation. If I am diligent, and spend less time checking Facebook and reading other people’s blogs, I might even finish my memoir in this in-between time. And if I don’t, at least I will keep myself occupied in this itchy waiting time.