Climbing out of the post-Easter ditch

I think it would be fair to say that I never quite got my act together after spring break this year. I got a little sick (head cold kind of thing) but had scheduled to be away at a wonderfully deserted shore town with my husband for a few days. No head cold was going to stop me from spending time alone with my favorite person in the world, so we went, germs and all, to the shore. It was wonderful to be off the Close, out of NYC, and alone in a place where we didn’t know anybody. Standing on the beach in winter coats watching the tide roll in is one of my favorite things in the world; if I could get up and do that every day in place of morning prayer I would.

Unfortunately, because I was trying to get un-sick for most of spring break, I was way behind in my classes when it ended. The workload this semester is nothing short of crushing, and I had been counting on spring break as catch up time. Ah, the best laid plans…

Anyway, spring break ran right into Holy Week this year (whose idea was that???) I actually wound up having to be at field ed for both Sundays over break because of Holy Week rehearsals, Palm Sunday, etc.

We had classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week. We were off Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately, that didn’t help me. I’m already off on Thurs and Fri, and I had a Maundy Thursday service to help run here on the Close, a 3 hour Good Friday service at field ed in which I was both preacher and MC, and an Easter Vigil at field ed where I was also MC. Then of course Easter morning, and a late lunch with a friend who was in town, and then I collapsed.

I didn’t really “do” Lent this year; I had my nose to the homework grindstone so much that it seemed like I didn’t even need to. I was working in a more disciplined way than I have since I got here. When it came time for Holy Week I went into autopilot mode. I had a bunch of services to run, and I knew that if I thought too much I wouldn’t be able to get through them.

This year was my 33rd Holy Week. I couldn’t go there. I couldn’t think about it or identify too much with it. Besides, it’s just mythology anyway, right? We don’t really know numbers… But it stuck with me, and continues to stick with me, regardless of logic.

So after Easter, after all that not thinking and not feeling and compartmentalizing, I collapsed. Literally (I did nothing on Easter Monday) and figuratively. I went into a funk, felt some hints of the low level depression that creeps up on me periodically.

I am just now starting to pull myself back together. I am now really really far behind on just about everything, but I am slowly working my way through the chaos, trying to sort out due dates for things, and trying to figure out what I need to learn from this experience.

If nothing else, seminary has been a prolonged exercise in learning my limits, especially emotionally. When I don’t take time to deal with things, when I over schedule myself, when I try to be everything to everyone, it always comes back to get me.

I’ve been better this semester than in others. I say no rather than yes to most requests to participate in events, lectures, projects, etc. I can always change my mind and say yes later. I work hard at my field placement but I’m learning to set boundaries around my time – I won’t be there for everything, and that’s okay. I don’t apologize for that.

As the last couple of weeks demonstrate, however, I have a long way to go. I’ve scaled my ambitious summer plans back to picking up a couple of credits by doing part time work for my field placement and being an on call chaplain once in a while. I’m going to organize for GOE’s, do some reading and paper writing that I already know about for the fall semester, have friends visit the city, and try to work on getting in better shape physically and emotionally. No saving the world, no learning about an unfamiliar area of ministry, no taking on CPE level stress, etc.

I have another 50-some pages of writing to do between now and then, but I think I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to believe it might get done.

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~ by Sophia on April 9, 2008.

7 Responses to “Climbing out of the post-Easter ditch”

  1. i want to affirm your instinct about the summer. i ended up taking last summer off and was sooo glad that I did. Middler year, coming right after your first year AND CPE just leaves you fried. Relax as much as you can this summer and give yourself permission to just let your brain and body absorb all that has happened to you the last couple of years.

  2. I too gave myself an easy summer before senior year, and it was great. Enjoy it while you can…

  3. I wish…my diocese requires a full-time internship for eight weeks after you finish middler year. at least I’ll have August off!So many of us middlers have struggled with health issues this spring. the workload, the confluence of break and easter, the workload, field ed on top of difficult classes, the workload, contemplating cnadidacy interviews, the workload…It will get done. It will not get done perfectly, but that’s okay, since no one will ask for your transcript when you’re looking for a job. I figure this is a good way to practice for my first post-ordination job. Chaotic schedule over which we have no control, the challenge of saying no to myself as well as to others, people poking at you for various and sundry things. Better we learn to manage it now rather than later.Hang in there.

  4. The middler year is so awful. I am finishing up my year as well and have had an extremely hard time of it as well. Soon and very soon…we will be done.

  5. What is it about middler year that is such a crushing load? That’s how I remember it, too. And yet, as you say, there is a real virtue in coming up against yourself, and thereby learning to pace and set limits. Hang in there, sis. It’ll all get done eventually; and regardless, as a friend used to remind me, your salvation does not hinge on any of it.

  6. Dear Heart,You are doing fine. I know you’re tired, strung out, exhausted, etc. Protect your free time! Sleep! You’re going to get to the end. It will come.You’re in my prayers every night!Judy

  7. How are you doing, dear? thinking of you and praying…we’re swamped over here, too…

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