Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chaos, Balance, Self-Care

I'm really really really trying to find a place for self-care in my life.  I hate that there are days that taking care of Evelyn is a chore... and that there are days that I dread writing my thesis... and that I see the "job" search as an insurmountable obstacle.

Really, Evelyn is the most amazing baby-- so patient and loving and really hilarious.  It's a treat to be with her.  I am extraordinarily passionate about my thesis and so excited to tell people what's going on in my head.  And if I am looking at ministry as a job rather than a calling, I need to reassess.

It's just hard because there's so much going on right now that I feel like I don't have time for self-care.  At the same time, I realize that when I don't stop for a while and take a break, I'm totally unproductive.  Yesterday I took a two hour long nap, and immediately after I wrote seven pages of my thesis.  How great is that?

So now, since I noticed myself being unproductive, I'm writing a blog entry.  Evelyn is with her godmother, Stacy, for the morning and I'm home by myself.  We are housesitting this week, which I'm loving.  I'm considering locking the family out on Saturday when they return because, frankly, I like their house better than our apartment.  Also, there are chickens.  

They follow Maic around like they're his fan club.  

I took half of the kitchen table and claimed it as my work space.  Nothing that doesn't have to do with my thesis or classes is allowed on this half of the table, except for these flowers that Maic bought me in celebration of my ordination interview (actually, I handed them to him while we were grocery shopping...but you know, romance is in the eye of the beholder.)

I made this card to keep on my workspace too, as an idea from Rabbi Dr. Ryan Dulkin  who is
a candidate for the  Biblical Studies position at Eden.  It's apparently a Jewish tradition...

On one side...

...and on the other.  A reminder to live in the balance of self-love and humility.
A practice I need desperately.  

 Meanwhile, not on the work half of the table... 

Sock bunnies!  

So much of my life right now is about balance.  I know it seems that when I write entries like this, they are full of chaos.  Thesis, Jewish practices, and sock bunnies?  Joanna, what are you doing?  The fact is, for the next two months before graduation, my life is full of chaos.  But don't we have a God who lives and works in the chaos?  The world was created out of chaos.  The covenant with Noah was built upon the chaos of a land ruined by water.  The new covenant in Jesus Christ was made in the midst of anger and murder, blood and splinters and then continued into the morning in the confusion of the mysterious and absurd incident of the resurrection.  I believe that God is living and working with me now, becoming known to me through my scattered mind-- showing up as I feed the chickens rice out of the palm of my hand (did you know chickens eat rice?), as I nurse my teething baby throughout the night as she tosses and turns in pain, and as I write about this woman, and try to tell people that she is more than a murderer.

Judith, Pallaiuolo, 1470. 

This is a time to love the fact that being pastor and being mom, being crafter and being student, being wife and being self, being created in the image of God and being but dust and earth, are all both chaos and balance.  

I'm just trying to figure that out.  

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