Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Today is Tuesday, a workday, that I've chosen to take off for a number of reasons.  When I originally asked for the day, I intended to drive to St Louis to surprise my family and visit my hometown.  Circumstances prevented me from doing so, but since I had the date already reserved as 'off', I decided to stick with it.  Throughout the last week, I debated my decision, questioning whether or not it's important enough for me to take off when I didn't really have a good reason to do so; I'm not sick, I'm not in St Louis, I'm not really doing anything worthy of a day away from the office.

And I'm sick with guilt, and afraid of what my colleagues (who don't normally do this sort of thing, at least to the best of my knowledge) might be thinking of their first year Cantor, taking off when she doesn't really need to.


This day is good for my sanity.  After all, I have plenty of unused vacation days stored up.  I've already tackled one of the two mountains of laundry that have been staring me in the face for weeks, and I'll tackle the next one later today.  I'm heading out for a walk in a bit, something I haven't done in a long time.  I'm sipping coffee and attempting to come to peace with yesterday's tragedy.  I'm initiating conversations with my aunt and mom about wedding planning and hoping to get on the ball.  I'm thinking ahead to tonight's board meeting, which I have every intention of attending.  I'm allowing myself the day to rest and recharge and reconnect with myself.  I know that come tomorrow, I'll work harder and be a better Cantor because of what I did today.

And then...the guilt pops in.

The guilt that I won't see my 4th graders today and someone else will.
The guilt that my co-clergy and other staff are working today and I'm not.
The guilt that I don't have children at home who demand attention whenever I'm not working.
The guilt that I'm not in St Louis and have no legitimate reason for taking the day off.
The guilt that I could be working harder today than I am.

It's amazing how I can delegitimize my life because my responsibilities and roles are different from that of my colleagues'.  My life is still my own, full of complications and stresses and difficulties, even though I don't have a family or an overabundant workload.  As much as I try to remind myself that it's unnecessary and unhelpful to compare my life to others, I can't help but carry the guilt of having it relatively easy--even if, to me, it's isn't always.

It's days like today when I realize how many growing edges I still possess in realms both personal and professional.  Maybe someday I'll learn to set aside the guilt and just enjoy this peaceful day off, without fear that anyone is looking down on me for taking it.  Or maybe not.

I don't exactly know why, but I've been feeling pulled back to this space as of late.  So much has changed since my last post over 18 months ago, in ways good, great, and huge, and I've been missing this outlet I once used regularly to help make sense of the happenings in my life.

Since September 11, 2011, I have: Finished school.  Accepted a position as Cantor at a congregation in Nashville, TN.  Said goodbye to my student life in NYC and hello to my professional life in Nashville.  Found an apartment free of rodents and ridiculous rent, with a gym, swimming pools, and loads of glorious space (not to mention a DISHWASHER and WASHER AND DRYER!!!).  Entered a new decade.  Fell in love with a wonderful man, happily allowed him to move into my apartment, and even more happily agreed to marry him.  Begun to figure out the intricacies of being a clergy person and working in a professional environment.  Transitioned in more ways than I could ever imagine in the space of 18 months.

Lots of change, indeed.  All of it good and exactly as it should be, but not without challenges and my fair share of struggle.  As I reflect upon the past year, I've had to wrestle as I attempt to figure out who the hell I'm meant to be in many aspects of my life, once again.  Perhaps it's this inner fight that's bringing me back to this place that, even 18 months later, still feels like the one constant home I've had all along the journey of the last 6 years of my life.

Who knows how often I'll post, if ever again.  But for now, I can say with absolute certainty that I'm glad to be home.  And I hope to take my coat off and stay awhile.