Visiting The Mothership is good for me. It is good because I do not have a very active social life here. The most interaction I have had, outside of the church walls, with people my own age was this past Sunday when six other young adults and Supervising came over to the space between my house and the church and we had a cook-out. But, of course, I had to provide the meat to lure them there. So, when I visit The Mothership I get to hang out with friends. People I know and appreciate and like and who know and appreciate and like me back. I soak it up like a sponge because it is something I am sorely lacking, and which I greatly miss. For my hypersocial extroverted self, The Mothership provides a much needed social outlet. Now, I know that this year is about my development as a pastor and growing my identity apart from The Mothership, and so I have tried not to visit it too often. The Mothership placed me in a site within a fairly short drive, and so the temptation is there to think, "What am I doing tonight? Nothing? I should go visit my friends at school!" And early in my internship, that is what I did. But I have consciously worked on NOT doing that, regardless of how many of my friends are currently there, and regardless of where ever in this great United States they will be moving to in a few weeks, and regardless of the unknown span of time that will pass before I am given the opportunity to see them again. I have told myself that I need to work on the relationships I have here, in the time that I have been given.
Now, some good friends of mine, who The Mothership has also deployed on internship this year, recently had a house fire. Due to the short distance between their internship site and school, they have been allowed to live in some on campus housing for the short remainder of my friend's internship. I have greatly missed these friends. AND they have a new addition that was born into their family last November. So after I went to graduation at The Mothership, and heard news that my friends were now living on campus, I made contact with them shortly after I returned home. And since that contact, I have been to visit them twice. It has been wonderful for me to see them again, to play with their dog, and to meet their new addition. I have enjoyed myself thoroughly.
But, I still have two and a half months of internship left to go. I know my work here is far from over. When I visit my friends at The Mothership, it makes it difficult for me to get back into the swing of things here. Especially the day after I visit, I kind of aimlessly meander through the day, unable to really buckle down and focus on much of anything (to those of you who know me in real life, i find it harder than normal to buckle down and focus... if you can imagine). I find myself thinking of my friends and having a social life and wishing I was back in that atmosphere. I often leaf through my desk calendar and see how many days it is until my internship is over, and what is going on between now and then, and wondering how quickly the days will go by until then.
Then, the guilt sets in. I mean, it set in even while I was writing the previous paragraph. I feel bad for wishing that my internship was over, as if that somehow trivializes the relationships I've made and the growth that has occurred. I feel that wanting to be back at seminary means I'm not putting in enough of myself into my internship congregation, and that I'm obviously doing something wrong because I don't want to stay here, like many previous interns have said when they've returned to seminary. Sometimes, when I'm feeling like really getting down on myself, I think that the fact that I want my internship to be over is a clear indication of my inability to hack full time ministry, and that I should consider some other vocation. Do I really think that life will get any easier than it is now, when I move into full time ministry?
So, yeah... There you have it. And I've also been having some dreams that are evidence of me being in the midst of transition.
Dream #1: NYI decides that he wants to start internship early, and the congregation has okayed this decision. But they don't want me to leave until I've finished my scheduled time. So NYI moves to town, and they allow him to assume my preaching responsibilities but require me to stick around and help with worship. The most vivid scene of the dream was when NYI was preaching at the contemporary worship service. I think it was his first Sunday and he gets up in front of the congregation and immediately starts preaching without a manuscript, which is how Supervising preaches, and is a style that he encourages his interns to atleast try. And NYI is doing it right away (it's something I've not had the courage to try, yet) and doing an amazing job, and making jokes and the congregation is laughing, and no one really notices as I walk out of the church and start crying.
Dream #2: I am working at some youth camp, but it is more like a youth convention. It is at a completely indoor facility, because I think there is something unusal with the kids. Like they have disabilities or something, although a lot of the kids I'm remembering didn't have anything noticeably affecting them. And, of course as I'm known to do, I immediately bond with the kids. Like no holds barred bonding (well, inappropriate holds barred, of course). So, as it inevitably does, the time for the kids to go arrives. But this camp does something different, and makes the youth parade through the hallways before they leave. They begin their parade at a certain point and then the parade ends with them leaving the building and going home. I'm watching in some hallway as these kids who I've grown to know and love walk by me, and I am unable to say good bye to them because they need to keep moving. There is one in particular scene that I remember, this boy is walking by who was one of my campers, and I want to say good bye to him and he's sobbing but these people just keep making them walk on by. Well, eventually after the hallways are empty and I'm making my way out, like three or four of my campers come rushing back down the hallway to find me and say good bye. So, that was a good feeling. But then my alarm goes off. And I needed to get a new alarm, because my old one was beginning to be ineffective. And this alarm scares the crap out of me. So I go from this pleasant moment of a Hallmark movie of a dream, to the earth shattering beeping of my alarm clock. That was not fun.
So there you have my neuroses in a nutshell, really. Life is interesting, to say the least.