Saturday was an odd day. I’ve been spending the bulk of the week prior with a bum knee and Saturday morning was a day for some vigorous outdoor exercise that only exacerbated the problem. The result is that I spent Saturday evening very tired and very exhausted. I’d also not really had much to eat during the day … certainly not enough to balance out the workout for the day.
In one sense, there’s a bit of joy in going to church this way. I’d written before (in the Sidenote) of this strange habit of heading to church on an empty stomach. Well, this time, it was compounded by the physical exhaustion.
I knew I’d have to skip out on Koinonia for the week in order to make it to another late-night event. So I’m going through the early evening hoping for the spiritual nourishment of Compass Class and the Saturday service to help me through this. With a day after to gauge it all, it’s tough to measure. It was a good class … it was a good service. But man was I tired.
Many moons ago (well, more like a decade or so), I used to play roller hockey once or twice a week. I was never any good at it, but it was about the most fun I had in any sporting activity. It was during a time that I’d recently graduated college and found myself in a pretty cozy professional gig (retail management, to be precise). But there were some long days at work that found me leaving work totally exhausted. And I don’t say that lightly. For a while, I even had a problem falling asleep while driving. Not pleasant. But every once in a while, I’d find myself in just such a state, but knowing that I had to push myself a bit so I could play hockey for an hour or two later in the evening. It wasn’t uncommon that I’d find myself alert, lucid, and wide awake when leaving home for the rink. I couldn’t explain it at first. Wasn’t I just drop-dead tired about 30-60 minutes ago? Wasn’t I falling asleep at the wheel somewhere around I-45 & Airline? How did I go from that to overflowing with energy for the drive out to the rink and two hours of hockey once I got there?
There’s a certain sense you get from being in a place you know you need to be … a place you get something out of from just being there. Back then, it was the only exercise I’d get in the course of a week, playing a game I loved no matter how bad I stunk. Now, it’s knowing that you’re in a place that you can step into and something positive will just seep into your soul even if by accident. Saturday night had all the makings of a service I might otherwise find cause to complain about. But I can’t bring myself to do that.
Even stranger, since my Saturday was a whirlwind of activity, I doubt I’d recall the sermon if it weren’t from my notes. Strange because the topic was “The Importance of Not Getting Stagnant in Life.” With it being the end of the year, Joel’s sermon was aimed at focusing on the next year being one in which we sow an extraordinary seed in our lives, loosely based on the beginnings of Isaac in Genesis 26. There are times when dragging one’s self out to church can seem like a meaningless ritual, as if we head to church out of obligation. But for me, it’s somewhat like those days when I’d head out to play roller hockey. Each, in it’s time, was what I wanted to do out of the sheer joy for the intrinsic benefits that each activity provided.
I guess I sensed that I might leave service on Saturday with a bit of a thirst left to quench, however. I’d missed Wednesday service due to being stuck at work a bit longer than desired. The Thursday Christmas event with the Houston Symphony, I rationalized myself out of attending just due to a still uncertain work schedule. So when I browsed through the bookstore on Saturday and I picked up a DVD of one of Joel’s old sermon topics: Holding on to Your Joy. Watching it as I type, with the CD of the missed Wednesday service being put into MP3 format for the trek to work tomorrow.
Sometimes, the thirst and the feast don’t always coordinate the way we’d like. I left Saturday night feeling just as tired, but appreciative that at least part of my thirst had been satiated. I needed to be somewhere by a certain time after service and it didn’t happen. Upon finding myself getting irritated by this, I could only appreciate the coincidence of the DVD series I’d managed to pack with me. Right now, watching the DVD, getting a bit of reading done … and a big feast with friends earlier in the day … and suddenly, I’ve got to appreciate that I feel far better now.
So fear not, the pace of writing will pick up once more. I’m glad to see so many folks stumbling across the site – some from the Lakewood crowd, some from points elsewhere. Welcome one and all. For now, I’ll leave one little Bible quote that relates to a bit of how the past week has gone for me:
The next week, however, will be better.