Friday, April 23, 2010

I had a dream...

I'm having one of those moments where I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I have a sinking feeling that it's the light of an oncoming train...
I've managed to tick off a whole slew of papers on my "To Do" List, and the three that are left are monumental but manageable. Somehow I got all of my Mid Program Review paperwork done and found a meeting time next Tuesday that worked for all five parties involved. I led Worship and preached for the last time at my Field Ed site this past Sunday (see sermon below). I've gotten a start on the required reading for the Appalachia trip that begins in 2 weeks. And I've even started to put together the bulletin and the sermon for Pentecost Sunday, the first Sunday that I begin covering for my pastor while she is on sabbatical for 3 months...(yes, I'm way early on this this, but between final papers and the Appalachia trip it's now or never!)

The "oncoming train" premonition reared it's anxious head in my dreams last night, where I had no less than four separate dreams about screwing up on my first Sunday of the sabbatical coverage.

Anxiety Dream #1 had me sitting in a pew in my home church, wearing a t-shirt and my flannel lounge pants, and juggling all the resources that I'm using to put together the Pentecost service. The problem: it WAS Pentecost Sunday and I was due to start the service in 5 minutes. [No biggie, I've had this "OMG, I'm not ready!" kind of dream before...haven't we all?]

Anxiety Dream #2 - this time the service had started and I was in the fellowship hall with all my clothes spread out in piles around me trying to figure out what to wear. I couldn't find my pants, and I was seriously considering not wearing any since my robe was so long no one would notice (!!!). The service was more than half over before I chose to do just that. [Hmmmm....I'm noticing a "I'm wearing the wrong clothes" theme developing here.]

Anxiety Dream #3 - in this dream I managed to find the right clothing and get my robe on but I was an hour late showing up for the service and it was already over. I remember being cognizant that this was a dream and if I just "imagined" that I was back at the start of the service it would rewind and all would be well. [Gee, I wish that would work in real life...]

Anxiety Dream #4 - the service is over, I'm in the church office strolling around in my robe feeling all high and mighty because it went well, when a congregant walks in seeking help with a problem and I begin a frantic search for "the Pastor" not realizing that I'm it. [it is interesting to note that in this dream the church office was housed in a large, open and airy loft space with modern furniture, high tech computers, and a large staff busily at work....this is how I knew it was a dream ;-) ]

As noted, anxiety dreams are nothing new for me, especially the night before I'm due to preach in a new setting...but FOUR dreams in one night? And a month away from the actual date? I'm sure it's connected to the fact that I sat down last night and made a list of all the things I need to get done between now and then and realized that I actually have very little time to get it all done.

It also stems from listening to fellow students describe their Field Ed experiences where they were essentially left 'in charge' to field a myriad of pastoral and logistic requests from congregants. At my Field Ed site I was never given that responsibility - other than leading worship and adult ed classes - and thus the congregants at my site never approached me with such requests because they did not see me in that role.

I suspect that I will spend a great deal of time this summer feeling like I did on the first day of my first job, and the first day of every job I've had since then.... There will be times when I'll feel overwhelmed by all there is to learn; I'll be unsure about how much help I can offer given all there is I have not yet learned; and I'll question whether I haven't made the biggest mistake of my life in thinking that I could do this job in the first place.

But I made it through all those first days, and I'll make it through this one.
Even if it does feel at times like I'm dodging an oncoming train!

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