There are some things I just can't do.
Last week, for example. The days went fast as my flight to England approached. It felt a little like those movies where time jumping forward is illustrated by a calendar with the pages flying off in quick succession.
The work week was book-ended by Thanksgiving on Monday and an all day Managers meeting on Friday, with meetings every day in between and on Monday and Tuesday this week, too! I don't know what I was thinking when I planned my schedule. The answer--I wasn't.
I had some non-negotiable tasks requiring desk time that had to be accomplished before leaving. So in spite of the fact that my house was in a state of sad neglect, I knew that I'd be working on the weekend.
That was when I decided that I could take the pressure off by missing church on Sunday morning. I broke the news to Paul on Thursday morning. You have to understand--we never miss church, and to Paul, it is the first sign of going downhill fast! :) But he understood, he knew the pressure I was under and was very supportive.
Susan was going away for the weekend, and she understood. "Hey, you're going to be taking ten days of Sabbath," she said.
But for the rest of the week it was as if there was a conspiracy afoot. I said goodbye to Jamie after cell group, and wished him well on his upcoming vacation in Ireland. "That's okay, I'll see you on Sunday," he said. I bit my lip. I couldn't bring myself to say I wouldn't be there.
On Friday evening the family gathered for a special community event. At the end of it, Pete hugged me and said, "I'll see you on Sunday, Mom." I made myself tell him I didn't think so, and why, but inwardly my heart lurched. But he understood and wished me a great vacation.
Saturday morning Frances called and said, "Are you holding a pen?" Her nickname for me is Quilla. I am the writer, she is the talker, and together we make a perfect pair of friends, as long as I can write fast enough. She had a great story for me which took over an hour to tell. She ended the call by saying breathlessly, "I've got to go. I've got 15 minutes to get ready for work. I'll see you tomorrow!" By now I was sensing that God was laughing at me. I didn't correct her.
I checked email. There was a message from Cheryl, the worship leader; to both worship teams. The new song--the song we had practiced on Wednesday night and I loved, loved, loved; was being introduced on Sunday and she invited both teams to join together to lead it. She said to those of us who weren't slated to sing on Sunday (that would include me,) "We'll practice that song last; just come for the end of the practice." That did it! Nothing could keep me away now.
I had already been hearing a still small insistent inner voice saying that no matter who said that they understood why I wouldn't be there, gathering together with my church family and worshiping God was not the agenda priority for me to shelve.
I told Paul I was going after all. He looked confused but no more than usual when listening to me. The worship was incredible, the whole service was a blessing and I came home with two more stories, which will appear here on the blog very soon.
I know that church is not a building, it is people, and it can be where ever we gather together, even on a blog. But wherever it is, while I have strength to be there, I'm not missing it.
Oh, and the work? I finally did it on Sunday evening and on Monday God poured out his blessing on the work that I did as only he could and in an incredible way.
Psalm 27:5-6 (New International Version)
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.