There are many.
One day when I was in the teachers' lounge (yes, I go there now), someone was describing a feeling we could all relate to: It's not possible to keep all the balls in the air. I set one down for a while then I pick it back up and put a different one down. Yes, that's it! That's exactly how I feel. No matter how much I am able to juggle, the feeling of failure lays heavy at my feet.
The relentless grading and lesson planning alone will crush you under their weight. Somehow "balls" like laundry (now a GIANT ball!), and grocery shopping, not to mention taking time to call a friend, sit alone and abandoned. I am left to wonder if it is possible to be a good teacher and a good wife, mother, friend... Teaching tends to be a profession that is all consuming.
You won't be surprised to hear that one of the "balls" I kicked to the curb this year was writing. The Blogging Ball was dropped. So now that summer is here, this is one of the highlights from this school year, a project I would have blogged about if I had been willing to put one of the other balls down...
Several years ago I saw this magazine at an airport and I admit that it continues to fly in the face of all I hold dear and know to be true. I keep a copy of it in my classroom and often pick it up to warn my students that the best lies are rooted in truth.
It's tempting isn't it? Leave the hypocritical, instutional church behind and simply follow Jesus. Ahhh, just me and Jesus.... Here's the rub: You can't separate love of God from love of people. (Yes, even the imperfect, hypocritical ones.) The enemy of all that is good knows this, and wants nothing more than to separate the sheep from the flock. How better to attack them? If you want to put a fire out you separate the coals. Enemy's objective: Forget church.
The fact remains that we ARE the church, and that as God's family we are called to "gather together." The scripture word for it is "ekklesia" - an assembly. We are not alone on the road following Jesus! Ridiculous. To forget the church is to forget who we are. And even if we manage to "forget church," we can be assured Jesus never will. It is his bride and he will return for her and make her "spotless".
So as a visual reminder that we are church my 8th grade class created a church out of "living stones." We looked to those who have traveled the road before us and we created an image of church from their examples. It turned out great!
I got this next idea from a bumper sticker that said, "Don't go to church, be church." So close, yet so far... With a slight modification it reads right:
One of the most commonly used tools of the enemy is the "false dichotomy" (for example: you can EITHER: have the baby and be poor and miserable, OR: abort the baby and all of your problems will be gone). Anytime I hear something boiled down to two alternatives that I must choose between, a red flag is raised for me. I belong to an abundant God. I reject an either/or existence in favor of embracing a life of both/and. In the words of St. Therese of Liseux "I choose all."
We need both: to go to church AND to be church.
The church is the bride of Christ and he loves her like His own body. She is divine in that He is her head and she is human in that we are His body. He has promised to return for her in the fullness of time and we need to share the message with others that without "U," the body is incomplete.
- Practice balance. All things in moderation. Even sunshine burns if you get too much.
- Look out for the false dichotomy. It's everywhere, it's everywhere!
- Go to church
- BE church.