this must be what it is to be a religious leader in the 21st century: to be dog tired. I began my day at 8 with driving from the rim into the hub to lead services and preach a new sermon at the uu fellowship where I'm interning. my wife and mother-in-law were guests there today too. it went very well, I think, and I was told by several people that my sermon was dense with information and left people thinking. my topic was feeling fear and acting anyway and last night I blogged a bit about the takeaway I wanted people to get from it.
after service and an hour or so of schmoozing I left for new richmond, which is also on the rim and is where my wife's family lives. one of my nephews has joined the marines and leaves soon for basic training and we had a party to wish him well. all my wife's siblings were there and their families and many of my nephew's friends and we had a good time trying to forget that he is placing himself in the way of harm soon.
then I left there and drove another 45 minutes east to menomonie where the family of friends was holding another get-together to say goodbye to the child they had adopted for a short while. the birth mother, who had initially given up her rights to him, changed her mind about a year ago and halted the procedure. the judge determined that he benefitted from continuing to see his adoptive family until the case was complete, and the decision came down this month that his birth mother will have sole custody. this was a chance for everyone in that extended family to say goodbye to him, and while it's true he's still a tyke less than 3 years old who doesn't speak, it was, like a memorial, more for the people he leaves behind than for him. one of my friends who had been his grandmother wrote a short ceremony in which we all took part, surrounding him as he played in a circle and while she read a list of things he would do without them--learning to use the potty himself, losing teeth, getting a job--we intoned "we will be with you in spirit." it was very affecting. and while I don't "get" the whole child thing, my friends do, and that is enough for me.
I got home after 7, exhausted and in my jammies in minutes. my wife put it all in perspective, however, by saying, "everything you did today was important. not everyone can say that." and I do feel I've done the right things today. yes, it was a good day.