Well, this is fun. I have been nauseated for about six days, and have been subsisting on liquids, saltine crackers, and a little soup. At first I thought I must have caught some sort of stomach bug; after six days I've had to admit to myself that I'm not physically sick - or rather, that the source of this is not physical. Apparently my anxiety level is so high that it is taking out my digestive system. I've lost five pounds. I've decided to market this as the Anxiety Diet and make a killing (which will relieve one of the areas of stress in my life: finances). I have plenty of problems to hand out for anyone lacking their own.
None of it is really all that interesting, especially since details must be withheld to protect the innocent (and sometimes the guilty). My family is having all manner of problems back in Minnesota and there isn't a darned thing I can do about any of it. I, who do not generally fight with my friends, had major fallings out with two friends this week, one of which will probably not be reparable. Someone I barely know is making random malicious comments about me to God only knows how many people. There is a situation with one of my supervisees that I have absolutely no idea how to handle, and I've managed to in turn tick off my senior pastor by not doing enough or not doing what he thinks I should do or something, and by disappearing into thin air on Friday without telling anyone, which he hates. In my defense, I was busy doing my taxes and trying not to vomit up my life, but I knew I should call, and I didn't, and now I feel guilt about that, and anxiety about my meeting with him later today, at which he will surely have something to say about all of this. Taxes this year are...ugh, let's not even go there. I've somehow managed to get myself into a rather complicated non-relationship that is driving me a little batty.
Speaking of which, I am finding myself wanting to sit down all the single seminarians I can get hold of and tell them that they may be about to get into an absolute mess. This single clergy business is no joke. Meeting people in the first place is difficult, but I think that's true for most single people. Getting past the initial "You do what for a living?" conversation and all the assumptions that go along with it is, well, necessary but annoying. How many times, really, do I need to be asked if I only work one day a week, or if I'm required to be celibate? Then you have the actual attempting to date phase. Dating someone with a "real job," with regular, normal working hours of the 9-5 sort, is nearly impossible, because I do not have regular, normal working hours. Oh, you wanted to go to dinner? Well, I can squeeze that in at 4pm between meetings or at 10pm afterward...what, you need to sleep or something? Saturday date night? Sorry, I'm confined to my apartment for sermon completion. This just doesn't really work. So then there are the people with unusual working hours, which for me usually means restaurant/bar/musician people whose lives happen primarily at night. That works fairly well for my natural sleeping preferences, but not so well when I have to work in the morning, even though I don't work quite as early as the 9-5 people. Night people also have a tendency toward, how shall I say this...a different moral compass than might be expected of, say, clergy. Complicated Non-Relationship has led to some irresponsibility on my part lately - which has led to more anxiety about the things I've missed, about my own irresponsibility in general, and about the possibility that I may be incompetent.
Yes, I realize it's kind of a leap from being late for a meeting to being completely incapable of doing my job, but this is how my mind works when everything is going wrong. It's not just an off week at work, it's a question of my whole vocational aptitude. It's not just one complicated guy situation, it's my entire ability to begin and sustain relationships. It's not just a bit of financial ickiness, it's an abyss of idiocy out of which I may never be able to climb.
In addition to all of this, it's Holy Week. Appropriately, I'm in charge of the Maundy Thursday Tenebrae service. I really do not at all want to write a sermon this week. At all. But if I am going to write a sermon, I guess it's fitting that I'm writing a sermon about darkness, anxiety, and loss. This is what keeps me from wallowing for too long, I suppose: the necessity of looking at my own problems within the wider perspective of the human condition, of delving for the holy in what looks like a steaming pile of crap, of remembering that I'm not the only one walking around, looking fairly normal, but oozing inside with pain and stress and need.
So, here's a poem for your reading enjoyment, on the normalcy of suffering. Cheery, right?