Thursday, July 27, 2017


Today was my ordination anniversary. It's a strange holiday that few in a pastor's life know how to celebrate, or if to celebrate at all.

Congratulations on your mystical promises!
Happy covenanting.
Proud of your weird call.
No one rocks a stole like you do.

I'm not sure what the right greeting card would say. Which reminds me that this vocation often implies solitude. We are set apart for something and it doesn't always make sense. And so I usually mark the occasion by taking myself out to a nice lunch or disappearing for some self-care at the salon or the gym.

This is the third year I have shared my anniversary with Solveig and Tove's baptism birthday. It's almost too cute, these vocations of pastor and mother mingling on the calendar. In real life, it's kind of a shit show. A real collision of sorts.

Yesterday we returned home from a state park family vacation where my motherhood cup had runneth over. I was itching to get back to work and a schedule, but realized I'd dropped the childcare ball would need to bring them all to church with me in the afternoon.

I was the best dressed mom in Walgreens while I let them pick out Lunchables, complete with the candy and Capri Sun. (The Cadillac of Lunchables.) I bought a green tea and a family sized bag of Kettle Corn for myself, which turned out to be the best decision I made all day.

My office is without furniture this month while we live between fresh paint and new carpet, but I imagined the open floor plan would work well for this chaos. Despite piles of snacks, markers, sticker books, and Pandora, I could not keep the squirrels from pummeling each other or sticking crackers in my face while I tried to write.

I lectured, I bribed, I laughed, I yelled, and I held them apart to no avail. Two hours, three Lunchables, half a bag of popcorn, four bathroom breaks, three bandaids, and five emails later, I called it quits. We packed up and started heading home.

I am a pretty good pastor. And I am a pretty good mom. But I am a terrible at both when I try to do them all at once. We stopped at Dairy Queen because ice cream helps and because I wanted to sit in the sun for a minute. We sang Happy Baptism Birthday to Solveig and Tove while ice cream leaked out beneath the hot fudge coating on to their hands and laps. They waved at cars parking and asked to pet dogs and giggled trying to balance on the cracks in the sidewalk. Everything was, "Mama, watch this!" And none of it was amazing. It was just plain old sticky life.

Congratulations on your sticky face!
Happy strange promise from heaven day.
Proud of you goofballs.
No one slow plays a kiddie cone on a hot day like you guys.

I was far away, watching strangers enjoying their antics when Jasper called me back. "Hey, Mom. We need to sing to you, too. What is your anniversary called again?" And then they sang Happy Pastor-versary at the top of their lungs while our bottoms stuck to the hot red bench and the parking lot buzzed with people passing by our mess. My worlds were colliding in all the hard ways and all the best ways, too. That bouquet of sticky napkins in my lap proved that it was real and it was mine.