By Pastor Paula Burchill
A couple of years ago, the night before school started, my daughter told me she was really nervousited. When I looked at her quizzically, she said, “You know, I’m nervous and excited at the same time.” And I thought—that girl is a genius. Ha!!! Actually, I thought she captured well how often our feelings and even our behaviors are more than one thing at the same time. And one word can’t really capture that, so you might have to make up a new word.
I can imagine that as Pastor Bill got on the plane for Israel to begin his sabbatical, he was nervousited. As I started working full-time this week, I have felt nervousited. As our congregation sent Pastor Bill out into the world and as we eagerly anticipate what he will learn and experience and bring back to the congregation this fall, many of us are nervousited. We might also be sappy [sad for us missing him and happy for him and his family], or even a little gladous [glad + jealous].
Part of the brilliance of Luther was the way he used dichotomy to describe what it means to be a human. We are both saint and sinner. We mess up all the time, and yet at the same time, God uses us to get his work done in this world, and we are his beloved children.
Death and resurrection is a part of life, as well. You can’t have one without the other. And we experience little deaths all the time–the death of a relationship or of a job. But we worship a God whose favorite thing is to give us new life, and usually it happens in ways we least expect it. The loss of a job leads to finding one that was unexpected. Losing a loved one causes us to take a path we might not have otherwise. But the thing is, you can’t really see that there is new life being made while you are in the midst of death. You see it in hindsight. But you cling to the promise that it will and does happen. That is basically what hope means.
Many years ago, a wise and brilliant friend was getting married who really loved being single. He was in a rock band and loved to hang out for hours with friends. So I asked if he was sad at all about getting married. He told me, “Of course. And I totally believe that is ok, and I’m just letting myself be sad about it.” It didn’t mean he wasn’t excited to get married. He just knew that these dichotomies are a part of life and that we should stop pretending that we don’t live in the midst of them. He and his wife have been married over 20 years!
My daughter and I were at a class for pre-teens and puberty and feelings came up a lot. The girls were told how important it is to know what you are feeling so you can deal with it. That is vital for all of us. So whatever you are feeling, feel it. Don’t try to fix it. Go through it. We all can do this because we have a God who walks with us. Carrying us if we need to be carried, nudging us if we need to be nudged, and staying beside us if we just need a partner. In our joys and sorrows, our loves and our losses, when we are sappy, gladous or nervousited–there is nowhere God is not.