June is something of a whirlwind for me. For years now, June has included Music-n-More camp, Youth Music Mission, and Vacation Bible School in succession. This year they occurred in precisely that order, leaving me this week to get everything straightened out before I step out for a few weeks.
As I was cleaning up yesterday, I realized just how much of a mess I've made around here. I took some laundry home from my office, which included the swimsuit I was wearing when I received the ice water last Sunday, but it also included a couple of large napkins I used in a love feast...back on Super Bowl weekend.
It turns out that was fairly typical of the mess. On the surface it was created in the last three weeks, but when you clean that up you then find more mess that was generated longer ago. I'm fairly certain if I keep cleaning up I'll find something I used for some program back in 2008. I probably won't remember what it was used for or why I kept it except that it seemed very important at the time.
I can't stand clutter. It makes me anxious. Put me in front of 200 screaming kids, and I'll make them scream even louder. Stick me on a bus with 45 youth and I'll enjoy the ride. But fill the floor of my office with lost in found clothing from said 45 youth, a speaker that needs to be installed for CAYA, a TV monitor that we retired from the sanctuary, roller skates, and a nerf gun (all of which are actually currently on my office floor), and I start to get the heebie jeebies.
That's why I really like this week...this opportunity to sort through it all and put it where it goes. I really want to get it all put away properly so that when I return from the diaspora I start with a clean slate, ready to begin a new year after my sabbath rest.
When I'm cooking I'm a clean-as-you-go kind of cook. I usually rinse items after use and put them in the washer so there's less to clean up after the meal. I've sometimes wondered why I can't make that happen in the office. If I would have kept things picked up as I went along, this week would be a lot easier!
It's because ministry is just...messy. Can't clean up because as soon as you finish one thing you're on to the next, and it seems like all those moments when you'd normally pick up and put away get filled up by someone walking in to the office (and as it turns out, I'm actually here for them, not to make sure this monitor is put away). So the monitor sits and sits. Until one week, near the end of June, I find a few days to sort it all out.
Ministry is messy. At least it is for me. Because ministry is working with the lives of people, and the lives of people are messy. But I think that's exactly what Jesus had in mind, so I'll take it. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go put away some ping pong paddles.