Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Laverne and Shirley

I have been traveling around the USA for a while now this month and some in September.  It has been fun, encouraging, frustrating, depressing, educational, challenging, and stressful.  That is to say, it has its highs and lows.

It is quite the interesting part of the job I temporarily hold, going to the US to share what God is doing in Honduras, getting to see friends, family, brothers in sisters in Christ, and hoping that the time away from home is "productive", but without a really well defined definition of what is productive.  

It is tempting to take more time off to enjoy the ambiance, it is also tempting to do even more work to lessen the load when you return.  It is hard to stay connected to home and work there when you are so far away.  Even more so when you are alone.  The beds are different, the weather is certainly different, the sun does funny things, the food tastes better, it is so much fun to see people dressed that you otherwise only get to see in scrubs or ill fitting cement covered jeans...it is an emotional roller coaster.  

I was running errands and went to the bank.  A Latina woman was at the counter and had a Latina name.  I proceed to sing a song to her, a worship song that had her name in it.  No thought, no pause, just did it.  In the middle of the bank.  I then went to the post office and someone recognized me from going to the same school I did (albeit a few years before me) and I did not recognize them, and then had a hard time putting together a decent conversation and felt weird the whole time.  She was incredibly polite, pleasant and helpful.  I was a mess.  How weird is that?  I had to have a mini chat with God in the parking lot before I was ready to leave.  

It probably seems like this is complaining.  It is still a pretty cool gig, don't get me wrong.  It is just a microcosm of the work in general.  You go, you do stuff, you pray about what you did before and after, and then you wait to see what kind of harvest it produces...physical, spiritual, emotional...just all over.  Sometimes what you think went great...not so much.  And sometimes what you leave hanging your head like Charlie Brown on a bad day...ends up being something really great.  

That can be hard to process and survive sometimes in the heat of the moment.  You have to process...but not too much that it drives you crazy.   

I was thinking about that when preparing a sermon earlier in the month.  I think it went well...again, hard to know.  But one of the items I cut from the sermon (for time!  Imagine that!) was the feeling of being a spiritual klutz sometimes.  I had recently been curious as to what the theme song from Laverne and Shirely was getting at with the line "shlemiel, shlemazl, Hasenpfeffer incorporated!"  

Come to find out (via some internet searching of course), it is kind of a play on words, and a playful description of the characters and their interaction and working together.  You see a shlemiel is kind of a klutz, and a shlemazl is someone with bad luck.  Summed up in one joint explanation..."A shlemiel is somebody who often spills his soup; a shlemazl is the guy the soup lands on" and in Hasenpfeffer incorporated, they are going into the soup business together.    

I guess I am saying on these trips sometimes I feel like a shlemiel and a shlemazl.  But ultimately it is Hasenpfeffer incorporated, and the president of the company always has a better business plan than I do.  

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to spend some time imagining what sewing a big F on all my shirts would look like.