If I’m ever not blogging it’s because I’m swamped or maybe even more than I’d like to admit – I’m afraid to “voice” something. A friend of mine who I love commented on my facebook a few weeks ago when she heard about the campus ministry funding cut – something along the lines of “feeling like Job lately?”
Don’t want to go there because I’m not asking for any other challenges headed this way, but after going to Presbyterian’s Ballantyne office for the MRI yesterday I returned to Wesley to find that our air conditioner has officially passed on to the other side. When there’s an explosion and smoke and then the awesomely amazing Adams Services guy shows you wires burned in two and half the thing on the inside is black and no fans are moving – that’s not a good sign.
It’s an even worse feeling when he has to bring in the “big guns,” ie. the owner of the company to give me the bad news that it’s good and gone and they can’t rig it up any other way. The thing worked hard for us so I am thankful for that. I’m also thankful that it’s not too hot so far today and no one tell the Wesley students that there won’t be a/c tonight – we’ll make do and I want them to still come!
I couldn’t sleep for a long time last night trying to figure out where in the world we’re going to get $8,000-$11,000 for an air conditioner and even more importantly for the winter – the heat pump so that it’s not just straight up gas heat. I looked up grants and wow that us.gov sight is a monstrosity of crazy info. I know that somehow, someway we’ll come up with the money to make this happen. Somehow we always do and I know that God and the people that support this ministry are faithful.
For the past two days Mike has been recording with Tom Conlon in the worship/fellowship room at Wesley. Many have said this room’s acoustics are like magic and even without AC, the magic room came through. In walking up to the building this morning and rolling up the trash cans and recycle bins I began to ask myself why do I care about this building so much? Why do I care about this space? In the sceme of things what does it really matter? When there’s bills to pay and things to repair – what stops us from just chucking it all?
My answer is both simple and sincere. There is magic that happens here. Tears are rolling down my face just thinking about it which makes me either really sappy or beyond emotional. This is not a Harry Potter kind of magic but one that happens when community is formed and shaped and grows and changes and is found. This building is so much more than just a building to me because both as a student and as a campus minister I have witnessed the powerful things that have happened here. We have shared much laughter and some tears, we have shared in worship and I have seen someone’s call to ministry unfold at an Ash Wednesday service, we have cooked dinner as family and have hung out as friends. This is part of what the students mean when they talk about Wesley being a home away from home.
Yesterday after getting back from the MRI I talked to a student who has been coming here for 2 and a half years to use the prayer room several times a week. He’s only been to one Wesley night but he comes and uses the prayer room as often as he can. Yesterday he stopped me in the hall and said thank you for us providing this space for him and for people just to come and be.
I think about the student groups and the gospel choirs and the other campus ministries that use this place and how this building and the things that it stands for and witnesses to is greater than we know. Yes it is just a building – with windows that aren’t the greatest, an exterior paint job that needs some help, and a vacant lot that is probably one of the worst parking lots imaginable – but it is ours and it is home to both the sacred and the sacrilege – the holy and the profane – the mysterious divine and the completely human.
So we’re going to somehow make this work. Somehow. By the grace of God and a lot of prayer and hopefully some creative solutions.
Today at 1:15 pm we’ll go to the neurologist and see what’s up. Do I think a tumor has grown back? Nope. Was I very tempted to ask the MRI folks yesterday? Heck yes. Am I apprehensive? Sure.
Ann Curry tweeted this this morning – “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elizabeth Kubler Ross
The only way I see this beauty is through the eyes of the community that surrounds us. We get to the other side by the grace of God, the One who sustains us, and those that God has joined with us on this journey. As I wait and hear what’s up today and as I begin trying to figure out that ever lovely money question for air conditioners and programming and all that Wesley jazz – I am thankful for the arms that cradle each of us in both the good and the bad, the light and the dark, the joy and the loss.
I’ll leave you with a song that Tom Conlon played at Wesley a few weeks ago. Love this song. It’s called “Leaning”…
Here’s his “Sacred Things”