O joyful be the passing day
with thoughts as clear as morning’s ray
with faith like noontide shining bright
our souls unshadowed by the night
~O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright~
The Lenten season begins on Wednesday. Our church is in a vacancy, so my husband has picked up some extra pastoral duties, along with the other part-time pastor at our church. He’s got a lot on his plate, but so far it seems to be working out alright. I know he misses being a pastor in some ways, and this gives him more time to do what he enjoys.
I’ve also picked up teaching the high school Sunday School class. We have an average of 2-3 boys who come, one of them being mine. At first I didn’t think that I ought to be the one to volunteer. Having a teenage child in the class made me hesitant. I’m still figuring out this whole teenage mom thing. What’s throwing me off is that it hasn’t quite been like the stereotypes taught me to expect. We’re only two and a half years into this teenager journey, and only on the first child. In other words, I don’t have enough experience to speak in absolutes, but can only report what the experience has been like so far for me.
You never know when something awful is going to happen. There are easily well over five thousand and one scenarios that I could come with for how the passing days of these teenage years could go wrong, but so far I’m enjoying them, and it’s fun watching your kids start to become their own people. I have to say that teaching this class has cured me of some of the Sunday morning dread and loneliness that had become pretty routine for me at church. I’ve struggled to find “connection”, to not feel like I’m just another person going through the hour and fifteen minute Divine Service Setting Three motions. I’d taught the year before in one of the lower grade classes, but I’d been asked to do that. This is something I hesitantly, but willingly volunteered to do, and I’m enjoying it.
Over the weekend, I bought and started reading the book The Second Mountain by David Brooks. He describes life on the first mountain as the life we live trying to make something of ourselves. Going to school. Starting a family. Establishing your career. The goal of the first mountain is success and achievement. Those who get to the top of the first mountain get there only to find that there is yet another mountain beyond them, one they couldn’t see from where they were standing before. Between the two mountains are the valleys of suffering and the wildernesses of wandering and purification. The second mountain goals are very different from the first, with the biggest being that the change has shifted from accomplishment, achievement and bettering ourselves, to centering our lives around four key things: 1) a vocation, 2) spouse & family, 3) a philosophy or faith system, and 4) a community. The second mountain is not defined by goals, so much as it is defined by commitments, the richness of spending a life on others.