You may or may not know that I am a huge Aaron Sorkin fan. "What Kind of Day Has it Been" has now been the title of the end of season one of all three of his TV shows: Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
It also seems like a fitting title to the end of my "seminary season" and the start of my "pastor season." I start internship on Sunday, and have been bouncing back and forth between Chicago and Rockford this past week, moving things in, getting set up, and trying to fit in as much Matt time as possible before I am living full-time in Rockford (starting...tomorrow).
I'm back in Chicago tonight because I am singing at a funeral tomorrow morning, and a few of Matt's college friends who are passing through the area are staying with us tonight. They're in the living room, watching a movie. I started feeling a little cramped (our apartment is sort of small for five people to sit comfortably in front of the TV) and a little lonely, ironically. So I'm flopped on the bed here with a cat sleeping next to me who is clingy and definitely knows that something's been up this past week (though she has no idea that she's moving to Iowa).
I spent last night at the Rockford apartment by myself. I did well alone, at least for that one night, which gives me hope that being apart from Matt this time round will be better than my stint in Princeton, especially second semester middler year (the first semester we were married). I spent a comfortable evening knitting and flipping channels, and around 11, I even walked the half-block to the grocery store to buy some much-needed ice cream for the freezer (and my tummy!).
This morning, I went over to church, spent some time sorting out initial details with Pastor Hoffman and beginning the process of settling myself in this new position. I got my plethora of keys (but they're color-coded, so there's hope), met a number of people who were volunteering with VBS this week, and then went to lunch with Pastor Hoffman. We had some good conversation about all sorts of things related to church and church work and the nature of pastoral ministry. Trinity is going to be a very good place for me. I'm definitely getting excited about starting. Being away from Matt is still quite less-than-optimal, but at least we're making the sacrifice for a worthwhile internship experience.
I went back to to the apartment (it's great...I'll take some pictures this week to share), bummed around, took a nap, and then left for Chicago late afternoon/early evening.
The drive was quick until I reached city limits, and then it took me upwards of an hour to get from my exit off the expressway back to the apartment and to find a parking spot. In the midst of looking for a parking spot, I went to turn around in a driveway, pulled out of it very poorly, and dropped my front right wheel over the curb instead of rolling it nicely down the gentle slope of the driveway. The underside of my car made a very sad noise as it hit the curb, and it didn't take me more than 30 seconds of driving to realize that I broke my car. I'm not kidding. I think that whatever I hit under the car near the wheel affected the front-wheel drive capabilities of my car on the right side. That is to say, when I hit the gas pedal to accelerate from a stop, my car doesn't go anywhere unless the left wheel catches.
This makes me seriously sad.
My parents are coming out in the morning to take a look and help me get it to somewhere to get it fixed, so it will be all right, though I have to say that I feel some enormous guilt toward my car, as if it were something that could feel emotional pain...
As the night has progressed, I have gotten past some of the initial bad feelings about my car, but a new set of strange feelings has sprouted up in their place.
I'm here at what I consider to be home, but don't feel home at all. Perhaps some of it is the knowledge that all of my important things are living in Rockford. Perhaps some of it is the slightly-too-empty kitchen and the bare look of the bedroom now that some of their contents are living in Rockford. Some of it is the homeless feeling you get when you haven't stayed put for a while and when you are craving just being somewhere (no matter where!) for more than a day or two. This will obviously be solved when I go back to Rockford tomorrow and stay there for more than a night.
I can't say for sure that I'd rather be in Rockford than here right now, or that Rockford feels more like home than this apartment that I've lived in for almost a year, where my husband and my cat are. But last night proved to me that I can create a home and create a routine in that new place. I think that I'm getting weary of a series of "last nights" here in Chicago. The night before I started the move last weekend felt like the last night at home before leaving for college - the combination of anticipation and grief. Thursday night felt like that last night all over again - the night before I went up to Rockford with the last round of stuff, and the night before I went to Rockford alone overnight. Tonight again feels like that last night, except that while this is the real last night here in Chicago before my life picks up again in Rockford, I'm so tired of the "last nights" that I don't have any emotional energy to devote to this one. It's like when you're beginning the process of leaving a party, for example, and you say goodbye to somebody, and then get caught up with this that and the other, and twenty minutes later, you're really on your way out and run into that person to whom you've already said goodbye. You feel like you need to say goodbye again, to let them know it's for real this time, but it's a bit awkward, because you did the actual goodbye earlier...you know what I'm talking about.
Part of me feels like I don't live here anymore, as if I - like Matt's friends - am just visiting, just passing through for the night. As if this apartment is Matt's, and not ours. And I think I'm all right with that sentiment so long as I'm in Rockford, where I have a place that feels like mine and where I'm about to be part of a community and where I'm about to build a life (if only for a year). But here in this apartment in Chicago, where no one but me knows that the kitchen cabinets are half-empty and that my dresser drawers are nearly empty, I feel as if I don't belong. I'm missing that sense of home that I am always seeking (one of the themes of this blog), and so I'm feeling sort of empty.
So in answer to the question posed by the title of this post, it's been a deflating sort of day. The good part of this deflated feeling is that it means that I'm already having a positive enough experience in Rockford that I'm ready to be there and do this whole internship. The lousy part of this deflated feeling is that Chicago is in my blood, and there's no reason it shouldn't always feel like home, and it's troubling that I can't feel that sense of home right now. (And that I broke my car. Boo.)
But in another hour, I'll get to curl up in bed with the man I love, and debrief my day with him, and know that when I drive out to Rockford tomorrow, he'll be with me. In an hour, I'll get to leave behind all of these emotions for a night of sleep in a bed that definitely still feels like my bed, and to wake up in the morning in a guaranteed better mood. Sleep cures many ills, my friends...