The coffee is my sidekick as I devote my day to finishing this sermon. Who would've thought that proclaiming the good news could be so labor-intensive? I'm hoping that the coffee will focus my thoughts - thoughts that have been anything but focused thus far today.
It was a stream-of-consciousness morning. (I wonder how many blog posts in a row I can use the term "stream-of-consciousness"...) I woke up thinking about the tasks I need to accomplish today, and recalling a dream that had included all of those tasks. Apparently the "worrying" part of my brain and the "dreaming" part of my brain communicate on a regular basis.
As I was driving the 7 minutes it takes me to get to church, I appreciated the blue-sky, sunny day around me, and began to think about summer. For some reason, this resulted in my taking a nostalgic journey into collected memories of past summers. More specifically, the two week road trip vacations my family would take every summer. I thought about my sisters and about how we would amuse ourselves during eight-hour car rides by drawing and singing, playing the license plate game, wondering why my parents listened to NPR all the time and why All Things Considered seemed to be the only program that was ever on, eating crackers and sandwiches and hard boiled eggs long before it should have been lunch time on our first day of driving. The last one we took was early in my high school career, and I remember being a teenager on those drives - holing up in the back seat with my headphones and my journal, sleeping often, feeling disconnected from my friends for the first day of driving and then loving being away on vacation for the rest of the trip.
I didn't think too much this morning about our destinations (New England, Washington D.C., Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the Badlands), but I sorely craved another vacation like that. I thought about how families don't really start up the full-family vacations again until all the kids are reasonably settled, perhaps with kids, and the vacation becomes a way for the parents to reunite the pieces of the family. I've been on a few of these vacations with Matt's family - his grandmother wanting to bring all her kids together for a vacation, along with grandchildren, significant others, and spouses. Do I have to wait until then to go on a family vacation again? Or do I have to wait until Matt and I have kids and we take our own family vacations? I thought about how to start planting the idea for next fall or next summer, to load up the van and drive somewhere as a family and love the journey as much as the destination.
At church, my random thoughts moved on to think about music, and how I am playing flute with our jazzy worship combo this Sunday. I'm not a jazz flutist like Jacques, the usual flute-player with the combo, but I've done a fair amount of generic harmonizing and improvising. It occurred to me that, from a musical standpoint, playing in such a freeform way required me to actually think in harmony. And then I got caught up in the poetic nature of that phrase: think in harmony. And it made me want to write a poem with that as its title.
This is about when I decided that I needed coffee, and I needed the distraction of actually making the coffee to snap me back into a productive mindset. Or if not productive, at least a place where my mind wandered over the Gospel text for Sunday. I'm on my first cup of coffee, and I'm not yet convinced that it's working.
Hopefully by the bottom of the pot I'll have found inspiration alongside the dregs.