Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Today is a good day to remember how to take a deep breath. It helps you keep from getting overwhelmed, it helps you deal with change, it helps you show grace to others.

I have a giant to-do list for this week. With the office closed yesterday, and with Friday as my weekly day off, I have a three-day week. Which sounds nice enough, I know, but it turns out that I have enough to work on this week that three days is not nearly enough! Or so it feels. Must remember to take a deep breath - no sense in getting overwhelmed.

This weekend kicks off the Sunday school year, the program year (children's/youth programming, choir rehearsals, meetings and events, etc.), and our new worship schedule. While worship times might not seem like a big deal, changing them causes plenty of anxiety. I'll be glad when this weekend is over. I think that everyone - congregation AND staff - will breathe a sigh of relief no matter what happens this weekend. There's just something about getting through the first week that helps everyone take a deep breath and deal with the change.

Speaking of people not taking a deep breath and thinking rationally, have I mentioned how angry I am about all the folks who absolutely will not allow their children to be addressed by the president, simply because they disagree with his politics or because they are irrationally fearful of what he'll say? Never mind that the text of the speech was released in advance. Never mind that other presidents have done this. Never mind that it is a civil, decent thing to respect your president, no matter what party he is and no matter what party you are.

I get frustrated when adults stop acting like adults, and when decent human beings stop acting like decent human beings. I get frustrated when there is no grace.

And it's times like this when I remember exactly why I feel called to the ministry...I can do my part to try to preach and teach grace, patience, and love in the midst of a world that isn't always so great at exhibiting any of those qualities. So, I suppose, preaching and teaching about God's grace is, in a sense, preaching a message of "deep breaths" with the hope that at least a few people will keep deep-breathing in their daily lives, being faith-formed examples of grace, patience, and love out in the world.

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