clergy anxiety dreamThere are advantages to being un(der)employed.
I used to regularly have clergy anxiety dreams--you know, showing up without a sermon, madcap liturgical hijinks, preaching naked, etc.
I only have them off and on these days but this one this morning was a classic:
Somewhere I segued from some idyllic camp setting to a church I didn't know, but suddenly was in the new priest in charge (a large Gothic structure). Although I recognized people in the crowd from the Diocese of Missouri, I really didn't know anybody in the nave. The chancel party, of course, included the Canon to the Ordinary of MO and George, the former Interim Rector at Alton, who is a wise and savvy priest. Apparently I had nothing to do with the Liturgy of the Word, but was to preside at the table. So I'm struggling to get a chasuble on but in the process fall down hard on my butt. George offers me his green chasuble (I was trying to get a white one on). There's a thurifer roaming around but I can't get a clear answer as to whether the altar has already been censed. I get to the altar and it's a small rectangular shape, and covered with stuff. There are two vested chalices, stacked on top of each other, and piles of altar books, some like small personal prayer books, and others like missals with pages of writing, none of which look like any other altar book I've ever seen. I ask the Canon what Eucharistic Prayer we're using and he whispers back "A." Ok, great. I can do this. So I blithely announce, "Eucharistic Prayer A begins on page..." but then I can't remember what page in the prayer book it's on, and I'm flipping madly through all of these books, and they're all numbered differently, and none of them have the BCP page numbers in them. (At some point I get a look at the host and they're covered with chocolate frosting, which should have been a clue that this is a dream). I'm paralyzed and I can't say a word, can't choke out, "The Lord be with you," and everybody is waiting on me and suddenly someone in the crowd pipes up with a fraction anthem (out of Enriching our Worship, no less) and everyone comes forward for communion. At which point the Canon hustles me to some crypt/side chapel to say "that was yucky" (a direct quote) but I can't tell if he's angry or laughing. And I say, "I'll get my altar book up with the right page numbers" as if that will solve the whole problem.
Thank God I woke up before someone started passing out unconsecrated chocolate covered wafers.
I'm sure this dream is pretty easy to diagnose, that I've got some anxieties about starting over in a new diocese, in an as yet undisclosed location (undisclosed by God, who is being pretty closemouthed these days). And that I won't know what to do and the congregation will run right over me and we'll end up in a mess.
Certainly much more entertaining way of expressing these anxieties, anyway, and I woke up in a good mood and to the light snowfall which has blanketed St. Louis overnight.
A couple of responses to comments. E suggests doing two sleeves on a sweater at one time, which I had thought of but decided not to on my first time out, as keeping track of the one ball of yarn was enough. But I may try in the future. As it was, splitting the sleeves up and doing one after the back and keeping very careful notes, worked well.
Beth says not to be sad, that my friends at Knitorious are around. Yea!