"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)



3:15. In the morning.

That's when I got home last night. Er, this morning. What I am learning now is that I am entirely too old for 3:15 in the morning. Especially after a week full of 14-hour days, 6 lectures, and not nearly enough sleep.

Here's what's been going on, and how it somehow ended up at 3:15 this morning. I'm teaching four sections, which even with having the lectures already written, still always takes time. I needed to finish part of a dissertation chapter that has been hanging over my head for two months and has taken a lot of struggle to write. And the Current retreat was going on, with the theme of social justice. Friends were in town, it was at my church, and I wanted to be part of it. But going to Current meant very long days and not much sleep, trying to get it all done.

It was worth it. I sat in the sanctuary on Thursday night and tried to think of the last time I'd gone to a retreat not as a sponsor or as someone in charge, but as just me. And I still can't remember. It must have been in college.

Not that I don't always benefit from going to a retreat with the youth; I do. But it's harder to spend the whole time contemplating faith and life when you do have to make sure that everyone is out of bed and where they're supposed to be.

So this was a rest. Of sorts. Except that I had to keep working.

The retreat itself was really good. I attended a great session by my friend Dr. O on "A Christian Response to Terrorism" (hint: a military response just isn't enough), and another on how the church should respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis at home and abroad. Suzii gave a fantastic sermon on God's generous provision. I got to hang out with Dr. O and with Preacher J and P, who came down for the weekend. And I met lots of new friends, all of whom are young ministers working in their churches and communities to make a difference. It was fun, thought-provoking, and renewing. It will help me continue to struggle with issues of justice and mercy. It was what I needed. A retreat.

And I finished that dissertation chapter, and am taking the weekend off. Several of us went to Ginny's to see Dale Watson play and go two-stepping late last night, and on to Kerbey Lane to talk and laugh until all hours. Hence 3:15. I'm headed to 23's in a second so we can go to the basketball game, then meeting a friend to see The Last King of Scotland. My sister is coming down, and G's having the Best Theme Party Ever tonight. The Chaplainette will be ordained tomorrow, and it will be a beautiful time of blessing. It's nice to have some time to relax.

But 3:15 is pushing it.


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