The terminal was dead just 30 minutes ago.
The aroma of overpriced bagel sandwiches from the only place open at this hour was drawing in red-eyed travelers looking for some much needed early-hour calories. The burnt coffee smell wafting in the air made me think of that line from another one of my all-time favorite movie “Up In The Air”.
Everything in an airport is meant to be faux-my or aka fake-homey. Everything from the lighting to the bad food is meant to be cheap and manufactured reminders that we’re home. But just like the character, Ryan, from the aforementioned movie, I find myself comforted in these reminders. This is where I feel most at home.
And that’s what’s hitting me.
This is my first time traveling solo.
Always I was with family, or friends, or pastors, or my favorite – the youth.
The airport environment was always a subtle reminder that I need to be on top of my game or else I might lose a student or a family member. The constant but necessary bathroom breaks, always hunting for food or for good seating.It was always in my best interest to be alert.
And now I’m alert but just here.
Sitting here typing, sitting here writing, music on, looking for something to download on Netflix before the flight. (The Good Place Season 3 binge let’s get it)
And so I think this would be a good place to start organizing and processing something that I’ve been dealing with for almost 5 months.
Back at the end of March of 2019, we had a staff meeting regarding the future of the education department. We know how we got here. I was here for all of the decisions and the determinations and we deliberated as best we could because we learned the hard way that even time is a limited resource. The obvious lessons always come by the hardest.
By April we were set. Painful conversation followed after another but we finally had a plan in place.
Four years was all it took. Right when I laid a lot of myself down before the Lord.
But something happened.
It was, what turned out to be my last Easter Retreat and it was then and there that I was in the middle of my first time serving communion. We started the procession and everyone was partaking in the Lord’s Supper when I felt something that I never felt before in ministry.
I felt so alone.
At first I thought it was the emotional tug of everything being my last.
Thinking of my last retreat, my last time doing retreat ministry, my last communion, my last youth sermon, etc, etc.
But I just felt… bleh
It was later on after the retreat when I was writing the report and it hit me again.
Usually I would get these pangs of loneliness and it would hit me hard but I would be so busy with whatever I have going on so I can go about my day ignoring those moments and getting along with my work and pushing forward from one agenda to another.
The checklist lifestyle is my bread and butter but the emotional calories might just not be worth it in the end.
I found myself right there once again.
There it was, loneliness rearing its ugly head again but this time I had no more work to fall back on.
This time I didn’t have an agenda to hide behind.
I think deep down a part of me knew – it was time.
And as you would expect from a bold little boy like me, I held my ground faced the familiar slaps of loneliness and it hit me where it hurts.
And holy-hell did it hurt.
I never realized just how lonely ministry could be.
I didn’t know just how lonely I would be.
And what hit me the most was the guilt that came with the cathartic revelation that for eight years I did nothing about it. I was, in the strictest sense with regards to my raw emotions, utterly and devastatingly lonely.
And I’m not sure what’s left now.
[stopped writing there, felt wrong to continue this post after the fact.]