Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, and Exhaustion and Stress, Oh My!

I want to convey somehow just how exhausted and stressed I am.  Why?  So you can pray for me I guess.  So I can just vent for a few minutes.  So I can give all 7 of my regular readers a glimpse of the glamorous life of an overseas missionary/American Ex-Pat.

It seems like I've been going hard at least since April.  I traveled like crazy that month!  In May I hosted a World Race Team and they were great and really didn't require much from me; still, you feel responsible for your kids, right?

In June I went to America for 2 weeks.  That was a whirlwind trip- not exactly restful.  Upon returning with a month-long volunteer in tow we hit the ground running working at 2 Summer Camps.  By Summer Camp, I mean camping in tents and using outhouses.  It was rainy and cold the first camp.  It was hot and cold the 2nd camp.  Between camps it seems like I was involved in a higher number of social events than usual.  Social events drain the life out of me.  I really do like cooking and hosting friends...but it's work!

I escorted Tonya (our volunteer) back to Budapest and then returned to Ukraine for yet another camp- this one hotter than the first two and I taught classes every day.  Oh yeah, I spent the week before trying to prepare for teaching.

A few days after that Camp I returned to Budapest to retrieve another volunteer. A few days later I coached and preached at a church that takes all day to get to via a HOT, uncomfortable train and an even hotter, more uncomfortable bus.

Have I mentioned yet that I started the process for the renewal of my VISA back in April and it's still going on.  It could be resolved finally in the morning...but then again, it might drag on.  If the process isn't finished in 10 days then I'll be in some sort of violation probably resulting in a fine but possibly resulting in being deported (although no one knows of anyone that has happened to).  Still, it's stressful.  This should have been completed MONTHS ago!

I'm going to Germany at the end of next week for a conference.  I originally envisioned it being a retreat.  Since then I've learned it might be a rather serious conference where I'm expected to attend the sessions.  Actually, I brought some of that on myself - for some reason I volunteered to serve in the worship band when I registered several months ago so now I'm stressed about learning a dozen or more new songs and being prepared to play the guitar and maybe sing twice a day at the conference.  After the conference, I'll meet my friend who is currently volunteering with us back in Budapest and make sure she gets safely back on her return flight home.

And dude, I am tired.  I am wiped out.  September should slow down except that our church's worship leader will be gone that month and our worship band will probably be leading every week.

I've actually thought of moving to Kiev for the Fall and taking up formal language lessons again but right now it's just an idea and something else to stress over.

Some of you may have read on Facebook that I received an invitation/acceptance letter to be a volunteer at the Olympics.  The initial excitement was tempered quickly by the fact that there's about 500 pages of Russian background material to read and some tests to take.  I really didn't have time to stress too much about that though because the next day (yesterday) I got an email informing me that the acceptance letter was a technical error and they'd let me know later if I am accepted or not.  I'm not sure which is more stressful- knowing I'm going and knowing how much I have to do to prepare, or not knowing at all if I'm going.

So I'm tired and stressed and you can probably guess that prayer and meditation and resting in the Lord hasn't been my mainstay for most of the summer.  Funny how that happens isn't it?  You're busy doing good stuff that you know requires a lot of spiritual preparation, a lot of knee-time...but you're so busy you don't have time to prepare (I know, I's really more about me not making the time).  In fact it feels like all of time is completely in everyone else's hands- like you (I) have no control at all over what I want to do or need to do.  I know I need Sabbath, I know I need rest, I know I need to pray and just be with and seek God.  I want to take the evening off- nope, I'm needed at a meeting.  I want to go hold babies- nope, there might (or might not) be a meeting about the VISA.  I want to take a couple days off and just sleep late and do brainless stuff and eventually get around to some long-needed prayer time.  Nope, stuff is going on that requires that I be "on" and engaged.  And all that is just exhausting and stressful.

And on top of all that, when I go back and re-read this little post I feel like a whiny baby because I know people right now that are experiencing real stress: A friend is having brain surgery any time now.  A friend is signing divorce papers.  A friend is learning to cope with a severely handicapped child.  That makes me feel like a punk because I'm not getting enough "Me Time".  And that's stressful, too.

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