Valentine’s All-nighter for a different kind of love

Well, I’m recovering from an all-nighter Saturday night.  Nope, not havin’ a “love hangover” as my friend Lisa calls it.  No, I spent Valentines night writing Sunday morning’s sermon.  Yep.  I said that right.  I stayed up all night (though I slept on the couch in 20 to 60 minute stretches, then wrote in similar stretches).  I was very nervous for a lot of reasons:

  •  First, my mouth was drier than usual due to a cold. 
  •  Second, it was an emotional service for me and I feared being unable to get through it. 
  • Third, though I’d thought it through all week long, and felt I had a pretty good frame for it, i was just too blurry to feel that what I was saying was coming through. 
  • And, finally, we’ve been seeing an uptick in visitors lately–especially in young adult visitors (anybody else notice that in your congregation since the election in November?), and I wanted this to be a quality experience for them and not seem like something that was slopped together just that morning (even though, that is, frankly, what happened.

The results: 

  • My mouth was dry; I drank lots of water.
  • I didn’t cry, though I choked up on occasion and took the opportunity to drink a sip of water
  • People were grateful that I reframed an issue for them. (The sermon title was: The Would-Be President, part book-review of Thurston Clarke’s book, The Last Campaign, and part reflection of how Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign and the ‘phantom-presidency’ affected our nation, and provided me with a new understanding of my own family dynamic–seeing that time of our life now from the eyes of history, rather than the eyes of a six year old.)
  • It was interesting. I stood to receive people afterward and the older people who lived through the time were thankful that I reminded them of the campaign.  One of the young women who has been bringing her family (I HAVE to write about Ezra and Aidan at some point–please remind me to), hugged me tightly with tears in her eyes.  A couple who just attended for the first time and appeared to be in their late 20s early 30s, came through and introduced themsevles and seemed very uplifted by the “experience” of our worship service.  Phew!  Seems to have been a success.

Because I’d had little sleep and even less coffee/food, I wasn’t as awake as I’d like to have been during coffee hour.  But my spies were out.  My husband said as he walked around he heard a lot of different conversations specifically about the service–people making their own RFK reflections and confessions.  So, the effort seemed to have been worth it. 

I really do enjoy doing worship services at our congregation–for selfish reasons, such as being forced to process my own thoughts and the great response and love I then receive from my community when I do.  I suppose because it does matter to me–THEY matter to me.  I don’t often reflect on that.  The all-nighter just was a force of several events–the life of a full-time working mom with three children, a husband, and another time-consuming task at church (co-chair of a DRE-less RE program).

I count success in the number of hugs I got in that line.  Worth an all-nighter?  You betcha.


About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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