I worry about money. I worry about money more than I should. And I worry about money even though I know in my mind I am secure in what I have. There’s been something about the last few weeks that I have just been preoccupied with cost. Maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to move out of the dorm into a house, which will require me to pay for more gas, more groceries, and more everyday house items. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the semester and I’m counting the cost of the time I have and the work I have to get done. Maybe it’s because everyone in the world is getting married and I’m trying to figure out which weddings I can squeeze out of my wallet and my PTO to attend.
But amidst all of my recent worry about money and cost, today hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m too worried and I’m too worried about the wrong things. It’s Holy Week. So if we’re really going to break down costs that people have and are enduring, my measly list from above is nothing in comparison to let’s say Mary pouring out ridiculously expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet as preparation for his burial or, you know, Jesus’ life as cost for our own. And this all hit me today as I sat in a beautiful chapel service put on by a dear friend where she challenged us to feel the weight of what all this week means to us as those who believe. She hit the nail on the head that so many of us sitting in that chapel have already understood cost; we gave up a lot to come to this school to get this degree to do this work for this relatively small salary. We understand on some level or another that following Jesus and answering his call is costly.
As I shook my head in agreement with these beautiful and powerful statements she was making, I also had this feeling stirring in my gut and these tears welling in my eyes. I have been so obsessed with cost – whether it’s money or time or even the cost of coming out in the last year – that I’ve lost sight of what it is the cost is for. It’s been super easy to give myself break after break, acknowledging all the work I’ve been doing and how hard this semester has been and all of the craziness that’s hit like the perfect storm in the last few months. And while I give myself break after break, I’ve missed that other people around me are also sacrificing, are also worried about making ends meet, are also devastated by denominations and ordination processes and the church, are also bearing the cost of living lives in pursuit of justice. Even worse, this focus on cost has completely distracted me from who I am and whose I am.
This semester has been so hard because I am doing work that I am both passionate about and called to. This semester has been so hard because I have invested in my future. This semester has been so hard because I have taken the risk to be vulnerable for the sake of building strong, lasting relationships. This semester has been so hard because I’ve had to engage creative muscles I have never used before. These last few months have been the most trying in my life, but it has all been for the most noble of causes: to witness to and bask in the love of Jesus Christ.
So I hope you are also finding yourself wrestling with Holy Week, not jumping straight from celebration to celebration. I hope you are also being challenged and stretched and called to new and incredible things beyond your imagination. And I hope, no matter where you are and what you’re going through, that you can join me in the sun that is about to rise, declaring new life for us all, helping us to remember what this cost is truly about.