Not All Together

Dearest Rachel –

I know that I used to rely on you a great deal back in the day to keep our calendar organized. You knew what we were doing on this day or that, and we rarely had to worry about double-booking ourselves thanks to you (of course, our relatively limited friend circle, and their own external commitments, may have assisted in that as well). This came in particularly handy during the Christmas season, when we might otherwise have a ridiculous amount of commitments here or there throughout the month of December if I said ‘yes’ to every request that came my way.

Granted, I don’t have the same strong links to our friend circle that we used to (which is sort of deliberate, as I’m aware of the change in dynamics), but there are new connections that I have to deal with these days. Why, tomorrow Daniel and I have been invited to a pair of open houses – fortunately, they’re both in the same town, and with a mere one-hour overlap, so it should be manageable. And, of course, there is the study that I’m involved with just this morning that wasn’t on my radar back in the days when we were together. So between the fact that I have to manage my own schedule and the new wrinkles thrown into it, it shouldn’t be so surprising if from time to time I don’t have things all together.

On the other hand, what happened this afternoon probably wouldn’t have been prevented, even if you were still here. After benching myself last week from working the booth over last weekend’s church services (including staying home and watching it all online – if I was too sick to come in and work, I shouldn’t be considered well enough to simply show up), I headed out this afternoon just before three for my shift today. I knew I had two weeks in a row scheduled, of which last week was one of them, so I made sure to be a little early this week, now that I’m mostly back to normal. I worked the slides through most of the evening’s scheduled music – including suggesting that the wide angle camera needed to be a little wider in order to pick up one of the singers who was positioned a little further stage left than was visible, and modifying the narration before one of the songs to differentiate between lyrics and scripture – before Michael joined me in the booth with a question I hadn’t expected to have to deal with:

“Are you supposed to be here tonight?”

The question wasn’t asked with any notes of accusation or anger; at most, it was only somewhat confused. If I was here, clearly I was supposed to be here, but at the same time, Michael had received a notice that he was supposed to be here, and it was odd to find someone else (apart from the producer on duty on a given weekend, who is usually supposed to arrive as early as the band, if not more so) already working the slides in his stead. And so he asked if this was part of my schedule, just to make sure.

I checked.

It wasn’t.

I had been confused by the fact that I had been on duty two weeks ago, which would have been the other of the two consecutive weeks I had been scheduled for most recently. Ironically, I’m scheduled for next week as well; essentially, this weekend was the only week during December when I’m not required to report to the booth for one thing or another (although technically, I’m not working Sunday the 25th – although I am working the entirety of Christmas Eve – and my assignment the following week is only one Sunday the 1st, as there’s no Saturday service on New Years’ Eve at the moment). But having missed last week, it seems I threw myself off, and assumed I needed to make up for it.

Hey, it could have been worse; if both Michael and I had assumed the other one would have taken care of this weekend, and therefore neither of us showed up, that would have been much more of a problem than this was. Still, it’s mildly embarrassing – not to mention slightly inconvenient – to show up, get to work, and then be told I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place.

And it’s not the sort of thing that you would have saved me from. The commitments each of us had in terms of serving in this or that position at church on a given weekend, we left to each of us to handle on our own. Aside from the rare weekends when we wouldn’t be in town, we were available for whatever service we might be needed, and didn’t necessarily concern ourselves with which weeks the other needed to be there (apart from your wanting to be there at both services on Sundays I was working, and thus insistent that I wake you up, no matter how late you had stayed up the night before, doing… whatever it was you and Daniel would do after I would retire for the night). You might have asked what I was doing, since nothing would have been said about getting up early tomorrow morning until this week, but would have let me go this afternoon without much thought or comment.

At the same time, I suspect that, once I got home as early as I did, you might have let out a sigh of relief; this meant that, unless you had an assignment in the nursery, you might well have the opportunity to sleep in an extra couple of hours tomorrow morning.

So, if you’re allowed any where you are, enjoy those extra couple of hours. Keep an eye on me – both tonight and tomorrow – and wish me luck. Clearly, I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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