I had some plans for today. I had thought that I would be spending the late morning and early afternoon in Salem, but unfortunately that was not in the cards when I spent the first eight hours or so I was awake in bed and running back and forth to the restroom or feeling both nauseous and headachy. It was not, in other words, an enjoyable day. It is not as if the reasons for not feeling well are particularly mysterious to me. To a great extent, I could feel it coming on yesterday evening, when I was not at my best and didn’t have much of an appetite, and for the last few days I have been feeling particularly gloomy. Yesterday did not help, though, and I was glad at least that I was able to rest today, although I am not so glad that I felt like such a slacker for resting throughout the day. I do know, for example, that quite a few people I knew were far more active today than I was, but I really didn’t feel up to it, and that is unfortunate.
It really started, as I said, yesterday. As I was getting ready for church, I felt particularly concerned about the message I was scheduled to give . I didn’t feel as concerned about it in Hood River, but for whatever reason I tend to feel as if my words will be under much more scrutiny in Portland . As it happened, though, the message got a great deal of positive responses, as most people appreciated the reminder of the need to respect authority and enjoyed the light touch and lack of judgmental attitude. I had been concerned about not wanting to bring God into disrepute through my own messages, but that appears to have been a worry that was not a problem. The message even managed to fit in nicely with a sermon message that focused on some of the characteristic problems of our time, and that was definitely a good thing. All things considered, that part of the Sabbath ended up going pretty well.
And yet there was another worry that picked up even as that of my message diminished. Today was the day of Sabbath School graduation and there was a special dual choir where the children sang one part and the teens and young adults (and slightly older people like myself) sang the other part. As it happened, we were rather short on music, and I happened to have one of the three copies of music for the teen/adult choir part, and so I shared my music with a couple of young ladies. One of the young ladies made a rather definite move to stand next to me rather than have the other one do so, and when I saw how closely packed we were on stage, I asked her to hold the music for the three of us herself, since she was standing in the middle. I had previously thought this person had asked to stand next to me because she was trying to be friendly or flirtatious, and it may have contributed to a certain misunderstanding that I had of her own character and motivations, but as I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that there may have been other motives involved. At the moment, I am unaware of what steps, if any, would need to be taken. It is striking, though, how little actions can prompt a great deal of questions and deep and unpleasant reflection.
Even the reading material I had today did not ease the feeling of concern. Two of the books I managed to read today despite not feeling my best (largely because the books were mercifully fairly short and easy to read), and they were from a publisher I have never worked with before that is judging my reviews to see if they meet their standards. It is striking to me just how much one can be anxious of at the same time. One can read about the struggles with reputation, or the difficulties people can have relating to God as a father because of our personal experience, and immediately I am reminded that our personal lives are part of a larger context in which our struggles to overcome our bent natures and the tragedies of our existence intimately involve other people who have their own crosses to bear and their own weaknesses and vulnerabilities to overcome. As complicated people in a broken and fallen world, our lives cannot help but be deeply complicated, and sometimes that is not as enjoyable to deal with as it is at other times. At some point, one hopes for blessed sleep.
 See, for example: