Things got quite a bit worse before they started getting better. I don't want to say much about these days that came after my last blog post but when you find out there is a suicide note addressed to you, it knocks you out. It would have knocked me out anyway but it hit even harder since I was only recovering from my own burnout. There were a couple of terrible days. The funeral was tough. The sleeplessness returned. I went back to work too early and against my doctor's advice. I had to change the medicine I was taking, and the new medicine did not suit me at all. I walked around pretty much drugged for about three days until I got off that medicine and decided to go through this time sleepless but undrugged.
I have been back to work, but I have not been able to do as much as usual. But slowly slowly things are getting better. The last weekend helped a great deal. And this week - although tiring - is also helping me. I asked for the weekend off and I. was kind enough to let me skip the church planting brainstorming weekend. I went to Tartu instead, and spent some quiet days there, preparing for the Homiletics intensive, sitting in the local botanic garden, visiting my relatives, and just relaxing at E. and T.'s place. It so happened that it was my birthday on Saturday, and although I didn't even want to mention it or to make a big deal out of it, Facebook gave me away. So E. and T. prepared a birthday dinner and had a gift for me, and it felt a lot like home. They are people with real gift of hospitality. I admire people who have this gift because I wasn't around when this gift was given out. Here are the keys, here is the fridge and kettle, make yourself comfortable, come join us for our family's Mother's Day lunch - things like this startle me. And yet they warm my heart and touch me like nothing else ever could. Their casual hospitality and 'you're part of our family' attitude helped me through the annual Mother's Day sadness and gave me the sense of belonging. But the best thing happened on Saturday evening after our birthday dinner when T. (a fellow minister, my professor from Amsterdam and a colleague in the Seminary, a fellow theologian, and - as it turns out - my friend) sighed contentedly and said, "Now it's time to read poetry." And poetry we read indeed, for more than an hour. He had a collection of Betti Alver's poems, I had Doris Kareva, E. chose to sit back and listen. We read and read to each other, and we kept walking to the book shelf and kept picking new books because also Juha Liiv needed to be recited, and Juhan Viiding, and Karl Ristikivi... And there was this warm feeling somewhere inside my chest that told me, "This moment, these people, these books, this quiet evening, this shared love for written word - this is your home. This is a moment and a place - as fleeting as it is - where you belong. This is who you are."
One day, there will be poetry reading evenings in my home. Not because I want to come across as some big head intellectual, but because this is a gift that belongs to me. This is the warm feeling that tells me I'm home. This is what makes me me.
And now I'm in Riga. The week I have been impatiently looking forward to for about 1,5 years is finally here. I am teaching the Homiletics intensive to the Baltic group of Newbold's Licence students. Oh, and also Greek. Things are far from perfect - the sleeping is still restless, some wounds in my heart still fresh and hurtful, my preparation for the classes not quite up to my standards. But despite all of this I get that warm feeling again and again in my chest, sometimes in the middle of the class, sometimes sitting in the hotel's dining room over the breakfast, or late at night when thinking about the next day's classes. It's the feeling that tells me that whatever else is happening in the world, whatever battles lost or won in my life, this is home. Teaching is home.
There have been losses. But there are also victories. Friends who would care to read poetry with me late at night, and lecturing to a wonderful group of students, these are mighty victories. So there is a balance. Or as U. put it yesterday when I told him about the things I've lost recently and the beautiful moments I've gained, "Jah is always honest." Things are in balance.