I'm feeling like a substitute teacher.
I'm sitting in the pastor's office at the church where I have been asked to serve for the next three months as their pastor. I chose to bring my own stuff - pencil, notepad, Bible, laptop. Everything is so tidy and in it's place, I don't want to mess things up. What if I don't remember where everything was originally when I have to turn the office keys back to the "real" pastor?
Everyone is really nice. Very polite. But I can tell they're watching me. Checking me out. Testing the waters.
I remember one year in elementary school my class had a substitute teacher from South Africa. She was white with blond hair and reminded me of a flight attendant. A 1960's flight attendant, otherwise known then as a stewardess. Adorable sweater sets and perfectly coordinated pumps. She had a cool accent. And she subbed in my 3rd grade class when my "real" teacher broke her arm walking backwards leading our class line back from recess. The sub was pretty cool. I remember she brought us matzo crackers. Was she Jewish? I don't recall, but she was exotic.
How delightful to find out the following school year that she was now on staff, a "real" teacher at my school. And I got to be in her class!
The woman turned out to be a monster.
She shoulda stuck to part-time work, stayed on the substitute teacher career path. We were too much for her, day in and day out. She yelled. She screamed. She slapped us on the back when she couldn't read our penmanship. Her once charming accent became obnoxious and shrill. No longer exotic, she was always trying to cram something new down out throats. Haroset? Are you kidding me, lady?
I will not be charming in my temporary pastor gig. There will be no special treats and I am most certainly not updating my wardrobe. What they see is what they'll get week in and week out.
I will just love them as best I can in my regular old usual way until it's time for me fade away and their "real" pastor returns...