Wednesday, August 31, 2005

For an hour

I wish I knew just which direction my spirit was headed, but with the gentle help from some Sisters along the way, I at least know that it has some direction.

Before seminary I was completely oblivious to the world and realm of spiritual direction. My seminary promotes the idea of having a "spiritual friend." It seemed like a strange idea, and still feels strange to think about someone being my spiritual friend. But oh well.

It came as a great moment in my life when I took the plunge this summer and called the motherhouse of a local group of sisters and tentatively asked, "Do you have anyone who, um, does Spiritual Direction." I don't know what I thought -- I mean, I was nervous to place the call. I should have remembered -- hello, these women are typically nice folks.

And so I got connected with my most recent spiritual director. We met for the second time this morning and I'm a little bit in love.

For an hour or so I'm able to sit and be present with God in a way that doesn't happen for me anymore in worship. Or, at least it happens rarely. For an hour I'm not in charge of anything, I don't need to worry about a baby crying or a sermon that needs writing. For an hour I can sift through my own junk, hoping for some clarity about leadership or relationship with God. For that precious hour there's silence -- moments in which I first think, "Oh, what should I say?" and then I blissfully realize that I don't need to say anything.

The saddest part about this is that yesterday I wondered if I had time to make the appointment this morning. If it had been a parishioner, I would have questioned ruthlessly -- and maybe even chided: Of course you have time. If you don't take a single hour for yourself, once a month, what kind of worth are you assigning to yourself. But when it was me, I hemmed and hawed, wondering if I should try to reschedule. I didn't.

So, for an hour this morning I stepped away from the hum-hum-hum of my life and viewed it from afar, with the help of a wise woman. And that helped.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


After being tired and overwhelmed, almost anything is better. The overwhelming bit was Thursday night and since then nothing has resolved itself completely, but the view is certainly looking better. A little sunshine, some amazing tumblers, and the laughter of a child go a long ways.
There is a tumbling group in Illinois started by Jesse White in 1959, I think. They're simply called "The Jesse White Tumblers." The kids have to stay off the streets, keep up their grades and stay away from drugs. Over the years thousands of kids have stayed "on track" because of this program. I had the opportunity to watch them perform yesterday and they are amazing.
Also, the weather here has been beautiful. My mood is always improved with some sunshine.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of the hurricane.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tired and Overwhelmed

I've had one of those nights. In the distance between the church and home (about 15 minutes) I've managed to convince myself that God was just kidding about "the call."
There are always days and nights, moments and minutes in which I question -- and I don't discount the value of questioning and revisiting. But on this particular night, I'm overwhelmed with what appear to be pointless tasks that threaten to take over not only my desk but my entire being.
Of course these are the types of things that even writing them down makes me realize that it's all going to be ok and that I can hush the anxiety hounds. And I knew as I spiraled into a tizzy that if I just made a list and a few phone calls that I'd feel like the world was under control again.
Sitting at the red light, though, with tears on the brink of overflowing, everything felt bigger than life, distorted in the contrast between light and dark.
The irony in all of this is that I handed my well-read copy of "Bird by Bird" to a woman this morning -- encouraging her to find a quiet space in the midst of her chaos to re-center.
Tweet - Tweet.


I'm usually reluctant to read books that "everyone" is talking about.
However, I started Gilead last night.
I'm on page 27 and becoming one of the people who can't stop talking about this book.
Reading it this afternoon seems far more appealing than working on confirmation budgets.
Or really anything.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I was so excited

And then I realized that I'd been spammed.
In just a few hours 6 new comments had appeared on one of my posts and I got really excited.
But, no. It was just spam.
Oh well. I at least have learned how to delete comments and set letter verification on the comment portion. That would be the bright side.
Thanks for all the legitimate comments.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I'm curious how other clergy-types view Saturdays... Is it a day to catch up, a day for weddings and funerals, etc? Is it a "normal" office day? Is it a work-from-home day?
I'm still developing how I feel about it, though I know that I loathe being told to be in the office by anyone (and that's where I'm at this Saturday). It seems like a great day to work if there's work to be done, but to also play catch up in other parts (husband, child, house, animals) of my life to make up for the three nights that I was at the office this week...
When preaching, Saturday is often the last great push as I'm more likely to sprint when writing a sermon than lay it out like a marathon (thanks to Kennon Callahan for the image of sprinters v. marathoners).
But I'm not preaching this weekend. And I'm still in the office. For about another five minutes.
On the bright side, BB (baby boy) slept through the night for the first time last night. And, for the most part, so did I! I was amazed when I discovered the clock read 5:45. Even better, after feeding him we slept again until nearly 9. Heading home to see him smile.

Quest for friends

I just returned from a lovely evening with people whom I desperately wish I could call friends. We had dinner, played with their boys, my baby boy ate and slept, we played a game after the kids went to bed, had dessert. We're all about the same age, share similar values and views of life. We laugh at each other's jokes.
But when it comes down to it, I'm their pastor.
I feel really fortunate that they are aware enough that it *might* be weird for me, and that there are people in my congregation that I like well enough to even have this dilemma. They don't talk about church when we're together socially, and when we're at church, they don't bring up the fact that we were together socially. It's not as if we're "sneaking around" about our relationship, but they show some tact and understanding.
Finding and making friends is hard. Especially "couple friends" whom my husband and I like equally well. I like to think that it would be easier if we both weren't pastors, but I'm probably just fooling myself. If it were Lent, I'd add the discipline of being intentional about finding a new source for a friend. But it's not Lent. Maybe I should do that anyway.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lack of a satisfying breakfast carb

This morning my little guy let me sleep in -- usually he wakes around 6:30 or 7, after being up anywhere between 2 and 4. But this morning, it was 8:15 before his coos (not cries!) roused me at 8:15. Amazing what a little extra sleep will do for everyone.
However, this extra sleep caused me to rush, rush, rush to get things ready and to get him to daycare and me to the office at a reasonable time. And, I've often lamented, there's not a convenient donut shop between the house and the office. I'll have to consider that when I take my next call. Well, anyway. So, there I was at the office this morning without a donut. Which caused me to raid the freezer for a leftover cookie.
I guess that I'll gladly take an extra hour of sleep over a donut. And, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I love shoes

And so one of the saddest moments of my ordination was when I thought, "Now I'm destined to a life of professional, black pumps." Ah, what did I know then? I'm prepared to begin introducing colors to my "professional" shoe wardrobe, expanding from the pink flats that I wear a lot.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ahhh. It's good to be here.

Here being somewhere slightly anonymous, slightly exciting, slightly off-kilter. This blog has been percolating for awhile and in the meantime a lot has happened.
It's good to have a place to write and leave thoughts and come back to them on occasion.
It's comforting to have a place to kick off my pink shoes and wiggle my toes back and forth.
It's nice to be here.