Tomorrow I'm being shadowed by a woman who thinks she might want to be a pastor. It's part of an assignment for a class of hers and I'm the "woman-relatively-new-to-ministry" component. It came up all of a sudden and I haven't really had a chance to get freaked out about it -- as in, "why would she want to shadow me?" Although I realize the answer to that question has less to do with my relative fabulousness and more to do with location and demographics. Regardless, I have been giving it some thought in the past 24 hours or so, particularly as she asked me on the phone if I'd be doing a "number of pastoral things that she could observe. Which caused me to think, "Isn't everything I do in my office pastor-like in some way or another?" Well, probably not -- particularly in the formal sense discussed by Lutheran Zephyr here.
I've wondered what I'll say to this woman at the end of our hours together as she "interviews" me to sum up my thoughts on ministry. All of this comes on the heels of a week of the severe crabbies, a sick child and a couple of anniversaries in my life. So, some thoughts...
Being a pastor this week for me means getting hugs in coffee shops from women who are grateful simply that I returned their phone call; it means seeing old men bury their head in their hands as I pray for their wife; it means being called sweetheart and honey and knowing that they love me for who I am.
Being a pastor this week for me means fielding phone calls from non-members asking if I'll do their wedding... in six weeks; from folks wanting to use our kitchen, our fellowship hall, our parking lot; from really, really persistent yellow page representatives; from folks wondering if I knew that so-and-so had been in the hospital for four days... they're OK now, though.
Being a pastor this week for me means trying to schedule the four weeks of vacation and two weeks of continuing education time that I'm allowed/supposed to take and still maintaining a congregation; it means wanting to take my Sabbath and not feel guilty; it means letting the tears roll down my cheeks out of exhaustion and frustration, in the privacy of my office.
Being a pastor this week for me means presiding at a service at the local nursing home and treating the people there with dignity and respect; it means taking time to visit the folks who are no longer able to worship with the rest of the community; it means holding my feverish child as he moans and whimpers in the middle of the night and folding laundry.
Being a pastor this week for me is all of this and more; it's reading the funny blogs and the sad ones; it's maintaining friendships across miles; it's thinking I should pray more and not; it's hoping that I, too, will hear a word of grace, a word of promise somewhere this week.