Thursday, June 07, 2012

For now? Or forever?

A few weeks ago a lot of people were linking to this article by Lydia Netzer about staying married for 15 years. We’re coming up on year 14, so I read it. It’s good. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s not earth-shattering, and the trick in anything like this is not the reading of it but the doing – the remembering and the committing and the actually doing. 

I collect articles like that for the premarital sessions I do. Gretchen Rubin has a good list of phrases ( to help a couple “fight right.” Newspapers often run pieces about things couples wish they had done with their finances before getting married. And while I am able to preside at these blessed weddings, my authority on matters of finance or mediation could use a little bit of back-up. So I was happy to add Netzer’s piece to my file of things to hand to couples to read. 

One of the points that she makes is to stop thinking temporarily. It’s #10 on her list. And so it happened that I was in a meeting where I had to talk with the person next to me, and I found myself talking about this in terms of being a pastor. (Note: I don’t think everything on her list can be translated to the church!) I don’t remember what the initial question was, even, but I realized that I’ve been holding part of my vocational calling back, as in, “Maybe I won’t always be a pastor, and that’s OK.”

But what happens when I do that is that I’m not fully committed to what I’m doing, right now. I’m not entirely present and attentive to being the best possible pastor that I can be, right here, because I have one eye on the job listings, over there.

The conversation has left me thinking, well past the two minutes we had to respond to the long-forgotten question. How would my ministry change if I committed to thinking that I was going to be a pastor, not just for now but forever?  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Watered with Words

In the past week or so I’ve had the amazing experience of being bombarded with words. Not in a childhood game of dodgeball sort of way (though actually, that’s not an entirely bad suggestion, either) but more in the way that a soft spring rain falls and saturates once-parched ground. A description that feels accurate, poetic even, until I realize that makes me the once-parched ground. Ground that was dry. Cracked, even. Not lush or supple or productive.



In need.


Oof. I had forgotten what it was like to be surrounded with words – and not feel like I was drowning. I had forgotten what it was like to be immersed and soaked intentionally instead of sprinkled, watered haphazardly.  

I have a number of houseplants, and while I claim to have a green thumb, my plants must be hardy because my attention to them is well, not. There were two ceiling hooks in place when we bought our house and one of the first purchases I made was plants in hanging basket for those hooks.

I look at them occasionally and think, “Wow, you, dear plants, are two years… three years… five years now in my care…”

Usually I just pour a bit of water on them. But that isn’t always enough. So other times I take them down and plop them into the sink drenching their roots, letting them drain, and then doing it again.

Being immersed in that way all the time isn’t good, either – the roots get mushy, the nutrients from the soil get washed away into the water. The plant sends distress signals and eventually will die if not allowed to dry out some. 

But recently I felt the sensation of being drenched, immersed, watered thoroughly. Surrounded by well-spoken, thoughtful words. Writing that gets me lost in a different world. Conversations that remind me why I do what I do. And instead of coming in little after-though dribbles (Oh, I suppose I should water those plants, too.), the word-pool welcomed me with a quiet parting of words and my writing-roots, my word-roots drank thirstily.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When I started ministry almost eight years ago I owned a pair of pink flats. They were a sort of pleather, I'm sure, with a sort of jaunty flower to the side of their rounded toe. I loved them. I wondered whether I could wear them to the office, or if they weren't professional enough. I remember feeling incredibly self-satisfied one day when I dared to wear them.

Earlier this year, I did hospital visits wearing shiny gold cowboy boots.

Those first shoes were clearly the naming source for this blog and while I've worn a whole variety of 'other-than-black' shoes in the meantime, few of them would have had quite the sound of "Pink Shoes int he Pulpit."

I was driving back to the office from a morning gathering yesterday when these words started pouring into my head -- I heard them. Do you hear words before you write them? Or do you write words in order to hear them? Someone told me once that there's a difference, but I can't remember the context or the woman's name who told me this bit of information.

But I started to remember those first pink shoes. And then the second pair -- bright, satin flats from Ann Taylor Loft that I wore so often a hole developed in the sole. People remarked whenever I wore them how adorable they were, with almost a giggle, "Oh, look! Pink SHOES!" As if nothing cuter had ever been seen.

I don't currently have a pair of pink flats, not that I need another pair of shoes. But it had me wondering as I zipped along yesterday, about that well of sass that we draw from, and what contributes to it: flattering jeans, fun shoes, a good haircut, an engrossing book to read, a perfect phrase, a finished assignment, an amazing collection of friends?