Temple Mae, Lloyd, Bill McF, Heidi, Mrs. M the pastor's wife, Mr. H the English teacher, and who could forget Tenner III, or the big cheese himself, Pastor M? Oh yes, and then there was that nice couple from Texas and Matt's mom Diane who taught bible study, and Julie..... All of these people were my sunday school teachers and church choir directors, and youth leaders...and there were more, I just can't remember their names or their faces, but there was never ever a year or a day or a week that there wasn't volunteer influencing my life, and the lives of my friends. These people taught VBS in the summer, spent countless Wednesday nights feeding us dinner and trying to get us to sing on key--let alone trying to make us behave. They spent their vacation time to take us on ski trips, and spent weeknights leading small groups, and spent their money to buy us cokes and fries so they could hang out with us. We were bratty, chatty, earnest clueless kids, and they were just adults. But now I know, now I know. They weren't just adults. They were angels and saints dressed up like regular people. They wanted us to experience the taste of the love of God and the presence of community through the church. They wanted that for us, because they simply couldn't keep it from us...they had to share the best news they had. I have never thought about it before today, but I wonder how many 'volunteer hours' have been spent on my spiritual formation. More than I will ever be able to count...this is for sure.
Breathing in, I let this thought settle in me. Breathing out, I let these thoughts ground me. Breathing in , I am grateful. Breathing out, I am moved to action. Breathing in, thank you. Breathing out, amen.
This week has been full of so much...the Virginia Tech campus killings have left an unspeakable hole in the hearts of so many close to it, and far from it....it feels close to all of us, I think... The Supreme Court decision regarding abortion, and the way in which it was written was stunning and terrifying to me as a woman, the Bagdhad bombings blasted another warning to us to not become complacent about this never ending bloody war in Iraq ....and then in the lives of so many I know, personal obstacles abound, around health, and job stress, and relationships.... For me, as I live into a new chapter in my life and profession, well worn threads from past places and peoples with whom I have been connected have emerged in suprising and loving ways, that give me pause...
I realize...that wherever our feet have tread, whether lightly or heavily dug in, we always leave a trace of ourselves and the tracks, the footprints we leave never will be forgotten or lost...and sometimes, we are called to circle back and meditate upon the shapes and contours our footprints have made in this world... and how they will inform our living now, today.
today is the boston marathon, and I marvel at the dedication of runners who are braving the elements of a true spring nor'easter storm. especially, I am in wonder at those who have raised thousands and thousands of dollars for health and healing and searches for cures....may the wings of the Spirit lift their feet as they embrace the challenge before them today. go linda!
Today I lead worship with a new congregation for the very first time. As it was my 'candidating' Sunday, I was understandably a bit anxious, but excited. They are warm, loving, and I look forward to the amazing journey we embark upon in ministry together.
I preached on the Lost Coin parable, and kept pressing the question, "Who Is this Housekeeping God?" I am grateful, Holy One, that you were helping me sweep the corners of this parable in ways that were deepening to my embrace of you...and with a new household of your people within which to dream rich community and compassion in our corner of the world.
breathing in, breathing out, your peace and humour are here. I am grateful. Amen.
I have spent the past two days studying microsoft office--Excel, Word, Outlook to take these crazy tests so I can TEMP at the big boy U. They sent me tutorials, which I discovered all the test questions are taken from, verbatim, so I just practised the each test a crazy number of times so I could remember how to do the tasks. I had spent a ton of time really learning each program, through Microsoft Office online, but that wasn't all that necessary. I just had to learn how to take the test.
Anyway, even though the task was not all that exciting, I do feel a sense of accomplishment. I believe that I passed them, and now I hope that I will get through whatever hoops else I need so that I can bring in some income....and make contacts. My love really wants me to work at the same institution as she does. That would be convenient...and fun, no doubt.
But I have to say...I keep surfing congregations here and I long for that experience again.to be a pastor...even though it is tough and hard....frustrating...it still is a good life. I pray for this to unfold for my life....I have the capacity to give more to this world than simply create spread sheets or type correspondence.
I can't believe how hard patience is for me. In a twisted way I just think I am entitled to the work of my dreams and hearts because I somehow have been faithful and dutiful. I don't like that about myself, to be sure...just being rawly honest about the grit of narcissism that is pretty icky. Help...me to own this better, Holy One....help me to breathe....to not envy or wish or feel sorry for myself....help me to treasure this part of this life. I am not sure I know how to do that. But I would like to...try... and be useful and accomplished and loving and connected while I embrace these liminal days. I pray for a big heart to be happy for others... I pray for humility...and the openness to be taught....and loved. What is that prayer....the serenity prayer? I can't remember it exactly...but the gist of it is realizing that there things beyond my control and praying for the wisdom to know the difference. I pray for wisdom. And patience. and magnitude. Amen.
so. sigh. today, it is Sunday. we should go to church. I want to go to church. I am scared to go to church, I long to go to church, but...... So. Today. I pray. That our house sells. That I find something goodly temporary until the dream thing opens up. That I can stay balanced. That I can trust You. Please. I am very needy right now, I know, and I need to pull out of that. I am grateful...for this home, for my family, for my health, for my abundance. I want to learn to relish in what I have...spiritually, physically, and mentally....and not worry so much about what I don't have. Breathe. Open. Listen. Awareness. Attentiveness. Amen. amen. Amen.
Today I began reading Jack Kornfield's book, A Path With Heart. A member of my congregration gave it to me as a going away gift...and today I made myself choose to read it rather than the junky novels I have been feasting upon. Somehow, in someway, I have been lightly avoiding my spiritual path, which has been fine...because it is where I have been in my heart.
But, I long for more now...and truly want to be able to use this liminal space time to deepen my heart, to be honest with myself, and to focus on this precious life I get to live between birth and death. (an idea from Kornfield.)
In any case, the first chapter is a story of his personal journey of meditation and learning from his teachers and asking the questions readers might be asking: "how can we bring our spiritual practise to flower everyday?" (p. 5) He spoke of learning a way of life, a lifelong practise of awakening..attention...surrender...commitment...and that our difficulties, whatever they may be (I would call them life challenges/themes) are a part of our practise. awakening... attention... surrender... commitment...
these are concepts...practises I need to learn...I live my spiritual practise in spits and starts and blotches...and maybe that is how I will always be...but I do want to be more awake, which I think is embracing honesty about oneself....and then, coming face to face with the good, the bad, the ugly and the wondrous....to simply watch it...pay attention...ask questions....probe deeper...listen....and then surrender it all....and commit. Commit to being on the journey, without a destination, without a prayer, but within a prayer....
Kornfield says we need to have warrior spirits to engage on the spiritual practise of life.....to embrace courage, to be embodied in our hearts...to not only mentally show up, but to bodily and emotionally show up...for everyday....everymoment...(my spin on that...)
This window is me. The soft blurs of tattered curtains open out in to a yard of color, of metal and earth, of sun and wind and possibilities in what is beyond what I can see...I pray to embrace the warrior heart in me, to have the courage and spirit and soul to move into that yard of elemental life, beckoning, calling, questioning.... Amen.
I had this great first entry, and of course, technology sabotaged it, and it is gone. I tried to save it, but alas, to no avail. sigh.
the issue: my current unemployment the subtexts: *I am a fourty something female with a great degree (S), great experience, great personality *I am a pastor. Without a flock! I love being a pastor, but finding a fit with a congregation is proving more challenging that I thought it would be. * I am a fourty something who can't convince the greater employing public that my skills are wonderfully transferable in a variety of settings. *I don't know what I want to do when I grow up *I have a breadth of skills, but nothing too deep...but intelligent enough to be a quick study **I love hanging out with people, pets, books, and nature. *I really would enjoy teaching again. *I need to be inspired by mentors.
o.k., my prayer. breathe in fresh air, breathe out insecurity I pray for the grace to believe there is something challenging and worthwhile out there I pray for the love to trust that life will unfold wonderfully I pray for the humility to be grateful, and to be embodied with clear, confident joy with the life I have. I pray for forgiveness that I often forget what an amazing life I have. Breathing in, I breathe in Your presence. Breathing out, I breathe out my essence, mixed with Yours, presenting it to this world, this now. May it meet us where I need to be... and may I listen for what the breathe is whispering to me. amen.