Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday update

It looks like I have about 2 months left at my church.  Although I'm not told anything, no one from the search committee was at church yesterday, so I figure they went to hear someone preach at a neutral pulpit somewhere close by.  If they like this person, they'll negotiate, then present the person to the church, call a special congregational meeting, and if the vote is "yes," then that person will give notice at his or her church.  So...probably sometime in June.

Strange feeling, knowing I'm a short-timer.  During worship yesterday my feelings alternated between deep gratitude at having come to know and serve this church, sadness at the idea of leaving it, and some pain at feeling "not seen" (inevitable, I know, but still).

This morning I'm resting.  I think I did a very dumb thing earlier this week, deciding to self-medicate.  Asthma and bronchitis were pretty bad, so I took some leftover Prednisone all week starting at 50 mg on the first day, and slowly going down.  Saturday I took 20 or 30 mg.; can't remember.  Yesterday I had three left, but I forgot to take any at all, and all day I was barely able to move -- exhaustion.  Same thing this morning.  Realizing what was probably the cause I took one of the 10 mg pills about 90 minutes ago, but so far it's not helping one iota.  Ugh.  I see a new doctor -- a pulmonologist -- Friday morning, so I'm hopeful about getting started with someone who will treat the cause and not just the symptom here.

I need to do some work on finding a new job today, but I'm soooo sleepy!  Don't trust myself to make changes in my resume!! No telling what I'd end up saying.  Well, it's OK.  I need the rest anyway.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Singing Lazarus' story

My Ignatian prayer yesterday was on the story of Jesus raising Lazarus.  The story always reminds me of Carrie Newcomer's song.  It's written from the perspective of Lazarus, and how difficult life was for him after Jesus was crucified, ending with "When he (Jesus) left this world, I thought he'd take me back."  Heartwrenching.

The song is haunting, and very very beautiful.  It's the idea that people are afraid of Lazarus, the one raised from the dead -- no one will touch him.  Mothers cry when the see him on the street.  And dogs bare their teeth at him.

Now that he's gone
Now the world has moved on
Since he called my name nothing's the same.
As my sister cried
He said, "Lazarus rise." To love and anoint
Or just prove a point?

I'm the one that he saved
I'm the one that he raised
From a dark quiet sleep 
from peace of the grave.
I the one who owes much, but that no one will touch
Mothers see me and cry
Dogs bare teeth as I walk by.

I don't see a veil between heaven and hell
The truth is there's nothing but a warm light and singing.
But here in-between a voice haunts my dreams.
Martha does what she can but won’t look at my hands.

I love the cool mornings. I love a hot meal.
The pulse of the street, night jasmine, and clean sheets.
I can’t sleep or rest; I feel lost and hard pressed.
I wander these rooms still looking for you.

I ought to be grateful to drink from the grail
But I don't belong on either side of the veil.
I look down at my hands that are clasped in my lap.
When he left this world I thought he'd take me back.


from Wikipedia:

Carrie Newcomer was born in Dowagiac, Michigan and raised in Elkhard, Indiana.  She attended Goshen College and received a B.A. in visual art and education from Purdue University.

In the 1980s she was a member of the pop-folk group Stone Soup.  After leaving this group she began a solo career and released her first album called Visions and Dreams.  Between 1993 and 2010, she released 12 additional solo albums.  

In 2003 Newcomer was awarded a Grammy for her song "I Should Have Known Better" recorded by Nickel Creek of its Grammy Winning Best Contemporary Folk Album "This Side."  In 2007 her album The Geography of Light received the Artist of the Year and Album of the Year awards from Folk Wax Magazine.  In 2003 her album "The Gathering of Spirits" received the same awards.  

In 2003 she wrote the national theme song for the YMCA and collaborated with Scott Russell Sanders and folk songwriters Krista Detor, Tim Grimm, Michael White and Tom Roznoski on an album and theatrical production entitled Wilderness Plots. 

Newcomer collaborated with Parker J. Palmer to create the presentation "Healing the Heart of Democracy," and with Jill Bolte Taylor to create the presentation "Transforming Stories."   She has toured the U.S., Europe, and India, including performances with Alison Krauss.

Making jewelry: creative and fun

I'm having a jewelry-making party at my house this Saturday.  Oh, it's so much fun to create something of beauty.  Linda White ( has this jewelry business on the side;  she has (literally) a van-ful of the most beautiful beads, AND she just went to a show where she bought some new things.  Can't wait to see them!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

That *Spacious* Feeling Within

Yesterday was the Third Week Seminar -- the seminar at the beginning of the Third Week of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises that I'm doing with HeartPaths Spirituality Center.  

The main focus, as we enter the week of accompanying Jesus into Jerusalem, was an exercise on compassion.  The leaders had prepared a large and beautiful circle; it took up half of a very large fellowship hall in the church where we met.  In the center of the circle was a table with a tall candle surrounded by a multitude of unlit candles.

The north side of the circle had a table decorated with a globe;  the west side had a set up symbolizing community or neighborhood;  on the south was a table with a photograph of a family gathering, and on the east was a lovely table with a mirror in the center.

Our assignment was to travel to each table and pray for an increase in our compassion for the world, for our neighborhoods/communities, for our families, and for ourselves.  Then to move to the center, light a candle and pray for compassion for Jesus as he faced his Passion.  We were then to take our candle and make our way to another part of the room and journal about our experience.  

Wow.  I prayed at each station for several minutes, beginning at the north end.  I was the first out of about 30 students to enter the circle, so I had the first two stations pretty much to myself, but at the third station, *family*, I realized that about half of the other students were standing outside the circle, silently praying for those of us inside it.  Very moving.

Each of the stations evoked something powerful within me -- four out of five were feelings of sadness, pain.  Along with many of the other students, I wept.  

The neighborhood/community station, though, brought feelings that were positive.  What came to me was to pray for my church.  The search committee thinks that it will probably have a candidate to present to the congregation for a vote by the end of April.  With a two-month termination clause in his/her current contract, the candidate will come on board as the church's permanent called pastor sometime in June.  So.... most likely I have about four months left with this congregation.  Not long.

But I've been working very hard at all the issues surrounding my having become the Interim, and while much of that is not bloggable, I can say that I've experienced significant healing.  I realized Saturday while praying at that station that I feel a fabulous spaciousness within me now -- a new and most welcome feeling!

Instead of dreading leaving, I find myself thinking of all kinds of healthy, fun, and creative ways to help this church let me go and welcome the new pastor with open arms.  I'm sure that when the time comes to leave there will be some tears, but I feel ready to let go and move on to something else.  Yay!

Most grateful to the HeartPaths leadership for this exercise yesterday.