Showing posts from December, 2007

A Reflection on Time Passing

flickrfoto As 2007 winds down I find myself in the midst of a familiar feeling. It's an existential awareness of the end of my life approaching. That sounds like a real downer, doesn't it? But it's not. Not really. My birthday falls between Christmas and New Year's, so I get a double-dose of this each year...the passing of time, and my own personal passing of time. Buy a new calendar. Remember I can no longer say "I'm 51." This existential awareness began after my mother died in 1994. Being the oldest generation in my immediate family of origin makes a huge difference, I think. No longer is there that 'buffer' between me and death ~ plus, as friends correctly predicted, once past 50 my body just feels older. Several people I trust have told me that I have a gift for knowing, for recognizing, what is constructive and what is destructive in life. I can often intuit that kind of thing, which at times is complicated or hidden, fairly well. So, I don

A grateful witness to love

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope it's been a beautiful day for you all. Christmas Eve service at my new church was interesting for me. In the middle of it all I became aware once again of how much I miss my previous church ~ I'm definitely grieving the fact that the conflict became so awful that I decided to leave. When we got home last night I said as much to D, and his comment was that I had done the right thing. Then he said, "You took one for the team." I do hope that my leaving there has stirred up some Spirit-filled energy, but I wish I could have been with all the wonderful people there I love so much. I miss them. I hope my feelings don't interfere with my ability to make connections at the new church. I'm feeling disconnected, but thinking that's because it's too soon for anyone to really feel connected in any meaningful way there. Yet there's also a detached feeling, and that's not good. I preach the next two Sundays, though, and tha

Grateful for the light

6:00 a.m. Up early on this Saturday morning to enjoy the lights in the living room against a background of darkness. We have a regular Christmas tree and two smaller tabletop trees, plus the lighted "snow village" that someone gave me as a going-away present three weeks ago. In the dark, the living room is magically aglow with the light . In three days we will celebrate the light of God entering the world. A few years ago I was on vacation in Albuquerque. Having breakfast out on the back porch one morning, I noticed the sun’s light through the tall trees. I could see the beams, and I imagined the individual particles. Sparkly. Smoky-looking. Breathtaking. I don’t know how long I sat there, mesmerized by seeing light itself. And I remembered this story by Scott Peck. He was in another city on a several-day speaking engagement. His host was an older woman, an artist. On their last night together she commented, “Perhaps it’s because I’m an artist, but lately I’ve begun to thin

Overwhelmed, but not sure why

So much for a commitment to blog every day... Oh, the last few days have been tough, although nothing terrible. I called the doctor on Monday when I felt like the bronchitis was returning, but by Tuesday when the appointment came, surprisingly I already felt much better. I have a prescription for an antiobiotic in hand, though, in case I get worse while the doc's gone over Christmas. I feel overwhelmed. One evening I just sat on the bed, staring into nothing. I think the radio was playing. My new job is going well. At first I felt cramped in my new office which is maybe 1/4 the size of my previous space. But the window is beautiful ~ gothic style, floor to ceiling ~ and it looks out on the park-like grounds of the church. Every so often when I turn to look I'll see leaves falling. Lovely. The office is cozy, not at all cramped...My colleague in ministry is thoughtful and easy-going. The administrator is also easy going and has been a real help to me in setting things up and fee

Grateful for fresh bread!

Tonight I am grateful for fresh bread~and the smell of fresh bread baking. I'm at home. Worked until 3 pm. Our service this morning was all music, so I'm easing into my new position without anything to do during worship on my first Sunday. The morning was spent meeting people, trying to learn names, having FUN with the kiddos in Adventure Village (our Sunday School for K-5, nicknamed AdVill), attending a Christian Ed meeting, and attending the end of the Youth Party upstairs. First impression: These folks are friendly, easy-going, inclusive, and progressive. I like 'em. I came home, though, and went straight to bed~~oh, I was exhausted. And when I got horizontal, I started having coughing fits. Like I did earlier this year. So I'm calling my allergist tomorrow and making an appointment, just to be safe. I do NOT want to get sick again. I finally got up about an hour ago. D and I are watching the Giants and Redskins game with our computers in our laps. He'

Grateful for a reminder of ordination

We had a beautiful ordination service at my new church this morning. At one point the drama group, with six or seven people all dressed in black, went to the chancel and presented quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr., Sojourner Truth, and Rumi, among others. All were presented as prophets, with words to the candidate about the awesome and beautiful responsibility of speaking God's truth as he will come to know it. Very moving. I am grateful for this reminder of my own awesome and beautiful responsibility.

RevGals Friday Five

Mother Laura asks, Can you believe that in two days we'll be halfway through Advent? Gaudete Sunday: pink candle on the advent wreath, rose vestments for those who have them, concerts and pageants in many congregations. Time to rejoice! Rejoice in the nearness of Christ's coming, yes, but also in the many gifts of the pregnant waiting time when the world (in the northern hemisphere, at least) spins ever deeper into sweet, fertile darkness. What makes you rejoice about: 1. Waiting? At this point in my spiritual journey, waiting is such a gift. Slowing down is what I need right now~It's been 90-to-nothing for about a month now. Of course, spiritual waiting is not passive resting. It's an active listening for God, an active anticipating the birth of the Christ child in the world and in me. I haven't been doing much of that this week, although I did have the spiritual eyes to see the Spirit at work in my previous church a couple of weeks ago. What JOY that was to behold

Gratitude for connections

Tonight I am grateful that I have a place where I can come home and find my husband here to help me feel safe and wanted and loved. I was a little late getting home, and D called to check on me. What an amazing thing, that there's another human being on this planet who cares enough to call to make sure I'm okay. When I came in, he stood up to give me a kiss and asked how I'm doing. I am truly grateful. Tonight I hold the reality of this gift with gentle care, like you'd hold a baby chick in the palm of your hand, stroking it tenderly and aware of its fragile life. How utterly remarkable that this gift of love and care between two people exists and is actually here for me. So many years alone and lonely. Oh yes, I am grateful. Being in a new job--all is well, I have no reason to think that this won't be a wonderful place to serve God in ministry--but it takes time to establish relationships, to connect and feel accepted. G took the time to call me this morning on my

Sometimes gratitude is not easy

What am I grateful for today? Well, not much ~ ...It's still raining. ...I've struggled with a migraine much of the day. ...I can't find a comfortable office chair to use at my new church. Consequently my back is killing me. ...I'm aware that I needed some time to emotionally make the break from my old church. That was a mistake. I should have taken a few days off. ...I have countless little things I need to do, but 'big' stuff takes precedence during the day and in the evening I'm so exhausted that I just sit here and read blogs. ...I'm biting my nails. Which is a pretty neat trick, since they're the fake silk ones. ...I feel separated from my friends. Kinda lonely, really. ...I miss my old church. Even with all its problems, I was/am invested in it. I care about everyone there so much. Great way to write about gratitude, huh? Ugh. Let's see~ ...Well, it's nice to be alone in the house tonight. Young Man with Integrity is out with friends, a

Grateful for feminism

My new job is going to be a wonderful one, I'm sure. The senior minister and church administrator are very easy going, and I'm looking forward to continuing to have the freedom to do the ministry that I love doing. I'm grateful for that. And I'm grateful for feminist thought. I stopped by the book store on the way home from my new job today and picked up three books on feminism for my children-by-marriage. Young Man with Integrity has already read The Second Sex by Simone Beauvoir, so I think he'll enjoy the subject. I hope the two girls do. Chances are good~they are already well on their way. My own experience is that the world opened up when I first began to see how patriarchy had indeed determined so much of our American cultural worldview and how that same patriarchy was at the root of so much sin, systemic and individual. Everything changed for me ~ Power inside relationships began to be something I could see . See and appreciate in many ways, but see

Sunday evening gratitude

I cried a lot today. I was holding it together pretty well until Marilyn, one of the 'saints' of the church, stepped up during the good-bye reception. She was all choked up and couldn't get any words out. As we embraced I lost it. She's one of about three older women in the church who have been wonderful "mothers" to me. So loving, so accepting, so encouraging, and in Marilyn's case, soooo funny. What a great sense of humor she has, so to see her crying and unable to speak at all just sent me over the edge. I had to go to my office and compose myself a bit. Lovely reception. The church gave me a museum copy beautiful red etched glass vase. Really breathtaking. I love it. So many hugs, tears, smiles, laughs, gifts and cards. I am so very grateful. Tomorrow...a new job...a new congregation...a new beginning.

Grateful for stimulating conversations

I'm grateful for good friends. Tonight D and I and the girls spent a lovely evening at a dinner party at the home of some friends. Wonderful time. Conversation went from plans for Christmas to the topic of institutional racism. A seminary nearby is in the midst of controversy, and the complexity of what's going on is fascinating and so important. D has been reading a great book on difference in gender and race, and several of us have an intense interest in this subject. Stimulating dialogue that I think we all enjoyed.

Gratitude for the almost-nightly ritual (and so much more)

I am grateful for my husband. He drives me crazy. Absolutely nuts. I married a man who...well, let me give an example. This happens frequently as we are going to bed. K: Honey, will you turn that radio off? D: I'm listening to it. (This not 2 minutes after I ask "Who's that?" Some senator is talking about Bush and I'm curious who it is. D tells me he didn't hear who was talking because he's reading his book.) K: D, will you please turn the radio off? D: Why? K: Because I'm about to post to my blog and I can't write when the radio's on. D: What are you posting about? K: I'm writing about things I'm grateful for. D: You're writing about me. K: I'm NOT writing about you. [He always thinks this.] Now, will you turn that OFF?! D: I'm listening to it. K: You're not listening to it and we both know it. D: What if I don't want to? K: Arrrrgh!!!! Will you JUST turn the radio off?! D: [he exaggerates a belch] K: D! D: What wil

Talking to chaplain interns

I am grateful for CPE programs where such an emphasis is placed on self awareness. For the second year in a row now I've made a little presentation to the chaplain interns at one of our local hospitals. I talk about spiritual vitality and how important it is to continue a practice of self-examination beyond the CPE experience. It's gratifying for me to talk to these young people. They are amazingly self-aware and eager to share. I give them a whole page of quotes from famous Christians talking about self-knowledge and how critical it is to the spiritual life. One woman today focused on Augustine's famous "our hearts are restless until the rest in Thee, O God," and she put that together with a quote from Frederick Buechner talking about our "original selves." In tears, she commented that she had never really told the CPE supervisor, who was in the room, the amazing sense of restoration she felt when she first talked to him about being in the program.