Thursday, January 11, 2007


Thank you to all who sent love, prayers, prescriptions and recommendations. Dad-- yes, 85-year-old, "frail" Dad-- bounced back first. I spoke to him on the phone yesterday and it was as if he had never been ill. (I know his voice. He was not faking it.) Petra and I took a day longer than Dad... we lay around yesterday watching episodes of "Heroes" downloaded from iTunes (courtesy of Larry-O and his Christmas gift-card). When we were able to stand and amble creakily to the kitchen we got ourselves tea and toast and saltines and creaked back into more or less horizontal positions as quickly as possible. Today... voila, as they say: Nous sommes formidables! Petra went off to school (a little thinner and paler, but with makeup artfully compensating).

So...after the ecstasy, the laundry (they also say that, I'm sure). It spins and spins, while I pay bills, finish up (so late) on details for my upcoming job, and fret over my future.

Here's the deal. I begin my interim chaplaincy at Big Ivy U next week. I am incredibly excited... it is going to be an adventure, a new kind of ministry with some important points of contact with the ministry I have been doing (i.e., the most important aspects of the work revolve around worship and relationships. Excellent!). This runs through early May.

Meanwhile, back in the presbytery, I have been awaiting the posting of the CIF* (that's Church Information Form for you non-Presbys... basically the profile of the church, outlining their mission statement, philosophy, hopes and dreams for ministry...) from a local church I know is going to be looking for a pastor. This church, from the talk around town, seems like it would be a good fit for me: progressive, worship-oriented, good outreach beginnings and potential... A member of their session contacted me last summer about throwing my hat in the ring, and I gently steered her in the direction of complying with our polity (while not discouraging any thoughts of my candidacy... navigating a somewhat delicate balance of potentially conflicting interests).

So... while I was too sick to go to a meeting on Tuesday, in the email landed: the Long-Awaited-CIF. And as I swam up from the miasma of illness late yesterday I read it. And...

Oh dear reader, I was disappointed. The one thing they said to encourage me was "open-minded." Other than that, I couldn't find any excitement in the form... no real sense of focus. Their mission statement is great-- I couldn't ask for a better match with what I think is the real purpose of life in faith community-- but everything else they say appears completely unrelated to that great statement.

I think what I need to do is take a deep breath and read the thing again in a week or two. It may be that my physical lack of well-being is influencing my reading of the form, and resulting an overall depressive take on it. This is entirely possible.

The other entirely possible thing is that God is doing another new thing with me. Both my calls prior to this were positions I would not have imagined myself hoping for. Actually, Big Ivy U stands in that category as well... I delayed applying for the position for almost a month because I was not convinced it was a good match for me. But in each instance, something... someOne... poked and prodded and, voila(!), I found myself in the completely unanticipated and completely right place.

The truth is, I have been counting, hoping and praying on this local church, and it may not be what is supposed to happen. (I hate that.) But this Sunday I am going to try to preach on a text that tells us that God doesn't always bring out the good stuff right off the bat... that sometimes it is when the party seems almost over that the Dom Perignon is poured.

There. As the Frenchman once said when I walked into his restaurant and asked, "How are you?": "Better now."


steve said...

Dear Mags,

So glad to hear that you and yours are feeling better. It was so nice to have one of your posts to read again.

Your musings about work, etc. made me think about the anxiety I felt around my first "real" job search (i.e., after my internship, where it was now generally expected that I had to get serious). I remember interviewing at a Christian Counseling agency who asked whether I would be willing to supervise "Conversion Therapy" (the odd practice of trying to "convert" gay or lesbian individuals to a heterosexual orientation). I was feeling somewhat anxious at that point about finding a job (any job), but I found myself having to say no. I just couldn't support something that didn't feel right or ethical to me.

I ended up going to a local mental health center with its own set of problems, and finally found an opportunity to join the private practice where I work now.

It was a difficult and strange journey to finally find a workplace that was a good fit for me. I sense that you're on something like that now. Peace and blessings to you as you seek to find a good fit for your talents, interests, and passions.

Magdalene6127 said...

Steve, I appreciated your response to this post. Since writing it, i have learned that another local church is seeking to call a pastor, not my denomination but one of the members of our 'formula of agreement' for sharing clergy resources. When i learned this i thought, 'ok, maybe this is part of the difficult and strange journey' you were mentioning! I want so much to feel that sense of call, of "rightness" about my work. I have each other job I've taken before this. I think i need to trust that I will again...

Blessings, and thanks again. Mags