I have had several moments in ministry in the past week during which a little part of my psyche whispered "Blog this!"
Problem is, I can't. I was discussing this with a non-blogging minister friend over lunch yesterday. So much of what we do falls into the realm of pastoral confidence... even things that one wouldn't think fall into that category. Pastoral confidentiality is not all about someone knocking on the door of my office with a tearful confession of adultery or murder (which has never happened to me, at least not so far). It's not about secret abuse or second families. It's the mundane, though beautiful moment of real intimacy... when you are permitted to share real life with people, not even as an "expert" of some kind, but just as... a presence. A witness.
I've been a witness this week, to several families in varying stages of grief.... but is even that too much to reveal? My lunch companion said, "Being a minister is an isolating experience. There's a lot we have to carry around, a lot we really can't tell anyone, if we're going to honor that confidence." I think she's right. And I think I'm bad at this. I want to share these precious, fleeting occasions with someone... with you, with my colleagues and friends. But what I have agreed to be is not a conveyer of information, but a witness.
So that's what I'll do.
The church I serve has a cemetery. Walking through it on Saturday, I was overwhelmed by the history of the place-- more than 200 years, all told (though less than 200 since becoming officially a part of the Presbyterian stream). Those stones... they are witnesses, too, like the stones in Joshua. "Tell your children that God did this mighty work in this place."
Have I mentioned today how much I love my work?