Tuesday, March 31, 2009

desperately seeking

I need to lament.

I go through cycles; of being caught up in my life and experiencing the contentment it offers, and then of feeling the emptiness that exists because there are some essential things missing. I am in the grip of the latter these days.

In short I feel relationally isolated. In part this is a consequence of my vocation. There are peculiar and necessary boundaries that complicate clergy lives. Friends in my congregation cannot be friends in the fullest sense of that experience. I first knew that to be true in the theoretical sense and then fell on its sword in reality.

Quite apart from the issue of boundaries there is the paradox of the life of faith. To mediate the divine, which is what we are called to do in so many respects, the vulnerability of our own faith and journey must be somewhat transparent. That transparency opens us to wounding. Put yourself in the midst of other lives struggling with their own vulnerability and, well, shit happens. You get the brunt of human issues in all forms. It can be painful even as it is also a holy privilege.

This life can also limit friendships from forming. The public image of clergy serves to isolate. We are perceived as different and set apart. One of the reasons I love being a Pampered Chef consultant is because it has nothing to do with my professional life. It balances my experience of other people, and allows me to be "just one of the girls."

But there is something else at work here on which I cannot exactly put my finger. I suspect that the net affect of the above has caused me to withdraw and insulate myself, which makes me part of my own problem. I just don't seem to make friends, and among the friends I do have, I feel invisible. I fear I have created that. And if that is true, I want to find the means to reverse and undo what has taken place. I feel like, in most cases, I do all the seeking. I make comments on blogs and on facebook, and do not receive the same in kind. I have gone out of my way to acknowledge, appreciate and recognize others, and those efforts don't appear to matter. I try to do unto others (and yes, I could do more), but there are few who do unto me.

I am not feeling sorry for myself, but I am feeling.

The other day I got out for a walk, and enjoyed seeing the signs of spring through which we are moving in this part of the world. I love this time of year, and the metaphor of new life encourages me. If I could afford it I would go down to Publix and buy dozens of tulips. They were my grandfather's favorite flower (or at least one of them). Remembering him I feel held, safe, loved. He saw me, and his acknowledgement served as a blessing.

I think today I will go to the kennel and play with puppies. There are few things that give me as much joy as loving on them.

6 comments:

kimquiltz said...

Hello! I found you through Diane Walker's blog, I am grateful to you for being here. I have read only one post so far, but I already get the feeling that I will be "seeing" you quite often.

Thank you for this soul baring post, we need to be reminded that our clergymen and women are people too...I KNOW mine is very human, but in a very good, honest and often hilarious way.

Thanks again.

:Jayne said...

I don't see you as invisible at all. You are always a part of the group even when you aren't there, and you and I have never been in the group at the same time. But I feel your precence.
While I know your vocation and your faith, I still see you as just one of the girls.
I think we all feel invisible at times.

Jayne said...

And then I called in the afternoon and added more to lament. :c(

((((Anne)))) I do so wish we lived closer as you know we'd be at Panera every other day or so at least for long conversations. I've also felt isolated in my life, in some part due to our circumstances with Sam, so I do understand. And, like you, at times I feel I try and try and try and yet get little reciprocation from my IRL friends. Just know that from here, you are thought about daily. I will try and call you later today, ok?

Love and big warm hugs to you this morning.

Kip said...

what are you talkin' bout girl? You know you are LOVED!!

Maria said...

Hugs Anne! If it's any comfort at all, I think we all feel this way at times. It's just making it over to the next hill. Hang in there and never forget that you are loved by many!

Sophia said...

I came over for Friday Five and found this....I'm sorry that things are so lonely and challenging and glad you have a new furry friend to love up.

I was pleasantly surprised and very grateful for your visit and supportive comments earlier this week, when I was struggling with my rector.

This is such an interesting complement/contrast to my experience. I am so starved for ministry opportunities, especially in preaching and presiding which are so important to me, that I spend a good bit of time jealous of clergy who do have communities where they can do those things and be publicly recognized as who they are in that role....But I can definitely see the down side of that, especially if you are in an area where there is not a lot of other clergy to connect with.

Hugs and prayers.

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