Wednesday, June 02, 2010

finding my way. or not.

I'm feeling uncomfortable this morning. Not yet 7:30 and only 70 degrees out (just wait!), a trickle of sweat is making its way down my back, and my face and forehead are damp with sweat. Cursed humidity. I don't have kind words for humidity. But my discomfort stems from more than moisture.

I have struggled for a long time to find the right niche for myself vocationally. When I first felt called to priesthood I understood that call as being in parish ministry. I also understood that the form of ministry into which I would live would not be parish ministry. I have prayed to and waited on God to reveal a path, some clarity to point me in the right direction and discover that place where work would be meaningful and the exercise of my gifts would offer fulfillment. I wait. I wait some more. I pray. I sigh.

This month will mark 15 years of priesthood. During a period of unemployment eight years ago I made an effort to push the envelope of what ordained ministry looks like. I applied for jobs at retreat centers (why doesn't being a homeowner count toward experience in facilities management, I want to know?), ventured toward associate positions that offered license for creativity, looked into chaplaincies and I-don't-remember-any-longer what else. Phfffft. Discouraged, I returned to parish ministry via a model in which I believed, had experience and gifts. It was a dismal experience for a number of reasons. I've filled in during interim periods at two churches, and served as interim at one. Now I am back at the parish where I had the most satisfying run of ministry ten years ago. But it is not the same place. The people who helped to make it vital then have left, and there are only a few that fit that bill who have joined that family. It is not a bad place to be, but there is lots around which to feel discouraged.

And I struggle. When I left regional ministry I found the courage to do so through the truth of words I heard spoken by Joyce Meyers. Whatever you may think of her, happening upon her TV program Christmas morning while recovering from strep throat pretty much saved me. What she said, in essence, was this: if you're struggling, you are not where God wants you to be. She wasn't saying that struggle is a bad thing, but if day in, day out, life was an uphill battle then it was time to find a more suitable terrain.

The struggle in which I find myself now isn't as bad as the former experience. Still, there is too much struggle to serve God, and God's people, well. I get whispers occasionally of ways to have more fulfilling days, but I lack the confidence the follow them. And then there's little matter of trust of which I wrote a few posts back. Is clarity too much for which to ask? Is a signpost out of the question? How about a financial gift that would alleviate the concern about paying bills while something could be put together and given time to launch?

And so I continue to wander the maze that is my life, hoping that I will find the path that points the way. There aren't that many years left. I want them to count. Is that too much to ask?

5 comments:

The Bug said...

I've often wished that I felt "called" for some particular purpose - but it sounds like being called is only the beginning of the puzzle. I wish I could help. I know - I'll pray!

Mompriest said...

oh my goodness...you. me. and so many others I know. I'm not sure that I think that the struggle means we're in the wrong place - but I'm not sure it doesn't. Surely I had a horrible experience at my previous call and really felt, to my core, that it was the wrong place for me. The consequence of trying to do the right thing, by leaving that place, has left me in a position of nearly being destitute - we're applying for public aid and have gone through all - all - of our resources.

Is this really what God called me to do/be? Is that really what was supposed to happen by trying to do the right thing for all the right reasons?

Mostly I end up wondering if there really is a God or am I just living a delusional life.

ANd then I think, it may be delusional, but it's the life I've chosen.

And then I think, (mostly) one day I'll understand it all. One day, when I can look back, I'll think that it has led me to exactly where I need to be.

All that is to say - I'm sorry you are in this boat with me. Or at least a similar boat. Keep rowing sister. Keep rowing.

Mompriest said...

...and I answered the 20 things...on my blog.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

What a brave and soul-searching post! I wish we could go out for a cuppa coffee together. I read your other post where your #18 hit me -- and I'm thinking perhaps it is time for you to take some steps towards accomplishing one or more of those three things that you want to do. Of course I'd recommend you start one of the quilts for the grandchildren -- what's holding you back? Perhaps if you can get into that, this other niggling discomfort will settle down a bit? Just sayin'.

KimQuiltz said...

Just sitting with you in love, dear friend. :)

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