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Archive for December, 2007

I’ve just finished reading Fidelia’s Sisters on the Young Clergy Women site (link on the blogroll, right). I don’t know why I don’t go there more often. OK, maybe I do know why! I’d blow too much of my day reading all the threads and discussions. But when I do go there, it is so great to read about all the connections I have with other young clergy women. Maybe I don’t know most of them personally, but a few I do. And if there really are just 6 degrees of separation, I may as well know all of them!

Any way, it’s nice to read about the common struggles and celebrations young clergy women have that other women can’t relate to in quite the same way, and that clergy men really can’t relate to. It sounds so trite, but it really is comforting and uplifting to know that others share your experience, especially when one feels so isolated. I’ve been in ministry for over 15 years now, and am marking this week the 9th anniversary of my seminary graduation and in January will celebrate the 9th anniversary of my ordination. Even still, being under 40 I’m a kid on the block, and frequently the youngest person period at minister’s gatherings. There are, at least, in my denomination many other women ministers, but not so many that we feel a significant force always.

And even though there are 2 clergywomen in my town who are younger than I am, one is not in my denomination, the other serves part time in another town. There is a third clergy women, and I suspect she is close in age to me, but I hardly ever make the ministers association because it conflicts with another meeting. Regardless of the details, I still feel isolated, perhaps because I don’t work with clergy women everyday and because I’m new to the state.

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Making Deserts Bloom

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes. Isaiah 35:5-7

Making deserts bloom, that was the title of one of the first social studies units I ever studied in school. I think it was a Scott Forstman textbook for second grade, the cover was purple or maybe green. The unit was about, if I remember correctly, how irrigation was being used in the desert southwest to create conditions for farming. I think we even had a movie or film strip to go with it. Anyway, the title is what stuck most with me and the photograph of a desert flower blooming; some bright pink bloom.

What made me think of this was the scripture reading this week from Isaiah (above), which talks about the coming messiah who will be a restorer of life. It is a passage of hope meant to be a message of sustaining life; wait just a little longer, things will get better! For me it is the message I’ve been looking for, waiting for. Earlier this year I had a surgery that restored normal sight. I had a tumor that was interfering with my vision, making me have double vision. Even though that vision was restored (thank you, God!); I’m not entirely happy. It seems that all of the other stresses of this year are overshadowing the restoration of health. I was so incredibly blessed in the event of my surgery, by doctors, family, friends and more; yet what blocks my vision of that healing are: the 6 months being a part from my husband who had a new job in a new town, that time spent fixing up our house for sale, showing the house, packing up, closing a ministry, interviewing and being called to a new ministry, starting that ministry after moving, selling our house, buying a new one (twice! because of the mortgage process), moving, being paid 20% less to do 50% more in a new job, discovering the cost of living in my new town is higher than my old, getting acquainted with a new town and people, being removed from friends and my support system, worry about my tumor being really gone, the difficult transition for my kids to a new school, my son’s new school and his apparent dissatisfaction with his new school, the list goes on.

So if I were to translate this scripture to fit my current situation it would be a correction of those wrongs in my life. It would make my desert bloom with joy that there was a job for me to come to, that our new house (though different from the old in many ways) is actually a nicer house than the old, that my husband is serving his dream job, that my children are healthy and eventually we will find the best possible situation for each of them, that I am healthy and I can see the stars again. Some of my laments are things that have passed and won’t have to be dealt with again anytime soon; but some are ongoing and these will be dependent on trust in God that these ziggy paths will be made straight.

There are other good things. I’ve taken up knitting again and have actually made several gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I’m slowly making friends (I think). I have a Pastoral Support Team now. I’m starting a Godly Play class in January. Having no television sometimes means we spend more time with our kids. There are people who are glad I’m here. I have knowledge and experience to show that for every valley I go through, I’m not traveling alone and I will be up on the mountain again.

Funny thing about that valley/mountain imagery; the valleys are usually the most fertile ground being the recipient of all that washes down the sides of the mountain. And while the mountains are very beautiful and the view from atop them is glorious, it’s in the valleys or on the way up and down that we meet the most people. You always have to come down the mountain to get the things you need for day to day living; food, clothes, companionship, etc.

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