Archive for February, 2011

The last time I posted was just a couple days after I started a regimen of steroids. It’s part of the protocol for tumor patients who’ve been through radiation. And while I think the steroids did some really great things for me, they also did some really not-so-great things. I’ve been off the steroids for 2 weeks and feel like I’m finally coming back down from the buzz. I was taking dexamethasone. Some refer to it as dex. I prefer to look at it from the viewpoint of some of the side effects. Remember that old UK band “Dexy’s Midnight Runners”? Well, I wonder if Dexy was dexamethasone, because one of the side effects for me was that I was up at all hours of the night. Sometimes it was really productive. I mean, I knit A LOT some of those nights. And I did quit a bit of quiet cleaning, like collecting the trash around the house, folding laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher, etc.

There were many, many side effects. I can say it took me to new highs. I was really happy, euphoric even. But I was also quite disconnected. Disconnected from people, disconnected from a normal sense of responsibility (I did a lot of shopping), and disconnected from God. The medicine had the effect of turning off my receiver, the way I hear God. And my prayers were very rote, just a lot of me saying the same old prayers and very little listening. My hunch is that many of us, when feeling high and happy, disconnect from God because we just feel like we’re soaring and don’t realize we’ve cut off from God, or even think we don’t need God so much. But once we begin to come down to earth again, or even when we have a dramatic fall to the depths, we realize we need God. It’s the opposite of being a fair weather friend. We cling to God when we have a reason to need God.

I don’t think my regular relationship is normally like that. Then again, dealing with a health/life crisis for nearly five years now, may have enhanced my dependence on God. I know it has, and I’ll try to give myself some credit. I do normally have a healthy connection to God, and as I was coming off of Dexy, I started to wake up to how much I was missing out. The weeks of my step down were tough weeks, mostly because of what was happening in my mind. There was a lot of fear, worry, anxiety and negativity there. I had to remind myself constantly that this was the result of the meds, and not because of reason. It’s the same with the 14 pounds I gained the last 6 weeks I was on the meds.

In the midst of this, I’ve got the challenge of figuring out what to do next. My husband is very happy in his ministry, and I’m getting kinda happy not being in parish ministry. In fact, just thinking about going back makes me anxious in a bad way. My body tightens up; I start to feel a bit defensive. I don’t want to take that into a new ministry.

I’ve started to see ministry as something I used to do; someone I used to be. Years ago, when I was an undergraduate thinking of going to seminary, a minister (male) said to me, “God can call you out of ministry just as he can call you into it.” At the time, I took it as his sexist remark on my unsuitability for ministry. But it was such a memorable remark that it has in some ways haunted me whenever things have gone poorly. And though it was 20 years ago, I have often thought of looking that guy up and asking him what he meant. Probably he would have no recollection of it!

The fog of euphoria has lifted, only to be replaced by the fog of standing in reality and trying to figure out which direction to turn next. I’m trying to revive my spiritual connection, and every once in a while God breaks in and I hear a positive word or two. If I’m finished with parish ministry, so be it. If I’m just on extended sabbatical, I welcome it. If I’m fighting with God’s call, work it out. What is God planning to do with all this experience anyway?

I snatched the following from the d365.org devotional for today. It just speaks to me as I feel passion-less, hard of hearing and unready.

“Now with the mind of Christ set us on fire,
That unity may be our great desire.
Give joy and peace; give faith to know your call,
And readiness in each to work for all.”

~John R. Peacey


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