7.20.2007

Forever Young

Yesterday, a member of the church introduced me to another area clergy. I'm not sure what was expected or hoped for in this meeting. But, I felt awkward. No, I felt young. I was asked if I was married, partnered or had children. And I think I replied tersely. This question makes me feel young. Perhaps because I'm sad that I don't have these things. Perhaps because I resent that these things create a personal life for others, and I feel left out. It's the same feeling I had at Bible study last week when I articulated my own feelings. There was a pause. And then I was told that you get to an age when you outgrow these feelings.

As I prepare my sermon for Sunday, these thoughts linger with me. These thoughts make me feel like I have nothing to say. Nothing to add. No gospel to share. I'm too young.

And yet, in these moments, I too often forget how I am perceived as a young 20-something member of the clergy. I forget that those same members of the clergy that I feel awkward around see something in me. They see my fresh insight. They see my youth as a positive thing -- even when I cannot.

And because I often forget this, I ignore that my words have power. Even though I am young and I only see my youth as a hinderance, I ignore that my words are hurtful. I don't pay attention to the fact that there are so many different perspectives. I don't pay attention to the fact that the words that I preach, the words that I write, the words in my emails and the words in on my blog have more power than I can be aware of. And in this, I forget to listen. I forget to love all of those perspectives. I forget to embrace those that are challenged with making tough decisions.

So, today, I offering my blessing and support to all of these people who remind me to listen, to love and to embrace. And I hope that they feel my hug.

5 comments:

MadPriest said...

Isn't it past your bed time, young lady?

Seriously, though, I found a post today by a young person (younger even than you) called Devin (I'm English so I don't know if that's a male or female name) on the GENERATION: YOUNG CANADIAN ANGLICANS blog. The address is

http://generation.anglican.ca/index.
php?option=com_content&task=view&id
=303&Itemid=9

You might want to check it out. You will certainly be able to empathise with the author.

liane said...

I'm delurking after almost a year of lurking to respond to this because you really struck a chord in me here. I am an (early) 20-something in the discernment process for ordination, and I often run into problems or obstacles based on my age. "You're so young, you have plenty of time" is the most common. But I can completely empathize with how you feel--simultaneously disempowered and leading with a voice that carries weight, authority. It's a tough space to be in. Youth is positive when people want it around, but often in sticky situations, I've found "experience" (translate=age) is the more desirable trait. Blessings to you as you work your way through it, and learn to hear the power in your own words and actions!

liane said...

can't seem to find your email either-- mine is liane826 AT mac DOT com. I'd love to see if we can work something out when I'll be in your city.

Magdalene6127 said...

Pastor Peters, I am glad you were able to remember the power inherent in your words... God is still speaking in you! (When people say my views are the views of a young person who hasn't yet learned, I remind them that I'm 46, and say a prayer that my views will remain forever the views of a young person!)

Peace,

Mags

LittleMary said...

so much power in words. that is why i need to learn to use them more carefully, i forget i have power. thanks for the post.