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.