1.27.2008

Because...

I am a spiritual leader because...
I am a spiritual leader because...
I am a spiritual leader because...


Week Two of the Alban Institute's A Spriritual Leader's Guide to Self Care lead me to the exercise that required writing this sentence on my page three times. I had to fill in the dot dot dot with the first words that came to my mind. And the first words that completed this sentence in my mind...

I am a spiritual leader because my mother died.


I'm grateful that I have a good companion on this journey that encouraged me past these words. She reminded me that this was not all my call was about -- even though I was stuck after creating a &%$&* life map. I think a lot about my childhood. Maybe other clergy don't but I'm aware that my childhood has formed who I am as an adult, as a minister and as a human being. Perhaps this is a setback in my ministry and my own personal development even though my colleague encouraged me that I must be wonderful at bedsides and other's anniversaries because I get it. And yet when this sentence appeared below my pen, I was disappointed and unsettled. Shouldn't there be more? Shouldn't it be something else? Am I just another one of the train wrecks that I loathed in seminary? Am I a spiritual leader because of this event? Or is there something else?

This is the dreaded week of my mother's anniversary. It is 21 years. I could drink the number of years that my mother has been dead. (It was a disgusting thought in my head too.) I may be thinking about this too much. I probably am but I can't help it. I remarked to an old friend today that I feel like I should be over it. I feel like it should get easier. But, it doesn't. Maybe my Nordic side kicks in with a little Seasonal Affective Disorder. Maybe that's an excuse to protect the seven year old within me that misses her mother and wonders how life can unfold in such a confusing way. Nonetheless, I feel like it should be over. It shouldn't hurt anymore.

I want all of those stupid things that people say at death to come true so that it no longer hurts. I don't know if that means that I would no longer be a spiritual leader. I can't really imagine that. I am a spiritual leader because this experience of loss has shaped me. I am a spiritual leader because I was saved by a community of faith. I am a spiritual leader because I believe that others can be offered the hope that I found -- even when I can't find it on the 21st anniversary of my mother's death. I still want to believe it's possible when I revert to my seven year old mindset. I still want to be offered that comfort. I have no idea how to share that right now. I just know that this is part of it. Maybe I should listen to my own pastoral wisdom.

4 comments:

more cows than people said...

(o)

and you didn't say i couldn't (((pastorpeters)))

Alex said...

I think that you are a great spiritual leader. Thanks for sharing this with us.

LittleMary said...

you are so NOT one of those train wrecks. i wouldn't like you if you were...unless i am one of them too and then it makes two of us. it is hard to separate why we went into ministry, the positive and the negative...or to have to think about them as both positive and negative. am with you in your thought process.

Rev. Ez said...

i think loss, and what happens afterwards, is a fine reason to go into ministry. and i think it's not all your call is about. and it's a big part of who you are. and i wish i could hug your 7 year old self and tell her that she'll be an amazing pastor when she grows up and that is a beautiful thing in the midst of a confusing world.