Honoring My Need to Cocoon

This is the word that I fell off my lips today.

My therapist picked up on it.  What is it about honor that you need?  What is it about honor that you want?  What is it that you understand in that word?  she asked.

The snapshot I offered was one from the Church and Ministry meeting yesterday.  Our conversation explored the differences between Commissioned, Licensed and Ordained Ministry.  In the end, when all of the various aspects of each were named, we tripped over the problem of prestige in our non-hierarchical tradition. None of these ways to ministry are better than the other. One is not more loved by God. One is not more valued by the church. Instead, they each articulate the different ways that we seek to serve God in the various ways that we explore our service. When I offered this in therapy, I clarified that I'm not interested in prestige. I don't want my honor to be determined by others.  Instead, I want it to be my own.  I want my honor to come from within me.

This photo was taken by Madhu B Nair.
In this moment in time, I'm aware that something big is changing within me.  My therapist says that I might be in a cocoon.  It might be that something big is happening and I'm feeling that need to pull myself tightly together before something new emerges.  I like that.  It fits me -- even though I really don't feel comfortable blogging about it publicly.  (I might go to a password protected blog very soon.  I have another blog though so you can read about me there.)  And yet, in these past few weeks, I've been holding my cards very close to my chest. I've been aware of a change that is happening within me but I've wanted to solve it.  I've wanted to make it better without living out all of the questions that are so deeply embedded in my core.

These are things I would tell church people not to do -- but life would be far too simple if I were able to take my own advice.  I need someone else to play my pastor.  I need someone else to reflect that part that I'm not able to see as I'm wrapped up in this cocoon. So, I'm trying.  I'm trying to be in this cocoon.  I'm trying to be aware of that space that I need to change and to grow.  I'm trying to be gentle enough with myself too feel all of the things that I'm feeling.  I'm trying to honor myself enough to be in this time and this space so that I can experience resurrection.

I need to honor myself.


What Do You Need?

This is the question that I'm asking myself.  Over and over again.  

What do I need?  

It's a question that has emerged from my shiny new therapist. She's pushing me on this question -- as apparently I fall into that dreadful category of clergy who think of others before themselves. (This is news to me.) There are lots of things that are pushing up against this question. Lots of things. Too many things. It's why I haven't blogged.  I'm just not sure what to say about myself.  I'm not sure how to answer this question about what I need.

This afternoon, a friend called.  She told me dramatic news that makes my heart break into too many pieces.  It's not my story to tell, so I will only ask for prayers upon this friend.  She needs them.  Of course, I didn't say I'd pray for her.  (I will but I believe she knows that. Or she better.) Instead, I asked her, "What do you need?"

Like me, she tripped over the answer. She offered the things that she had to cross off a list -- those things that I can't really do anything about. So, I interrupted her train of thought. "The list must be long," I said. "I know you'll do those things, but I want you to know that I'm here to hold your hand if you need it."

And I will. 

In my own words, I heard that reminder that there are others that will do that for me. I'm trying so hard to find the words to talk about the things that I'm feeling about my call to ministry and the new expression of grief on my heart, but I need to remember that others are asking me that question too. (There's a reason that this post isn't making sense.  I'm struggling with words.  It's a big problem.)  But, even when I can't find the words, someone somewhere is holding me in prayer -- and that's something I really need.