A strange and beautiful way to live...

Over the years I have wondered what I might do if I WASN'T a pastor: there certainly have been times when I've explored leaving the ministry - I've looked into massage therapy, faith-based community organizing and elementary school teaching - but always came back to a sense that even though this is a strange way to live, it is also a beautiful way to live in God's love, too.  I think that is why I sometimes make a list of what happened in the course of a day just to see the different ways I've been awakened to God's presence in my life.

Today, for example, I awoke DEAD tired.  I didn't sleep well and was slow and groggy as I made my pot of tea.  Turning to my on-line prayer friends @ Pray As You Go I sort of dozed my way through this morning's reflections.  Eventually I read the NY Times, shared breakfast with my honey and headed to church.  My secretary and I reviewed some appointments and then I met with a man in what turned out to be the start of a spiritual direction commitment.  I didn't know that was what our meeting was going to be about - and I don't think he did either - but that's what happened.  He wanted to learn how to grow closer to God's love now that just about everything else in his life has turned to dust.
That was the first beautiful surprise for the day - and while it caused me to miss a clergy gathering that I value - it was soul work and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.  Then I worked on another interpretive brochure for Lent - my sermon series re: a spirituality of imperfection - before meeting with a really insightful and helpful brother from the local music shop who is working with me on a new sound system for worship.  We spent an hour talking about options - the importance of beauty and clarity when speaking and sharing God's word, too - as well as his willingness to meet with our band to discuss the nitty gritty needs of doing music in a blended worship context.  I don't think I've ever spoken with a techie who quoted scripture before and was so committed to the integrity of preserving a building's visual beauty.  Very sweet.

Then I found my cell phone.  I have always tended to be a little forgetful (ask my staff about losing my keys or wallet) but as I have aged...it has only gotten worse.  For the past two days I have wondered just where my cell phone had walked off to only to have it turn up in the pocket of my wife's coat.  There were 11 calls on it that I missed - totally another lesson in humility and patience for me... Back in Tucson, I lost my wallet 5 times in 10 years and every time it was found/returned with NOTHING missing. Now  I don't count on such blessings always happening, but I am very grateful when they do!

Usually I have a bass guitar lesson late in the afternoon on Wednesdays, but my man is in DC for a sister city ambassador conference.  So, I took an appointment with a very troubled soul that left me baffled and bewildered - a real invitation for deeper discernment and lots of waiting and prayer.  Then it was off to visit some dear folk who have experienced one disaster after another this year but remain faithful and kind. (It was my joy to bring them a small contribution taken up by church members who wanted to go the extra mile and help out in a small way.)  Then back to the computer to finish up a Lenten liturgy, return phone calls and emails.

This was not a spectacular day - very ordinary in many ways - and God knows I wasn't always at my best. Still, there were clearly times when compassion was in order - and an invitation to go deeper in the Spirit was embraced, too - and I encountered God in some of very ordinary details.

It made me think of last night when I was coming back from the grocery store and heard Creedence's "Bad Moon Rising." As I listened to this old chestnut I realized that if I did it in a slower minor key version, it could be the perfect song for Good Friday:  "Don't go around tonight, its bound to take your life..." (This version isn't what I had in mind, but is kind of interesting, yes?)

So I have come to think of this way of being as a truly strange but beautiful way to live given the fast-paced, bottom-line obsession of popular culture - and nearly 30 years into my ordination I am ever more grateful for sticking with the calling - and can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.


Black Pete said…
I don't claim to speak for Dianne, but I can tell you that it's quite a trip being a clergy's spouse, too. What would we be doing if...?
RJ said…
I'm going to ask Dianne about that this weekend. Good thought, my man.

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