Monday, June 21, 2010

A Little of What Is In Front of Me

Seminary ~ it seems like a dream.  It's so odd; it feels as if I've dropped back into my old life after some time away, except that of course it isn't my old life anymore.  Everything is encircled by, encased in, enveloped in the loss of Josh.  I keep feeling that I should be able to fix that, but apparently I can't.  

For the last three years, two of them under the weight of this terrible gone-ness of my child, I have been focused on preparation for ministry.  And for the last eighteen consecutive months (since I took summer Hebrew, there was only a short break last August), I have concentrated intently upon the academic dimension of that preparation.  Classes and meetings to attend,  stacks of reading to complete and papers to write, constant deadlines.  Hours and hours of driving back and forth between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.  Field ed sermons and classes and worship services to prepare.  More deadlines.

Suddenly it's all over, and I have no place in particular to be, no moment a few days away by which three different things must be done.  And no real prospects for that changing anytime soon.

This is, apparently, a time in which to be open to . . .  whatever.  Just do a little of what's in front of you ~ that's what I sense I'm being called to.  Clear off and organize the materials on a table or counter.  Chose a paint color for the guest bedroom.  Write some more thank you notes.  Sort out and give away clothing.  Take long walks.  Listen to the silence.  Try to be open to what's next.

It's disconcerting.  One of my classmates is being ordained in a few weeks.  Others are still working in churches where they have been for months or years, or leading summer mission trips, or . . .  something.  They are active, serving God and others, as they await ordination exam re-takes or the fruition of the search process. 

And it seems that I am called to . . .  go downstairs and go through the piles of books and papers stacked in the sunroom.  

I suppose there's a sermon in there somewhere.  Or, and perhaps more importantly, a prayer.  Time to watch and listen.


  1. It is hard to slow down after the intensity of the past three years. Deadlines and goals and rigid schedules keep us moving but don't feed the soul so well as slowing down and getting things in order again-body, soul and spirit. That provides a simple, quiet peace that clears the mind and heart. Enjoy this season, Robin, as, in light of your talent and training and experience, I suspect it will be short!

  2. Perhaps if you view this time as a ministry of self and soul that will help you gain a perspective on this wide open expanse of time and options.

  3. I like what Carol said about this time being one of ministering to yourself. Transitions are often difficult. Please be gentle with yourself during this one.

  4. watching, listening,'s also an active time, just a different kind of "active"...

  5. i think ministry too goes in seasons and cycles. i find myself with times of quiet, inactivity that really is activity... walking the dogs, folding laundry, reading. not everyone is setting the world on fire all at once... sometimes we're called to simply glow where we are.

  6. While I struggled mightily with the long time it took me to receive a call, one of the gifts of that time was space to fully process seminary, which for me was a mixed bag. May this time of open-ness be just what you need.

    BTW: love the photo

  7. As a do-er and not a very good be-er, the idea of a long stretch to do just what is in front of me would terrify me. But of course, it is probably just what I need to stretch my soul. I am enjoying your sharing of how you are doing it, and doing it so well. Blessings.

  8. One of the hardest messages I ever receive from God is the "You can't see the whole path. Trust me. I'll lead you one step at a time" message. And he seems to give me that one a lot. As a consequence, I often find myself reading Isaiah 30:20-21.

    I hope that whatever you find in front of you today is fulfilling.

  9. Yes, what they all said. I agree with Karen that in light of your talent, training and experience, this "time" will be short.