As I looked out over my congregation for much of last year, what I saw were the faces of loss: widows, widowers, the otherwise bereaved, the ill and the injured; you name it, it's been experienced in our small church community.
And so I developed a four-part spiritual formation series based on the Book of Ruth. We -- four widows (all of whom became caregivers before they became widows) and two women whose husbands now require their full-time care -- met four times to talk about (1) the heartbreaking losses they have sustained, (2) the invisible losses that accompany the obvious ones, (3) the surprising people who show up to help in surprising ways, and (4) where they are now. Where they are now, I tried to convey to them yesterday, is that they have become women of incredible courage and resilience and strength.
Yesterday was our last meeting, but today one of the women asked if that were really the end, and then said, "We've been talking and, if you don't want to lead it anymore, we could just continue on our own."
I'm SO quietly excited. I saw an unmet need, created an avenue to address it, and fostered the development of women who can now lead themselves. Ministry: Yes!
A lot of the time I feel as if I'm treading water, at best. A lot of the time I feel as if people have no interest in what I'm talking about or where I want to go, and as if I am completely inadequate to this role. A lot of the time I am saying to God, "What, exactly ?????"
Today I get to chalk up a small success. :)
Image: My computer is now filled with Ruth and Naomi images. This one is He Qi's, and one of our women noted yesterday that it would make a great pattern for a quilt.