Thursday, June 20, 2013


Ten years, ten months, ten days . . . what would you do if that's what was left to you?
It's an old question, I know.  I'm feeling the urgency of it these days.
Looking ahead: I'll be sixty in a few weeks.  I figure that gives me ten years of energy at the level to which I've become accustomed.  Not anything approaching the energy I possessed five years ago, but still.  Enough.  Ten years in which to pastor a church and/or accomplish some other things which matter to me.  Ten years before I will perhaps want to make completely different choices about how to spend my days than I do now.
(And yes, I'm presuming health, which is nothing more than a fragile hope.  I have a routine colonoscopy scheduled in a couple of weeks.  Once one of those routine tests alters your life for year or more, as a mammogram did for me, you no longer view them with quite the equanimity you once did.  But let's pretend.)
Looking back, the last two months have been fuller than I would have liked (and probably account for how sick I've been the last few days).  The usual church stuff plus some difficult conflicts.  Three funerals, a new member, two people having and still facing major surgeries.  (And while I've never had a pastor come to visit me in the hospital, excepting after the birth of my boys nearly twenty-nine years ago, when my people go, I usually do as well.)  Extensive preparations for two major events, one of which I was unable to attend, due to one of the aforesaid funerals.  Three days of advocacy in Washington.  And some unbloggable stuff, some kind of difficult and some filled with promise -- or not.
I really am not at all sure how to approach these next ten years.  I feel very . . . scattered.  It's in the nature of parish ministry that one does many things, different things, sequentially and also often simultaneously.    I'm not sure that I want to live that way.  I look at some of the intensity with which others in my boat approach writing, or suicide prevention work, or bereavement work, and I think: Yes, I should be a more single-minded and focused person. 
Then I live with that sort of focus for a bit, and I miss the rest.  I loved being in Washington.  I loved the return to my driven lawyer self.  I loved the sense of community.  I loved being with 200 people who could talk about gruesome details of death by suicide without flinching.  (I guess that sounds weird.  But so often I have to sensor my reality . . . ). And yet, while I was there, I was planning worship for the next two Sundays in my head, I was texting with a parishioner with respect to one of those surgeries,  I was the grateful recipient of thanks for some liturgy I had prepared, and I was starting to plan a rather unusual retreat for myself for next winter -- a retreat I might actually need to make right now.  I seem to migrate toward the varied in spite of myself.
There is an actual thought forming itself as I write.  Hard to believe, I know.
More later.


  1. You make me laugh. It's adult ADD. Accept that and life will be easier.

  2. And Happy Upcoming Birthday. 60 is grand, IMHO. You finally accept the inevitable and you actually feel proud of getting this far.

  3. I wouldn't call it ADD. I'd call it a fertile mind reaching out to devour the many things it can encompass.

    Heere is the first thought that came to me on reading this: You are incorrigible. I think that works...