Tuesday, August 26, 2008

T-minus 6 days and counting...

I’ve been cleaning out my home office in anticipation of my move to Boston, and I figured it was time to stop procrastinating and clean out the cobwebs over here as well.

So here’s my long overdue ketchup list!

  • The pile of things I’m taking with me to seminary is ever growing. I have an unfurnished studio apartment on campus so the pile is my attempt to make it “furnished.” My SO and I have tossed aside the silly notion of making several car trips (at 3 hours, 300 miles, and $60 a tank of gas each) and have decided to rent a Uhaul and do it all in one shot. My previous experience with Uhaul’s “reservation” system has not been pleasant (truck? what truck? someone told you we had a truck?), so we’ve got our fingers crossed that all goes smoothly when we pick up our Mini-Mover on Sunday morning.
  • Speaking of Sunday morning – they’re giving me a big send-off at church and my pastor asked me if I would like to preach. “Sure!” I said – being fully confident that the germ of an idea that I have for a sermon will somehow coagulate into coherent sentences and spill itself out onto paper by Saturday night. I have a quiet morning ahead of me (my SO is up at school tutoring and preparing for teacher meetings that start tomorrow), and I still have 6 days to finish packing/piling, so now is the perfect time to get to work on my sermon….or update my blog. (Hell, a sermon is just a blog post with scripture thrown in, so technically I’m not procrastinating…)
  • Last Sunday was my last pulpit fill-in at the Twilight Zone church. It was a great experience and a good learning opportunity as I got into a rhythm of writing a fresh sermon every week (or updating one that I’d given at another church, wink, wink). They still haven’t found an interim minister, and given the lethargic atmosphere of the congregation, I can understand why. They may be more of a challenge then someone looking for an interim position is willing to take on. There was one woman who very persistently asked me every time I preached to “hurry and get done with school so you can come back and be our minister.” As flattering as that sounds, I felt myself cringing inside every time she said it. The place needs a top to bottom overhaul – music, religious education programming, outreach, new member attraction – from creating a welcoming and dynamic worship environment to recruiting readers/liturgists who don’t mumble and stare at the floor the whole time they’re at the podium – you know, the little things. They have the means to turn themselves around (we’re talking million dollar endowment) but not the desire. The mostly elderly congregation is perfectly happy with the way things are, as they watch their church dying around them. Maybe in three years time I’ll feel ready, willing and able to take on such a challenge, but right now I wouldn’t even know where to start!
  • Next up on the ketchup list is a milestone (of sorts) for me. Having worn glasses since the age of nine, I just got my first pair of “oh-my-God-I’m-over-40” eyewear. Yes, I am now sporting ‘progressive lenses’ – which is the hip way to wear bifocals without feeling all old and Ben Franklin-y. Surprisingly, they were a lot easier to adjust to than I thought. They do make my head spin ala Vertigo if I’m up and moving around a lot, where my eyes need to shift up and down, or side to side rapidly, but thankfully my distance prescription is pretty much the same so I can throw on my old, non-granny, glasses when needed. (see, this is why people read my blog, for fascinating tid-bits just like this!)
  • On a more exciting note, I did clear one more hurdle on my path to ordained ministry – I made it through the dreaded two-day psychological evaluation that my local UCC association requires before entering the In Care process. After filling out reams of paperwork prior to my visit, my SO and I traveled up to Dedham Massachusetts to the Career Development Center so my mind could be further poked and prodded. I met with a career counselor, took yet another personality test (567 yes or no questions, such as “Do you think someone is following you?” or “Would you like to be a Flight Attendant?”), and then spent two hours talking to a clinical psychiatrist; a lovely 85-year-old man who labeled me as “stubborn” when I told him I didn’t like wearing dresses. Seriously, it went very well, the process helped me to realize that I already have some of the skills needed to be an effective minister, even if I often fear that I don’t; and despite my struggle with self-esteem issues, I have accomplished a lot in my life and overcome many obstacles to get where I am today, and I have to own that and use it to belay the fears I have about failing as I move forward on the path to ordained ministry. It did help to get a professional opinion on whether I have what it takes to be a good pastor, but for the most part all the hours spent writing, testing and talking didn’t tell me much that I didn’t already know. They gave me an official Myers-Briggs test that said I was – SURPRISE - an INFJ......Sheesh, a 5-question internet test would have told me that. ;-) And while the career aptitude test that I took had “Minister” ranked at number three on my list of potential “Helping” career choices (a sub category), overall the top five career choices they had for me were:
  1. Recreation Therapist
  2. ESL Instructor
  3. Parks & Recreation Manager
  4. Technical Writer
  5. Chiropractor

So there you go, if this ministry thing doesn’t work out I can head off to the woods, set up a volleyball tournament for the hikers, teach English to Senior Yogi Bear, and give neck and back adjustments to RV drivers.

On second thought, that sounds so much better than refereeing arguments over the color of the carpet in the sanctuary…
Screw seminary, Yellowstone here I come!

1 comment:

Marie said...

Studio apartment! Cool! Less stuff to take! Just so you know, I've verified and re-verified with UHaul because I've had the same experience.

Soooo glad I didn't have to preach at church last Sunday. Prayers for you on that one.

Feeling your pain with the glasses. Progressive lenses didn't work for me, so I have honest to God bifocals with lines. And reading glasses for OVER my contacts. Just call me grandma.

Hurrah on clearing the psychologicals. I did that so long ago, I may have to do it again before I'm ordained.

Let me know how that Yellowstone thing works out.