Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Steps on the Journey

I bit the bullet and registered for GREs today. I had hoped I'd avoid that, since I've already got one Master's degree, but only those with terminal degrees get a break at the seminary. Ah well, I hope they don't care about my math scores, which will be abysmal. I used my Amazon gift certificate from my sisters in law for GRE prep books. Seems unfair to use a gift for something like that, but I was grateful to save the 50 bucks.

I finished rereading "Listening Hearts", the recommended priest discernment book. It's good on process ( an extension of the discernment process used in Quaker Meeting) but the quotes make my head spin. In essence, one quote - which says to trust what you feel in your heart - is followed with another one which says that you shouldn't be fooled by false messages from your heart. All I know is that this feels more right than anything in my life, and I hope that the Parish Discernment Committee, who will also use the book in part as a guide, will agree.

I had lunch with an old friend - let's call her "Ms. Bling" in honor of her love of expensive goodies - and told her of my plans. She was a bit shocked, mostly that I hadn't told her sooner. She was reasonably supportive and had some good ideas about selling the house, since she's a realtor. I love her dearly, but I realized how different our lives had become when she started telling me that she was having a facelift and laser skin resurfacing in January. Oy! I guess we all react to middle age differently. I just buy pants with a higher spandex content.

I decided on my topic for the merit scholarship application : Conflict Resolution in Politics: Lessons Learned and Their Application to Congregational Conflict. I've spent the past umpty-ump years of my life negotiating as a lobbyist - that experience should have some applicability. Since I want to pursue a subspecialty in congregational conflict resolution, it's a logical choice.

So I started to outline the paper (or the original version of it, which was broader in scope) and realized if I covered all I wanted to, it would be a dissertation. I'd rather not spend the whole year writing this thing, so with PH's help I cranked it back to its present scope. Now all I have to do is start writing the case study that I'm going to lead off with, then research the points I want to make.

Strong Opinions decided she needed to replace her lost driver's license (always a good thing) and needed me to go with her. We made plans for her to be back from a sleepover by 8 so we could get to the DMV, the third circle of Hell, before the lines got out of control. True to form, she didn't get home in time, so I went downtown to work. She called at 10 am, and we had to negotiate when she would go: a) after picked up her friends from the sleepover at the left end of nowhere, b) after swapping cars with her other friend, c) after taking Useless Boyfriend to work, since his car was nonfunctional, d) after picking up our pregnant houseguest to go to work. I explained I was meeting Ms. Bling at 12:30. She met me at DMV at 12:28. I got her set up and left her there to finish the transaction herself, which took another 45 minutes. (The sound you heard at that point of the day was me taking EXTREMELY deep cleansing breaths.) I knew I'd get to use the Lamaze breathing again in my life.

Sort of made the GREs seem easy by comparison.


St. Casserole said...

You are correct. The DMV is the third circle of hell. Another ring is the License plate bureau. I'll be there today paying for a tag for LLS's car.
Conflict resolution is a great topic. Congregations don't know much about dealing with conflict and churches are a brewing ground for lots of upset.
Proud of you for taking the path. I mean it!

reverendmother said...

Love your pseudonyms! Also the higher spandex pants.

mibi52 said...

St-Cass-thanks for the words of encouragement. I'm honored that the famous blog queen with well over 10,000 visitors should speak such kind words to lowly me! Our DMV does both licenses and tags. You can check on the web to see how long the wait is. The website usually says 5 minutes and when we get there, it ends up being 45. My tolerance for bureaucracy continues to wane.

The conflict resolution thing is something that really appeals to me. I may eventually try and do an internship or some sort of work with the Alban Institute up in DC; they've done a lot of work in the field and it would be cool to see how they approach the issue. An alternative option would be to be a professional interim; we have a few such priests in the area. A bit of a gypsy existence, but that's the advantage of being (ahem!) mature. Heaven knows we Episcopalians are a pretty fractured bunch these days, and it's not just parish to parish within the diocese; within individual parishes, people are on opposite sides of difficult issues. I tease PH that he works with individuals with troubles; he says I must have a megalomaniac streak,wanting to work with congregations with troubles.

RevMother- the spandex is not just limited to pants, sad to say. When I look at the kind of Victoria's Secret undies I used to wear when I was just a young thing, and the amount of high-tension cantilevered construction I require these days, it just amazes me! Of course, the 15 extra pounds doesn't help much...

Patti said...

May I recommend...Word Smart (Genius Edition) and a good 8th grade math book, like Saxon. Those helped me more than the study books did. Good luck on the test!