This past week seemed to be focused primarily on pastoral care for some folks with troubled hearts, bodies and minds. I had several very intense conversations, for which I felt only modestly equipped. I came away from them exhausted but feeling that at least I did no harm.
StrongOpinions was down for the weekend. She appears to be headed into another depressive cycle, but it is remarkable that she manages to keep going. I wish she were a more fundamentally cheerful person, and I wish I could let go of trying to "fix" things with her, since it doesn't work. I was just fried by the time she headed back to the Big Apple.
Now that GOe results are behind me, the next hurdle is my psych evaluation on Thursday. Since there are no folks currently on the approved list in northern Virginia, I will have to drive down to Richmond (2 hours south) for it. And since the person who did my eval for postulancy is not doing them anymore, I will have to explain myself all over again to a new guy (while in the midst of feeling very much not myself due to the steroids). The good news is that the diocese pays for this eval, as opposed to the first one. My plan is to listen to favorite music and podcasts on my iPod while driving down, drink no coffee, and trust that God will get me through it. While down there, I'll also be meeting with our Diocesan Deployment officer regarding my job search and the status of the search for a new vicar at Saint Middle School (no, the parish profile still isn't done yet). Two of the jobs I thought I might be a candidate for have been filled, both by folks already ordained to the priesthood. It is a challenge right now, it seems, to find something if you are not yet priested. Sighing and trying really, really hard to trust that God has a place for me. On the same day, I'll go into Your Nation's Capitol to meet with the DDO there for an informal conversation. They have fewer openings than in VA, but it's worthwhile to at least have the conversation.
Remarkably, I have no anxiety whatsoever about the Ash Wednesday service I'll lead Wednesday evening at Saint Middle School. We've planned it, I know what I'm going to do (with the exception of the sermon, which isn't done yet), and I know I can do it. I also know that if I mess up, or if something else goes awry, we will still get through it, I will still place ashes on people's foreheads, and Lent will go on.
We had a guest supply priest yesterday, not one of our usual rotation, and what a joy it was to serve with him at the altar! He was calm, knew what he was doing, gave a great sermon on the Transfiguration, adjusted to our way of doing things but also had some ideas we might consider with sound theology behind the suggestions. It was a gift.
I'll have supervision with my supervisor from our mother church on Wednesday. I should put together an agenda for the meeting, but we seem to drift far afield from it when we meet. Better to have something to start from, though, than simply to drift, I suppose.
The thesis is going more slowly than it should. I work in fits and starts. Some of it is the steroids fogging my brain, some of it is February, but I've got to get moving on it. Yes, another thing to worry about! That really helps, doesn't it?