Monday, February 23, 2009

Long Weekend Past, Long Week to Come

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?


Rev Dr Mom said...

The whole 2nd psych exam is a bit of a boondoggle, isn't it? My bishop things that they should rewrite the canon that says "within 3 years" b/c if you have an eval before you become a postulant and then go to seminary, it will be more than 3 years...and really, if you pass the first one and there's no obvious change...

Luckily my 2nd eval was a rather pleasant 50 minute chat with the psychologist who did most of my first eval. I hope yours will go that smoothly.

And good luck with deployment, too. Are you looking to be an assistant, or to be rector/vicar/priest in charge?

mibi52 said...

If I can find something in this diocese, which would be the easiest for us, it would be as an assistant. They don't put deacons into vicar/priest-in-charge/rector slots here. The thought is that we need more seasoning under a good mentor before we're on our own. SOme days I agree with that, some days I don't. As far as other dioceses are concerned (and I'm free to interview although not released yet), I'm open to the possibilities. Sent my material to a big place in the Nutmeg State that might be a good fit, or not, but they have money to do programs and the honesty to post their strategic planning process, warts and all, on their website.

As far as the psych eval is concerned, a priest told me that he was asked two questions when he went for the second one: "have your drinking habits changed since you went to seminary?" and "have you been doing drugs while in seminary?" Yeah, my drinking habits have changed - I can't afford the really good wine anymore since I'm not on somebody else's expense account. Yeah, I take drugs...Copaxone for MS and Synthroid for hypothyroid...wait...I took them BEFORE I started seminary...oh, you mean ILLEGAL substances? Nah, can't afford 'em.

Seriously, I know it will be fine. It's just a pain in the arse at this stage. I suppose I should look on it as a spiritual practice and revel in alone time in the car. If Rt 95 south of the Beltway weren't like a NASCAR track, I might be able to achieve that. Gotta just shrug and laugh at how good intentions about process morph into nit-pickiness. And Lord knows the eval hasn't stopped some troubled folks from getting ordained.

Lauralew said...

Wow, Mibi, lots on your plate when you are not in tip top shape through no fault of your own. Funny how Life keeps marching on no matter what. Prayers for all of your situations.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I wanted to be an assistant, and my bishop wanted me to, as well. And I've learned a great deal, although not in the healthiest of ways. So I have mixed feelings about how essential being an assistant really is. I guess I'd say it depends on the quality of the rector you work with/for! Maybe that's not surprising...

The single best thing to happen to me was to have my paths cross with a superb priest who has become my clergy coach. Everyone should have one!

The Nutmeg state is a diocese I wouldn't mind being in, myself.

Do you know about this
click on newsletter
I only found out about it this year, but it is a helpful adjunct to the cdo website.

mibi52 said...

RDM, I do know about that website and check it regularly. The tough part is that most of the lists don't show the assistant positions...they either broadly advertise them or they call their DDO and ask for suggestions. That Nutmeg state one was an announcement that came to Big Old Seminary. Neverthless, I know I will find something at some point and it will be good.