Monday, April 27, 2009

sick and annoyed

Home sick. Home because when I was asked to run Aquila's pager to him - I got lost on the way to his office. I know where his office is. I just spaced out more than once on the way there, missed turns and doubled the time I needed to get there. It was so weird. Now I suspect what Alzheimer's feels like.

Add to that weirdness and disorientation a general sense of wooziness and an empty calendar, and I just came back home. It's a sick day, whether I'm feverish or not. Our administrative assistant just came off of 4 or 5 days out sick with a virus, so let's not take chances.

Annoyed with DS, snaps at me when I ask about his legal issues. This is not the assurance of someone who tells me he'll do it himself, but the attitude of someone who prefers not to be reminded that he has problems.

We believe DS has borderline personality disorder, which means, for him, that his emotions run rampant and he feels out of control most of the time. This translates into very, very bad behavior towards others and himself. This translates into crazy living choices and selfish and manipulative actions. This also means he accepts abuse, too, when he feels he needs a person. But he can't understand the difference between abusive behavior towards himself and love.

Most of the recommendations for parents of adult people with BPD is to stop helping them. But a year ago I agreed to help with the rent (to get him out of the house for my sanity), and so I'm still liable for that and for the condition of his apartment - which I gather is a squalid mess now.

And I helped out last week, when I had two minutes to decide what to do. So now I am annoyed when he snaps at me - I want my money back!

It is hard to learn how to parent in this totally different mode. When all one learned about being a parent is wrong for this kid. When what one has to do is exactly opposite of what people with 'good' kids do.

There is a huge chasm between us and other parents. The on-line parents group is called 'OZ', because everything is upside down.

So, we take our lives day by day, and try to have our joys where we can.\

Thursday, April 23, 2009


And my sister is going to Disney World next week!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

mid week

It's been a rough interior patch.

Easter wasn't festive enough for some and I heard about that! (But someone told me that particular person delights in complaining about something every week!)

For some reason a family - none of whom I've ever met - requested I - and only I - not visit the fellow in the hospital. I didn't know that. One family member just walked out of the room when I came in and introduced myself, two days in a row. I didn't hear about the 'no prisca' request until my two visitation days were over. Probably better I ddn't know.

The Morton's neuroma isn't getting any better and was particularly painful on Sunday, when I can't wear my running shoes. I've been wearing those darn shoes - which are the only ones that accept my inserts all the other days, but the nerves still hurt so much.

The Eagle tells me he has a hernia - and he does! It's HUGE. And he has let it go for 3 months and I didn't notice it. I feel terrible.

And finally, the big issue is that the son has gotten into unbloggable trouble. I'm so set back on my heels about this. I don't even know if it's right to support him or let him go on his own and experience the radical consequences, which could be very serious. In the moment I had to decide I went with support, but that may not be the right decision.

I'm so tired of having to have a thick skin, of having to be strong and courageous. I just want to cry and pout and get mad.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

They didn't believe me

Mediating on the texts made me think of this song:

I have it in a wonderful recording by Voices of Ascension. It's by Jerome Kern/Herbert Reynolds. I know it's a love song, but don't we love to sing about our Savior. Think about the ten remaining disciples, or Mary M singing to Thomas!

And when I told them how beautiful you are,
They didn't believe me. They didn't believe me!
Your lips, your eyes, your cheeks, your hair, (your side, your hands, your feet, your flesh)
Are in a class beyond compare,
You're the lovilest girl that one could see! (You're the greatest Savior one could see!)
And when I tell them,
And I cert'nly am goin' to tell them,
That I'm the man whose wife one day you'll be. (That I'm the one whose Master you shall be)
They'll never believe me. They'll never believe me.
That from this great big world you've chosen me!


Peace with you

My sermon for the is weekend will be based on this one from 2004. This sermon is based on the thoughts of Bishop Willamon found at the Duke archives here. I didn't use any of his text, but the idea - what does the church look like when we take up Jesus' radical peace as an end to fear, has inspired me.

This may preach differently than written. The congregation I speak to tomorrow is pleasantly satisfied with itself, even though it is not growing presently, and not growing because new folks find it self-satisfied. People are turned toward those they already know. It has its own version of 'locked doors.'

I will mull over this and pray to see if I dare touch that caged lion.

Easter 2C, April 18, 2004
Acts 5:27-32, John 20:19-31

This is the church? No - not us - the guys in the story.
Last week we had the story of Mary of Magdala, to whom Jesus identified himself as the risen, soon-to-be ascended Christ - going to join the glory of the Father. We had the hope of the risen Christ at the dawn of the day, springing out of the heart into the soul, singing - alleluia.

And now, on the evening of that day - the same day Mary had seen Jesus in the morning - the guys are behind closed doors - locked in - because of fear. Whatever they believe, whatever hope Peter and the beloved disciple brought back - the group of disciples is in fear. Whatever Mary has said - they are behind locked doors. And this is the church - all the church Jesus has.

Even without the full awareness of the resurrection - we might expect more of the guys than this -this cowering. For long, long periods, Jesus had been instructing them in his thought - I am the bread of life, I am the way, the truth and the life, Love One another, - showing them through healing and feeding miracles - who he was and what his Father intended. Jesus had been their teacher, their rabbi, their master - and their messiah. They had seen Lazarus brought back to life!

Now they feared. They locked the door for fear of the authorities. They huddled - maybe they prayed, maybe they sang, but they did not go out.

Wondering, waiting - I guess the question in their minds was “so if the tomb is empty, and Jesus is alive - in some sense, at least Mary says so - what now? What happens next? What do we do?” Is this the end of the world? (That possibility was much discussed in their day). If so, then all they needed to do was wait. Stick together and wait for the next mighty act of God - to lift them up into heaven and reward them for their faithfulness in walking with Jesus ministry on earth. The End.

Not the end. Not at all. for when Jesus appears to the disciples, huddled in the locked room, on the night of the resurrection - their world does not end. It is just beginning - the beginning of something they could not, clearly did not, imagine. It is the beginning of the church at work. The church of the Holy Spirit - the group of people who are sent by Jesus, just as Jesus was sent by the Father.

For Jesus appears among them (all except Thomas, more about that later) and says “peace be with you.” Peace be with you. This is the promise and the hope - the enabling and the answer to the fear that gripped them. Peace be with you. More than a greeting, it is a blessing - be the people of peace, be the authors of peace, be the carriers of peace to the world.

And then he completes his promise with the breath of life - the Holy Spirit - here offered as a quiet breath and wind - the conferring of authority through breathing the same air as the Lord. The authority conferred is to deal with sin - of all things - sin. Not the authority to heal or to feed thousands with a few loaves of bread - but to forgive sins.

Think about it - think about the dramatic shift in the perspective of the disciples in these very few verses. At the beginning they had been in fear, locked in their rooms. At the best they were expecting the end of the world - the dawn of the day of the Lord. At the worst they may have been waiting for the knock on the door that signals the coming of the police.

And now - they are the ones sent by Jesus - the sent-ones, the apostles - from apo-stella - to be sent. They have a mission - they are commissioned to get out there and deal with sin. They are Peter in the first reading - standing up for Jesus in front of the authorities.

None of this has been for their benefit alone. Not the years of teaching and observing and wonder at the miracles. Not the horrible last week and the aching agony of watching their master die. Not the marvel and astonishment at the empty tomb and Mary’s story. None of this has been for them.

It is for the mission - it is for the vision - it is for the outreach - it is for the world.

Jesus Christ died for the world. And if the impact of his death - and resurrection - stopped at the locked doors of the upper room - then it was for nothing.

As the Father sent me, so I send you. And they were sent. And they went.

Now Thomas was not there. And not only did he not believe what the others were telling him - he did not ‘get’ the mission part. “I’m to do what - wrestle with the notion of sin - forgiving it and retaining it? “ “I’m to put my life on the line for this vision of a Risen Messiah and eternal life with God.” Thomas desires some more personal evidence and he gets it.

But Thomas also appears as the first one of us. The First one who must believe because of the witness of the church. As we must believe. The one who points the way for all of us: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe. Thomas claims: My Lord and My God!

The apostles carried out their mission right out of that room into the world. They gave us stories to tell and words to pray - they gave us hope to cling to and reason to continue. They gave us a mission. The mission to wrestle with sin and replace it with peace. The mission to see the world clearly and to know God even more clearly - the mission to say “peace be with you” and know it for the life-transforming message it truly can be.

The question I may need to ask - what are our 'locked doors' - what do we fear? New people and their needs and ideas? Change? Losing our identity, losing staff people we like, losing our comfortable way of relating to church? Being asked to be 'more' - more generous, more committed, more flexible, more responsible, more open?

If Jesus' gift to the church is 'Peace' and 'Spirit' - and that's not just 'inner peace' but 'shalom' equaling wholeness, then what difference does the 'peace power' make here? What is different for disciples who have met the risen Christ? What energy flow is divinely granted to moved through them?


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Sunday - Words not said

A beginning of a sermon that I will not use:
For Easter Sunday

I know a young man
– really, at heart only a boy still –
who should be here.

He won’t be, but he should be.
He doesn’t think this place, this occasion,
has anything to say to him.

He thinks his life is such a
– loss, perhaps
– that nothing can touch him.

He has made his choices
– to live a life just under the radar
- of landlord and employer, police and taxes.

He lives by a spiral code
– move away from the center,
slowly but surely,
always taking one step sideways for each one forward.

This path is a losing way, a loosing way,
a way to get lost, be lost, stay lost,
stray far away from the center, centering story.

He needs to be here today
– to hear this story
– this story of the One so lost, so abandoned,
so alone, so far from the center,
the one who sent to hell,
who hung around in hell,
who knew hell,
and who has returned, and promised

no more hell.

No more hell
– not of our own making,
not of God’s making,
not of others' making –

There is an eternity, and it is not hell.
There is an eternity and it is joy.
There is an eternity and it starts now.

The young man needs to know
there is a place for him here.
A home, a seat, a bed.
An end to wandering.

Come and rest, come and be.
The path is not a spiral
– but direct – come home.
Jesus has gone to hell for you – to bring you back. Welcome.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Random Thoughts on Holy Wednesday

Random Thoughts

  • If I went to the StoryCore booth, what story would I tell? How would I tell it?
  • My husband and I have been struggling with the issue of clutter (my definition) and heirlooms that just need work (his definition) since we have been married. Will there ever be a resolution, or do we just buy a bigger house?
  • A new haircut, by a new stylist, is always hard to get used to. But the last one was just not right, and I always get fussy about my hair before the holidays.
  • Almost three years into full-time ministry in this place, what does commitment mean? The Benedictines take a vow of stability. What does such a notion mean for my ministry? When decisions are made that I don't agree with, how do they impact my sense of being pastor here?
  • I'm second banana, sometimes 3rd banana. That will not change. How do I thrive?
  • Am I at a place where this ministry may not be the focal and center point of my life? What would that feel like? What would be healthy about that? What might rise up? What doors might open?
  • As spring comes slowly, what do I want to be different this year?
This is my 100th post!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Five - time out edition

Sally writes:
Holy Week is almost upon us, I suspect that ordained or not, other revgal/pals calendars look a bit like mine, FULL, FULL, FULL........

Jesus was great at teaching us to take time out, even in that last week, right up to Maundy Thursday he withdrew, John's gospel tells us he hid! He hid not because he was afraid, but because he knew that he needed physical, mental and spiritual strength to get through...

So faced with a busy week:

1. What restores you physically? Sleep - I need sleep. And sleep has been elusive on some nights. I love the Eagle, but his night music is rather dramatic. Between noise and lights and too much going on in my head, I was up again past 1:30. Sleep has always been a discipline for me - to go to that place - to lose myself - sometimes seems like letting go.

Exercise would help, but that's a goal that has fallen this Lent as I've been honest with myself, and trying not to demand too much. I sing the song of being active in my everyday life - and the more of that I accomplish, the better I'll sleep.

2. What strengthens you emotionally/ mentally? This Lent has been interesting because my discipline was to be gentle with myself, and I feel more at peace because I haven't pushed myself too hard. I am spending time understanding the role of self-differentiation in healthy functioning - I do it as I deal with the son, but it helps at work as well. Some problems are not my problems.

3. What encourages you spiritually? This year it has not been worship, sad to say. I have found my daily Bible portion helpful, thinking through posts for the blog has been an exercise in forming my thoughts and assessing what should be shared or not, and that is a spiritual process as I turn concerns over to God. This year the story itself - the life of Jesus, the passion of Jesus, the death of Jesus - has been of great interest. I see it in new ways as we learn it again in Lent.

4. Share a favourite poem or piece of music from the coming week. I was given 'Beautiful, Scandalous Night' as one of the suggestions for worship - it's been running through my head.

5.There may be many services for you to attend/ lead over the next week, which one are you most looking forward to and why? If there aren't do you have a favourite day in Holy week if so which one is it? I'd be looking forward the most to Easter - although Good Friday will be very beautiful this year. Our 'family' service is a recreation of the stations of the cross, very well done with high school actors and readings. Easter will use some of those same actors acting our Wagnerin's Ragman.