Saturday, February 23, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been very aware that I have not blogged for over a month. I can't believe how busy my life has been and it doesn't improve any in the next two months. I will seriously have to look at learning a little two letter word. I've had one day off so far this month (and that was to go grad dress shopping with my daughter) and they're few and far between till the end of April. Hopefully, I can schedule a week of holidays for a personal retreat in May.

Retreat in January was mandatory. I hate silence. I can be silent but to sit through a meal with friends I haven't seen in a year and not talk is just not right. And in the evening, after our last meditation and compline, it would be wonderful to sit around that old field stone fireplace and share ideas. It bothered me even more when I went through that particular room at 10:00 one night and not a soul was there - yet in a small room, tucked away in a corner were a crowd of talkers. I understand the value of silence and I have no problem with it except at meals and in the evening. I wrote a page long comment on the evaluation but I doubt that it will get anywhere.

Synod is coming up. I ended up as chair of Nominations and Elections. Guess who has never even been on that committee before. It wouldn't be bad if our Canons were not out of date with the reality in the diocese. Oh and the timing of our next synod in relation to the timing of the next General Synod isn't the greatest either. I'm having nightmares over this.

There are a few tasks that I really enjoy and that feed me rather than drain me. I continue to be chaplain to Integrity. The growth in this group is absolutely wonderful. Although we have grown numerically, that is not the growth I am talking about. It is the growth of the individuals for which I am thankful.

I have also been asked to be on a panel at a Breaking the Silence conference to speak about spirituality and how I handle things related to human sexuality in my parish and community.

I get to also lead a workshop on prayer for the local parish nursing program. I love doing that.

And the fourth thing that will feed my soul is a conference in the mountains. The main speaker is Diana Butler Bass. It comes at a super busy time - the weekend between Easter and our Synod - but I know I will find a source of energy there to carry me through.

But in the midst of these things that give me peace are other responsibilities. I am on the the visioning committee. I believe that we have come up with a good plan to move this diocese forward. I can only pray that the earthly power that be backs us to the hilt. One of the things that came through so loudly and clearly during our consultations with the people of the diocese is the fear that this plan will come to naught. I would hate to see them let down.

And then there is the compensation committee. That takes a fair amount of meeting time. I wish I could give more effort to it but I just don't have the time available - at least not until after synod.

Of course, I didn't think I was busy enough, so I took on emergency pastoral care for a three point parish 1 1/2 hours away and in a different diocese. I really need to give my head a shake but I know these people are going through a rough time. How could I refuse.

But the dear Lord decided that life still isn't full enough for me. My parents phoned me last week to let me know that they were moving from their two bedroom house to a one bedroom seniors apartment within a month - the apartment is available on Palm/Passion Sunday. So now I have to find time to help them organize and pack. I am in charge of the china, books, and spare bedroom.

And then, a joyous event that makes my life even more hectic but for which I am deeply thankful. We are in the midst of a four month visioning process. We meet once a month with two other congregations - Lutheran and Presbyterian - and then once a month with just our own congregation. We are trying to determine if there is a future for these three congregations in closer relationship. At the last meeting of the three congregations a motion was put forward that we , for a trial period, worship together all the time instead of just once a month. It was passed by the people there. Now I need to take it to a congregational vote. The other two congregations do not have to do such as thing as their polity does not insist on it. The nightmare here is determining who is qualified to vote. I won't go into the three days of hashing it out between my mentor, my archdeacon, and my bishop. I was away in Alberta with a prior commitment to my daughter for those three days so it was an interesting time with a phone permanently attached to my ear at times. It wasn't until Thursday, after driving into the city for a meeting, that I all of a sudden realized that I hadn't even given thought to this Sunday's service. Friday was spent putting the notice of the parish meeting out, meeting with representatives from the other two congregations and mine to work out some details on the original proposal - clarifying things for the parish meeting and trying to research for Sunday's service.

Please pray for my congregation and its meeting on March 9. Those who are the solid attenders and supporters are enthused about this proposal but there are others who haven't participated enough to realize what a blessing our joint worship is. This congregation split on a somewhat similar vote about 5 years ago.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll make it through. But on the other hand, I know that when I have, it will not have been on my strength alone. Being busy actually reminds me to rely on God all the more and I become so conscious of the Creator's presence in my life on many levels.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

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