Sunday, September 23, 2007

Coming Home

Someone once told me that when we travel we leave energy trails behind us. If this is true, in the past week I have left an interesting pattern back and forth across the state. Yesterday it was off again, two and a half hours away to a meeting to prepare us for our diocesan convention. A good meeting, a helpful meeting. Full of wonderful committed people and the movement of the Spirit. We talked about important decisions that must be made that will affect the future of our church. I love these conversations. I am committed to being in these conversations. But there have been a lot of them this week in various contexts with my clergy colleagues. And it has been a long week. Lots of talking. Lots more social interacting than this introvert usually has to manage in a week.

Re-entry was hard. Wednesday night when I got back I stayed up late to tweak the PowerPoint for my Thursday class that I have been working on for weeks. Thursday there was a mess-up at the library and I never did get to access the equipment that allowed me to use the PowerPoint for the class. Stressful? Oh yeah. I raised my voice. In a library. To a librarian. It availed me nothing. I was fifteen minutes late starting class because I was wrangling with the library over said equipment. It's hard to tell if the students cared. They are pretty bland in their responses in general. This does not help.

I think that something has to give on the teaching front. I keep saying this. I keep deciding not to teach and then I do it again. I have been thinking about why this is the case. Partially it's because I'm good at it and there is something in me that says we "should" use our gifts. Especially when there is financial reward involved. And of course, they do pay me to do this. Although right now, I'd say, not nearly enough! But the truth is that deciding not to teach again will have some implications financially, and means that I will have to make some other hard decisions as well. But aside from that, there is also this giving up of the fantasy that I can (or should) do it. Yes I am good at it, but the simple fact is, I don't really enjoy teaching! At least not this subject in this context, in this place and time. It's a giving up of a dream, maybe. I always thought if I weren't a therapist I'd be a professor, and maybe I would have been, or perhaps will still be, some day, somewhere. But the pure fact is, here and now, it really is not working so well for me. And so I think I need to let it go. Oh I won't bail. I will finish this semester. But I am making my commitment publicly (as making it privately, even to those I give my word seriously hasn't seemed to do it) that I am going to "just say no" to teaching again for the future.

Because what is suffering here is my inner life. I find time for the have-tos and the musts. I keep my commitments to others, always and without fail. It is my want-tos that get the short end of the stick and my commitments to myself that fall off the schedule. My time to just be, to read, to reflect, to write, to pray, to hang out in the presence of the God who fills and sustains me that gets pushed to the bottom end of the day when I have only enough energy to do the cursory, the passing, the expedient thing. And I'm not okay with that. I need better, I deserve better. As does God. Life is too short.

The recurring theme lately has been the stuff that has to go, decluttering, detaching. I need to let go of the idea that I must do it all, have three jobs, be the energizer bunny, superwoman, overachiever, wonderpriest; I need to seriously consider if this is the best use of my time, the best option of resolving my financial issues. There are other more compelling calls that seem to be pulling me, and in order to say yes to those, no to this is required. That also means answering some other questions in ways that might be painful or risky. But the Gospels have been pretty clear lately. Bearing crosses and counting costs, getting the priorities straight, living counterculturally to advance the Kingdom. I have been praying for discernment, to know God's will. It's all getting pretty clear. I may have left trails across the state, but I think I'm coming home to myself now. Finally.


more cows than people said...

may your home coming be complete, in time, and may you find the balance that allows for life in abundance.

"PS" said...

Well said.

Kate said...

Sounds like your giving up teaching is shaping up to be an important self-care lesson. Good luck in actually managing to give it up this time!

Diane said...

prayers to you in your discernment. may you find the time to nurture you inner life.
boy, I know what you mean.

Katherine E. said...

I'll all for finding time to simply be with God. Need more of that myself. Blessings to you in this discernment's sounding really good!

Barbara B. said...

I really, really love your picture. Reminds me of where I grew up... :)